Prior to the official match between Vietnam and the US for the final round of the 2023 World Cup this July in Australia and New Zealand, the “representatives” of the two countries had a friendly match with Fulbright students. “Representative for the Vietnamese team”, Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Trang – the new captain of the women’s football team, also a proud midfielder of Vietnamese football – and “representative for the US team”, Ms. Samantha Power – Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development USAID – shared the joy and excitement playing soccer with the students of Fulbright University Vietnam.
With the same passion for this sport, all the players on the field and the cheering crowd had a good time together. Although there was only a little time to warm up before the game started, both teams coordinated well to have beautiful passes and goals. Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, playing in the blue team, had many impressive moments with her smooth cuts and dribbling to the goal of the opposing team. The final score of 2-1 was led by the gold team, including a goal scored by Ms. Thuy Trang. Vietnam Silver Ball 2022. Under the sunset of District 7 Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City, representatives of the two countries and the students had a great time bonding and becoming teammates on the soccer field, as a beautiful resemblance of the strengthening relationship between Vietnam and the US.
After the game, Ms. Samantha had a cozy chat with Fulbright students from both the Undergraduate and Master’s programs. Highlighting the values of sport, Ms. Samantha shared: “Sport teaches us two very important things: teamwork because none of us can do it alone, and how to get up when you fall. If you have both of those things, chances are, you will be able to do anything you put your mind to.”
USAID Administrator was especially interested in Fulbright students’ learning journey. “I’m sure a lot of parents want to know what you are going to do [picking a major, and a career path at the age of merely 18]. But try to listen to what is going on inside of you as you get exposed to all these different areas is really important.
“I really like this atmosphere [at Fulbright] where all the students are very open-minded. Even if you are very good at something like Math or Engineering, you are still curious and willing to learn different things, allowing yourselves to explore interdisciplinary knowledge – to me that is a very valuable spirit.
“And those are also the core values of liberal arts education. Keep that curiosity, nurture this dynamic, inquisitive spirit of yours to continue to grow and try new things in the future. We need more young people like you!”
The activity with Fulbright students was part of the multi-day visit of the USAID Administrator, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Partnership (2013-2023) between the two countries. This is also an affirmation and strengthening of the Vietnam-US partnership marked by many years of extensive cooperation, including important USAID investments in Fulbright University Vietnam to support the University to become a leading institution in the region.