Sunday, July 7, 2013

Campus Tour

July 7, 2013
TDT campus is very modern with up-to-date physical facilities and electronics -- although wireless fluctuates from building to building and time of day.  TDT is located in District 7 of HCMC which is one of the newest, most modern and expensive areas of the city -- lots of foreigners.  More on the area immediately around the campus later.  We've arrived during the break between semesters and during the administration of the National Exams for university entrance.  Many students have gone home to see their families.  There are three main buildings -- two are for classrooms, labs (both science and simulation -- an example is a lab designed to function like a bank) and faculty offices.  The administration building houses 3 libraries -- a reading room, book library and electronic library, large auditorium and administrators' offices.  The entire campus is designed to represent an industrial gear and is full of sculpture and art -- note the photo of the stack-of-books sculpture.  There are water fountains, beautiful gardens and landscaping.  There are two canteens on campus that provide food and drinks at a reasonable cost as well as two stores that sell basic student supplies, clothing and some food.  The canteens and shops are privately owned and operated with a system to both control prices and generate some income for the University.  There are two large dormitories where we have a main floor single apartment that is very comfortable.  Lucky for us much of the campus is air conditioned.  Leanna has become a devotee of hand fans, handkerchiefs and umbrellas.  There are lots of locations outside for students to relax and study -- yard swings, breezeways with tables and chairs and  benches -- all of which are used.  There is also a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball and basketball courts and outside exercise machines.  The entire campus is amazingly clean and well-kept with no trash, no graffiti.  There is an extensive system (which appears to be centered around the Youth Union) of student volunteers for a large number and broad range of campus-related tasks. There two large parking areas for student motorbikes that hold hundreds or perhaps a thousand bikes each.  Most of the motorcycles are small hondas and yamahas.  Many are step through fashion, what we usually call motor scooter style, that are easy to ride.  Helmets are the law and we haven't seen but a few people without them and usually not out on public streets.

To-date the students have been a great experience -- very interested to learn our opinions about USA and Vietnam, highly motivated to practice English, and very open telling us about their families, college work and career hopes.  Several of them are available to assist us in everything from learning where to shop off-campus to how to use the dorm washing machine to riding the bus.  We'll share impressions from a recent outting with the students to September 23 Park (Saigon Liberation Day!) in another post.

Vietnam and its people are as beautiful and inspiring as friends told us!

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