Concordia in Vietnam

We were blessed with the opportunity to visit the Concordia International School in Hanoi and to facilitate a day of games and activities.  We planned and implemented an “Around-the-World Day” for the younger grades, complete with activities that taught them about different places in our world.  For the older grades, we led activities that would excite them about English and allow them to have a little bit of fun, even on a school day!

It was very enjoyable to spend time with these international students and to hear a little bit of what Concordia Hanoi has already been able to accomplish in a short three years of operation.  The students as well as the staff were attempting to recruit some of our CUI students to come back and teach after just a few hours!  Many of us hope to visit Vietnam again in the future, and to visit our friends at Concordia Hanoi soon!

Culture Night Talent Show

Part of our service time in Vietnam included helping to teach English at
an international university in Thai Ngyuen. The university asked the
Around-The-World (r) II team to participate in a “Culture Night” where
multiple international universities had been invited to perform various
acts. This is one of our presentations for the evening, a rendition of
“Ordinary People” by John Legend, featuring Seth as lead guitar/vocals,
Howard as vocals, Alex on the djembe, and Hayden as the microphone

Mongolian Concert

While in Mongolia, Alexandra Castellanos had her 20th birthday.  The whole team went out to eat a fantastic meal at a restaurant named City Nomads.  A few of us stayed afterward in order to hear a Mongolian concert complete with traditional instruments and throat singing.  The whistling sound that you hear is actually coming from the same singers that are making the deep chanting sounds.  It was truly amazing!  Here is a glimpse of what we saw.

Digging In and Scraping Goats

Written by Audrey Biesk.  Photo by Trenton Semple.

Well, there is no turning back now. I have finally come to the realization that I will not be in America for the next 3 months. It took me a good few weeks to accept the fact that I will wake up in a different country every single day until December 18. I have a feeling of contentment when I think about this now, because I truly see all of the benefits emerging in this trip. It was so easy, while preparing for the trip, to avoid my emotions and not deal with them until I was actually here and had to face them. I was in shock during the first week and was truly just going through the motions, and I think many others were doing the same. Our body clocks were altered, our diets were changed, our communication to family and friends was hardly existent, and our environment was definitely a new one. After getting familiar with all of these things, then I could really dig in and encapsulate what I was experiencing.

Adapting has been key. When things that were normal for so long are all of a sudden taken away, then the only choice I have is to acclimate.  After our 2-hour horse trek in the steppes of  Mongolia, I found myself burning and scraping the hair off of a freshly killed goat, which we then ate for dinner. The instant gratification of meals, and everything for that matter, was not present in the countryside. So, I took the opportunity to embrace Mongolian culture and do something that I never imagined doing. I feel so very blessed to have experienced the Mongolian life first hand and will forever remember what it means to truly “step outside of my comfort zone.” It is an ongoing process of self-discovery and getting used to the unfamiliar. I am happy to say that I am learning more and more ways every day to enhance my travel experience to the fullest.