So we are all back home and now fully immersed in the routine of daily life.
As part of the trip the students had to keep a diary and then write a reflection (for assessment) paper on their thoughts triggered by their experiences. It is always interesting to read these papers and be privy to the thoughts and feelings of somebody who you have just shared a wide range of experiences. As an assignment I wonder what we would do if somebody failed it – would we ever have the situation where we had to ask a student to do a supplementary piece of assessment. Would it be something like you must cross this busy road against the 9million motor scooters and then bargain with the shopkeeper for a special price – maybe a bit to hard😊
In reading these reflection papers several things strike you, firstly how different and personal is the tour for each person, secondly how many of the same things touch a cord for people, thirdly how wonderful travel is for taking you outside your comfort zone (physically, mentally, emotionally) and allowing you to learn about the world and yourself, then just how important are something’s that are impossible to communicate their importance before hand and finally just how important is fun in exploring and learning.
Overwhelmingly the ladies viewed the trip as a success. A success in many ways. It was fun, it was educational, it was confirmation that they had made a wise choice, they learnt about themselves, others and of course they experienced Vietnam – it really is an amazing country at many levels.
Things that touched them (in no particular order or importance) – the people, the shopping, the food, crossing the road, the Vietnamese students, it was different to what they expected, the concept of personal space, the war, the traffic (especially from the back of a motor scooter) the resilience of both the people and the place, shopping ( and service), different places (Halong Bay for example), how luck we are, how dissatisfied we are – the list goes on…..
One of the things that was mention and reflected on by each was the time spent with the UEH students doing the micro research projects, This was seen as a highlight of the trip. A fact they found interesting give pre-departure this was viewed as the ‘boring work element’. I look forward to trying to convince next year’s group it will be fun.
I fact I look forward to next year’s trip – these tours have offered so much and have been transformational for so many and yes that a good fun ( mostly 😂😂😂)
So some quotes from the ladies to help sell it next year
“This study tour will become one of the unforgettable memories during my student life.”
“Before travelling to Vietnam my thoughts and feelings about the country where very narrow-minded. After returning home I have realized that Vietnam is a lot more than people think in their minds and Australia and Vietnam are similar in many ways. This trip has been a big eye opener on what I have in Australia and the privileged life that we all lead.”
“Going on the study tour is something that is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a wonderful way to end your university life. I got to do, see and experience things that one hopes to when they travel but don’t know how too. The amazing itinerary and although jam packed and tiring at times served us with an array of activities that will stay with me forever. This trip has allowed me to appreciate a country that many don’t think of immediately when they travel, whereas I know for a fact that I will be returning to whether it is for another vacation or to work”
“This will be something I will remember for the rest of my life so thank you and I hope you continue on with this great adventure so students in the future are able to have the same opportunities as we have.”
“This is something I do not think I would ever have had the opportunity to do on other tours or travelling by myself.”
Hopefully we can convince others that these tours are a worth while effort (thanks Tim from the ladies and me) and next year we can take another group on their own amazing experience.
As for the happy Buddha – I think it is time to grab a blue stool, a couple of Hanoi bitters and a plate of fresh spring rolls and wander down to check on the water buffalo.
Oh….. Thanks to those many people (far more than I ever thought possible – just short of 1500 views) in 6 countries who followed our little adventure – I enjoyed having a go at the blog