Program: CIEE Study Center at Vietnam National University
Where: Hanoi, Vietnam
When: Spring 2006
Favorite Course: Vietnamese Language
Highlight: Meeting the kids who were affected by Agent Orange at the Peace Village in Ho Chi Minh City
Favorite Dish: Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepes)
Next Destination: Vietnam again…I love it!!!
How do you see this experience affecting your future?
This experience has really affected my future. Prior to Vietnam I didn’t have single thought of living in Vietnam. Now, after I graduate from college, I want to volunteer there, teaching English or working with street children for a couple of years. I have made footprints in Vietnam. I consider it my home now. It is a place where I found new friendship and love. A place where I can reconnect with my roots and be Vietnamese. A place that enables me to critique myself and make amend. I love Vietnam. It is my culture, identity, and root.
Describe your most memorable experience while abroad.
One of my most memorable experiences while studying abroad in Vietnam was volunteering at the Peace Village in Ho Chi Minh City. The Peace Village provides services to children who are affected by Agent Orange (a toxic chemical that caused birth defects). During the American War (Vietnam War), the United States sprayed more than 18 million gallon of Agent Orange on Vietnamese soil. I saw children with missing arms, hands, legs, and fingers. I felt so sad and realized how privileged I am. I also saw that they were fighting - fighting for that slim chance that they could have a better future.