Students from Melbourne have spent three weeks immersed in Vietnamese life and culture, as part of a new subject designed to foster and develop intercultural skills.
Pharmacy student Chariot Chan, originally from Singapore, said he found the course beneficial.
“If you come here as a tourist, you only get the first layer of what Vietnam is about. but with this contextual model of study, everything helps us understand the culture at a deeper level,” he said.
The group participated in a range of off-campus modules, which included a visit to the Mekong Delta among other significant sites.
The 26 students then presented their findings on an aspect of Vietnamese culture that best applied to their studies.
They also submitted critical incident narratives on their “new-arrival” experiences , and will later write critical reflection reports rooted in the intercultural competence theory they learned during the subject.
Master of Marketing student John Forest said taking part in the subject was a “no-brainer”.
“I think in order for a developing country to go further, you need more entrepreneurs,” he said.
“In my field, where there are start-ups are looking to engage with experienced and qualified people, it makes sense to experience this culture first-hand.”
RMIT Vietnam Learning and Teaching Manager and subject coordinator Catherine Peck said graduates need to be exposed to different types of learning and be able to explicitly deal with diversity.
“The great thing about a course like this, is that it is interdisciplinary and explicitly fosters student development of cultural awareness and intercultural competence and global citizenship,” Peck said.
“The fact that it occurs in an environment like this, where students can have first-hand experience to reflect on and work into their learning cycle, is quite remarkable.”
The visit was part of RMIT’s Global Summer program, which also saw eight RMIT Vietnam students study in Barcelona, Spain.
A group of 29 Vietnam students travelled to Melbourne at the start of the year for a similar experience.
Story: Jon Aspin