Saturday, March 31, 2012

School Year Abroad Vietnam: The End of an Era

It’s not often that one can say that they were in the final class of school. But unfortunately, today I can say that. It is with great sadness that I must report to you, my readers, that School Year Abroad Vietnam will not be continuing next fall. It came to a vote this past weekend by the board of directors back in the States, and it was decided not to continue. I was given the news this morning in a meeting by our director Thay Vuong. The mood was understandably strange for the remainder of the day. Our class actually spent a good hour and a half in the morning discussing it. We of course are very against the shut down. We believe that it’s unfair to cancel the program after only 3 years. Like with anything, the first few years are always the hardest, but most of the time, after grinding through, it gets better. Of course the first 3 years of the program have been trying, but what about when they get to year 6? Well, I guess we’ll never know.

Having had the extraordinary opportunity to come to Vietnam has helped me grow so much as a person, and I think it’s a shame that others won’t be able to experience what I have, a real shame. I have learned so much about how to live and adapt to a strange new way of living, and it will help me so much in the future. When ever I feel like the going gets tough, I can always look back on my time here and say “ I lived in Vietnam for 9 months, I can do this!”.  Just looking back at myself before I came here, and who I am now, I can hardly recognize my self. Sure, I still have my famous fiery red hair, but inside I feel completely changed. This program has benefited me so much, and I know that next year’s batch would have experienced those exact same changes, and would have left Vietnam a better person because of it. There have definitely been hard times this year, I won’t deny it, but the final result is what counts at the end of the day.

I also feel very bad for my host family. Because when it comes right down to it, even though the program is being cancelled, I still got to do it. But they were so looking forward to hosting many more young SYAers like myself, and it’s such a pity they won’t be able to have an opportunity like this again. They are so loving and caring, and would have made next year’s host kid so happy, just like they did for me. I am just so lucky to have been paired with them, and I can’t imagine being with any other family.

The hardest part, and what saddens me the most is thinking about the things that could have been. This was an amazing experience that was offered to me, and I only wish that others could have been offered it as well. I respectfully disagree with the board’s decision to end the program. I think that a few more years should have been allowed to see how the program developed. There is such an incredible group of teachers and parents over here, who would have made such a massive impact in the next group of juniors and seniors lives. This program was such a great one. To have the opportunity to travel to a developing country like Vietnam as a junior in high school is almost unheard of, most would have to wait at least until until college for an something like that. So in the end, is there anything that can be done to save the program? Probably not, but what I can do is be thankful that I was able to attend this program, and learn and grow for a year in Hanoi, Vietnam.

1 comment:

  1. It is so sad that they decided to cancel this program because a lot more people would probably love to do this trip.