Study Abroad

Getting Familiar

January 10, 2017

It's been a busy time. We're all developing good skills with chopsticks (or else go hungry) and have had several versions of mi quang, Da Nang's most traditional meal. Parts of the city are starting to look familiar, especially the dragon bridge which is a real landmark in Da Nang. It changes color after dark, going from red to orange and all around the rainbow. On weekend nights, the dragon breathes fire. It's quite an impressive sight.

Today's reporters are Emma Landegren and Tallie Grasmuck.  

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Emma Landegren writes:

I'm Emma, a senior fashion design and communications student.  I love to travel and thought going to Vietnam would be a life changing experience.  Having the opportunity to meet children from the SOS village, an organization that houses orphans, seemed like something I couldn't miss.  On our first day at the village, we arrived to a bunch of beautiful smiling faces.  We were given a very warm and loving impression.  Teaching the kids English is our main assignment and though some students are quite good, conversing is very difficult.  Personally, I have met a sweet girl named Anh.  She is 14 years old and though we can speak just a few words to each other, we have become quite close.    

In our free time at the village we are dancing all the time.  The children have learned dances to all the songs we listen to and it is fun to be silly with them.  The kids are very respectful and endearing, and are always willing to help out.  I've never met a group of kids like this; kids who come from so little yet have the biggest hearts.  We are very excited for what's to come this week and look forward to meeting the kids once again.  

Victoria and Emma

Tallie Grasmuck writes:

Hi, my name is Tallie and I'm a senior fashion design and production student. On Saturday, the Village hosted a 20th anniversary event for their alumni and we were kindly invited to attend. We were all very excited because it gave us an opportunity to be with the children outside of a class environment and truly connect with them individually. The kids were so proud of their homes and their school work, and were so happy to show them off to us in the beginning of the day. Five children from my teaching group took me by the hand and brought me to their homes and introduced me to their house mothers, all of whom offered me water and food despite the language barrier. Inside one little girl's room, Anh, they took the school calendar off the wall and pointed out picture by picture who their friends were, what clubs they were in, and even who they had crushes on--all while giggling like any group of 13-year-old girls would. 

I found that to be one of my favorite experiences of the day, sitting with the children and talking to each other as best as we all could with both sides only understanding a few words and taking tons of pictures together. It put the village in a whole new light. Even though every child there has gone through such trying circumstances, they all have a sense of pride and love for their home and their newfound families here. I'm sure I'm not the only student who feels honored to have been a part of their world for a day.