By Armando Machado – 1851 Staff
Over winter break, some of Lasell’s students and faculty embarked on a 10-day Shoulder to Shoulder service trip to Da Nang, Vietnam where they taught English to children at the SOS Children’s Village.
Students prepared for the trip by taking a class during the fall semester,where they learned about Vietnamese history, geography, politics, art, economics, literature, and food. The once-a-week class required a presentation, a test of Vietnamese culture, and a reflection after the trip.
The trip was led by Professors Anh Le Tran, Margo Lemieux, and David Thomas. This was the second trip of its kind to Vietnam, and is likely to remain a staple in the Shoulder to Shoulder program due to the positive reactions it has received.
“The feeling of being in a place where culture has flourished for thousands of years [excited me],” said Lemieux. Professors were surprised at the bonds formed between students and the children in such a short time. Sophomore Alex Moule said the first thing he felt when they landed in Vietnam was the culture shock. All of the food was “fresh[er] and cheap[er],” according to Moule.
Following the experience, Moule realized people “can build a relationship with expres- sion without knowing each other’s language…and connections can form within just a few days.”
“Vietnam, hands down, has been the best experience of my life,” said junior Raquel Barnes. “We worked in an orphanage where I built a connection with a lot of the children. My opinions and perception of the Asian culture and Vietnam changed for the better after visiting.”