The two-week orientation program was an invigorating experience for Class of 2026 (Co26) to familiarize themselves with life at Fulbright University Vietnam. This was set out to help our freshmen develop new skills, connect with the community, and establish meaningful relationships.
One week into the very first semester at Fulbright University Vietnam, many of the freshmen found themselves amazed at how the Orientation Weeks 2022 had worked to ease in their every step navigating university life, from finding classrooms on campus to getting access to a wide range of student services.
Made possible by the Student Engagement unit and accompanied by a multitude of university-wide departments, the two-week orientation program was a comprehensive introduction of Fulbright to its more than 200 newbies of Co26. The program comprised numerous informative workshops and recreational activities, aiming to foster 11 change-maker competencies, including innovative & creative thinking, ethical reasoning, critical thinking, knowledge, collaboration, effective communication, reasoning, lifelong learning, civic engagement, health & wellness, and sense of self.
With small teams allocated in the first week, the second half of Orientation Weeks 2022 brought about new challenges for newbies to work with each other and get hands-on experience, in and beyond the classroom. “All of these lessons get the students ready for the upcoming journey and lay a solid bedrock for lifelong learning and excellence as engaged members of society,” exclaimed Ms. Ruby Nguyen, Student Engagement Manager, Office of Student Life.
Fulbright’s First Project
“Given three months, what project would you implement to enhance the student life at Fulbright University Vietnam?” was the challenge prompt for Co26’s Fulbright’s First Project.
The project pushed our newcomers to turn their own imagination of college life into reality, given insights and resources at Fulbright of which they have learned in the past week. Aiming to empower students to lead the change that can directly impact their upcoming journey, the Office of Student Life will grant up to VND 30,000,000 to the winning team so they can bring their project to life.
The judging panel comprised Mr. Steve Paris – Director of Student Life, Dr. Dinh Vu Trang Ngan – Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Ms. Dinh Thi Binh Duong – Director of Finance, and Mr. Mitch Kirby – Senior Education Advisor, United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The selection criteria for the winning projects are booth decoration, challenge identification, innovative & creative thinking, implementation plan, and teamwork.
After hours of brainstorming, on Friday, September 16, twenty teams showcased their projects in a booth to the Fulbright community, and make their presentation to the judges. “All of the projects were not only practical, but also heartwarming, and social-oriented,” praised Ms. Dinh Thi Binh Duong. “Our freshmen are surely bringing a breath of fresh air to Fulbright. They come with inclusivity, an unyielding passion of youth, and personality diversity. Despite the time constraint, our newbies still pursued their projects with unwavering professionalism, which showed in the way they delivered their presentation, convinced the audience, and answered the judges’ questions”.
Group 19 brought home the championship with Fulbike, making bicycles the means of transportation for Fulbright’s Waterfront residential freshmen. Riding a bike improves not only physical fitness but also one’s learning abilities and mental health. It can even develop your sense of adventure. Fulbike, when coming true, will provide free bikes for freshmen to get to the Fulbright campus quickly.
Running up was Group 5 with its Subject Tracking Website, solving the issue of tracking required courses in a liberal arts university like Fulbright. No matter if you pick a dual or single major, no matter if you are confident with your academic choices or you are still figuring it out, the website will assist you in navigating the challenges of academic progress and realizing your potential.
Tackling homesickness, a common problem that many Fulbright students shared moving away from home, the Fulture Fair (Fulbright Culture Fair) of Group 7 won the Second Runner Up prize. In the projected fair, students will ‘bring their homeland to Fulbright’ and share with each other their diverse culture: cuisine, clothing, dialects, stories, and photos.
SignLang of Group 20 won the Consolation Prize with a profound mission. Focusing on empathy, diversity, and communications, SignLang aims to help teach sign language to the Admission Team, facilitating their approach to Fulbright candidates with disabled hearing. The team members will also initiate optional sign language classes for Fulbright students in collaboration with the local hearing aid center.
Apart from the judges’ decision, Sweet Therapy Station of Group 3 won the People’s Choice Award with the highest vote casted by Fulbright students and staff. The Sweet Therapy Station will offer free daily-replenished protein bars, sweets, and coffee aimed to improve the productivity and alertness of the Fulbright community. Furthermore, it will also address the problem of those with low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, with immediate help.
Flamee-inspired recreational activities
Filled with project-based activities, the Orientation Weeks 2022 also introduced newbies with buoyant recreational activities that help them to loosen up, and foster critical thinking and collaboration among members.
Like an amusement park, “Flamee Park” consisted of numerous game stations, such as Road to Fullympia, The Price is Right, Lemon Soda Station, and Teamlepathy. Each of which asked for a specific knowledge or skill that required all team effort.
