Vietnam Team Journal

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last Day

Mixed emotions always accompany the final day of any extended experience.  Was it what we expected? Did we need our host’s expectations?  What can we take away from all this and what is best forgotten? In any case, our last day began with a rare brightness from the sun shining through clear skies, an uplifting omen perhaps.

The teams set out for either the Foreign Trade University or NBK school this morning wondering about such things while looking forward to the next leg of their journeys whether they are on to further touring or jut heading home.

Joe, Mary and Sim  began the morning with their usual classroom assignments but prepared for an interesting afternoon judging an English contest for the primary grade students.  Pam was expected to participate as a judge but previous commitments at the University precluded her attendcance.

Following morning classes, we met Mr. Quy and Sophia, the new Chinese language teacher, for coffee across the street from the school, then waited in the teacher’s lounge for the contest to begin. Soon Mr. Quy appeared and led us to the auditorium at the rear of the main building.  There the 300 or so primary school students were assembled.  An audio system amplified noise and music.  Soon, the NBK team plus Sophia were anointed judges and seated on one side of the room while Mr. Qua and his wife, Mr. Quy and others sat at a table across the room from us.  The contest began with students making individual presentations in English.  That was followed by a talent contest involving skits, poetry, recitals, etc.  Your team rose to the occasion assessing the performances with critical but merciful, even generous, eyes and ears.  The winners were chosen and rewarded.  We were thanked and honored for our services and sent on our way with expressions of gratitude which were sincerely reciprocated. We returned to the hotel by taxi anticipating dinner and music with the full team, together one last time.

- Sam

Thursday, November 24, 2011

American Thanksgiving in Vietnam

Following breakfast at the hotel, team NBK,  minus Mary, who had caught a cold,  left for school accompanied by Pam.  The exciting forty-minute taxi ride brought us to the gates of NBK where Joe marched off to face the elementary school denizens and Sim took on the high schoolers.  Pam, meanwhile, conducted a fruitless search for Mr. Quy after which she found an exotic café for our lunch.  The exotic aspect involved the removal of shoes to enter, sitting on the floor and waiting for order-out servings of pho which, we discovered, could not be eaten with chopsticks from ground level.  WE were then permitted to go back outdoors and dine at a sidewalk table.  Our – or at least my – curiosity about pho satisfied and having been granted the afternoon off by NBK. We returned to the hotel.

Joe went to see about Mary, while I, assisted by Pam and a young man employed at the hotel, purchased a new cell phone at a nearby store.  The remainder of the afternoon was spent getting the wifi modem in my room fixed, arranging for laundry service and taking a walk around the lake.  I heard later, make that overheard, that during the day, Ingrid had visited ‘Uncle Ho’s’ mausoleum and home and that Ali went to the ‘Women’s Museum’.  The event of the day was the team’s Thanksgiving Dinner provided by the hotel and served up with great pride and a certain amount of pomp by the chef.  The team members to a person were grateful and appreciative of both the food and consideration that went into providing this recognition of a favorite holiday.   From all reports, everyone enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

- Sam

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday was our first day of class.  Five of us went to FTU and arrived early, before our hosts were available to greet us.  We connected after about 15 minutes and were lead to our assignments.  I was scheduled to have the day off, but wanted to get the lay of the land, so joined Margaret for the first session with about 30 freshmen.  Our teacher indicated the subject was advertising and, after our introductions, we went through an assignment of different advertising methods which was interactive and allowed almost all students to participate.  The teacher was helpful in focusing us and the students and we were able to engage the class for the entire period.  The students were quite attentive. 

We rejoined our  colleagues, Ingrid, Ali & Roger for a nice Vietnamese lunch in the  teacher’s lounge and got tips from Ali & Roger on teaching techniques.  Margaret started the second period with one of those techniques encouraging student questions on our personal photos.  Margaret, Ingrid & I reviewed with the students their short opinion essay assignment, allowing direct feedback to each student.  The exercise revealed smart kids able to express themselves well in written English, with minor grammatical issues.  Their verbal skills were not as strong, but we had a decent conversation on opinion issues which related to their next assignment.  The day was viewed as a successful start by all five of us and we look forward to the next two weeks.  The group convened at 6:15pm feedback session and we went out to dinner after that.

