Study Abroad

Making Friends

January 10, 2017

We are well into cultural immersion. Yesterday we ate at a traditional Cham restaurant and then visited the Cham Museum. The Cham people lived in this area over 1000 years ago. Then off to a big party at the SOS Children's Village where we were treated to typical Vietnamese food, music, and dance.

Today's reporters are Elizabeth Leahy and Nick Carlino.  

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Elizabeth Leahy writes:

My name is Lizzy and I am a Sophomore Communication major. These first few days in Vietnam have been one amazing adventure after another. From mastering the technique of crossing the scooter filled streets to tasting new cuisine, like frog and local seafood, we have learned so much about Vietnam and its culture. We even had the chance to visit four different artisan villages to see how they worked with marble, silk, wood, and clay.  

I was a little nervous during the drive to the village on the first day of teaching. As we drove up the road, we passed children holding small stools and running to the gates of the school. When they noticed we were in the cars, they smiled and waved at us. The joy I got from seeing their smiles is indescribable. We were led into the school, introduced to the students, and my nerves went away. They were so eager to learn the lessons and play games with us. For our breaks, they would play music and the kids would take our hands and teach us to dance.   

On Saturday we were invited to the village for a cookout and to play traditional games. The moment we entered the field, we were met with smiling faces and little children running around. As the food was being prepared, we had the chance to see the kids we taught earlier this week as well as meet new children from the village. We were immediately accepted into this community from the children and adults. The kids we had met the other day would run up smiling and hug us. They would lead us around the field playing traditional Vietnamese games in celebration. Tables from each house in the village prepared food for the event and each table had a poster of artwork made by children from the village. One girl I met, Giang, and her sister led me through the festivities and taught me about the symbolic meaning of different activities and images. They led me through the different foods and how to properly eat them. Every few minutes a new kid would come running up to say hi or dance with someone from our group. When we had to leave, kids would come running to say goodbye to our group. Giang said it best when she told me "this night will have unforgettable memories." I can't wait to see the kids next time we teach and make more memories.      

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Nick Carlino writes:

My name is Nick Carlino and I am a sophomore at Lasell, double majoring in accounting and finance. Saturday's visit to the SOS Village for a cookout was by far the best day we've had during our first week stay in DaNang. Since it was our second day at the Village, all the children really began to blossom and open up to my classmates and me. The cookout was filled with friendly games, upbeat dancing, beautiful singing, delicious food, and endless hugs and holding hands. The kids, ages 5-17, never left our sides. They guided us everywhere, taking pictures, showing us around, offering us food, etc.

It was extremely heartwarming to sit down and have conversations with the staff and students. It is an honor to be given the opportunity to get to know everyone making an impact on this incredible program. I am already looking forward to being with the kids again and seeing what the rest of our trip has to offer.