“ 6 months later, it’s time to say goodbye to a city which became my second home, Hanoi. It’s also time to look back on that adventure…
Since the 14th of January, I got the chance to experience an amazing adventure, really enriching, both professional and personally. I remember arriving full of doubts, fears and hesitations. I leave grown up and stronger after living these wonderful 6 months.
Indeed, the first days weren’t easy. You feel a mix of emotions : at the same time, you feel the excitement of being in a new country, discovering a new culture and living a crazy adventure, but you are also confronted to a lot of questions (did I make the right choice ? Can I do it ? …). and a culture shock. But finally, I can say that I am proud of myself and what I accomplished during my volunteering. I faced my fears and overcomed the obstacles.
The first thing I learned from this adventure is to dare facing my fears and never give up, because if you fight against yourself, you will realise everything you can actually do and how strong you are. But mainly, you will live something unique that will always stay in your mind and in your heart.
The 16th of January, first afternoon at the school to meet the teachers before starting the project on the 17th. I’m very grateful to Huong and Linh for how welcoming they are, and for the friendship we shared during these 6 months ! I was really lucky to teach French with them. Thank you for your trust and your kindness ! I had the opportunity to prepare the exams, to help kids with their pronunciation, to animate classes and to organise activities in class as well as create the choreography for the second grade’s show (a beautiful memory).
Of course, during the first week, the kids and I were shy, we had to get to know each other. I also had to find a way to communicate with the first graders, who just started leaning French, The sharing happened through smiles, hugs and games with them during the breaks.
I had the opportunity to teach in every classes from 1st to 5th grades and each of these classes brought me something. Although they didn’t know, they have been an important part of my stay here : my 6 months went by like seconds thanks to their smiles and their will of sharing. I am going to miss them very much and I hope I brought them as much as possible. I will never forget their “Co Camille ! Co Camille!’ followed by a hug, and how they all jump on you to say hello. Thank you to the kids and the teachers for making my stay unforgettable !
The second thing I learned from this experience is that the language barrier is not an obstacle to build relationships. To the house and all its volunteers, what to say except thank you for making this experience so unique. I didn’t just meet strangers or housemates, I met real friends. With the travels (Sa Pa, Da Nang, Hoi An, Kuala Lumpur…) and the moments spent in Hanoi, I leave with a head full of memories !
Another important part of my adventure has been a few people in the house, who I wouldn’t have gotten the same experience without ! I will never thank you enough for being here for me ! <we will meet again but I’ll miss you !
The third thing I will remember from this experience is that wherever you are from, whatever your background is, you can create beautiful friendships.
About Vietnam, going from the airport to the house was a big shock ! The old looks like an anthill : there is people and motorbikes everywhere, coming from every directions, … You can also see motorbikes’ drivers wearing kitchen gloves, carrying big things on the bike or even 4 or 5 people on the same bike ! So, at the beginning you think “OMG, I will never get use to it” but in the end, you are just an ant in the middle of there others. You cross roads with your hands up, like the Vietnamese, to make the drivers understand that you decided to cross the road : the motorbikes go around you and the cars honk at you to make you go faster. Apart from the craziness of the Hanoian traffic, people are welcoming and kind. They will always smile at you and greet you “hello”, both kids and adults. I had beautiful encounters and I have to say Vietnam is really welcoming !
Concerning the landscapes, everything is said through the pictures.
Of course, not everything is said in this summary because it is impossible to picture exactly how I feel and what I lived. I will never forget this adventure and it is one of the most beautiful experience I had. 2018 is the year of a new start and I can’t wait to see what more it is going to bring my way.
Thank you Vietnam for everything you gave me. Thank you to VPV staff for allowing me to have such a great time. And thank you to the volunteers who accompanied me through this adventure and made it unique.
Cam on Vietnam ! Tam Biet !”