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Stories from Vietnam

Stories from Vietnam

Some thoughts after the internship at Viet – Hung Industrial University (VIU), Vietnam


An internship with IAESTE at Viet-Hung Industrial University (VIU), Vietnam provides the opportunity to develop an immense variety of aspects in the life and character of a young woman or man from any part of the world. Because it is impossible to summarize all these aspects within a few lines, this text highlights only a selection which seems most important to me, a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student from Switzerland. Western universities are world leading in teaching theoretical know-how. What tends to be neglected in the system are aspects of character building. One aspect is the ability to listen and to observe. Another one is the importance of an environment of mutual respect and trust. A third one is being adaptive while still speaking up for its own values and viewpoints.

A strong support for each other combined with a great will to help makes the Vietnamese people unique. I’m convinced these skills are not only important in Vietnam, but in the work and private life of every world citizen. Hereby I don’t question the western education system, but I do believe that it contains only a part of a persons’ education. Other sides, as mentioned above are in the personal responsibility of each young individual. I’m convinced an internship at Viet – Hung Industrial University provides a great opportunity for that development.

The atmosphere and surroundings during the internship are packed with great fun and explorations on countryside to explore the ancient culture of Vietnam. The tasty rice wine combined with the social behaviour makes sure you’ll never forget that experience.

Just do it!

By Marco Stillhard, at VIU Xuan Khanh in July-August 2015


Experiences in Vietnam and at Viet-Hung Industrial University

When I arrived in Vietnam, I did so without any preparations. The dean of the faculty (Mr. Son) and the head of English department (Ms. Hai) both picked me up from the airport. They welcomed me with a friendliness and humor I haven’t experienced before. Mr. Son invited me for dinner to his home on my first day.

During the first week I went on a marketing trip around the nearby provinces to advertise Viet-Hung Industrial University and acquire new students. On that trip I made real friends in the voluntary group. Although we worked hard and the weather was very hot we had great fun together.

After the trip, I started with my first English classes at Viet-Hung. They were both freshmen and in the beginning very shy. After some days we were able to break the ice. The students started to talk more, which was one of my biggest goals: To improve their pronunciation. Often the students knew the words, however they were having troubles with the pronunciation. Therefore, it required a lot of concentration, but also humour and creativity to get the message across.

Compared to Switzerland, I believe that teaching in Vietnam is more challenging. A reason for this is the size of the class.

The class size at Viet-Hung were about double the size of English classes in Switzerland. Another big challenge was the knowledge gap within the classes. There were some excellent students, which occasionally got bored because the teaching was too slow. But there were also some slower students which had a hard time to follow the content. Regarding this topic, the teacher must react to a though trade-off. A possible way to address this challenge would be to gather the stronger parts and the weaker parts of two classes together. However, this is easier said than done because the value of helping each other is very founded in the Vietnamese culture and this action would violate said value.

The other college class I taught were already in their third year. I saw a big difference between them and the freshmen I taught earlier. The whole class was very motivated and focused. Also their English level was already more advanced, so they could easily understand the instructions and flow of lesson.

In addition to the work as an English teacher for university students I held English classes for the children of fellow teachers. I agreed to do this to show my gratitude to the great support I got from all my colleagues. This was a great change and allowed to teach with a lot of action, songs and games, which was super fun!

At this point I’d like to state a heartfelt thanks to Ms. Hai and Mr. Son for the great support they have provided. My thanks also go to the leaders of the university and their staff for making my stay at Viet-Hung possible. For me, July and August were doubtless the highlight of the year 2015. I’ll spare no expenses to come back for a visit as soon as possible.

All the Best to everyone of my Vietnamese friends

By Marco Stillhard, at VIU Xuan Khanh in July-August 2015

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