By Dr. Debra Colley
In less than 12 hours, I will be on my way to Vietnam. It is hard to believe that this trip is here already.
I am honored to have been asked to accompany the University’s President, Father Maher – he was invited by the Ministry of Home Affairs to participate in a seminar (a conference) focused on the performance of public sector employees and the ability to attract and retain talented people in an organization. The other members of our delegation include Dr. Hung Le, Dr. Shawn Daly, and Dr. Deb Curtis – we will be in Vietnam from April 8-April 14.
In addition to presenting a seminar at this conference, I will have the opportunity to learn about education in Vietnam at both the higher education level and in P-12 schools. We hope to develop new relationships and partnerships leading to international teaching, scholarship and service, as well as exchanges and international study for our students at Niagara.
As a teacher and educational leader, I look forward to meeting children in Vietnam and talking with them about their interests and their schooling. I would like to see what they are learning and how the teaching strategies compare with those we embrace in our preparation programs. The same is true for the college and university visits – I anxiously await the opportunity to talk with college students to see what is most important to them and how they view higher learning in their particular career fields. I do not speak Vietnamese – so this will be very interesting.
In Western New York and the greater Toronto area, we have many families from Vietnam. Our ability to understand the cultural and linguistic richness of our English language learners is of central importance to our schools, our community, and our preparation programs. I truly look forward to developing a greater understanding of the people of Vietnam and to learning more about their cultural heritage and their educational system… not to mention their language.
So I am ready! I have my cultural and historical readings for the flight, my passport, and my itinerary. Now… let’s see if I can fit another pair of shoes in my suitcase!