- Bud

Friday, April 29, 2011

Volunteer Team Arrives on Reunification Day

Our final spring team of Global Volunteers will begin their service program on Saturday, April 30th, Reunification Day in Vietnam. This day often serves as a time of celebration and/or reflection for Vietnamese worldwide, as they remember this date in 1975.

We wish our volunteers a wonderful volunteer experience and we know they will make the most of experiencing this historical and cultural moment first-hand.

If you might consider joining Global Volunteers in Vietnam later this year, please don't hesitate to contact us today!

Remaining 2011 Service Program Dates:
September 24 - October 8
November 19 - December 3

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Taste of Teaching in Vietnam

With a full team of volunteers on their way back from Vietnam this week, we thought we would share with you a little insight into what the teaching experience likely looked & felt like for those serving in Hanoi! Please use the link below to access a YouTube video created to highlight the volunteer teaching opportunity available in Vietnam with Global Volunteers!!

YouTube Video:

Also, stay tuned to this blog in the days & weeks to come as we post team journal entries, team photos and volunteer reflections from our most recent (March 2011) Vietnam volunteer team!

Thank you to all volunteers for your time and energies, and thank you to volunteer team leader, Warren, for leading the way!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Memorable Moments & Personal Insights

At Global Volunteers, we strive to provide a unique, and high quality service experience for all of our volunteers. Important aspects of this experience include a refined orientation program at the outset and an evaluation and reflection opportunity at the end of your service program. Some folks are so enthused and inspired at the end of their programs that they share their experiences with anyone that will listen, and encourage us to do the same using social media, their local media outlets, and the like.

Please read and enjoy some of the memorable moments and personal insights of a few of our most recent team members in Vietnam!!

"My most memorable event was in our 8th grade class. We were asking the students about their favorite music/single when a girl ran up to the front of the room and said to me - 'I love Justin Bieber because he sings good and he is young like me.' I said - 'And , he just won a big award, didn't he?' She turned to the class, raised her thumbs and said - 'YES!' These kids appear to have no hang-ups around race or ethnicity - they are exposed to the world and they just like what they like!!" ~ Volunteer Karen

"I realized here that people are the same everywhere. A simple act of giving can impact just one, or many. On this program I enjoyed reconnecting with some school staff at the school, being treated to dinner by one of the hotel staff, and the good conversation with fellow volunteers, school staff and local people." ~ Volunteer Roger

If you would like to join us in Vietnam in 2011 or 2012, please don't hesitate to contact us today!! You can also learn more about Vietnam service program dates by visiting the following link:

We look forward to welcoming you to Hanoi!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meet Vietnam's March Team Leader... Warren!

Have you been considering a service program in Vietnam in 2011? If so, know that wonderful team leaders "captain" each of our volunteer teams in Hanoi and will help ensure your volunteer experience is a good one.

In March 2011, Team Leader Warren will guide our volunteers through their experience. And, believe us - they are in good hands! Warren has been leading teams with Global Volunteers for over 15 years and has led nearly 60 volunteer teams!!

Here is a bit more information about Global Volunteers' team leaders: All our team leaders are trained and experienced in managing diverse groups of people, and have served on several volunteer teams. They are also required to complete our intensive two-week team leader training sessions (in December) in Minnesota.

Further, Global Volunteers team leaders are evaluated by the volunteers on each program, and must achieve an established level of performance in order to continue leading Global Volunteers teams. This ensures a quality experience for everyone involved.

Please consider joining us in Vietnam this year, where you'll have the pleasure of serving with Warren OR one of his esteemed team leader colleagues!!

For details, call (800) 487 - 1074 or visit TODAY!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Volunteer in Vietnam in 2011!!




Karen was one of many volunteers that joined Global Volunteers in Vietnam in 2010. Won't you consider joining us this year? You can be the difference!! For details, call 800.487.1074 or visit TODAY!