For three weeks in May, four Penn State Greater Allegheny students led by Professors MaryEllen Higgins and Douglas Charles traveled to Vietnam as part of a campus embedded study abroad program. Supported by a Global Programs and campus grant, the group visited Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, Cham Islands, and Hoi An.
The students and faculty were hosted by Duy Tan University and, while there, Professors Higgins and Charles taught a literature course and history course, respectively. In addition to Penn State students, Duy Tan University students attended these courses taking advantage of this unique opportunity and a different style of teaching to which they had not been exposed, but which for them was completely extracurricular.
The Greater Allegheny student group also studied Vietnamese culture both in class at Duy Tan and by interacting with the Vietnamese students and staff, and visiting various locations across Vietnam. The students were unanimous in their fondness for Vietnamese cuisine and discovery of Vietnamese coffee ? café sua da (coffee with cream and ice) ? which Professors Higgins and Charles transplanted back to Pennsylvania!
Whether it was visiting Vietnamese museums, Buddhist temples, restaurants, tropical nature preserves, or institutions taking care of the country?s least fortunate, the group found the experience to be educational, eye opening, and one that broadened the scope of their international outlooks.