Friday, November 8, 2013

2014 Trip

Enrollment is going on now for the May, 2014 Bridging the Gap program in Vietnam. A maximum of 12 students will travel to Hoi An, Vietnam for 2 weeks to learn about the art and culture of southeast Asia, but also to tutor Vietnamese college students in English. Last June's trip was a fabulous success. Our group of 10 had an amazing time spending one week in Hoi An and one week in Tam Ky. We worked with groups of students at two colleges in the two towns giving them the opportunity to practice speaking English.
Having led many study abroad programs to Mexico and China for the purpose of studying the ceramics in each country I have to say that this program was the most rewarding for all participants as we were given special insight into the present culture of Vietnam and to make close friends with the students and their families.
This time we will travel a little earlier than before with the hope it will be a little cooler than it was in late June. We will travel May 16-June 1, 2014, with an optional extra excursion to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We will fly from Phoenix to Hanoi, Vietnam, spend a day and a half touring museums and other sights before hopping down to Da Nang, from which we will drive to Hoi An, about 20 minutes south along the coast. We will stay at the same hotel that we stayed in last June, as it was very comfortable, centrally located, and with very good service.
We will work with students at the Quang Nam Vocational College who are in vocational programs in tourism industry jobs. I decided that we should stay in Hoi An for the full two weeks this time so we can provide even more assistance to the students with their English but we will also be able to take advantage of more of the sights of interest in and around Hoi An.
The Vietnam students were so friendly and appreciative of our coming to help them, we were continually amazed by the lengths they went to to make us feel welcome and special. The photo above is from the welcome ceremony held at the college on our first day. These young girls danced, faculty members sang traditional songs, the director of the school gave a welcoming speech, then we went outside to play folk games as a "break the ice" activity. 
This photo is from the closing ceremony at the end of our first week working with the students of Quang Nam vocational college. This time our group got on stage and sang and danced, then invited all the school students onstage to join us in dancing. It was emotional and poignant to say good bye.

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