HOME > Programmes > Internationalisation Programme > 2019 Learning Journeys > Learning Journey to Hanoi, Vietnam 26-30 May 2019
Learning Journey to Hanoi, Vietnam 26-30 May 2019
A group of 23 students and 4 teachers from Hougang Secondary School embarked on a journey to Hanoi, Vietnam from the 26th to 30th of May. This trip saw our Hougeans making their way through the bustling city of Hanoi as they gained an insight into Vietnam’s cultural heritage and at the same time brought them to Social Protect Centre, an orphanage with beneficiaries aged between 3 and 18, where they interacted with the children with various games and activities.
Their learning objectives include widening their horizons and discovering the world beyond Singapore. In so doing, there will be a better appreciation of their home country. Apart from the aspects of cultural immersion that Hanoi had to offer, the trip also gave them an opportunity for service learning beyond the borders of Singapore. Before the trip, they had to prepare for the games and activities they wanted to do with the children as well as circumvent the inevitable language barrier between them and the Vietnamese. They met up on multiple occasions to discuss the activities they could do with the children and eventually narrowed it down to a few meaningful and engaging ones. During their meetings, they would also try to pronounce Vietnamese words like “xin chao” and “gam un” which mean “hello” and “thank you” respectively.
As they made their way through the vibrant streets of Hanoi on Day 1, our Hougeans were given the opportunity to visit various well-known landmarks which included Museum of Ethnology, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and the Old Quarters. At the Museum of Ethnology, they were given an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam and the traditional Vietnamese way of life. Later in the afternoon, they visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Mr Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and revolutionary leader of Vietnam. There they also met up with the local university students from Hanoikids.
These locals acted as their personal tour guides and related to them stories of Hanoi and what it was like to live in the city. The day ended with an electric tram ride in the Old Quarters, and the students were brought around this main shopping district by the Vietnamese friends. This provided them with the opportunity to interact with locals as they bargained while shopping. All in all, Day 1 allowed the students to plunge into Vietnam’s rich and vibrant culture.
On Day 2 and 3, our Hougeans embarked on their service learning project at the Social Protect Centre. They kickstarted the programme with art and craft activities and played traditional Singaporean games such as “zero point” and "eagle catches the chickens".
Besides the fun, they also demonstrated simple science experiments and taught the children simple science concepts such as chemical reactions and electricity. The children were most definitely intrigued by the balloons slowly inflating as the baking soda made contact with the vinegar and wondered how simple batteries and magnets could power a continuous movement of wires. Drawing and paper origami were ways in which they overcame their language barrier. Before they bid goodbye, they gave the children the stationery that they had prepared before the trip. They were elated to receive the donations, especially the rainbow loom accessories handmade with love by our students! It was definitely a sight to remember seeing the toothy smiles on their faces.
After service learning, our students put on different hats and became fishers and farmers. They tried to catch fish using a Vietnamese traditional method - with baskets. While only some of them had successful catches, all of them shared multiple hilarious experiences including their comical reactions and screams each time a fish appeared in their baskets or slipped out of their hands!
Besides fishing, they also harvested rice crops using a sickle, and learnt to mill rice using a traditional wooden rice milling machine. The time spent fishing and harvesting rice most definitely made them more appreciative of the hard labour and skill that goes into food production.
On Day 4, they travelled out of the main city to a village that specialises in making ceramics. They visited the Bat Trang Ceramics Village where they got to experience ceramic making. Later on, they visited Phu Vinh Bamboo and Rattan Village where they were taught how to make bamboo jewelry. Day 4 at the two villages gave them a glimpse of the craftsmanship and skills that are not typically available to them in modern Singapore.
All in all, the trip to Vietnam stood as an opportunity to grow our Hougeans' knowledge about the culture of a foreign land and grow as human beings through cultural immersion and service learning.