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Triumphant Curtain-Call For DEN’s Virtual Field Trip To Vietnam

The Democratic Education Network (DEN) organised its annual field trip experience between January and March 2022. However, the virtual idea was born out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic when taking students on an actual field trip to Vietnam became impossible. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Westminster and Hanoi University.

 

The online project lasted 10 sessions for 1.5 hours a week with academics and students involved in learning an introduction to Vietnamese geography, society, culture, economy, and politics. Hanoi University academic staff and students produced several videos to cover the major economic, social, cultural and political issues related to Vietnam for the virtual field trip. In addition, Westminster students were tasked to watch, write and edit small, 400-word blog posts. We wrote, reviewed 8 blogs and discussed constructively in the subsequent meetings. The structure of the meetings allowed us to have active debates with the Vietnamese students and listen to the Vietnamese academic staff and students as well.

This format places a significant emphasis on the student, supported by academics to develop their knowledge, skills and encouraging them to immerse themselves more heavily into the topics and issues to better understand what they were researching.

 

Dr. Morady actively encourages the students around the topic of reading as a standard, along with drawing in previous knowledge. Furthermore, he hands over responsibility for leading the meeting and taking notes to a ‘chair’ and ‘note-taker’, who are different every week. This promotes an environment of further collaboration between the students and encourages independence. In the process, Hanoi University academics and students take the role of an educator. Westminster students are instead encouraged to ask them questions regarding topics they have studied or general questions, which firstly serve as an icebreaker to tear down the present distance between them and instil companionship subsequently.

 

The project will end with a conference taking place on the 13th of May, where the students will present a paper on different issues related to Vietnam. Overall, this project provides an invaluable and rich experience for students from all departments of the University and allows them to develop skills that they may not come across otherwise and explore areas that they may perhaps not be too interested in or involved in.

Enzo Martins, BSC (Hons) BSc Medical Sciences

 

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