In academic year 2021-2022, Fulbright University Vietnam (Fulbright) launches a new residence within the Docklands Saigon compound, just a five-minute shuttle bus ride away from the D7 campus. Approximately 82% of Fulbright’s undergraduate population lived on campus in the 2020-2021 academic year, and the new Docklands Residence will increase residential spaces enough to accommodate more students as Fulbright remains committed to providing students with a traditional residential, liberal arts-inspired education.

Believing that students should get the best out of their college experience, Fulbright hopes to provide students a home on campus, within the heart of all that is going on. “The Docklands Residence, like the Waterfront Residence, will continue providing a safe, supportive, inclusive, and engaging residential environment for all sophomores and juniors. Our residential model supports lifelong learning by integrating the intellectual and social lives of our students. These valuable living and learning experiences beyond the classroom will focus on embracing diversity, interpersonal development, communication skills, and the empowerment of independence,” shared Mr. Steve Paris, Director of Student Life at Fulbright University Vietnam.

The Docklands Residence will have accommodation for 234 students, in 39 apartments. Each of the fully-furnished three-bedroom apartment has two bathrooms, a shared kitchen and living space, and a balcony. One apartment can house a maximum of six students, with two students per room, where they share a bunk bed and a study area.

The new residence is an apartment-style living with a multitude of amenities such as a fitness center with yoga facilities, tennis courts, a pool, and a library. Shuttle bus service from the Residence to Campus and vice versa will also be provided.

In addition to residential life playing a key role in the college experience, the new Docklands residence will provide Fulbright students with a fitting environment that supports student development, wellness, and academics. Students living in Fulbright residence can get access to three exciting programs – Bustle, FulLife, and WeCARE, which are managed and organized by the Residential Life team to fulfill the basic needs of students, support them with any physical or mental issues, and record information that is useful for further program development.

A team of on-site staff, including Resident Advisors and Student Resident Advisors will provide student support for residential students. In addition, Fulbright’s security and health consultant, International SOS, will be available 24/7 for any emergency happening when a student is under Fulbright’s care.

At Fulbright, we commit to developing the whole person, so the place where students live is an important part of the Fulbright experience,” Mr. Paris said. “We are excited to meet the needs of our students by offering a new home and an inclusive environment for them while they study with us.”

At 8 years old, I was a hyperenergetic child that gave my parents a hard time pacifying. A short course of martial arts that was supposed to burn my excessive energy was counterproductive when I started “practicing” on my poor little brother. As a last resort to simmer me down, mom sent me to a guitar class. Unexpectedly, it was the beginning of my passion for music.

In just one month, I improved immensely. I appeared to have a talent for music, as I could practice new pieces with ease and enthusiasm. Music was what I enjoyed learning the most. Guitar had become more than just a hobby – I couldn’t live without it. After zealously performing at local shows and participating in local guitar contests, I accumulated a small collection of prizes. With the care and attention needed to tend a garden, I nourished my love for music. The more I practiced the guitar, the more I realized it had become an inseparable part of myself.

Experiencing outside the box

The freshman year of high school is an important milestone for everyone. With my desire to learn in a nurturing, dynamic and open environment, which is rather scarce in my hometown, Pleiku, I decided to aim for Gia Lai province’s only school for gifted students. I failed to get in the English-specialized class, so I chose chemistry instead even though I didn’t care much for it. This probably explains why I felt incomplete throughout high school, with the mediocre scores to boot. I was always yearning for more, as if something essential was missing from my life.

In the summer of 10th grade, the stuffy environment of Pleiku bored me out. There was no space for me to develop musically. Stuck in a repetitive routine and tedious extra classes, I felt like a bird entrapped in a cage, longing to break free and fly among the clouds in a boundless blue sky. I wanted nothing more than to learn more, experience more outside the classroom.

On one occasion, I hosted a couch surfer from the US. My hospitality and enthusiasm made us good friends and he invited me to come visit him some time in Sai Gon, where he was living and working. I was intrigued, as I had always wanted to explore this city, the cultural hub known for its vibrant music scene.

I asked my parents for permission to travel to Sai Gon, to learn from the best, to familiarize myself with the professional music world and hopefully build a network in this community. Moreover, I wanted to practice my English skills. Worried about my safety going there alone, my mother rejected this idea. Surprisingly, I earned my father’s support, who even provided me a small amount of money for my trip. Without missing a beat, I packed my things and hit the road.

