Last week, Thuc Anh, Hoang Dzung, and Phuong Anh from Fulbright University Vietnam participated in the 10th United Asian Debating Championship (UADC 10), the first international debate championship organized in Vietnam.
The competition attracted the participation of 63 teams from across Asia including Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, etc.
The Fulbright team was ranked first among the Vietnamese debate team and only stopped short at the Quarter Finals, losing to team BINUS of Indonesia, the Champion of EFL break. This is a great accomplishment for the team, whose accumulative debate experience contributed to only less than half a year, and also for Vietnam, for no Vietnamese debate team had ever passed the qualification round.
Though they did not come away with the ultimate title, the Fulbright team came away with what they wanted to accomplish: to participate in an international debate championship as a team; and to learn from teams which have years of experience. They achieved this success by overcoming many different challenges.
Trust. Debating is a team sport – you must work together during the 25-minute crunch to prepare your case and during the 1-hour intense debate. This was their first challenge to overcome; and they succeeded in developing a rapport to catch and constantly build on each other debating points. After eight qualification debating rounds, our three students grew to be much stronger, closer, and more understanding towards each other.
Loss. Like any other competition, debating is as much about winning as it is about learning from each loss. The Fulbright team proved their resilience by learning how to improve their debating skills from every match, won or lost.
After each match, all three members attentively listened to the adjudicators’ analysis on what the team did well and what they didn’t. Their track record showed that though they won some and lost some, their debating scores kept getting better after each match. It is this eagerness to learn that will help them in their future competitions.
Connection. Being the newbies in such competition may be intimidating for some, but not for Fulbright students. They understood that their roles were not simply being the participants but also being the ambassadors for a newly established Fulbright University Vietnam.
They charmed their friends, acknowledged their opponents, and built new connections beyond the realm of the competition. Thuc Anh, Phuong Anh, and Hoang Dzung even set up friendly sparring session with their former opponents from other universities in Asia after UADC 10. With such spirit, for these students only the sky is the limit.