B&FC students visit Vietnam to expand horizons

Published on 24/10/2018 by pfi

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) Society, Health and Childhood staff took a group of students on a life-changing visit to Vietnam to gain valuable skills.

Tutors Deb Audin and Alesa Marsh organised the trip to Hanoi, where the 11 students involved helped develop English language skills among local pupils through fun and engaging learning practices.

The group also spent time at the Friendship Village, a centre set up for people affected by the pesticide Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War. Deb said:

“The students volunteered in a range of different settings and acquired new skills and knowledge which will support them throughout their adult lives and have given them memories to last a lifetime.

“They gave the Vietnamese children a great insight into how learning could be made fun as teaching in general was quite regimented and predominately done by rote. Along with developing listening and speaking skills, the students taught English by introducing a range of games.”

The Vietnamese continue to be affected by deformities, disabilities and cancers caused from previous generations’ exposure to the toxic defoliant, which was used by the U.S. military to thin jungle where enemy troops could be hiding. It is still not known how long these health conditions will continue to affect future generations.

During their time at the village, students supported children and young people with a range of activities including music and movement, personal care and developing vocational skills. The students also had the opportunity to meet veterans who relayed their experience of the war.

Student Jodie Toal, 19, from Marton, said:

“My time in Vietnam has taught me what I want out of life, and allowed me to reflect on my life in England. It has influenced me to escape all negativity because life is simply too short, especially having discussed the lives of the veterans.”

Jodie Toal working as a volunteer in Vietnam
Jodie Toal working as a volunteer in Vietnam


At the Friendship Village, the students were also asked to give a presentation based on living in the United Kingdom at a cultural evening, alongside other volunteers from countries including Italy, Cambodia, China and the United States. Deb added:

“We arrived in Vietnam not knowing quite what to expect and we all left with a piece of Vietnam in our hearts. The people we met during our time there went out of their way to welcome us and we will always remember them fondly.

“The teachers and the staff at the school allowed us to work with their children and gave us the opportunity to introduce new ways of teaching - it was a learning curve for all of us.

“The way our students engaged with the trip and adapted to such different surroundings made us extremely proud and I hope they have developed skills which they will carry through the rest of their lives.”

It is now hoped to make the trip an annual event in order to give students the opportunity to gain additional skills which will support them throughout their careers.

For more information about courses in Society, Health and Childhood click here.