Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City

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The journey for the yellow team came to an end with a cyclo ride around the City of Ho Chi Minh (in the morning prior to leaving Vietnam). What an amazing journey it has been!

Rachael and Reuben

Emalie and Daniel

Mrs Tattersall

Perry and Allie

Rhiannon thanking, Tree (our Tour Guide) on behalf of the Yellow Team

Vietnam Red: Our last blog entry

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Freya

The trip to Vietnam really helped to show me that everyone, everywhere face similar problems and issues. We share the same values of family, safety and security. All that is different is the cultural approaches in dealing with the issues people face

Will

In Vietnam I learned about their amazing culture and ways of living especially in the village.  It has opened up my eyes to a whole new way of living for me.

Lucy Jackson

I once thought it was impossible to fall in love with a place but I stand corrected.  During this shared experience I made many new friends. I enjoyed the language, the landscape, the food and the loving nature of the Vietnamese people. It was truly amazing whether in Hanoi or the village, Ha Long Bay or Ho An, Hue or Ho Chi Minh. All had their own charm and excitement.

Finn

Before going to Vietnam I didn’t think that I would be able to communicate with the people, but I have found that using hand signals and facial expressions went a long way.

Lucy D

I thought Ha Long Bay would just be a fun activity as part of our Big Experience trip.  Instead I experienced a perfect moment in a beautiful and unique environment. Watching the sunset in Ha Long will stay with me for life.

Vas

This Big Experience has shown and taught me about Vietnam through experiencing the culture that I couldn’t have found out any other way.  By living with the people and travelling to many different parts, I learnt so much about the people, the food and their way of life.

Bronte

I learned that the most important thing in life is being with people and caring about each other. You don’t need money or expensive products but strong bonds and relationships.

Jack

Before Vietnam I would never have gone abseiling.  I conquered my fears and would now do it again.

Peter

I used to think that Vietnam was just another Asian country, but now I think it is an amazing country full of eye-opening experiences and its own diverse culture.

Nick

Anyone can live happily anywhere so long as there are people.

Ben S

Before going to Vietnam I thought that the people would be unfriendly and hostile towards Australian people due to our involvement in the Vietnam war, but I found out they were friendly towards foreigners.

Andrew

I used to think the Vietnamese would be unfriendly to westerners but actually they were very nice which was humbling.

Tilly

After visiting the War Museum I was overwhelmed by the effect Asian Orange had on the people on both sides of the conflict. I have learned to accept what I have and be happy with what I’ve got as other people have it far worse.

Abbey

Even if you can’t speak the language you can still communicate.  I now know that I would be able to travel the world and experience what I did in this trip.

Emily

I didn’t really know what to expect.  Going to different places, seeing all sorts of things has made me appreciate the people of Vietnam.  This is an experience I will never forget.

Alaric

Vietnam has taught me more than I ever thought possible.  I have learned that I as a person am stronger than I thought that people in all corners of the globe share the same human spirit, so we can all understand each other.  The laughing and smiling faces across the country taught me that.

Emma

My first thoughts on Vietnam were that it was an impoverished society that counted on others for help.  In Vietnam I found the sense of community spirit overwhelming as a whole and I enjoyed every minute.

Henry

I felt Vietnam gave me a whole new perspective on how people live their lives and what they go through just to make a living and to feed their families.  Everyone seemed to be busy working from the young to the very old; from farming rice to selling goods.

Grace

Vietnam was another world, totally different from our suburban life but it’s only by diving headlong into another culture can you come to identify your place in life.  In Vietnam I met parts of myself that I haven’t seen before and I hope to know them better back home.

Holly

This trip will be something I will always remember.  My view on the word has changed and I am so grateful for what I have now, more than ever.

Matt

They have a great sense of neighbourhood love. When we were in the village; all of the neighbours came to help us build the house.

Kiran

This trip to Vietnam has taught me so much about the culture and the people.  The people I have met on the trip both within our group and the Vietnamese community made it an excellent and rewarding experience.

Annie

Before this trip, Vietnam was just another Asian country, now it means so much more to me.  I have a much better understanding of the people, the countryside, the cities and the food.

Luca

In Vietnam I found that 20 thousand dong can go a long way.  They don’t have as much as we do but they are still happy.

Ben M

I used to think that people couldn’t live without luxuries.  I was wrong after I saw the way the people live in the village.

Max

In Vietnam I learned how privileged I am education-wise compared to the greater majority of the Vietnamese people.

Issy

The Vietnam trip was the best experience of my life.  We learned about another culture and our group has become like one big family.

