Teaching leadership, career management and English to a group of incredibly talented and enthusiastic students has been the highlight to my trip to Vietnam so far. These college students are based in the remote town of Sapa for their final internship before they graduate from college. English, leadership and a ‘out of the box’ perspective are the only things between them and their dream job. A job that they have been working towards for two generations. Most come from incredibly hardworking families from rural Vietnam and in most cases the generation before did not have the opportunity to complete college education. The future is bright and the work ethics are second to none!
It was an honor and very moving experience to spend the last 10 days with them as their teacher, mentor and friend. These memories will stay with me forever. I was accepted into the culture and was treated like family. The farewell night had a home cooked hot-pot dinner. I got to see the town and adjoining areas with my Vietnamese students – that experience beats any tour any day.
My lessons were structured to enhance English but more importantly to provide a perspective that enables the students to think out-side the box. To see beyond the immediate limitations. To connect with their passion. To think clearly about their careers and plan their path. We dedicated a session to “what is your passion” and the responses such as “my passion is to build a house for my parents” inspired and moved me!
To experience something similar, my only recommendation is to find a way to contribute to the local community in your next trip and you will leave with memories that will last a lifetime ! You can either create your own opportunity or find structured volunteer experiences at http://www.workaway.info
When I am not teaching, I have been working non-stop on the Experience Your Life project but the only difference is that the workplace was places like this!