Ten Horowhenua College students have recently returned to school after a two week trip to Vietnam during the April school holidays. The students were part of a Sister School Exchange to Hanoi, being hosted by Nguyen Tat Thanh High School. This was a return visit after Horowhenua College hosted students from NTT High School in 2013.
Our students found that life was very different in Vietnam compared to New Zealand. Our hosts organised a programme which gave our students the opportunity to see what it was like to attend a school in Vietnam and what it would be like to live there.
There were approximately 50 students in a class. The school day started at 7.30am and finished at 5pm. This included a nap time during the lunch break. Students lie on a mat in the classroom. Our programme included this which is something we are not used to. Our students took part in arts, chemistry and dance lessons. This included learning a new dance and performing in traditional costume along with some of the NTT students in front of the junior school assembly. This was very colourful. Assembly was held outside with all the 1000 students picking up their own seat and sitting in their class groups. The school roll is over 2000 so there were separate junior and senior assemblies. Another highlight was making water rockets. These were amazing, travelling great distances. There is a competition the NTT students enter into with some representatives travelling to Seoul, Korea shortly.
We visited many places while in Hanoi which included Hanoi National University, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, University of Industry, Temple of Literature, Art Museum, Ethnic Minority Museum, the famous Water Puppets Show, and a two day trip to Ha Long Bay. Some scenes from the James Bond movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ was filmed there. This was one of the highlights during the trip. It included a tour of a cave discovered in 1993. It was huge and showcased with coloured lights.
The students stayed with host families who looked after them well. This was an opportunity to try different foods and experience ‘bargaining’. As the students gained more experience doing this, it was lots of fun.
Going on an overseas trip is a growing experience for the students and develops endurance and independence as well as an understanding that life in New Zealand is pretty easy. This was a ‘trip of a life-time’ and something the students will never forget. Just crossing the road in Hanoi is an experience with hundreds of motorbikes coming at you and not always from the same direction!
Special thanks to Robyn Keeling and Peter Cadle for taking the students to Vietnam, and to our hosts at Nguyen Tat Thanh High School, Hanoi. An amazing experience.
The next overseas trip is planned for 2016 so students who are interested in travelling with this group are encouraged to start saving now!