From January 5th to 19th, I went to Hue, Vietnam as a member of Heung Cheong Mang Cheong(HCMC) for foreign volunteers. It was a fruitful and memorable experience that I had never experienced before. Now, let’s see what I did in Hue, Vietnam.
Hương River is a river that penetrates the center of Hue city. This river shows the beauty of Vietnam’s middle area. This beauty is in harmony with Hue’s antique mood and it maximizes Hue’s attraction. On January 7th, Hue economic University students and we went to Hương Riverside and started to clean the riverside. Vietnam was in their wet season these days, so when we were in Hue, almost every day was rainy. It rained while we were cleaning the riverside, but the rain made the Huong River and Hue Palace seem more beautiful. While I was cleaning, I was surprised by two things. The first thing was the weather. Even though it was the rainy season, almost every day was cold. When I was in Korea, it was minus four Celsius degrees, so I thought sixteen Celsius degrees was nothing! But when I was there, it was cold and I regretted not bringing my jacket. The second thing was the clean street. I thought the Hue riverside would not be clean. However, it was just my prejudice. It was even cleaner than parks in Korea! Also, I was ignorant about Vietnam, so I felt guilty for being ignorant. In Hue, I realized my prejudice and I reflected on my conduct. Without prejudice, I could feel better than before. Also, I was glad that I was in a glorious city.
In Vietnam, I saw an ocean that was made up with the children’s brightness. I could experience that sight in person and even twice as I was volunteering: at the Bui Thi Xuan school and An Tav orphanage. Frankly speaking, I was worried when I visited the orphanage and school for the disabled. That’s because I have never been to facilities like them, so I thought I might harm others’ minds. However, I adapted there well, and I could blow my fears away.
When I visited the Bui Thi Xuan school for the disabled, it was cloudy but not rainy, so all the team members thought it was a fortunate day. We arrived late to school, so we couldn’t show our performance to the students there. After the donation ceremony, we made balloons for them. We learned how to make puppies and flowers. Also, we were glad that the children really loved our balloons even though it wasn’t anything incredible! Some of our team did face painting on the children’s faces. I met some girls who were hearing-impaired. I knew how to write my name in Korean sign language, so I told them in Korean sign language. Even though they could repeat the words, they didn’t understand that what I was telling them was my name. I was very regretful that I couldn’t communicate fully with them. If I go there again, I would learn Vietnamese and Vietnamese sign language to communicate with them.
Next day, I visited An Tav orphanage. It was rainy and a little bit colder than the day before. When we arrived at the orphanage, we didn’t know what to do for them. The volunteer boys were away for work. So, the volunteer girls needed to play with the children. At the orphanage, they prepared lunch for us. It was great, and they put a little coriander, so I could eat lunch well. After lunch, we made balloons for them and some of us did nail art. While the young children loved balloons, the older ones and the teachers loved nail art. Honestly, I thought they would be unhappy because they are in an orphanage. However, I was totally wrong. This appeared to be another prejudice of mine. It really shocked me and I felt sorry for them. In Vietnam, I learned many valuable things, so I thank Vietnam a lot! Someone said that we would feel sad and might cry when we left the orphanage. It didn’t happen, but we did wish them good luck. They looked happy, which is quite a hard thing. I thought they could be my teacher in that case. I will always cross my fingers for them to find happiness in life.
From this volunteer opportunity, I could experience many things. The first thing is the gladness, satisfaction, from volunteering. Before I volunteered, I always had questioned “why should I do volunteer work?” Now I know about the true meaning of volunteering, and I felt proud through this activity. Also, I can’t forget the glimmer from the children’s eyes. That glimmer will be the signpost of my life. The second thing is my Vietnamese friends. In almost all the volunteer activities, Hue College of Economics students and CBNU students were together. So, we were able to become good friends. I’m so glad that I could meet friends like them. Also, we met students of Huế College of Foreign Languages Department of Korean Language and Culture. It was an awesome experience to be with them. I really thank them for the best experience. Hẹn gặp lại!
You Da-yeon, Reporter