• Welcome to Volunteers for Peace Vietnam

Together make a better world

English Summer Classes

 Quản trị viên —  8/21/2017 —  362

"The love you take is equal to the love you make"

Volunteer’s name: Florence Lempereur

Nationality: France

Project: English Summer Classes  

Duration: 2 weeks


"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" is the last lyric you can hear on the Beatles' Abbey Road album. A simple statement closing a forty-five-minute trip into the unknown. My own trip lasted two weeks, and my unknown was Vietnam. No matter how different it was from a Fab Four album, it ended the exact same way.

I decided to take the plunge and travel alone for the first time in the middle of my first year of university. The excitement of a new life of independence and studies away from my home town had by then vanished, and I felt overwhelmed by work and personal issues. I was down in the dumps and needed to stop whining and focus on the well-being of others instead. Basically, I was craving for a challenge, so why not a useful one. That's when Ubelong and VPV came in. I applied to the English Community Class project and left for Vietnam in late June, ready to do my utmost to help, to try to give as much as I could to the people I would meet and work with.

What I hadn't foreseen, though, was the amount of care and attention I would be given. Not once had I expected such support and endorsement from just about everybody! International volunteers, Vietnamese teaching assistants and students alike all had something to bring to the others, as well as something to learn from them. Sharing was the invisible link, the unspoken promise, the implicit bond between us. We would teach the students English, they'd tell us about their culture and take us karaokeing. We would invite the teaching assistants over at VPV for tea, and they'd bring lychee along, treat us to green rice ice cream and show us around Hanoi. And what a delight it was! What's more, everybody was there to make a difference, so why not bond and make friends in the process – a very different attitude to life to the individualistic Western world I am used to! Mutual trust was our cement as we got to know one another, making us equals. And it worked: the second our students thanked us, I knew it had been worth all the work, I knew we'd been useful.

I was shown that the things that matter in life have to be shared, hence the reference to the Beatles' quote. Now more gratefully than ever, I echo their decades-old words : the love you take definitely is equal to the love you make.