After two weeks of working together, us coaches have all become much closer as a group; we have shared a lot about our backgrounds, culture, and more. As such, this past weekend has been a great time to reflect upon the relationships we have developed thus far.
I could not imagine a better group of people to work with on the other side of the world. However, for this post, I would like to focus on my American counterparts from Duke.
I have loved working with the student-athletes from Duke. They embody all of the ideal characteristics for this program—dedication, motivation, and a strong work ethic. We push each other every day to improve our lesson plans and help the kids as much as possible.
However, we are simultaneously a diverse group of people with a wide range of personalities. We come from different backgrounds and have different approaches to helping the kids. This diversity is evident during our life skills class. In this class we get the opportunity to teach the kids about essential aspects of life, such as: teamwork, leadership, and having a good attitude. When we plan for each class, we share the various exercises, stories, and activities that we think would best teach the lesson. I strongly believe that the plans that we have made together would not be as good if there weren’t as many of us.
The collaboration with both the Duke and Vietnamese coaches has made this program very successful. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to work with them.
After we reflected on our experiences with other student-athletes, we thought that it would be interesting to interview one of our Vietnamese counterparts, Khanh.
“This program offers an opportunity to build so many new relationships, and I will forever value the ones I have made with our Stanford counterparts.”
In addition, we have made relationships with the Vietnamese coaches that are just as strong but very unique. Khanh teaches physics with me and is on the Green color team with Sajan, so we thought it would be awesome to see what she has to say about the program. She has amazing English and a great sense of humor, so without further ado, here is a bit of Q & A with her!
Q: What are your thoughts on the Vietnamese coaches?
A: We are all very different, I like to control things. Yền, working in my same team color, is so sweet and has a different way of talking to the kids. She is so nice and I’m like “They need discipline!”,but the kids still write on their Life Skills test that the one thing they will take away from camp is how much the coaches care about them. We all just want to inspire them.
Q: What about the American coaches?
A: They bring so much energy and sport experience! To be honest I used to never like sports. To see the kids competing and to see their fire, their dedication and their eagerness, I really learn a lot from that. I might even start to run or try a squat or a plank sometime!
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of this program?
A: Before I came here I was really worried about being able to inspire the kids and help them learn dedication. I want to help them and they need our help. I want to help them pursue higher education so much! I can’t sleep at night. I think a lot about what I want to say to them and teach them in the limited time that we have. I want to learn their stories, but I’m not a psychologist. I have no experience so that is challenging and I wish I could do more or that I could prepare more for them.