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ACE in Vietnam has been one of the coolest experiences of my life thus far. It’s hard to fully and accurately encompass how unique and special our time in Vietnam was because it was full of so many new people, places, food and so much more! I believe my time as part of ACE and Coach for College already has and will continue to influence my life in many ways.

When I reflect upon my three weeks in Vietnam, the people, the American and Vietnamese college coaches, the CFC directors, and undoubtedly the students, have been the best part of the experience by far. In terms of the American and Vietnamese college coaches as well as the CFC directors, it was motivating and encouraging to be surrounded by people who were kind-hearted and extremely hard working. On a daily basis, the coaches brought so much energy and fun to the students of the camp through their passionate coaching and patient teaching. The consistency of their positive attitude and unyielding thoughtfulness, even in the face of some tiredness and ailments, were awesome to be around. On a daily basis, piggy-back-rides were given and water balloons were hurled at one another as simple ways coaches could keep camp light-hearted and full of laughter for the students. I’m so grateful to have been in the presence of people who were so enthused and excited to teach and ensure that the students of CFC were having a blast.

From my time spent with the coaches and directors of ACE in Vietnam, I will remember the importance of always giving it your all in everything that you do with a smile on your face and with an open heart.

The love, time, and effort displayed by the coaches and directors of CFC every day for the sixth and seventh grade Vietnamese students is something I will never forget. By the end of our three weeks in Vietnam, it was difficult to say goodbye to the coaches and CFC directors because of all our shared experiences and the wonderful conversations we had with one another. It was clear to see how far-reaching openness to learning about one another’s backgrounds and lives fostered meaningful relationships. From my time spent with the coaches and directors of ACE in Vietnam, I will remember the importance of always giving it your all in everything that you do with a smile on your face and with an open heart.

Aside from the directors and coaches of CFC, the Vietnamese sixth and seventh grade students made this experience so incredible and greatly impacted my daily outlook on life. They were extremely kind and a little shy at first but very welcoming and generous. They, too, were relentlessly hard-working. Through spending time with the students, I was mesmerized by their passion to learn more about academics and athletics. Each day, the students showed up prepared with their books, pencils, pens and huge smiles on their faces ready to learn. Many students rode their bikes to school, some for distances up to over an hour just to attend camp. Most students arrived early and would greet us with waves, smiles, high fives, and even hugs as we walked off the bus and into the school. In the classroom and on the field, there was often a determination to understand and accomplish the material or skills being presented by the coaches. It was wonderful to see how genuinely engaged and resolved the students were to grow in their academic and athletic pursuits. I loved having the opportunity to help teach English specifically because by the end of the camp, many of the students would try their hardest to have conversations in English with you, which could be really hard and frightening for students.

students in pink shirts
The 6th grade pink team wins the championship!

These students have ultimately taught me the importance of appreciating and making the most of my educational opportunities as well as opportunities to play sport. I will always remember their strength and passion to follow and go after their academic and athletic goals.

Thank you ACE in Vietnam for everything! This has been an unforgettable journey that I will always be grateful for and cherish dearly!

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