Twenty-eight members of the Lycoming College community spent 18 days in Vietnam during May term 2016. Students look Photo II, III, Intro to Digital, Advanced Digital, Painting, Color and Design or Asian Art History. The group met with Vietnamese artists, university students, art students and art faculty. A reunion with Lycoming College Vietnamese alumni in Hanoi provided students with insider views of Vietnam and current Vietnamese exchange students showed students the best clubs in Ho Chi Minh City. The group traveled by plane, bus, large and small boat, kayack, rickshaw and foot - exploring the cities and countryside, meeting the people, and experiencing the art and culture of Vietnam.
Highlights of the trip included a overnight stay on a sailboat in HaLong Bay, exploring coves, lagoons, hidden caves and white-sand beaches; visiting contemporary galleries, artist studios, art schools and art museums; visiting the floating villages and markets in the Mekong Delta, biking the narrow pathways of an island in the delta, staying overnight with a local family and learning to cook local cuisine; visiting Ho Chi Minh's home and The War Remnants Museum; spending a day with Vietnamese students at Hanoi University; visiting a farm and markets in central Vietnam, and savoring the amazing cuisine of north and south Vietnam. Full Itinerary
The trip was organized by Sculpture Professor Howard Tran, who spent his childhood in Vietnam before immigrating to the US at the age of twelve.
"The first time I ever travelled outside of the country or got on a plane was May 8, 2016 when I went to Vietnam. I was nervous about doing something so new and different, not only to me but to my entire family. Not only would Vietnam be a completely different culture overall but it was especially different from the small, white, rural town where I grew up. I loved the fast pace of the cities; the motor bikes that were everywhere. There were so many new things to learn about the culture and the people who live there. I felt like I could have stayed there forever. I cannot wait to travel again and I plan on applying for jobs all over the world after this trip." Rachel Parthemer
"During my travels to Vietnam, a country bustling with human existence, I expected to come across people of all sorts. My art portfolio is a reflection of the people and environments I encountered during my stay. As a Black woman in a country where racial boundaries are apparent, I found it hard to connect with Vietnam and it’s inhabitants, so when I felt inclined to take a picture of a particular human being, I felt it important to recognize that feeling. My photographs are a reminder that no matter what a society may be, there are always those individuals who go against the grain and they may just happen to be the person in my frame." Jetta Harrison
"Entering Vietnam we are welcomed warmly, so warmly in fact that I wondered why the locals are so friendly. Reminders of the Vietnam War remained constant throughout our journey. Learning the Vietnamese perspective on the war was eye opening, to say the least. It was a very controversial war for America, and devastating for those involved. However, visiting the places where the war occurred gave me a new perspective that I could not have had without being in Vietnam. We were able to see the artifacts left behind, damages from the war, and how Agent Orange affected the people permanently. My experiences in Vietnam have given me a new perspective on white privilege. While I know it is something I have in America, it is not nearly as recognizable as it was in Vietnam. My three weeks in Vietnam allowed me to observe an Asian Communist lifestyle and think critically about the culture of the United States. Also, my interactions highlighted the varied opinions the Vietnamese possess regarding America. I left Vietnam with more questions than answers, and these unanswered questions ignite my curiosity for future engagement in the region." Sami Cutrona