The experience was way beyond my expectations. I visited my old friend in Sai Gon, who serendipitously had a musician friend from Berklee coming over – a prestigious music academy in the US. Despite my limited language proficiency at the time, I learned a lot from them. I could witness what a true musician’s life was like.

In those two weeks, I roamed the streets of Sai Gon with a borrowed guitar. I was introduced to the professionals here, and these encounters revealed a tempting yet challenging path as an artist. I also

reunited with an acquaintance from my guitar class in Gia Lai, who helped me define my goals in regards to music. With my horizon broadened, I felt more refreshed and energized than ever.

I was astonished with how much I was inspired and how much my musical skills improved. I became more serious with music. Normally, at first sight, I could appear somewhat distant and cold, as I am naturally reserved. I usually shy away from being the center of the crowd. Yet the guitar grants me with a “superpower” that allows me to forget about the surroundings whenever I play it. As I start strumming, I become one with the instrument. There is truly no other feeling as mesmerizing as being able to harmonize with a voice and reverberate with the audience.

Upon my return to Gia Lai, I was full of plans and participated more actively in my school’s music club as the vice president. I put my heart into organizing workshops and mini concerts as a way to bring a breath of fresh air to Gia Lai, the highland province where music life was rather underdeveloped.

The path ahead

For most students from a chemistry-specialized class, the seemingly obvious career choice is the healthcare industry. Yet, I wonder if most of us are making career choices of convenience, before actual exploration or inquiry. I believe many of my peers who followed higher education in medical or pharmaceutical majors were unaware of their career prospects, or forging ahead without much excitement.

I found myself standing at a crossroad: To pursue music professionally, or not. Should I apply to a music school, or just keep playing recreationally? Even though I had been trying to establish an initial launchpad for my musical career should I choose to follow one, I was reluctant. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I could never abandon music.

I once reached out to a music class, with the spontaneously audacious intention to apply to the Conservatory. Though it was risky, I put my hopes up for it. Yet the instructor rained on my parade saying there was no way I could improve my skills in time for the audition. The application form was put aside and once again, I chose a safer path. On my list of college choices, the Foreign Trade University and other economic institutions were on top, followed by Social Sciences and Humanities schools. Music did not even make that list. Even though the idea of studying abroad did cross my mind, I did not have the resources and qualifications to follow through.

Sometimes, happenstances come about without any anticipation. From a post on the Facebook page “Tony Buổi sáng”, I came to know Fulbright. Out of curiosity, I came to an admissions event, only to be blown away by the endless possibilities here. Fulbright was displaying with such vibrant colors: compelling, energetic, experiential and most importantly, liberating. The fact that you can pursue music alongside another major here was more than persuasive to me. That was exactly what I was looking for – an opportunity to keep exploring more options without having to leave music behind. The Original Piece of Work I submitted for Fulbright’s admissions application was my performance of “Romance D’ Amour”, the very first piece I had the chance to play on stage at age 8.

The first-year curriculum at Fulbright includes extensive core courses, which range from Natural science to Logic, Rhetoric or Vietnamese Studies. I also took part in various extra-curricular activities, like workshops and an entrepreneurship bootcamp. It helped me realize how none of those subjects seem to be the right track for me. I finally saw I had been beating around the bush and searching for easier routes all along, but I couldn’t dedicate myself thoroughly unless it was to music.

Ever since I was a child, I have always been stubborn and tenacious, doing things my own way without relying on or consulting with anyone. My parents neither forbid nor demand that I follow any particular direction, I have to figure out my own choices. Whenever I have to come to a decision on anything, I always spent a lot of time deliberating and pondering, and this time it was no different.

Tien Cong and Fulbright’s Provost Ian Bickford

I was not born into a family of artistic tradition. My parents are under the common impression that art requires tremendous investments without guaranteeing a stable future. The fact that none of my friends who performed with me chose to follow music as a career was not to my advantage, either.

Without such catalyst, my road is undoubtedly more challenging. But I know where to start – by perfecting my technical skills, equipping myself with knowledge and ceaselessly searching for opportunities to study professionally. Although Berklee still seems to be quite out of reach, they do have promising exchange programs. Hopefully, one day I will be able to stand on a big stage and perform music to my heart’s content. One day, my original compositions will see the light of day.

My journey has just begun.

Nguyen Le Tien Cong – Class of 2023

In life, adolescent crises are inevitable. Each of us has their own journey, in which we seek to turn our worries into hope, to find our purpose and life values. This Fulbrighter’s story is one many may relate to.

I.