“Uncover Flamen’s Secret” was an exciting quest. Based on Flamee Journey Handbook, Flamee stumbles upon the secret treasure left by their grandfather, Elder Flamen. To decipher ancient writings, the little flame embarks on a journey that sharpens their understandings and reasonings. The conundrums were divided into pairs of ciphers, which, when linked, reveal an interesting detail about the treasure. Each team was to find hidden codes scattered around Fulbright’s District 7 campus, the Waterfront Residence, and Lawrence S.Ting Foundation, all of which are locations the freshmen will frequent in the upcoming college days.
Along with many student-centered programs for Co26, the Student Engagement Unit also organized a parents orientation meeting to connect them with Student Life, Academic Affairs, and Admissions. Attending the event, parents learned about the Undergraduate programs and the multitude of student-run initiatives at Fulbright. They were also able to resolve their concerns through direct dialogues with Fulbright staff regarding the upcoming 4 years of their beloved children.
The orientation program culminated in a Closing Ceremony, celebrating achievements of Co26 in the past fortnight with a variety of performances by talented student clubs and the freshmen themselves. The ceremony announced the winning teams of Fulbright’s First Project, and honored the dedication of many Student Orientation Leaders. If it were not for these enthusiastic volunteers, the initiative would not have made such a lasting impact to our newbies.
“I realized the most wonderful thing in every Fulbrighter is the willingness to engage. Everyone is just so willing to help and feel for someone, regardless of who they are or where they come from,” said Trần Nguyễn Hạnh Nguyên, a student of Co26 and also the Best Participant in Orientation Weeks 2022. “The program helped me make new friends and come to understand what it is like to be a Fulbright student. From the very beginning to the last day, I was so welcomed with open arms and companionship that, even in some moments, I did not feel like a newbie at all!”
Launched on September 5, the first half of Orientation Weeks 2022 has seen a multitude of remarkable events brought together by university-wide departments for more than 250 Fulbright freshmen.
The hustle and bustle returns to Fulbright University Vietnam campus in every corner with Orientation Weeks 2022. As buoyant layers of the two-week program unfold, Class of 2026 students have been familiarizing themselves with university life through the Flamee Journey Handbook, offered by Fulbright’s Student Engagement Unit.
Ranging from innovative and creative thinking to civic engagement, Orientation Weeks 2022 is packed with informative workshops and captivating activities. By participating in these sessions, Fulbright newbies can collect stickers for their Flamee Journey Handbook to receive exclusive gifts while learning new skills, making new friends, and above all, developing inner strength for their new future at Fulbright.
The program kicked off with Welcome Day, causing a sensation around campus with innovative check-in initiatives to help Class of 2026 students ease some pressure on their first day at school.
At the entrance of the university’s Common Area, the Teddy Bear Corner hosted more than 100 stuffed animals for students. While easing off the anxieties of transitioning to a new life may require far more than just the companionship of a plushie, the Teddy Bear Corner was an inventive initiative that encouraged Fulbright rookies to be more attentive to their perfectly normal sense of alienation. Cleaned and sanitized every day before being handed over to freshmen, something as simple as stuffed animals was tremendously effective for one’s mental health, especially when changes were in flux.
Emotional Board was another initiative to promote mindfulness where newbies were encouraged to record their emotions, either by writing or sketching, in colorful sticky notes. Besides serving as a light-hearted engaging activity that helped freshmen to be observant of their wellbeing, the Emotional Board was also a stunning feature wall to look at.
Many Class of 2026 students were dazzled by the ‘Welcome to Fulbright’ board. By taking selfie pictures with their names on the board, newcomers can give themselves a pat on the back while earning some stickers for their Flamee Journey Handbook. Regardless of their diversity in life experiences and beliefs, these eager young talents made their way to Fulbright to help build a pluralistic learning community and a transformative education environment.
Service Fair was a vibrant setting where the freshmen were introduced to Fulbright’s 11 student-centered departments and units for the very first time. Ranging from Learning Support to Career Development, these booths allowed the Class of 2026 to gain better insight into all of the services available for their upcoming interdisciplinary growth. By visiting each booth and chatting with Fulbright staff, they learned the ultimate guideline to get the most out of university experience, while bringing home meaningful gifts as well as collecting Flamee stamps and stickers.
As the Class of 2026 navigated the Fulbright campus for the first time, they were to small groups of 10-15 students. Over lunches, they participated in ice-breaking group activities and learned about self-care techniques to identify varying ranges of emotions. Facilitated among small bonding spaces in and out of campus, this initiative fostered meaningful dialogues among young adults about mental health and at the same time, helped them form rewarding connections and build communities with their fellow students.
