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Study Abroad

Our time in Da Nang is coming to an end.

January 13, 2019

Being high up in the clouds on the Golden Hand Bridge, away from the sounds of society, and surrounded by strangers from vastly different countries made the place seem like a union point for all cultures to come together and enjoy this piece of stunning architecture.
Mikey Salem    

Holly

On our last day in Vietnam, as we pack to go home, Holly and Remy reflect on their experiences. See you all back on campus!

Holly Aronhalt, '19  

Our work at the SOS Village these past two weeks has been an unforgettable experience and has given me a new cultural perspective toward Vietnam. I was a little nervous going into this trip as I have never taught before, nonetheless teach English to children who are not native speakers. It was definitely a challenge being in a teacher role for the first time, but the kids were eager to learn and determined to pronounce the words correctly. It was very rewarding to hear the kids' pronunciation improve after every lesson. I felt as if I was accomplishing something monumental.    

Through this experience I learned how important patience is when teaching, along with the ability to think on your feet. Sometimes we would plan an activity and it would not go so well, so we had to quickly think of something else to do. I was very impressed with how respectful and well behaved the kids were.     

All of the children were so kind to us and were genuine and pure with every action and word. Leaving the SOS Village today for the last time was very emotional but I have gained valuable lessons from being a part of their community. They showed me that no matter what your circumstances are in life, you always have the power to give and show love. This is something that I will take home with me and remember for the rest of my life. I want to thank all of the children of the SOS Village for welcoming us with open arms and leaving us with our hearts full. I have no doubt in my mind that they will all go off to do great things and achieve numerous success. I have a special place in my heart for all of you at the SOS Village and hope to see you again someday. 

Remy

Remy Morris, Sport Management Major '19  

Though it sounds cliché and though we came to Vietnam to teach the kids English and pronouncing certain words, I can honestly say that I've learned so much more than I thought I would since I've been here.   The minute we got to the village I knew the language barrier was going to be significant and a tough hurdle to overcome. But so many of the students in our group spoke good enough English so it wasn't incredibly difficult to communicate with them. As soon that took place, we started playing games with them to form a relationship, and then we all clicked immediately and I am so fortunate that that happened.   

Some of the things the kids taught me were leadership, hard work, teamwork, and positivity. I saw them, in particular our group leader, display leadership in the way she would talk to the students and organize them as well. If we were in the middle of a lesson and some students weren't paying attention, the group leader and sometimes other students, would get their attention and tell them to pay attention.    

Some of the kids struggled with pronunciation and pronouncing certain letters early in the week, but by the time the week ended, they were doing so well, made incredible progress, and it goes to show that if one works hard and is committed to something, they can learn a lot, even in a short amount of time. To see the progress that these gifted students made during such a short amount of time, was incredible to see firsthand. I'm so lucky to have had a front row seat to experience such a thing.  

During one of our lessons, we would have a time where the kids would draw something that began with the letter of the day and the lesson planned for that specific day. Some kids had difficulty with it and if they did, it didn't take long for the other kids in the group to help them out with certain letters and how to spell the word correctly. It happened so often and it didn't matter who was writing, there was always at least two students willing to help the other.   The last thing they taught me was positivity. These kids are not in an ideal situation in their life whatsoever and to see them display not only positivity, but happiness, on a day to day basis is nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say these unique, special, and gifted kids/students have taught me so much more than I taught them in just one week. I'm beyond blessed and fortunate to partake in an experience like this one. To see the impact I made in their lives and the impact they made in my life in just one week, is just one reason why this trip was life-changing.