Tim

Vietnam used to be a war for me.  Now it is a paradise of culture, people and food.

Toby

It has opened my eyes to a new way of life, food, people and experiences that I appreciate.

Ryan

Before Vietnam I only had taste for western culture.  After living in a remote Vietnamese village it has broadened my thinking on life and made me more mature as a person.  I am grateful for the opportunities I have in Australia.

Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City

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The following photos were taken on the last night of our stay in Ho Chi Minh City. The students purchased their dresses and suits in Hoi An.

Daniel, Rachael, James and Josh

Christian, Darcy, Josh, Jack and Josh

Emma, Paula, Allie and Sara

Some of the girls prior to going out for dinner

Emalie, Steph, Tarryn and Ruby

Rhiannon and Laura

Emma, Becky and Tiana

Vietnam Travel update

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Vietnam has arrived in Melbourne early, 7.18am. We’ll update this post with an estimated time of arrival at school as soon as they are leaving the airport.

UPDATE: The buses are loading up at Melbourne airport (8:35am). It is expected that both Vietnam trips will arrive back at the College at approximately 9:30am, depending on traffic.

UPDATE 2: The buses have just turned off Todd Rd, Port Melbourne (9:15am) so should arrive at approximately 9:40am.

Day 15 Our last day in Vietnam

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Vas and Lucy J

The heat hit us as we walked out of our hotel on our last day in Vietnam. We boarded our bus and set off for the one and a half hour drive to the Cu Chi tunnels, 60km northwest of Ho Chi Minh. We set off to explore the history behind the Cu Chi Tunnels during the Vietnam War. They were a hide out for the Viet Cong, who at one point managed to tunnel under the US army base in the area. The tunnels are three levels deep and they extend up to 250km. These tunnels were a huge advantage for the Viet Cong as they could make surprise attacks.  We were shown how the tunnel entrances were disguised and how they were covered with leaves. Some of us took the opportunity to crawl through the tunnels to get an idea of what it would have been like. It was hot, dark, cramped, and hard to breath and you had to crawl. We were amazed that people could live like this underground and for long spaces of time. We finished this experience with some local food which was different to most foods we had been eating on this trip.

Our experience at Cu Chi made our visit to the War Remnants Museum more significant. We were shocked by the overall impact the war had on the people and especially the children who have been born deformed as a result of the extensive spraying of Agent Orange. It is tragic and hit many of us close to heart. To shine light on this horrible tragedy, there was a display of paintings by children our age and younger from all over Vietnam promoting peace.

Our day was completed by a final walk around Ho Chi Minh City. We had to use all our bargaining skills at the local market. Our last dinner was a Vietnamese style barbecue where we were able to cook our dinner on a hot plate. We laughed and sang together at Karaoke to finish a long but excellent day.  It was a great way to finish our Big Experience trip to Vietnam.

Annemarie, Barry and Joss

Yellow Group Memorable Picks

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James and Reuben handing over a cash donation to the family of So Village, Mai Chau

Some of the group members handing over gifts to the children in So Village, Mai Chau

Who could forget the chicken dance on the last night at So Village, Mai Chau

Family members at the So Village, Mai Chau

Sophie with one of the local children, Hanoi

Temple of Literature

Our visitation to Ha Long Bay Caves

Daniel during the visit to Ha Long Bay

These girls had a great time in the rain during our visit to Hue

Cu Chi Tunnels

Tree, our Tour Guide, sharing his personal experience of the Vietnam War

Laura at the Orphanage, Ho Chi Minh City

Day 15 Ho Chi Minh City

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Vietnam Red have had an action packed last day in Vietnam.  Vas and Lucy J  are to write our blog entry. They will do this tomorrow as they are at present packing.

The following pictures will give you an idea of our day until then.

Waiting in the foyer of the hotel for our 7.30 am bus pick up

Henry and Jack ready to go

Lucy J with typical flower arrangement in hotel foyer

Leaving busy Ho chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnels guide showing us how the Viet Cong disappeared so quickly into the tunnels

Going

Going!

Gone

Various life size models of Viet Cong soldiers give us an idea of the lifestyle of the Viet Cong during the American war

Jack and a captured US Tank from the American War

One of the many home made traps made by the Viet Cong

More life size models at Cu Chi - weapons area

Buying blank bullets for the shooting range at Cu Chi

Experiencing the tunnels for ourselves

Eating local food at Cu Chi - fried rice, fried noodles or soup

War Remnants Museum Ho Chi Minh City

Last dinner out together in Vietnam - special BBQ Vietnamese style

We finished the day with Karaoke

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