Every year millions of people take IELTS with the British Council, gaining the English language qualification they need to access higher education opportunities abroad or take the next step in their career. For wildlife conservationist Trang Nguyen, IELTS was the beginning of an award-winning career that is making lasting change in both Viet Nam and around the world. 

The catalyst

Trang’s passion for wildlife began as a child, when she saw firsthand the devastating effects of the illegal wildlife trade. Determined to make a difference, she set her sights on becoming a conservationist, opting to study in the UK thanks to its world-class reputation in natural sciences.   

Taking IELTS with the British Council was an important stepping stone in Trang’s journey. The English language test is recognised by every UK university and college, giving Trang her pick of study destinations. 

The spark 

After getting her IELTS score, Trang was awarded a place at Liverpool John Moores University to study Wildlife Conservation. She then stayed in the UK to pursue postgraduate study.  

Being in the UK introduced Trang to a vibrant, international conservation community. She enjoyed collaborating with like-minded peers and learning from some of the British naturalists who had shaped the science of conservation. She even had the chance to connect with her childhood hero, Sir David Attenborough.

The success

The networks Trang built in the UK have been invaluable to her career. While completing her master’s she founded WildAct, an NGO that monitors illegal wildlife trade markets and delivers conservation education programmes in Viet Nam. WildAct introduced the country’s first ever diploma course in conservation, and since 2015 has worked with more than 35,000 children and early-career conservationists. 

Trang’s career has taken her across continents: from tackling the elephant ivory trade in Cambodia to working undercover in Africa, supporting local authorities to find and arrest illegal traders. She has been recognised by Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30, the BBC’s 100 Women and won the prestigious Future for Nature Award. In 2023 Trang reconnected with the British Council as the winner of the Study UK Alumni Award for Science and Sustainability, opening up new professional and networking opportunities.   

‘My education in the UK has not only created a great impact on my career and success, but also shaped me.’ - Trang Nguyen

As a proud co-owner of IELTS, the British Council is supporting millions of people like Trang to fulfil their ambitions. More than 11,500 academic institutions, employers and governments are registered as IELTS Recognising Organisations around the world, attracting applications from the brightest and best candidates.  

We are the partner of choice for education institutions, governments, NGOs and community-based organisations around the world. Find out how you can spark success with the British Council.