My outstanding primary school records accidentally turned me into the neighborhood’s “superstar”. A good student at school and a good child at home, my parents couldn’t be prouder of me, and so was I about myself. Being raised in a household of Chinese ancestry, who always taught their children to put pride above everything, I was unavoidably obliged to be excellent for the rest of my life.

Yet everything turned upside down when I entered secondary school. I was no longer the best student in class nor the exemplary child. It was as if I was living someone else’s life. Trouble came as I hit puberty before my peers, who started to see me, a big tall quiet guy, as a target for bullying. Empathy was unfortunately nonexistent to secondary school kids.

Chenh Hung Phat – Class of 2023

It started as gossips, devolved to insults and spiraled. They verbally attacked and manipulated me. I was ridiculed when a girl from my class got mad at me and unapologetically exposed my intimate secrets, causing the whole class to burst into laughter. Thirty people seeing me as a hysterical joke was just too much for me to handle.

I was hurt. With my fear of being judged, I built walls around me and developed an inferiority complex about my bulky figure. My classmates’ teasing constantly grating my nerves, building my mental scars. Every night before going to bed, I visualized an alternate reality in which I was still the shiny protagonist of the story and the pride of my parents. I harbored the desire to redeem my reputation.

II.

When my school announced an English eloquence contest, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me as English had always been one of my strengths. I practiced rigorously, but when came the time to stand in front of a crowd of thirty people, my stage fright got the better of me.

A second chance came in the form of a running competition. This time, my physique was an advantage, along with my training sessions with my dad. I was the best sprinter at school and had the chance to compete on sub-district and district levels. I was temporarily off the hook, some classmates even congratulating me on my athletic achievements.

By finishing in the top 3 of all preliminary rounds, I was chosen for the provincial running team. Yet the experience could not be any worse. The guys on my team somehow knew about my humiliating mishaps and ruthlessly made fun of them. I was too depressed to focus on training. At the provincial competition, I had to compete against formidable opponents and came back empty-handed. This huge disappointment brought me down one more time. My embryonic hope for redemption was shattered. I became so insecure about myself that I refrained from wearing handsome clothes and accessories, refrained from doing anything remotely unusual just so I could blend in as much as possible.

After my numerous failed attempts to fit in , I stumbled upon League of Legends. I soon became addicted to the game and could not separate myself from it in the following eight years. I found myself escaping from the depressing real world and took shelter in my virtual identity. By defeating and insulting other players, I felt better about my own insecurities. Mistakes in the game are not recorded, hence with each game I could start over with a clean slate free from other people’s judgments or opinions. Somehow, this virtual world mitigated my distress, even if I lacked the courage to resolve it.

What I had not realized was that I gradually became a different person. In the game, I never had to control my rage and tantrums. I could take it out on whoever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, and it eventually seeped into real life. One day, the cleaning lady who comes to our house took a day off, and my mom asked me to lend her a hand with household chores. I helped her, unwillingly, muttering expletives as I did so. My mom was shocked, calling out my uncharacteristic behavior – rude, mean and vulgar. At that moment, it dawned on me how my sense of achievement, fed from the game was not real. My problems could not be solved if I kept hiding myself in it. Once again, I felt disappointed in myself.

Chenh Hung Phat and other Co-Designers

During these dark days, I befriended a girl. I don’t even remember how this friendship began, but one thing was clear: we remained friends because our lives were equally miserable. She was the black sheep of a dysfunctional, turbulent family. Every time she had suicidal thoughts, I was there to comfort her and talk her out of it. We bonded over miseries, and at least I felt like I was worth something to someone. We barely had any energy to look forward to the future, because the biggest goal I had then was to prevent my friend from killing herself!

III.

I had no doubt my life was ruined beyond repair. Only a miracle would help me turn it around, I thought, so I could not be more surprised by the changes brought about by a little hamster and a slow-selling book.

In the summer of seventh grade, my mom bought me a little hamster. The first pet I ever owned was my companion for the whole summer. However, as soon as summer’s break was over, I had to focus on schoolwork and it was neglected.

Yet no matter how badly I treated my hamster, whenever I put my hand in its cage, it would always crawl on my palm and patiently wait to be petted. It offered me comfort and peace amidst a messy life’s and hostile game opponents.

Sadly, the hamster paid the price for my negligence. It got sick, with a tumor growing under its chin. My mom was terrified and demanded I get rid of my pet at once, in fear that some infectious disease would spread to me. No matter how I begged to keep the hamster, my mom persisted. As my hometown did not have any vet, there was no other way but to release the poor little guy into the woods.

