Each day, Windward students are encouraged to learn and grow in ways that prepare them for a global future. This past June, 10 students and two faculty trip leaders met that future face-to-face by taking a journey to Vietnam. From a trip to the Chu Chi tunnels used by the vietnamese in nationalist struggles against the French and then the United States, to attending a traditional water puppet theater, the experience brought historical Vietnam to life. It also introduced the group to the ways that Vietnam is planning for its future, from a responsible tourism workshop, to participating in a community service project coordinated by the Red Cross and local socialist government officials in the town of Vinh Long. The officials shared that migration of young people to cities for economic opportunity leaves older people in the town needing support. The students accordingly spent several days in Vinh Long engaged in building a home for a community elder.
After working hard in Vinh Long, the group used night trains spanning the country to travel from South to North on a voyage that took them from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An and finally to Hanoi. The journey allowed students to witness firsthand colonial influences on Vietnam, the regional effects of capitalist and socialist economic influences, and the ways that everyday vietnamese people encounter a global world—from cyclo pedicabs to WhatsApp. The group’s experience resonated with curriculum in 10th and 11th Grade History courses, particularly Global Studies and the United States in the World. As students bring their global experiences into the classroom, these students will help to broaden the perspectives of the wider community, in turn demonstrating the importance of global education in a dynamic, engaging learning environment. Our Global trips program not only prepares students for a rapidly changing world, but supports them in engaging with it today.