West Norfolk sixth-formers are back home after 16 days immersed in the culture of Vietnam.
The students from Springwood High School in King’s Lynn explored the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and also spent time in Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City, as part of the Vietnam History and Cultural Studies Tour, which was organised by Challenges Abroad and funded by the UK Government’s Turing Scheme.
“Halong Bay was stunningly beautiful, and the students explored by kayak, boat and through an underground cave system on foot,” said Matt Scholes, who is Personal Social Health and Economic Lead at Springwood, and accompanied the 16-strong group.
“Other highlights included cycling through the quieter suburbs of Hanoi to visit a local family who taught us how to make traditional summer rolls; Train Street in Hanoi where we enjoyed egg coffee; travelling via sampans through the flooded rice field of Tam Croc as the locals rowed using their feet; and experiencing for ourselves the differences between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.”
The students were equally full of praise for the trip.
Alex commented: “I really enjoyed seeing the differences between Vietnam and the western world – the way they live is so similar yet it’s so different.
“I feel that I’ve enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I now know lots of Vietnamese history and have especially gained more knowledge about the Vietnam War and its after-effects throughout the world.”
Fellow sixth former Harvey agreed: “I gained a lot culturally and historically. What I gained from both of these was the perspective in which the Vietnamese view things in comparison to how we do in the West.
“What I gained most then, was an appreciation of the similarities and differences between East Asian and West European cultures and opinions.”
“I absolutely loved being given a chance to meet loads of amazing local Vietnamese people – some of which are now lifelong friends – and the insane number of wonderful memories created,” added classmate Piers. “It helped push me out of my comfort zone by throwing us into everything from outdoor water sports to being able to haggle at the local market place.
“I certainly feel as if I’ve gained tons of confidence from the trip and can’t wait to explore the world more!”