This project partners GIEU students with Vietnamese students from Faculty of International Studies, Hanoi University (HANU) on a journey through Vietnam and Laos to discover, explore and compare the meaning of an authentic intercultural experience in these two South East Asian countries. U-M students will experience, learn, share and participate actively and interactively with their Vietnamese partners in exploring these nation’s relative histories and cultures. This comparative understanding will also be facilitated through service work with several NGOs, giving students a first-hand experience in grassroots development. Students will engage in different understandings of memory and history, understanding Vietnam for example, not as the name Vietnam War, but as a country with a rising economy and rich culture.
GIEU SEA consists of three main components:
● Service work: The group will participate in volunteer work at the project sites of Children’s Library International Project in Vietnam and Laos. There will be other service work activities with the focus on environment, education development, and health care with Volunteers for Peace Vietnam, Global Community Service, Project Renew, Ecoboat.
● Exchange and Intercultural Experience: There will be great opportunities for students from two universities to interact and share thoughts and learn from each other in a very intercultural environment. The exchange experience is also diverse when the students from two universities also have the opportunity to meet and help local people from many places where the group travels to. Moreover, the project will challenge students to think outside the box and get out of their comfort zone by being in a completely new living environment. The experience will also encourage students to develop their intercultural competence and the ability to adapt themselves as strong individuals in a group setting.
● Academic Learning: The project also offers a variety of interdisciplinary topics on history, culture, education, society, development, religion and ethnic studies through lectures, field trips, forums, workshops where students can learn from reading materials, discussions, field trips, reflection, blogs, etc. and gain a better and more insightful understanding about these two countries. The academic learning is the equal opportunities for students from UM and HANU to learn beyond their own academic curriculum on their respective campuses.