The Vietnam experiences continue to inspire us as we learn more and more about the Vietnamese higher education system and make more friends.
We couldn't resist sharing two more photos from the annual TDT team-building trip...one of Hollis playing beach volleyball and one of the fishing boats that anchored and motored out to sea daily (note the smaller round boats which were used to get to/from the beach). We can vouch that these are talented fishermen since it was their fresh catch of octopus and crabs that we enjoyed late one night.
Last Sunday we had a little party in our dorm apartment to share all the trip snacks and treats with some of the "volunteer students" who have been so helpful with visiting museums, translating, and orienting us to Vietnam. The students were foreign language and labor relations majors and EVERYONE enjoyed the dragon fruit (red and white), candy from Hue, "big ears" cookies, dried fish, DELICIOUS salty/sweet dried bananas, milk and chocolate candies -- we all ate good! Each and every region seems to have special food, so we are in for some on-going thrills when we travel beyond HCMC. While munching we really enjoyed getting to know each of the students better and learning more about differences between college and university studies here in Vietnam, progressing from high school to higher education, etc.
The following day we were invited to observe the Labor Relations Department B.A. students present and defend their THESES! The top 7 students in the department were invited to write a thesis and use this process rather than take a final exam in order to receive their B.A. degree. The Committee hearing and evaluating each thesis included 3 faculty including the Dean of the Department, a VGCL (the Vietnamese National Labor Federation) leader and a Human resources manager from one of the State Owned Enterprises. After a rigorous afternoon of PowerPoint presentations and then responding to serious questions from the Committee, the students left the room while the Committee deliberated. The students were called back into the room, given their scores and then congratulated -- all of them passed. We were very impressed with the topics for the theses and have been able to meet with some of the students to learn more about their research. You can see that the students traditionally wear the ao dai for such important occasions as do many of the faculty and various leaders. The students at TDT have a beautiful pink fabric they use which includes a printed pattern of the University name TDT. Many of the Labor Relations majors tell us they are interested in working in the labor movement here and are quite inspiring with their interests and motivations. And remember that TDT was founded by the VGCL and continues with its active support and participation --- what a difference of the role of the labor movement in society.