As I watched my pet take its first steps into the wild, tumbling and toppling over shrubs, I was heartbroken. It obviously had zero chance of survival out there – it might starve to death, freeze to death, or even worse, end up in the stomach of some wicked cat. These gruesome scenarios brought me to tears, as the fate of my beloved pet would forever remain unknown.

Later, during my ninth grade, I was asked to write an essay about my favorite animal. For the first time in my life, I wrote without the help of sample essays, a flood of emotions about my hamster pouring out on the pages. Surprisingly, my literature teacher was impressed and encouraged me to keep writing more seriously.

Her encouragement was the small nudge I longed for. I wrote more and more enthusiastically; writing became my way of self-expression. One time, I wrote a poem to tease my teacher. Instead of getting mad or punishing me, she was amused and submitted it to the school’s year-end magazine editor. It was published and before I knew it, I earned myself a spot in the school’s literature contest.

After the English eloquence contest where I stood paralyzed in front of a couple dozen people, this time, I faced a crowd of hundreds of students. I was lucky enough to have supportive teachers and friends who helped me overcome my stage fright. On the night of the show, still shaking, I managed to control my voice and gave an impressive presentation. One thing led to another, and I was signed up for the English competition, then became the host of a computer science gameshow, and so forth. Slowly, small victories helped me triumph over past insecurities, one activity at a time.

During this evolution, I found another major source of support in a book discovered in the sell-off shelf of the bookstore near my school: “The Magic of thinking Big”. It did not make such a great impact right away. I spent two years strolling through its 500 pages and by the time I finished it, the only takeaway I had was this image: A guy standing on a pool’s diving board, terrified. He was so scared of jumping and falling, but as soon as he jumped, his fear disappeared and he was embraced by the refreshing, soothing water.

I realized I had been playing safe for too long. I had too many opportunities to jump, yet I didn’t. I was anxious about my appearance, the English eloquence contest still haunted me, but I decided to take a leap of faith and try again at the literature contest. It paid off. I finally knew what the water felt like. The miracle came as an ordinary hamster and a humble sold-off book. Like the butterfly effect, these two things initiated a chain reaction that enabled me to break free from my burdens and live a more comfortable, fulfilling life. The bullying and teasing became a thing of the past I could look back on and laugh about.

IV.

If you thought my life would only go up from then on, you were wrong. My high school years were saddled with a new burden: the National High School Exam. Every student strives to have high scores in this exam, in the hopes of securing a spot into one of those top-notch universities, some without guarantee of a good education. I did not know what I was striving for nor what my future would be.

I spent days going to school like a robot, not thinking about anything. I was about to take a gap year when out of nowhere, my best friend mentioned a recently opened international university, “something shiny and bright, ah, Fulbright!”, and urged me to apply. Fortuitously, I was accepted. The Co-Design year offered me a chance to experiment, get lost, fail and learn from my mistakes, which was exactly what I needed.

However, my biggest regret to this day is wasting the Co-Design year. In short, I got cocky. Getting admitted to a groundbreaking institution like Fulbright, I became a sensation at my small hometown. Parents wished their children would grow up to be like me, kids looked up to me.

But then you realize how ludicrous that was. Being so full of myself, I turned my life into a sarcastic comedy: The protagonist, me, thought he was in the lead and allowed himself to look down on others, while he was in fact far behind everyone else.

On the last day of the Co-Design year, we had a chance to reminisce about what we had achieved. I realized, the only thing I did that entire year was stroking my own ego and pouting at opportunities to learn and grow. That night, while my peers were celebrating, I found a quiet place to sit and reflect on myself. I wrote an email to one of our founding faculty members, Dr. Andrew Bellisari, told him about how foolish I felt and asked him for advice.

Writing back, he said maturing means recognizing your mistakes and correcting them. He also said the most important thing is figuring out why and how to develop yourself and become the version of yourself that you want to be, though this realization never comes easy.

Phat attending the Co-Design Year Convocation

I decided it was high time I changed, starting with a new and better attitude. The last thing I wanted was to make the same mistakes twice. Instead of making myself the center, I started to focus more on people around me and how I could make them shine.

There is one thing I cherish about Fulbright, that is the environment where you can not only learn for yourself, but also be an integral part of a larger community and learn from each other. I deliberated on Mr. Bellisari’s advice. Life is not about outperforming everyone else. I then wanted to learn as much as I could and support others in every way I could. My experience also helped me realize I no longer feel the desire to live up to expectations, to be in the spotlight or to satisfy people’s opinions about me. Living a happy, meaningful life is more important than any of that, and it is achieved first by wholeheartedly giving, no matter how small the gift might seem.

