During my time here in Vietnam, I’ve made many great memories with my friends, teachers, and our tour guide Giang. I’ve learnt how to say hello, yes, no, goodbye, thank you, and one, two, three in Vietnamese. I’ve learnt how to cook many different Vienamese dishes that I can’t wait to go home and show my family. I’ve met a Viet Cong soldier who’s advice is “to live life with love, and that war is nothing and stupid”. In just under 2 weeks I’ve been from the top of this beautiful country to the bottom, making many amazing memories along the way.
The most eye-opening and unforgettable experience of this trip has been today, our last full day in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City. This was the day we visited the Thien Phuoc Center for Disabled Children. While this experience was confronting, and many of us left in tears, it is something I will never forget.
After leaving the centre, waving goodbye to the smiling children, many of us were still upset and still attempting to properly cope with our experience. It was then that our teacher explained to us that we need to take that emotion and create positive change from it by planning and thinking of ideas as to how we can better the lives of the children at the centre. At the end of the night, we gathered in a group to receive a briefing for our next and final day in Vietnam. At the conclusion of the breifing our guide, Giang, took some time to say a few words to us. He talked about how today seeing us all at the centre playing with the children, he saw past our predetermined nationalities. We were no longer “Aussies” or “Vietnamese” we were simply human beings. Despite our cultural differences, when it comes down to it, we are all at heart the same. These are words that will stick with me forever, and words that I believe everyone should live by. We all need to look past skin deep differences and focus on our core similarities as human beings, and this trip and this experience has been a fundamental point of this realisation for me.
This trip has been absolutelyastounding and I would readily recommend both Vietnam School Tours and Vietnam as a wonderful way and place to travel. A special shout out must be given to our tour guide Giang, who welcomed us like family, brothers and sisters, and his wealth of knowledge and kind, light spirited attitude to the entire trip. We have truly made a friend for life, and we all hope to keep in contact with our wonderful tour guide and brother.
Ben Hope. Travelled to Vietnam in September 2016