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Reflections on Living and Teaching in Vietnam

Laura Hall, Vietnam vol at Tra Vinh University reflects on her first couple of months in Vietnam.

Coming to Vietnam I had no idea what to expect, South East Asia was a mystery to me. A limited amount of “Googling” concerning my city, Tra Vinh, was done, but as I had learned from previous experience, even the long tourist-tentacles of Google leave much to be desired when it comes to the actual life and people I would come to meet once I arrived.

When I did arrive, the first thing I couldn’t help but notice was the excitement, generosity, and just plain-old happiness of the people.

Every single person I walked by on the street would give me a huge smile and say “Hello!” I have done my fair share of traveling, but NEVER have I met such open and jocular (a word my students taught me) everyday people.

As for my students, I couldn’t have asked for more eager individuals. Teaching worried me, but once classes began I realized I would never dread waking up (even for class at seven in the morning) to teach these kids. Each and every one of them seems to genuinely want to learn English, which is all a teacher could ever ask for.

I find myself wondering every day how I can please them; “What can I do in order to make them feel they have learned something?” They give me more motivation than I could have dreamed of expecting.

Laura Hall