Learning at Fulbright is like going on a cultural exchange program. The contrast and the fulfillment between traditions, celebrations of different culture happen at every moment.
When the idea of celebrating Teacher’s Day was just a spark in our mind, we used to think that, because this is a Vietnamese celebration, a small and warm meeting should be enough.
But wait, why a Vietnamese celebration only need to be small and warm?
After a period of time in Fulbright, I unconsciously had a mindset that I was the only one exploring a new Western culture but forgot that the faculty members were also learning about Vietnamese culture.
From then we came up with a fascinating combination: a super fun, Co-designing event in the morning, and a formal, traditional ceremony in the afternoon for all of our faculty!
In order to organize this event, we asked Ryan (our Chief Academic Officer) a favor! Due to our reckless and not-afraid-of -anything (not really) ethic, we asked Ryan to send for the faculty members an “urgent meeting” email to receive our surprise present.
I thought that we would be investigated for more information but Ryan just said: “I am ready to help, I love surprise things!”. That’s to prove how much our faculty members believe in us.
In that D-Day morning, when all the faculty members were enjoying their “áo dài” and were being photographed by Co-designer like celebrities on the red carpet, they suddenly became worried because of Ryan’s email.
Even when we were setting up the room for the surprise, thầy Hùng told us: “Do not mess up this room, it is for the important faculty meeting”, or when thầy Minh hurriedly rushed to the room was so remarkable.
After the faculty was greeted in the meeting room with the “urgent meeting” line on the screen, Ryan opened the talk by “serious problem”, and turned on the video that we prepared! As the video just ended, Co-designers sang “I love you” of Barney, made the faculty really enjoyable.
In the afternoon, each faculty member attended the ceremony was given a rose on their chest in order to show our gratitude for them. All the teachers in their áo dài were really excited experiencing every part of the ceremony and cosseting our flowers. This made me feel unbelievable why we thought the formal ceremony would not fascinate anyone!
The Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, we believe, is not only for Vietnamese teachers, but a day for us to show our appreciation and gratitude for all the teachers in Vietnam, especially our “special” friends (which mean teachers) in Fulbright. Most importantly, I learned that every culture in Fulbright is equally loved, cared, and shared among others.