“Amazing Vietnam” inspires students through cultural awareness

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    Amazing Vietnam: Journey to the Motherland kicked off TCU Community Week with an evening that students said encouraged them to want to travel and learn more about new cultures.

    The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) provided an opportunity for a sold-out audience to engage in a new culture as they journeyed through a musical experience of four major Vietnamese cities.

    “Now I want to go to Vietnam someday,” first-year pre-major Alejandra Venavidez said. “I’m much more aware of this culture than I was before.”

    First-year sociology and psychology double major Matt Hanson said the showcase opened his eyes to a new world.

    “I’m inspired and would love to go to Vietnam someday because I loved learning about their culture,” Hanson said.

    The learning began with a traditional Vietnamese dinner before the showcase in the Brown-Lupton University Union Friday evening.

    After dinner, the audience embarked on a journey through the cities of Hanoi, Hue, Can Tho and Saigon.

    The experiences of a fictional American-born Vietnamese Fulbright scholar, Viet, that traveled to Vietnam for the first time became the audience’s experiences as well.

    “In each city, Viet witnessed something unique to that region through song, hip-hop, traditional dancing or a fashion show,” said Ken Nhan, a junior business information systems and supply chain management double major and president and founder of VSA.

    Some students attended because they knew some of the performers and wanted to learn more about their culture.

    “I was inspired to come because I am friends with someone in it and wanted to support them and experience their history and culture,” Hanson said.

    Faculty and staff said they were pleased with the turn-out and impressed by the talent and hard work of the VSA members.

    Professor Randy Lewis, the VSA advisor, said he thought that they did an excellent job.

    “I expected them to do a great job because they’re such hard workers, but they outdid themselves and the name is appropriate: ‘Amazing Vietnam,'” Lewis said. 

    The members of VSA were excited about their performance and thankful for the support they received.

    “Everyone was so happy and we did our best,” said Mia Dinh, a sophomore marketing and accounting double major and member of VSA. “We just wanted to raise awareness for everyone about Vietnam and Vietnamese culture, but those that now want to go to Vietnam exceeded our expectations.”

    Rachel Sandfort, sophomore child development major and member of VSA, said she was also overjoyed with the success of the event and her performance of a Vietnamese song.

    “It was a joy to be able to sing a song in their language and I wanted to bring honor to their culture as much as I could.” 

    Lieu Nguyen, former Sodexo employee, modeled the Ao Dai, the Vietnamese national costume, so she could show her community the beauty of her indigenous culture.

    “I believe TCU would be a better place if we all learned to welcome and embrace cultural differences,” Nguyen said. 

    Cultural awareness, embracing differences and discovering global citizenship are emphasized in the mission statement of TCU. 

    “I was able to experience an evening where we were working towards our mission statement and it’s an honor to be a part of things that fulfill what our mission is at TCU,” Hanson said.