What happens on tour does not stay on tour

I have just been handed a valuable lesson in communication. Particularly the power of social media.

On the first day of the tour we visited the historic Post office. One of the features is a painting – a map of Vietnam displaying the telegraph links.

Both the building and the telegraph network are impressive feats of engineering. Monuments to the importance of communications.

Yesterday the students taught a group of local children some basics of AFL. I blog it, Tim not only blogged the story but posted it on Twitter – one tweet thanking GWS for the wonderful support they have offered the tour.

His tweets have been picked up and retweeted increasing the readership of his original message multiple times.

The afternoon saw graduation – our Dean Clive Smallman post on Yammer

While Clive was busy posting, old Buddha was taking to the Vice Chancellor ( yes blatant name dropping πŸ˜‰) about the tour – the VC explaining why he is such a fan of a Yammer as a social media site – he suggested a story on Yammer telling the UWS community about the student’s tour.
Well Clive’s story has been like and commented on and the mentioned by others .

Photos of the Chancellor & Vice Chancellor with the students featured on a huge photo wall at the Alumni gala dinner- these re photoed

While all this is happening Patty sent an email to all hospitality student advising of the blogs and suggesting they might like to follow the tour.

Hopefully this will create a bit of interest for next year – and importantly extend the tour experiences to others unable to make the tour.

So first hand I have watched social media in action, tweets from the middle of a football field re tweeted, conversations on Yammer across UWS mentioning the student’s experiences, blogging the tour – not just as a means to document the tour but an actual sharing the of the experience.

All a bit much for an old Buddha – if only I can find a stamp I will go and post that postcard I have been writing.



experience AFL Vietnam style

Our challenge today to the students, especially those sport students – teach a group of local U13 the game AFL.

How did they go – see for yourself on the video. Here



I love graduation – it marks the end of all those hard years of study, it allows families to celebrate a major milestone and importantly it allows you to catch up with your former students.

Being part of the joint UWS UEH graduation was fantastic. Interesting from an event management perspective it has been fun sitting on the sidelines as the UWS a graduations team planned the afternoon remotely, watching the pre event nerves and then being part of the ceremony. I hope the students shared a little of my excitement.



The robing room


The ceremony went of flawlessly. The Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold, the Vice Chancellor Professor Barney Glover, The Dean Professor Clive Smallman all in fine form. The address given by John McAnuity – Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, was eloquent focusing on building international relationships through education and the importance of education and hard work in the lives of the graduates.

It was the summing up by the Chancellor that started me thinking – he stressed the importance of study tours for students. Hmmm wonder if he could spare a couple of minutes for our students.

“yes, of course I would love to” was the response.
It was the next part of the response that floored me a bit – I will get the others as well. So the students have now met the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, the Consul General, the Dean and even Yi-Chen joined in.
Maybe it is not surprising at all – UWS recognises the importance of these study tours and what it can mean to students. These tours can be life changing – why should I be surprised by the Chancellor.


The three brooms town of somewhere land

This is all we were given…. And told to be there at 4pm.


When the cab pulled from the outside it does not stand out. Drab in contrast to the brightly lit operations either side.


Then the detail starts to emerge. Fantastic detail.


Finally the name jumps out.


Walking past a pair of gargoyles you enter a fantasyland- it looks like you have landed on the set of a Harry Potter movie.

This place is straight from the pages of the experience economy – you are transported to a town in somewhereland. Familiar, hmm maybe but not quite. A world apart, a step away. A places within a place. Each similar but different. Play area for children, private rooms, a movie theatre, a veranda bar, secret nooks all tied together by the theme. This is a place that will be an example in service and experience for years to come.
Impressive yes – Tim photographed seemingly every inch and had these spliced together using the iPad and iMovies within 1/2 an hour.

So what did this magical somewhereland look like? Here is a montage to whet the appetite.




This is a story to develop and delve into more deeply adding a sense of analysis. But it is lateπŸ’€

Here is a link to a local online English magazine.

Three Brooms



Up early, it is UEH day – this is the work part of the tour (at least that is how it looks to the students in the itinerary).

So it’s out to the University of Economics HCM, formal speeches (a welcome by Quan Tran the Dean of the International School of Business), students from UEH provided a presentation and overview of life at UEH.
the students as small groups have to present on life in Australia and then finally lunch.

It looks a little like this watch video here


With the micro research projects planned & approved it is time to release the students on an unsuspecting HCM.

I look forward to the adventure stories this afternoon. 😊

Workplace safety issue

For the OLD Buddha this is a work trip ( yes, yes it is fun…..) alarmingly a serious workplace safety issue has arisen placing me at apparent life threatening risk.


I think this needs referral to the boss

City tour

The plan this morning was simple – take one bus, the students & and a city then combine. As a means of orientation what could be simpler than a city tour. A Cathedral, a Post Office ( both French) , a presidential palace, the War Museum (confronting) and then the markets.

This short trailer gives you the idea watch video here


Left to their own devices at the markets while Dr Timmy and the Old Buddha pursued important scholarly pursuits the students turned to something called shopping. Successfully apparently.

The newspaper here reports retail spending is UP!!!!!

And speaking of up this is what the city looks like from the Saigon Skydeck. of the Bitexco Financial Tower some 262 meters above the city.

The building is amazing. I remember the first time I viewed it two years ago. It rises out of the city, a modernist spire, symbolic of the progress of Vietnam but linked symbolically via its lotus flower shape to the the past.

200000 VDN and a 49 storey lift ride and you can stand on the sky platform observation deck ( a little higher than the one on stood on as a child – the AMP building at Circular Quay 102m was once the latest building in the Southern Hemisphere). The view is spectacular- particularly the transition from day to night – the pulsating city stretches to the horizon with the chaos of the traffic clearly visible. First a quick lesson on the building

The upstairs past the restaurant to the cafe/bar (remember gentle reader that this is a hospitality study tour πŸ˜‡). As Dr Timmy rightly noted “it is an experience – the vastly inflated price of a drink (less than $10A) easily justified by the view.

Then it is back down stairs, into cabs (more experience), a quick tour of the Sheraton Hotel and then to dinner.

The best part of the day for me – hard to pick but the old foodie in me loves the food of the market.


And as for experiences Dr Timmy – exam question three – summer school
“Discuss the authenticity of the experience pictured below. In your answer address the role the Servicescape plays in this?”

our favourite wet bar 😎