Day three of the tour see students venturing to the university of Economics Ho Chi Minh City for a cultural immersion program. While there are learning outcomes and objectives for the day, I do not think you can put a measure on the value of these students simply being in each others presence and learning from each other by learning about each other. The short video below shows the interaction of the students before formal proceedings began.
While to students it may seem like an activity with other university students, to me the conversations and social media links which are made between students translate into the begin of an international network.
As part of the mornings activities students from UEH and Western Sydney University gave presentations and overviews of what it is like be a student in their respective countries. This provides an additional cultural backdrop to the day and also shows some interesting perspectives as to how the students see themselves and their country. Despite the fact that both groups are university students there are many differences.
The second part of the session involved the students breaking off into four groups comprising of UEH and WSU students for the purpose of creating micro research projects. This year we have four projects being research;
- The different level of coffee – looking at Western chains, Vietnamese franchises and local (street) options. This is an interesting project given Vietnam is one of the worlds largest producers of coffee and there is a developing coffee market;
- The blending of western service models within a Vietnamese market – while there are now many western food franchises in Vietnam there are differences in the service model used;
- What are the recreational sport options in Vietnam – given the competing demands for space in a hugely populated city, the allocation of land for sporting pursuit creates an interesting perspective on the availability of sport for recreation; and
- The different levels of food offerings consumed by the local Vietnamese market – With a rising middle class in Vietnam the traditional noodle house now has an emerging competition with an alternative offering including newer, cleaner amenities, trendier staff and a more expensive price tag.
Students spent the morning developing research questions,methodologies and discussing projects with students from UEH. The UEH students then accompanied students into Ho Chi Minh City to facilitate data collection, primarily through observation.
Once their projects were approved it was time for a group photo, lunch and then out into Ho Chi Minh City.