Study Abroad

Exploring the City of Da Nang

January 09, 2016

Da Nang pagoda

We are packing in so much Vietnamese culture, it really is an “immersion.” Besides our work at the Da Nang SOS Village, we’ve been exploring Da Nang. We had traditional Cham food, the highlight of which was delicious baked snakehead fish and a show of traditional Cham dancing. We visited the 200 million year old cave at Marble Mountain.

The five Marble Mountains are named after the five elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). It is also home to Buddhist and Hindu shrines or pagodas. However, we had a very unique perspective because Professor Thomas, who was an army engineer during the Vietnam War, spent time at the base of the mountains in an area known as “China Beach.” He talked about his experience. Professor Thomas is the founder of the Indochina Arts Partnership and is currently involved in making a documentary about American veterans who have returned to Vietnam to do service projects. He is looking at a 2017 release as an independent film.

Prof. David Thomas with students

The classes and activities at the SOS Village have been keeping us very busy. Lasell students have been planning the curriculum for the Village children. Here they work on English pronunciation.

Alex and Dee

Madoka and Jen

We are very fortunate to have made the connection with SOS Da Nang. Here Professor Tran and Professor David Thomas, are meeting with Lê Thị Thu Hà who is the director of SOS Da Nang and has been since the very beginning in 1994. She and all the staff has made us welcome. You can see how well they care for the children. There are 17 such villages in Vietnam. In addition, they administer schools around the village locations to provide education to neighborhood children.

Lê Thị Thu Hà, Prof. Tran and Prof. David Thomas

Our schedule leaves time for the Village children to get to know one another. Raquel said, “You forget there is the language difference.” Many of the girls are skilled at hair braiding. Alex is getting flowers braided into her hair. And Raquel and her fan club.

Alex G.

Raquel with children

Tomorrow is our last day at the Village. All the Lasell students know they are going to be sad to leave.