I sincerely hope you, whoever is reading this, will find my story helpful. Maybe you will be able to learn from my mistakes.

Chenh Hung Phat – Class of 2023.

Fulbright team including Phan Thuc Anh, Phan Hoang Dzung, and Nguyen Nhu Phuong Anh participated in the 10th United Asian Debating Championship (UADC 10), the first international debate championship organized in Vietnam. The team was ranked first among the Vietnamese debate team and only stopped short at the Quarter Finals.

Following is the reflection covering Thuc Anh’s thoughts about this competition.

ABOUT DEBATE ITSELF

Debate as an art:

I had a huge fear and hatred for debate. I must now concede that debating is, in a way, an art of persuasion. In order to make the audiences buy into the team’s arguments, debaters are required to go through two complicated processes of motion preparation and speech delivery.

First, debaters have to use their content knowledge as well as their critical and logical thinking skills in a 30-minute preparation phase. Within this period of time, participants must be able to identify the core problem laying within the motion and the incentive of bringing this issue to the debate table, which requires at least some basic understanding of the world’s affairs and the use of critical thinking.

Next, they need to use their logical and analytical thinking to justify their reasonings pro or against the motion. The reasonings should be coherent, evidence-based, and successfully show the connection between the claim and its impact.

Pictured here are (from left to right) Phan Thuc Anh, 
Nguyen Nhu Phuong Anh, Phan Hoang Dzung.

After preparation, it’s time for the warriors to go straight to battle. It’s a complex combination of listening comprehension, critical thinking, and synthesizing, with public speaking and body language awareness. They have to digest the content of the opponents while thinking of their own rebuttal and speech arrangement.

Once a debater steps onto the podium, s/he should be in control of her speech’s content and start to apply all her body language skills such as eye-contact, gesture, tone, speaking speed, etc.

Besides their own natural instinct and talent, the debater needs a lot of discipline and practice time; which leads me to the following opinion…

Debate as a sport:

Debate is definitely a sport for me as it requires a rigorous amount of training, practice, and exceptional teamwork. Debaters must work well with their teammates, as well as with their coach.

Just like any other sport, debate also requires tons of techniques, strategies, and exposure to real experience and tournaments. Debate is about winning and losing, and treasures every nick of time.

Debaters therefore have the opportunity to enhance their skills, intelligence, acumen, determination, perseverance, and discipline. In short, debating can be as beneficial as playing any other sport.

ABOUT TEAMWORK IN DEBATE        

There are debate formats that include one man on each side, however, as we chose to participate in the Asian Parliamentary Format, we had to learn how to play the game as a team of 3 members.

First of all, we needed to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses to best arrange the positions. We tried all possible arrangements before opting for the final one. During our training, we practiced being patient with each other’s imperfections and individual learning paces.

We also learned to keep an eye on each other’s performances so that we could hold a constructive debrief at the end of the day. The constant feedback and debriefs helped us grow and significantly improve our skills.

ABOUT THE PROCESS OF GOING THROUGH FEARS

It is undeniable that I’ve had a fear of debating since I was a little child. I always had some trouble articulating my thoughts and arguing for or against opinions. I could barely argue with my elder sister and always cried in vain. I could barely give a speech without a well-prepared script. And only a year ago, debating was my answer for the “Difficulties in learning” question in my Fulbright application.

Yet here I am, finishing my very first (international) debating tournament. What brought me here? I realized I was afraid of debating because no one was there to help when I was a child struggling with my words.

I received no help and knew of no ways to get rid of my fear. I didn’t know how to fix this problem. I just tried running away from it and let fear conquer me. Fear, day by day, became hatred. I hated debating and anyone who liked to debate. I saw debating as non-sense and as an extreme, unnecessary form of arguing.

Time passed and I gradually realized that I hated debate because I couldn’t do it, and in order to do things I once could not, I had to get over my old attitudes. There came a moment when my inner voice told myself, “Face them, face them all, get through your fear, do things you hate the most, do things you fear the most. And you’d better be good at debating”. So, I just went for it.

I’m not proud to admit that I was deeply stressed during the last two weeks in Hanoi. For the very first time, I experienced sleeplessness, anxiety, fear, loss of appetite, frustration, and irritation.  Training time was bearable but every time we got to a debate, those irritating and frustrating feelings emerged.

