Ben Mawdsley BA'15

Ben Mawdsley BA’15
Founder, Minerva English Vietnam & Audium


After a motorcycle journey took Ben Mawdsley to Australia, he ended up in Vietnam as a journalist and an entrepreneur. To learn more about his companies, experiences in Vietnam, and time at Saint Mary’s, we recently connected with Ben.

What degree did you graduate with from Saint Mary’s and what year?

I graduated in May of 2015 with BA.

Where did you go after you graduated?

After convocation, I left Halifax for Australia where I embarked on a solo 13,000km motorcycle journey supported by Canada’s very own Motorcycle Mojo Magazine. I then applied to UNICEF based out of Japan.

What brought you to Vietnam?

Upon comparing the salary to the cost of living, I decided to take a TEFL course to supplement my income. I chose to enroll in a TEFL program in Vietnam, as I had always been fascinated by its history. In Vietnam, I immediately connected with the right people and decided to stay following the completion of my TEFL program. I have now lived in Vietnam for over 3 years.

Can you tell us about your companies and your current role as a journalist?

I am the owner of a private English tutoring company, Minerva English Vietnam. I founded a non-profit, Audium, which focuses on sustainable development in the poorest regions of Vietnam. I am a journalist with Bao Tuoi Tre (Youth Newspaper) one of Vietnam’s biggest and oldest newspapers. I work for the Walking Street Group, an organization that consists of business and government leaders that came together in support of turning Ho Chi Minh City’s main tourist areas into walking streets. Within the WSG, I was chosen to represent the international community where I admin a 25,000 member strong FB group.

Do you have any advice for current students?

My advice to students would be to push our limits and network yourself. You are going to university in one of the most well respected countries in the world. This comes with a great burden of responsibility you have to do unto others who are less well off. Don’t worry about getting that job once you graduate. Go out and explore. Get involved with like-minded people. Meet with your heads of department, SMUSA, even the president of the university. These are wonderful resources that many students are completely oblivious to.

As the great Dr. Dodds once said to me, your education is part of a global currency. I never fully grasped the importance of that until I left Canada. When you graduate, go to a developing country to open your mind and learn another language/culture. Embrace the idea of a global community. When I graduated, instead of becoming part of something, I became something. I bought that ticket and never looked back.

Do you stay connected with SMU?

I am still connected to SMU through the relationships I made there. I was involved with the Political Science Society, NMUN, and the more clandestine International Covenant of Scotch Tasters. I put more time into building these networks, than I did with my studies. Needless to say, I took full advantage of the societies, got involved with many things outside of SMU, which built lifelong friendships and opened many doors.