Fullife FulNight was a joyous event organized by the Residential Life Unit for both residents and non-residents at the Waterfront Residence. From making origami, painting each other’s nails to peer pong and karaoke booths, the event enabled participants to loosen up, adapt to their new residence and forge connections with flatmates before their first academic school year starts.
Held for only one night during the two-week program, the Fullife FulNight offered a glimpse of many thrilling activities to come including Bustle, Fullife and WeCARE initiatives. These valuable living and learning experiences beyond the classroom will focus on embracing diversity, interpersonal development, communication skills, and the empowerment of independence.
Movie Night was another all-out effort made possible by the Student Engagement Unit. Classrooms were transformed into screening rooms, tickets were printed out and even the claw machines were brought to campus. All of which were to bring about a one-of-a-kind Fulbright movie theater experience where Fulbright freshmen can enjoy iconic films with each other. Among “Inside Out”, “Moana”, “Enola Holmes”, and “How To Train Your Dragon”, they got to choose their favorite movies to watch as well as mix popcorn and soft drinks. Afterward, students had a good laugh by testing their luck at the claw machines and trying out temporary tattoo stickers.
Club Fair was probably the most talked-about event of the Orientation Weeks so far. A joint effort between the Fulbright Student Council and the Student Engagement Unit, the event took place last Saturday, September 10. With the radiant presence of all 27 student clubs spanning from academics to society to sports and arts, the Club Fair was a hit to many Class of 2026 students and an eye-opening phenomenon unlike any other event before.
After making the epic grand entrance towards their designated booths, all of the club executives invited the freshmen to engage in different types of activities and get to know the dynamic of many Fulbright-affiliated organizations. Whether it was recruitment, advertising an event, fundraising, supporting a cause, or awareness outreach, these clubs swept newcomers off their feet with mutually fervent enthusiasm. As the academic year is approaching, the Club Fair gave newbies a sneak-peek into club operations at Fulbright and encouraged them to choose the right community, which in turn, will foster their growth in the upcoming journey with the university.
As summer recedes into fall, the new semester at Fulbright University Vietnam is just around the corner with hundreds of new and returning students start filling our multicultural campus at District 7, Ho Chi Minh City. After scaling back to an online solution because of the pandemic last year, we are excited to bring back our traditional Orientation Weeks on campus, with occasional hybrid options to welcome 250 students of the Class of 2026.
The two-week orientation is a robust lineup of events that will warmly welcome new students and familiarize them with university life. The initiative is expected to equip Fulbright newbies with essential competencies and human+ skills, enabling a smooth transition from high school to university. The freshmen will also be able to develop a sense of belonging at Fulbright, get to know the campus and the multitude of student services, and form meaningful connections with new friends, lecturers, and staff. As an extra perk, a special orientation kit and merchandise for every active engagement will be sent out as a means of recognition.
The Class of 2026 will be split into groups of 10-15 students led by a volunteer senior, also known as Student Orientation Leaders, and kickstart their Flamee Journey together. Inspired by a little flame – Flamee, who constantly takes on challenges to acquire a wealth of intriguing knowledge and skills to fulfill its lifelong dream of becoming the most sparkling Firework, each Fulbright newcomer will set their upcoming 4-year Flamee journey in motion, starting with Orientation Weeks 2022.
After much buzz and anticipation, the program finally kicks off today, September 5, and is guaranteed to bring joy to every Fulbright new faces. They will have a chance to explore the campus, get to know the student services, collect their Student ID and Orientation Kit, and take part in important information sessions including Service Fair and OneStop introduction.
In the next couple of days, the worth-waiting #FulReady Workshops will take place, introducing the youth to 11 Co-Curricular Activity Competencies ranging from innovative and creative thinking, and reasoning, to effective communications and collaborations, just to name a few. While embarking on their uniquely dynamic growth, newbies will also get hands-on knowledge and be critical of Fulbright’s academic expectations and social norms, in and out-of-class programs, student services, and relevant resources, along with many other learning and development opportunities available.
Laden with numerous workshops is a variety of physical and recreational activities that encourage newcomers to be aware of a healthy lifestyle and social connection, hence, enriching their upcoming university experience. During the next two weeks, multiple physical activities will be hosted both on and off campus, among them the First Fulbright Project, which will foster self-reflection and emotional awareness at the end of the orientation program. Even though transitioning from high school to university may span more than merely a fortnight, being mindful of changes and the roller coaster ride of emotions is a great start for any freshman.
May the upcoming four years at Fulbright bring each Flamee a breadth of knowledge, a light of wisdom, and a solid bedrock to an intentional, fulfilling life. Welcome to the family!
View the detailed schedule of Orientation Weeks 2022 HERE.