But I persisted and attended different debates with my team, telling myself, “you can do it, you have to do it, you should do it”. Every second before a debate started, I felt stressed: my head hurt, my body shook, and my heart jumped out of my chest.

Every time I entered a debate, I felt my fear ripping away parts of me. I tried different ways to deal with this unwanted phenomenon: I sang, I jumped, I listened to music. I told myself, “just once more”.

One thing I’m proud of is my ability to block out all kinds of emotions the moment I step into the debate. It’s how I can concentrate on my work and do my best. After each debate, I experience the satisfying moment when I look at my inner child and say, “aha, you just did it again”.

The more I debate, the more I understand the game and the more I have control over it. However, the stress still doesn’t vanish, returning to haunt me before each round. I later compared these moments to “jumping out of a plane and diving into the sky nine times and over”.

After the tournament, I fully recovered and got rid of my stress through meditation and self-reflection. But I’m now fully aware that the dangers of stress are real. Now, more than ever, I feel concerned for people who don’t have support and sufficient care to deal with their stress. To focus on the UADC reflection, I will discuss this issue in depth at a later time.

Stress might have killed parts of my inner child, but it’s also given me the foundation to be reborn and to be freed from anxiety. The woman who masters debating has not yet arrived, but that inner child who once cried in vain has already changed.

She stands still facing her own monster knowing that it’s no longer a monster but a new part of her life. She knows she can do it, she has enough support and guidance, and the only question left is how to improve her own capacity.

Dzung and Phuong Anh once asked me whether debate is for everyone and I said, “Yes. You can have people do things they used to hate and transform. But just make sure that they have enough stamina, resilience, and means to get through it.”

ABOUT THE FUTURE AND THE NEXT STEPS

During the training, several questions remained with me: “Why is debate culture still limited in our country? How developed do we want it to be? How can we change it?”. I am longing for more careful and detailed research on this issue. In the meantime, my thoughts are:

Debating might not always be good due to its extreme nature, however, being able to articulate your own thoughts effectively is undoubtedly important.Vietnamese students have the brightest talent and a lot of potential abilities, but the majority of them still have difficulties expressing themselves.

They cannot present what they think, cannot persuade a soul, cannot fight for their own thoughts. And so it goes. As their voices remain unheard, their talent stays silent and their potential stands still.

But the need to change is grossly unaddressed. Ho Chi Minh city, despite being one of the leading cities of the country, has only a few or no debating community. Even Ha Noi, where the debating communities have grown much stronger, still can’t offer enough official platforms with proper and standardized debating classes.

In the beginning, I aimed for the standards of other established Vietnamese teams. But soon I realized that what these teams are capable of is just one fifth of what other international teams, such as Australia National University (ANU), can do.

Phan Thuc Anh confidently enjoyed an open town-hall discussion with the U.S. Senators.

Their debating skills, including the fact that English is their mother language, raised the game to a whole new level. But that’s not all. ANU is not the best team in Australia, and Australia is still a small part of the world’s debating community. Where does Vietnam stand?

Nonetheless, it is unwise of me not to notice the blooming of Vietnam’s potential. Just taking Vinschool’s students as an example: their English proficiency, confidence, and bravery are absolutely impressive. Olympia and Truong Teen are other examples that illustrate the new wave of students actively involved in debate.

This wave includes a wide range of students from both private and public schools, and domestic and boarding schools. They take the train for days and nights to participate in tournaments and make debate a firm part of their lives. 

One problem is that Vietnamese students who wish to debate often have to find training resources outside their official schools. What are our national schools doing?

And turning our gaze inwards, what is Fulbright doing?

One simple action that we can certainly take is to grow and improve the Fulbright Debate club, founded by Hoai Linh and chi Trang. Huyen Nguyen, our upcoming student, will also be significantly involved in strengthening the Fulbright debate environment.

The club should form at least 2 debate teams, seek out coaches, connect and collaborate with both domestic and international debate communities, and aim to attend different tournaments to build experience. The club can also offer more workshops and occasional training days for the public.

Besides Debate club’s endeavor, Fulbright should aim at embedding debate spirit into its academy. Possible options include conducting research and studies on debate education development exclusively for Vietnam, encouraging students to apply rhetoric and debating skills within classes (which we have recommended throughout the Codesign year), and organizing our own tournaments.

FINAL WORDS

As we previously mentioned, our team hopes to use our experience as a starting point and help Fulbright establish debate education. The journey of Fulbright as well as its debate community have just started, and we are looking forward to having everyone’s companionship, support, and involvement along the journey. THANK YOU.

Phan Thuc Anh