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Study Abroad

Introduction to Vietnam

January 03, 2020

The Cham Sculpture Museum

Photo: Visiting the Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture

Team Vietnam is now in the city of Đà Nẵng. We traveled halfway around the globe via the North Pole. Getting used to the time change has been a challenge.

We attended orientation at the SOS Children's Village Đà Nẵng, where we met the director and staff. During a tour of the Village, we were introduced to one of the live-in mothers, who cares for nine children in one of the Village's 16 family houses. The mothers are women hired by the organization and are committed to caring for the children. We asked questions, saw where some of the children live, and discovered both differences and similarities with life in the US. We have also been exploring the city. Today's bloggers are sharing their observations here.  

Kate Kennedy

After finally recovering from the 20+ hours of travel to get us from Boston, to Hong Kong, to Da Nang we found ourselves nestled in an absolute gem of a city. Adjusting to being 12 hours ahead of all we know back home, has been fun for all of us as we explore the city and fuel ourselves with cà phê sũa.  Da Nang is a vibrant city that beautifully engages all of your senses.

Bustling with beeping horns, fresh cut flowers, vibrant colors, muggy days and excellent coffee it's a city I feel should be added to everyone's bucket list.    The sound of horns is nothing like back home in Boston, but more of a hello, here I am, I'm stopping, I'm not stopping, the list goes on (sometimes I'm not even sure there is a reason) but the people go above and beyond to be kind and welcoming.

Crossing the street has been an unexpected learning curve! With the busy streets come busy crosswalks and we seem to finally have it down to a science by day three.    As a whole, the city is very walkable. Markets and coffee shops and local cuisine line the streets. The buildings are narrow, but tall and each decorated with bright colors and lots of blues, greens, and pinks. We have yet to see an afternoon colder than 75° and while we stroll around in shorts and tees, the locals are bundled in winter coats and jeans- it's a sight to see!   

The food is delicious and every meal has been within a 5-10 minute walk from our hotel. It's been fun to watch each of us get better at using chopsticks. Some of the local cuisine we have enjoyed thus far is pho (a dish traditional to Vietnam with rice noodles, bone broth, thinly sliced meat and various veggies and chilies to garnish), Bánh Mí (pickled veggies, various meat, and a chili/mayo sauce) and a dish that is local specifically to Da Nang: Mì Quảng (rice noodles, meat in broth, lettuce, and thinly sliced banana flower).    

The dragon bridge is a few moments' walk from our hotel and is a grand spectacle. The bridge itself and the surrounding areas illuminate at night and the bridge itself even breathes fire! I can't wait to continue this journey and see what else Da Nang has in store for my peers and me.

Kate Kennedy

Event Management Major | Law and Business Minor

Class of 2020

President  Campus Activities Board

President Blue Key Admission Ambassador   

Photos courtesy of Kate Kennedy  


Kendall Allerton

My name is Kendall Allerton and I am an International Fashion Business and History major, and a senior at Lasell University. Da Nang is a city with a rich history that used to be a part of a region of Vietnam called the Champa Kingdom. The Da Nang Museum of Cham Sculpture is filled with sculptural artifacts from different places in the Champa Kingdom dating back as early as the fourth century.In the museum I was interested to see that the Cham people expressed their culture through sculpture, for example religious deities and significant animal motifs like the elephant or the dragon.   

As a history major, I found the collection particularly impressive because of the many intact artifacts. There is a lot of information about the excavation processes and where and when the sculptures were found. The museum was founded in 1915, but many of the artifacts were found about 20 years before then by French archeologists. Over the years, the museum has seen many extensions and renovations to be like it is today. With hundreds of sculptures to look at and learn about you can really get lost in the history of the Cham people.   

The collection is very impressive and includes a Buddha sculpture that caught my attention, because it is the largest Cham sculpture that has ever been found. I liked this sculpture because of its size and because it gives a realistic impression of what a temple would look like in the Champa kingdom.    Da Nang still reflects many of the symbols that I found in the Cham museum in the modern architecture today. Like the dragon bridge, which is one of the many spectacles of the city and is used every day by locals and tourist. This motif, the dragon, represents imperial power and ties back to the Cham people and their beliefs.