On behalf of the 2017 Vietnam study tour group, we can honestly say that our trip was a truly unforgettable experience for all involved. There were so many activities and moments that brought everyone closer together which made the trip even more enjoyable. Our Vietnamese adventure began in the beautiful historical town of Hoi An. Touring the ‘city of lanterns’ we learnt about the architecture of the UNESCO Old Town and sampled delicious local cuisine.
One of the highlights of the trip was the Jack Tran Eco boat tour. We were taken out in bamboo basket boats to navigate through the canals utilised by the Viet Cong during the war. With a lot of splashing and a few boats capsizing, it was a fun and enjoyable experience. We also got a chance to have a go at trying to catch some fish, learning to cast using traditional nets.
Throughout the trip, we experienced Vietnam’s rich culture and learnt about its history as we toured the cities and sites of Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau and the Ancient My Son Cham temples. Each day we got to experience different foods, smells and sights that were all unique to Vietnam. Our day trips to the Cu Chi Tunnels and My Lai were special as we learnt about the tragedy of war.
Our visit to Long Tan on ANZAC Day was short but one of the most memorable events. We were privileged to be able to hold a reflection at the Long Tan Cross. The Ode of Remembrance was read to us in both English and Vietnamese as we commemorated the loss of both the Australian and Vietnamese soldiers.
A special highlight of our trip was meeting the amazing children in the two orphanages. Visiting the orphanages and helping them by giving them food, supplies and toys was emotional and truly inspiring. Seeing the children’s faces light up when we gave them something as simple as a ball or even just sat down and played with them, was incredibly moving. Hearing the stories and seeing what these children have gone through in their lives caused us to evaluate some of the things we take for granted.
Words can’t express how truly incredible this two-week adventure was. We have all made some lifelong friendships with people we might not have even talked to before. We have memories that we will be sharing for the rest of our lives. We would like to thank the teachers who led us on this trip: Ms Delacy, Mr Thiele, Miss Schlicker and Miss Dunstan. We are very grateful for the opportunity to go to another country and have truly unique experiences.
Sophie Green and Tia Reed