English Language Fellow Kelly Nelson collaborated with Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Leann Miles and Le Thu Hang, head of the English Department at Lao Cai Teacher Training College, to organize a three-day English Immersion trip to Hanoi for 13 highly motivated Lao Cai students.
Most of the students attending Lao Cai come from humble beginnings and live in a rural, mountainous area along the northern border of Vietnam. Rarely do these students have the chance to leave their community or use English outside of school. This trip was designed to expose students to the city of Hanoi and give them an opportunity to practice speaking English as well.
During the trip, the students gave presentations on their different ethnic backgrounds and cultures at the American Center in Hanoi. The group also participated in a challenging scavenger hunt that allowed each student to step outside of their comfort zone and use English in social situations with native speakers. Through this experience, the students became more confident speakers of English and had the opportunity to explore the historical sites and museums of the city.
As a result of the English Immersion weekend, all of the teachers noticed immediate changes in the students’ confidence levels, listening, and speaking abilities. “After the trip, I realized that my English is better than before. Now I am more confident when I speak English and I had many experiences. I hope that we will have many trips like this in the future for students in our school,” said one student.