The first TFI Project of Vietnam was held at Danang University of Science and Technology
Summer 2017 was both extremely meaningful and unforgettable to 23 students representing Danang University of Science and Technology (DUT) to participate in the TFI-SCALE program in 2017. After 3 weeks of training in June in Singapore, the program continued on for another 2 weeks (03/09/2017 – 16/09/2017) in Danang city, Vietnam.
Two long summer months of waiting in which both DUT and SP students counted down the days together till that one “fateful day” - the day when they got to meet each other once again and hand-in-hand create beautiful memories in each of their own stories.
“All good things come to those who wait”
Singapore Polytechnic (SP) students’ flight arrived safely and landed in Danang International Airport at 11:00 AM according to plan. The sight of a group of students wearing DUT t-shirts standing in line waiting for SP team did without a doubt attract the attention and curiosity of other people present at the airport. At last, all the build-up translated into each student’s excited waves of greeting and joy to finally catch sight of their “buddy”, making the arrivals area of the airport unmistakably more excitable than normal. All the anticipation and waiting for the last 2 months were worth it when SP students all arrived safely and almost everyonewas looking forward to the next 2 weeks.
Opening Ceremony - “Simple and cozy”
The Opening Ceremony of TFI-SCALE 2017 in Vietnam was held on the 3rd floor of Learning Resource and Communication Center, Danang University of Science and Technology (DUT). The ceremony, though only lasted for 30 minutes and was done in a pretty simple way, managed to show both the solemnity and the welcoming spirit from DUT side. The program started off with a musical performance from DUT students and after that was the sharing from both school’s representatives expressing the common goal being the success of this program and the long-standing cooperation relationship between 2 schools.
“Creative Solutions to Solve Community’s Problems”/“Specialists’ Community Action”
Hoa Khanh Market and Nam O Fish Sauce Village were the two chosen location for the project this time around, in which the students would discover the problems faced by the local community and come up with solutions based on the Design Thinking model.
With the mentioned study model, to form creative solutions, students had to go through a process consisting of multiple closely linked steps such as: self-researching online about the local; empathy study at the local area with a 3-day 2-night homestay; conducting interviews to gain data; analyzing data and discussing the solutions. It’s truly easier said than done as figuring out people’s deep need and heading towards community action are quite challenging. However, by uniting and supporting each other, students managed to deliver remarkably interesting information and no less interesting solutions.
Of all the proposed prototypes, some got plenty of positive feedbacks from the users while some were not lucky enough to be in their favor. Nonetheless, the local people were all genuinely happy and appreciative to witness students coming to live, learn and experience with them all the while trying to form solutions to improve their quality of life.
“Interesting first time experience”
Ever since the stay of Vietnamese students in Singapore, SP students had been introduced to all the lovely food and special drinks of Vietnam.
Café – The one drink topping off the list. From the first day ever in Vietnam, SP friends longed to experience first hand the unique taste of the world famous coffee. “Strong” was how most of them described Vietnamese coffee and some even asked for milk to be mixed in in order to be able to sleep at night back at the hotel. Before long, as in just a few days later, some drank up to 5 milk coffee cups per day just because they … can’t help it.
Balut – To SP friends, eating a balut is a process going all the way from being fascinated and curious to daring themselves then slowly learning to eat, to taste and to judge forthemselves. Funny enough, each time an SP friend “discovered” a balut, no doubt all the cameras were up and ready to capture that unforgettable moment!
Obstacle course race – It seemed that crossing the road full of rushing vehicles in Vietnam remained an interesting experience to SP friends. As usual, their cameras were always ready to film all the fascinating footages about their personal experience. After 2 weeks here, surely all SP friends have become more confident with their road-crossing skill in Vietnamese style.
“Cultural Exchange”/“Cultural Immersion”
During the 14 days in Danang, Singaporean students were given 3 days to find out more about Vietnam and Danang. This was the first time both SP students and possibly DUT students had been to the second MakerSpace in Vietnam which waslocated at 41 Le Duan St and had been inaugurated recently. The enthusiasticpresenter helped provide students with general facts about how Maker Space came to be and related scientific research activities. It was clear to see that the education of Danang aimed to nurture and develop the youth’s passion for creative science and technology.
Additionally, SP friends got to visit the Cham Museum. With the guide’s help, they were able to understand the history and origin of the artifactson public display here from a much broader and more insightful perspective. However, their exploring journey was limited as a big part of Cham Museum was under renovation and did not allow guests inside.
Marble Mountain and Hoi An Ancient Town are 2 tourist attractions that still manage to keep their natural, ancient features and unique cultural value in Danang area. Coming to Marble Mountain, with each high and uneven step, the students were excited to conquer them all and arrived at the 2 highest mountain tops, enjoying the fresh air and cool breezes as well as taking pictures here.
The journey to Hoi An Ancient Town was probably the event that was most talked about as the day previous to the trip, an extremely strong storm headed towards the North Central Region and Danang was in the affected area. Not until 12:00 AM on the day the trip was scheduled, the trip was green-lighted despite the storm not yet making landfall. Luckily, the weather in Hoi An was nice overall and SP friends got to capture many wonderful memories here.
Day 14 (16/09/2017)
Once again a “fateful day” had come when SP students had to come back home. No more early mornings having coffee together, homestay days waking up to each other’s face, silly jokes that got everyone laughing. Every single one of us had to return to our same old everyday life and it would be long before a reunion. That day at the airport, there we were still waving and smiling as the first day but this time it’s waving goodbye and smiling in hope of seeing each other again in the future. This time around, the most memorable sight would be the 2 teams waving in-sync from 2 side of the customs area without a shout, a call or any things being said…. One needed only observing from outside to feel how much love both teams had for each other.
“We expected nothing much, we got everything” – Us 23 Vietnamese students and 23 Singaporean students hadn’t expected much before actually participating in the program aside from obtaining new knowledge. After 5 weeks of living and having fun together, it turned out that we got a lot more than we’d thought we would, from new friendship, unforgettable days of our life to a meaningful summer.
At last, we want to say hello to our SP friends. And goodbye to all of you too, we have tried our best to fulfill our promise of helping you guys to have the best experience in a small part in the middle of Vietnam. Even though now that you have all returned to the usual fast-paced everyday life you’ve always had, memories of the last 5 weeks together will live on and on. We hope that all of us will one day meet again and be able to gain unique experience as a gift for our youth. See you again!