Monash Students Education Internship in Vietnam
“The real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeing new landscape, but in having new perspective” – this can perfectly describes the journey of six amazing students from Monash University, Australia to Vietnam for a three-week teaching internship. Living and working in a new city thousands of miles away from home is exciting but never easy, however, with the help of their on-site support team SE Vietnam, the students headed into the journey and came out with valuable lessons and friendship.
In January 6th 2018, a group of 6 students majoring in primary and secondary education from Monash University, Australia headed Overseas for their Education Internship in Vietnam. The experience was constructed to give the students exposure to the Vietnam’s education system in both the public and private school sectors as well as to provide chances for academic and cultural exchange with local teachers and students.
Before the program started, the students participated in an Orientation where they were given guidance and tips of how to survive in Vietnam, codes of conduct at the workplace and of the program. The students got to know each other and their local buddies better through ice-breaking games. They also enjoyed a glimpse into the Vietnamese language by learning basic phrases and useful skills such as bargaining to help them emerge in the local setting.
The students joining the Orientation hosted by SE Vietnam
One of the more unique parts about the students’ internship in Vietnam was that, besides the working hours at schools, they got to spend time joining cultural activities with their special new friends – SE Vietnam’s local buddies. The local buddies are passionate, inspired young individuals who share the same love for meeting international friends and exchanging ideas all while practicing their language skills. Each student was assigned with a local buddy who assisted them in terms of getting used to the accommodation, transportation, food, providing timely support, hanging out; all of these aspects were overseen by a program coordinator.
For the purpose of providing a diverse array of experience, the students were placed at four public and private schools in District 1 and District 7: Minh Duc Secondary School, Nguyen Thi Dinh Primary School, Dinh Thien Ly Secondary School and The Asian International School
Welcome signs and students in orderly rows to welcome the students’ first visit to the school.
The students’ supervisors, who are teachers at the schools, can all speak English and give the students feedbacks with their teaching as well as carry out their final Evaluation.
On Induction Day, each student, accompanied by the program coordinator was introduced to their host school’s principal, their supervisor and the school’s rooms and facilities. Immediately, the students placed at the public schools were able to see the difference size and atmosphere between a Vietnamese classroom and an Australian one. Classes in Vietnam are much bigger in size and the students were incredibly excited to welcome their new Australian intern teachers.
The students were enthusiastically welcomed into the schools by both the faculty and the students. Their internship was not only an opportunity for them to practice their teaching skills in real life, at a different country and environment, it also opened up an occasion for cultural exchange and language skills practice on the part of local teachers and students. The students were placed in primary or secondary classes according to their major, some students teach chemistry, science and arts, others teach English lessons.
Students taking picture with teachers at Nguyen Thi Dinh primary school.
Students with faculty members at a school meeting at Minh Duc Secondary School
Picture with students at Dinh Thien Ly Secondary and High School.
Despite the short stay in Vietnam, beside teaching classes, some students even helped run the school’s clubs engage in weekend activities with local teachers while others go on field trips with students. These occasions allow more exposure to the local life and deeper bonding with local students and teachers.
However, there were no short of problems that the students have to go through because working in a foreign environment means exposing yourself to new challenges that you might not know exist. The student encountered language and cultural barriers, different teaching practice, the scarcity of tools and resources they normally have back in Australia, strict regulations in the case of private international schools, getting to work on time during Saigon’s rush hours and even getting used to the black board and chalk (very common in Vietnamese schools).
Despite all of this, with their own curiosity and will to overcome challenges together with constant support from the SE Vietnam team, the students were able to continue doing what they came to do, to teach, make friends and help the local students in their learning.
Last lesson with these loving students
Cultural Immersion Activities
In addition to the working hours at the host school, the students also got the chance to experience cultural immersion activities with the local buddies like the City Tour, the historic Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta visit. The City Tour allowed them to get a glimpse of the dynamic and exciting Ho Chi Minh City through visiting its most loved sightseeings and museums, going fruit shopping at a local market and trying out the public transportation in the city. The visit to Cu Chi Tunnel – a historic remnant of the Vietnam War gave the student a glimpse into the country’s past to appreciate its current development from the war. A weekend getaway to fresh air, vast river and delicious tropical fruits to the Mekong Delta were much needed, the students got to learn about the local life afloat as they cruise the river of Cai Be, Tien Giang. Everyone was excited to see the floating market area, watch the Southern traditional music show and visit fruit gardens.
City tour with a bit of the Tet (Lunar New Year) atmosphere in the air
Visiting the Central Post Office
A memorable experience at the War Remnant Museum
The students got to enjoy southern Vietnam traditional music performance
The students got to enjoy southern Vietnam traditional music performance
Good times go fast and a bitter sweet farewell is unavoidable. The farewell lunch was very honored to welcome a host school representative Mr. Thành from Minh Đức Secondary School, the Australian Consulate representative Ms. Lisa Showell, Program Coordinator from Monash Mr. Mitch, SE Vietnam Director Ms. Mo, the local buddies and the students. If the students’ first meal in the country was filled with exciting conversations and lots of laughter, the farewell party became a chance for everyone in the program to share their feelings, their journey of growth and the fond memories they had together. The internship program after all isn’t just a chance for the students to gain teaching experience abroad and explore a new culture; it is also an opportunity for them get to know one another while making new bonds in Vietnam. The students have developed friendship with their local students, teachers, and local buddies while growing closer with each other through their time spent together in Vietnam. Their transformation is not only shown through their knowledge but also through their mindset and attitude at the end of the program. See you again in Vietnam!
Ms. Lisa Showell from the Australian Consulate (first left) and Mr. Thành (vice principal of Minh Đức Secondary School) joined the farewell lunch
The students made a poem about life in Vietnam
Group picture and see you again somewhere in the future!
Check out the Monash University students’ moments in Vietnam with this video!
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Visit our Reviews page for more wonderful stories of our students amazing experiences in Vietnam!