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The three weeks I spent at the Thung Hung School in Long My, Vietnam, were challenging, rewarding, and memorable. At the Coach for College camp, I coached soccer, taught English, and was on the Yellow Bumblebees team. Over the three weeks I gained an appreciation for cultural differences, being open to different cultural norms, collaborating with the Vietnamese, showing little acts of kindness, communicating with a language barrier, being present, and enjoying the little moments.

One of my favorite memories with our 9th graders was in our Week Two life skills session about self-esteem. Our coaching staff came up with a fun activity where we shouted one thing that we are proud of about ourselves into the rice fields that were outside the school. The goal of the activity was for each student to be proud about one quality about themselves as a form of self-love and increase self-esteem. We danced our way out of the school in conga line singing to Taylor Swift songs, and then we stood on the side of the road and looked out in the distance in the rice patty fields. As each of us shouted one thing we are proud of we listened into the distance. The activity was an incredible opportunity for introspection for the students and coaches but also to support one another as a Yellow Bumblebee team member. This activity was a personal moment for each of us to share a personal quality despite a language barrier and insecurities.

On our last day of the camp, our Yellow Bumblebees shared their favorite memory from the summer and a lot of our 9th graders shared that they loved our adventure to the rice patty field. This activity was a fun way to practice self-love and have our students and coaches share a unique moment together to be proud of themselves. After this activity, the students approached learning academics and sports more confidently and opened up to their peers and coaches around them. These little moments of observation where we were present became special moments where the students and coaches connected and appreciated each other for our different qualities.

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