A peek into Vietnamese culture | Featuring University of Newcastle
ABROADER Team March 28, 2023 7 minute read
Our “Vietnam Immersion Program” will amaze you with an unique perspective on Vietnam. Check out the best about UoN students’ experiences with Vietnamese culture immersion!
What is the most interesting aspect of going abroad? That is having the unique chance to fully immerse in Vietnamese culture and history, explore the livable city life in Ho Chi Minh City, and live like an authentic local, from then on discover and know yourself better. Studying abroad is a significant opportunity for experiential learning. The unique experience of studying abroad allows students from the University of Newcastle to gain a more in-depth awareness of the individuals that came before. The challenges they experienced, and the efforts they made!
Experience performing in Vietnam and exploring the rich culture and impressive landscapes. Vietnam has emerged as a partner in the region and a fascinating nation in which to experience Southeast Asia. From the water puppet theater to a cooking demonstration, experience much of what Vietnamese culture and cuisine have to offer.
LEARN TO CREATE MEANINGFUL CHANGE
The world is changing rapidly and people are increasingly mobile, either by choice or by necessity. Even people who have always lived in the same place all their lives can see the socio-cultural environment changing around them. Therefore, immerse yourself in a new culture and apprentice at a human rights organization to learn how to tackle global issues from the ground up.
Unique, Immersed in culture, and Wholesome are probably the three keywords to describe the University of Newcastle Study Tour. This spring 2023, ABROADER welcomed UoN students to experience history firsthand and discover the new Vietnamese people. Over the tour, we will take a closer look at the UoN Study Tour, and explore some of the highlights of this unforgettable journey. As the “Vietnam Immersion Program” is the main theme, the program focused on several aspects of Vietnam including Vietnam’s history, lifestyle, economy, culture, education, and health.
Therefore, at the end of the trip, participants stated that they learned a lot about another culture and way of life, as well as the history of the places they visited.
NEW BEGINNING OF VIETNAM
The majority of participants enjoyed every program’s activities, particularly the 2 days 1 night Mekong trip, the Vietnam History Day that they went to Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants Museum, and free-time activities including a variety of new experiences with local buddies from SEA Vietnam.
The first day of the trip started with SEA Vietnam members picking up UoN buddies at the airport and having a welcome dinner at Bep Vo together. We have gradually interacted and been more open to each other despite the earlier shy times. Hence, the second day’s activities, which included Orientation & Vietnamese lessons, and a City tour were held in an engaging and active ambiance. Students at the UoN learned about Vietnam and some basic Vietnamese words and how to bargain in Vietnamese.
Following that, everyone was divided into two groups to explore some famous attractions in Saigon such as the Independence Palace, Jade Emperor Pagoda, and Southern Women’s Museum. The City tour day ended with a market challenge in that UoN students had to buy things at a local market by using Vietnamese and then present them.
We visited the Cu Chi tunnels and the War Remnants Museum on Day 3, which turned out to be an emotional day. The majority of the students were shocked by Vietnam’s harshness during the war and the struggles Vietnamese people had to endure. At the Cu Chi tunnels, students learned about the structure and how Vietnamese soldiers used the tunnels, experienced the feeling of going underground, and tasted tapioca – a staple during the war. At the War Remnants Museum, students were touched after seeing documents of the consequences that the war had left on Vietnamese women, children, families, and the American people.
VIETNAMESE ECONOMY, HEALTH, AND EDUCATION
In the next few days, the trip included activities to learn more about the Vietnamese economy, health, and education, such as visiting the Australian Consulate, CMC Creative Space, Ascend Ventures Vietnam, Lac Hong Education Group, and 1A Hospital.
During this study abroad program in Vietnam, UoN students gain a thorough grasp of the difficulties affecting Vietnamese culture as well as insightful knowledge of intercultural communication and adaptability. This trip covered most aspects of Vietnamese culture but was not overly academic, so everyone got a terrific experience as a basis for learning more about Vietnam.
BUILDING AN ABOVE-AND-BEYOND CULTURE
Without a doubt, it’s not all work and no play! In terms of the Mekong trip, UoN students got the chance to experience a way of life and learn about the Vietnamese wet rice culture which is significantly different from Ho Chi Minh City’s bustling life. Our students have had the most unique experience ever through the special and interesting activities. We moved from the island to explore the winding waterways by boat and ferry in the middle of the Mekong River. Mr. Tai, the program’s tour leader, also took us to some typical local spots where products are made from water hyacinth and rice. Observing the affluent farms, meeting farmers, and trying to make the “leaf cake” specialty that satisfied all the foodies.
Aside from visiting cultural sites, we also drank coconut water on a boat and went cycling, and stayed at a homestay. Moreover, we participated in cooking classes and many more unique experiences that are uncommon to get elsewhere.
We also make sure to give participants lots of chances to unwind and enjoy themselves. Our farewell party is always a highlight of the study tour program. Participants gathered to celebrate their time in Vietnam and bid farewell to new friends.
WE CREATE A REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE
Furthermore, many participants reported learning new skills and finding new aspects of themselves, boosting their independence and professional preparation. The most important thing is that, in the beginning, UoN students and SEA Vietnam were simply independent individuals with different languages, cultures, majors, and interests…. Yet, as the journey ended, we became closer and enjoyed every moment as a team.
Regarding the objective factors, students were more likely to have health issues due to hot weather, or crowded streets. Regarding the subjective components, several activities did not take a deep dive into the student’s major owing to the structure of the program. Yet, they are all interested in learning more about Vietnam. Honestly, several participants appreciated the organization and the local support they received. One called it “the most immersive and exciting opportunity” they had ever had.
A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE GAP
The fact that UoN students come from a wide range of majors which was initially a drawback with SEA Vietnam ended up being one of the trip’s most unique and remarkable things. We expected it would take a long time for everyone to get to know each other and enjoy the journey together. However, it was ultimately what gave the program its distinct flavor. Students from all backgrounds with different mindsets and characteristics have made each activity in the program more diverse and exciting and together exploring such a vivid Vietnamese culture.
Also, the students were really nice and open-minded. They were eager to take part in anything suggested by SEA Vietnam. They participated in activities such as taking the water bus, visiting the campus, eating street food, karaoke, and so on. All of these variables combined to make the trip unforgettable.
EXPLORE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES
Last but not least, the program could not be a hit without the huge support of SEA Vietnam – Student Exchange Association Vietnam. SEA Vietnam is established to gather enthusiastic local students and the young generation. SEA Vietnam team are the local buddies that come along with Monash students throughout the program. Together, we have explored every little corner of Vietnam’s nature, culture, and life, and made it the most memorable moment ever. Since then, SEA members have improved their English communication skills and enhanced other essential skills for their careers. For example, how to make efficient teamwork, how to build strong connections, etc.
Apart from being a Forum on Education Abroad member with liability insurance, we are proud to be ONE – STOP SHOP CENTER for faculty leaders.
At ABROADER, we believe that learning should be an immersive and enjoyable experience. Discovering the country’s unique blend of traditional and modern business practices, while making special memories with your fellow participants is what we are trying to do in our study tour programs. With SEA Vietnam and the enthusiasm of international students in Vietnam, we sincerely hope for a bright and dynamic 2023 while creating more and more value for the community. Join us on this meaningful journey!