Bach Thi Huyen: Entering the classroom, we are struck by happiness and feel ourselves immersed in the new knowledge that filled the atmosphere. The volunteers' dedication to our advancement, supported by strict regulations and orderly arrangement of the session, has created such a wonderful learning experience for us.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh: We are so honored by the presence of the volunteered teachers. They have given us so much knowledge. They have not only taught us English but have also cultivated us in so many other aspects. I don't know whether they are happy with what they are doing, but we are filled with an indescribable happiness. All of us, the 600 students of Tiep Vo, would like to send them our deepest thanks for enduring the terrible summer heat in order to provide us with this opportunity to learn.
Nguyen Thi Men: The volunteered teachers are very outgoing and kind. Thanks to their creative teaching methods and dedication, we have greatly improved our English proficiency.
Dau Bich Ly: This summer, we are elated by the arrival of the volunteered teachers. We are so incredibly happy. It seems that their presence has changed everything. The students are no longer rambunctious; instead they become attentive and well behaved in class. I really think they are mesmerized by their new teachers.
Our teachers have brought vitality to what would be a boring summer. They come to teach us English, and along the way they have given us new knowledge and, through their actions, have shown us how to truly live - always being open-minded, generous and happy. They are never angry with us, always greet us with joy, patiently answer our questions, and ready to correct our clumsy English. Their dedication has made Saturdays and Sundays very long days.
Doan Thi Hai Yen: To me, this is a wonderful experience. Since joining the program, I have started to think differently about English, a subject that was previously a difficult thing for me to digest and remember. This summer, it has slowly captured my attention and interest. I now am obsessed by this language!
My class is held in the afternoon when the terrible summer heat is at its worst. However, it is quite bearable with the constant humming of fans around us, the bottle water to quench our thirst, and the equipment such as amplifier, CD... to keep our learning process going smoothly. I understand that Education For The Poor has worked very hard to provide us with this opportunity to study English and to create a pleasant environment to enable us to effectively learn.
This session is a very important step that will positively affect my English learning process as well as my future. I sincerely thank EFTP for its tremendous effort in organizing this session and cultivating talents for Vietnam.
Nguyen Viet Anh: EFTP and the volunteered teachers have sacrificed their happy time beside loved ones to come share with us essential knowledge and wonderful cultural traits of the modern world. In the process, they have taught us to love others and to serve unselfishly. They are very good examples for us to follow. The duration of this session is not long enough to perfect our English, but it is long enough to sow in the heart of the 600 students an idea of how to truly love.
We can strongly feel the love of our teachers, the expatriated children of Vietnam. Through their actions, they have taught us to love unconditionally without regard to wealth, race, skin color, or gender and they have pushed us to give our all to education in order to gain prevalent knowledge of today's world. But most importantly, through their perseverance to teach us, they have taught us to love our motherland more and to strive to become useful citizens of our country. We will always remember EFTP and the teachers' effort and kindness because we understand the difficulties that they have gone through to come to us.
Thu Hien: The volunteered teachers have brought to Tiep Vo a new light. It has been so long since I have experienced these feelings'exuberance, vitality, and sacrifice for others; and through this I have found happiness. Oh, it is so wonderful!
With the end of the session so close, I would like to thank all our teachers for their guidance the last few weeks. I would like to speak English well so I can talk to people. I don't want to shame my teacher who has come so far to teach us English and I want to make my parents happy. They have worked extremely hard so I can attend school.
Hoang Thi Nhu Quynh: The 2012 Summer English Program has helped all of us so much. It is such a great opportunity for us to work on all our English skills, from grammar, sentence structure to pronunciation. Despite its short duration, the session has allowed us to recognize our deficiencies and how to effectively learn English. After a short time, I feel that I have improved all my English skills, especially pronunciation.
I HAVE FOUND MY PASSION
It is great when people are able to live and work at something they are passionate about. Even though I was a little late, I was still fortunate to have that chance because I found my real passion after attending the free English session held by Education For The Poor at Cau Ram church in the summer of 2010.
Being able to speak English was a big hurdle for me since I could only speak Vietnamese initially. After one month of learning English with Education For The Poor, I have done the impossible and have fallen in love with learning the language. This has created a dilemma for me because I was only one year away from graduation and on my way to earning a decent wage. It would also mean that I had to overcome a speech deficiency which has prevented me from holding a proper conversation. At the time, I could not even properly say a simple phrase, such as "What's your name?" I would always mispronounce it and say, "What's your Lame?"
At that time I was pursuing a degree in Law because I wanted to earn a good salary to help my parents. However, there were times when I wondered whether practicing law was what I really wanted to do. I finally came to the conclusion that I loved learning English, and felt happy every day when I attended my class taught by volunteers from America. At times, I was unable to sleep at night because I was overcome with joy that my teacher had understood what I said even though my vocabulary and pronunciation skills were still far from being perfect. That happiness stayed with me and motivated me to continue to pursue the language. However, I felt lost when the session ended because I didn't know how to keep that burning fire alive when there were no opportunities to attend more English courses.
There is a proverb which says, "A pearl becomes more luminescent if it is worked on", and it applies well to the art of learning English. Knowledge that is left idle is like drops of water which have landed on leaves of a tree. They will eventually evaporate. Fortunately, when I thought I was at a dead end, I found a solution. I was hired by SOS to teach English to the children in its community. Having to cope with the pressure of the new teaching position, I was determined to get a firmer grasp of the language.
With a decent understanding of the language, I was feeling more confident as the 2011 Summer English Program held by Education For The Year came around. Tim Murphy, my teacher, was very strict, but his attitude greatly benefited me and my classmates. With great zeal and dedication, he helped us recognize and correct the problems in our learning and communication methods. Sometimes, I was under great stress during the pronunciation practice sessions; however, I was able to overcome my own deficiencies with the encouragement and help of my teacher. In addition, he gave us very valuable lessons on how to become a better person - I learned to value time and I also learned that my respect for people was also a respect for myself. From this 2011 session I have acquired a more well-rounded comprehension of life and understand that while I can't change the world, the world could be a better place if I tried to better myself...
This year, when the volunteer teachers left Vinh for home, I did not experience sadness as deep as last year because I could continue to learn by attending meetings of the Educational Club which was initiated by Education For The Poor at Cau Ram church. I am currently very busy with schooling and work, so being able to participate in the meetings, whenever time permits, is very valuable to me. My attendance allows me to practice my English with others as well as learn about issues which pertain to life and work. The Educational Club is truly an inspiration that helps keep us motivated and passionate about the English language.
Through this reflection, I would like to send my special thanks to all the volunteer teachers of Education For The Poor. I am very grateful that they have come to Vietnam to help underprivileged students like ourselves improve our lives. I would like to also thank Cau Ram Parish for allowing me to experience the kindheartedness of the catholic people, their unified spirit and their open-mindedness in dealing with students who are not of the same religion...
Despite the difficult conditions of Vinh - its deep poverty and its harsh weather - I believe that the effort to "sow the land" of our volunteer teachers will yield great benefits. We, their students, are determined to become good seeds and generate great crops.
I would like to send my best wishes of good health, peace and happiness to our volunteer teachers and hope that Education For The Poor will continue to grow stronger every day.
Nguyen Thi Kieu Oanh
Class of 48b3 Political science, Law and Education, University of Vinh