I have been visiting as many classes on campus as I can to spread the word about this program, and I can see it in the students' eyes when I say it will cost $2500+, because I know what its like to be living on the edge, paycheck to paycheck.
I try to make clear to everyone that this program is a great opportunity that can cause amazing positive change in one's life.
I have traveled quite a bit since becoming full time faculty. I have taken advantage of the funding available to faculty for travel to China, Mexico and various cities in the US, and have found that not only have I learned about the region visited, but that my own understanding of where I live has been transformed by the exposure to new ideas, new ways of relating to a community, new ways of viewing my role in my society, and new concepts of how a culture can operate.
That's the first benefit, but in addition, for this trip to Vietnam participants have the opportunity to experience providing a humanitarian service for Vietnamese people. We will be working one-on-one with Vietnamese college students in vocational programs for training in the tourism industry. To be employed as tour guides and in hotels, they need to be fluent in English. As native English language speakers, we can help them with pronunciation, vocabulary, sentence structure, and understanding English idioms. We will be helping them improve their employability and consequently their quality of life.
So the benefit for pariticipants it twofold: Imagine being an employer looking at stacks of resumes, job applications for a job opening and seeing one that has all the same qualifications as all the rest, but in addiition, shows that the applicant has traveled abroad, to Vietnam. Not only traveled there to experience the culture, but has provided a service to Vietnamese citizens as part of a college Study Abroad/Service Learning program that was paid out of the participants' own pocket and not a free trip. I believe that any employer would understand that this represents a lot of positive qualities about the applicant.
It represents experience interacting with, and understanding a foriegn culture. It represents experience dealing with unexpected situations where patience and flelxibility are necessary. It represents experience providing a service to an underserved constituent.
I believe these are qualities and experiences that are valuable in most occupations.