Adventures in Vietnam
When I think back to when I first arrived here at my placement, I can already see how much I’ve grown.
Teaching has been such a rewarding job! I teach grades one to five and each grade is so different. I mainly teach grade ones, and I’ve come to love them! We play games and even when they’re learning the ‘boring stuff’ we still manage to have a good time. Every day I come out of my classes feeling uplifted and accomplished.
As well as my school classes, I also teach two after school classes a week, which are fun and easy. All I have to do is speak with them in English and help them with pronunciation. I’m teaching them without them even realizing it! I love seeing their brains tick over as they try to find the right word or sentence to use, it’s so much fun and quite effortless.
On Wednesdays I teach a group of students aged around 11-12 and on Mondays I teach four students aged around 5-6. In my younger class we gained a new student; she’s five and new to learning English. Because she is new to learning English I was lucky enough to be asked to give her an English name. I named her Sky and it felt like I just named my new born baby! I felt very honored, especially now seeing the name being used for her by everyone.
Three days a week after school, Laura and I have taken up learning Kung Fu with the kids in the school yard. It’s so much fun and I have learnt so much. We love mingling with the kids and the idea of them teaching us for a change is great.
We also had our week off recently which we spent travelling all the way to Halong Bay, way in the North, by train. We learnt the hard way how far Halong Bay really is from Vung Tau, and how exhausting it can be to be stuck on a train, in a chair, for two whole nights! However we have no regrets. We got to travel up in the mountains which you can only see by train and the scenery was just breathtaking. We also got to get a glimpse of lots of different parts of Vietnam; the farming communities, the poor communities, the deserted communities, you name it, we passed through all of them.
In Halong Bay we caught up with our volunteer friends who are teaching there, and we also went on a three day boat tour around the whole bay, including staying a night on Cat Ba island. Here we endured a hike up one of its mountains and toured and swam at its beautiful surrounding beaches.
This short trip was such a learning experience for me and Laura. We came out of it feeling much more relaxed and confident. We also gained a deeper trust within ourselves to do anything we put our minds to. We now find it a walk in the park to plan transport and accommodation. We learnt not to depend on anything going the way it is planned here in Vietnam. The Vietnamese do everything on a ‘whim’ and sorting it out last minute is the way to go!
Also as our boat trip did not quite pan out as we originally planned, we learnt to just go with the flow and enjoy the moment wherever the Vietnamese tour guides decided to put us. They have a knack for keeping you on your toes! For example when they say 30 minute hike on “the flats”, they really mean climbing a massive rocky mountain, with a dangerous edge and no barriers. They took great care of us though; we were in safe hands!
This element of the unknown just added to our experience, it was the cherry on top of the choccy ice cream :)