ACU Business students volunteer at Salesian English Camp in Vietnam as part of their community engagement
In Da Lat, a beautiful highland city of Vietnam, a group of 10 ACU students and one ACU staff member volunteered at a Salesian English Camp.
This project has been for many years in the heart of Sr (Dr) Thuy-Linh Nguyen, who is in charge of the core curriculum unit “Community Engagement” at the School of Business Melbourne. A Salesian Sister, she is connected with the Salesians of Don Bosco in Vietnam, and understands their need to train the Brothers in English so they can better help others. Enthusiastic about volunteering, she is also very keen to help her students have meaningful and enriching volunteer experiences, particularly in third world countries.
In the camp, each volunteer was assigned to a group of Brothers. Their task was to help them learn English by the so-called “immersion” approach. In fact this immersion approach works both ways. While the Brothers were “immersed” in English, ACU students were also “immersed” in the Vietnamese culture, as well as the reality of a country much poorer than Australia. Besides classroom teaching, the camp was made alive by many outings and fun-filled activities such as games, music, dancing and sports.
The students valued the experience greatly. Coming back home, ACU students shared how they were greatly enriched by the experience; more aware of individual responsibility for the common good; the importance of not-for-profit organisations. They felt more grateful for what they have and can enjoy at home; and how much they learnt about a different culture during the trip.
Students involved in community engagement activities are looked upon favourably by future employers, as the experience provides them with an edge when they graduate.