In the heart of Southeast Asia lies a young and vibrant nation with the unyielding spirit of progress and reverence for education, Vietnam. A country that not only participates in the global commemoration of the World Teacher’s Day but also dedicates an entire day to honor its educators, the Vietnamese Teacher’s Day (20th November). This unique cultural practice underscores the deep gratitude of us, Vietnamese students, towards our teachers, reflecting our tradition of respect and love for learning.
A hope for better future
To millions of Vietnamese during the postwar era, education is a beacon of hope that lifts us from the ashes of war and poverty. Among those influenced by this notion was my grandfather, who, in the wake of the war, wore two hats: that of a teacher and a father to his five children. Despite the constant struggle to put food on the table during those challenging years, he insisted that his offspring continue their education, firmly believing that it held the key to breaking the chains of poverty. History has shown that he was right. Through unwavering commitment to learning and the relentless pursuit of knowledge, multiple generations of Vietnamese, my own family included, have orchestrated a remarkable transformation in their lives and their nation as a whole. The prospect of a better life, achievable through education, motivated us to exert ourselves and cultivate resilience in the face of adversity.
A worthwhile generational and national investment
I came from a typical middle-income family with some savings. Nevertheless, I was astounded by the extent to which my parents were willing to allocate the bulk of their life savings to fund my educational journey, particularly my college degree. They believe that it is a worthwhile investment for me. This revelation made me realize that such dedication to education extends far beyond the confines of my own family; it resonates with numerous Vietnamese families. As this phenomenon also holds true for my friends coming from more or less affluent backgrounds, I found it striking that students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds continue to place a high value on education. It seems that for Vietnamese families, education transcends being a means to escape poverty; it represents a lifelong investment for sustainable generational wealth and prosperity.
Education has not only empowered individuals to escape the clutches of poverty but has also paved the way for collective growth and development of the country. A young and developing country like Vietnam could never make its mark on the world stage without learning from others. Pursuing world-class education has been the dream of generations of Vietnamese, including myself, as it reflects not only the promise of better lives but also the national aspirations for advancements. Being able to experience this exceptional education right in the very heart of my country, Hanoi, is like a dream come true. It is here, at my university, where the global academia meets the Vietnamese culture and aspirations, fostering the spirit of research, innovation and international collaborations.
An appreciation for educators
Such an empowering educational environment would not exist without dedicated educators. In this light, we express a deep gratitude towards our faculties, especially foreign professors and educators who have taken the bold step of coming to Vietnam, contributing their expertise to help us achieve our loftiest dreams. To us, teachers are more than educators, they are the architects of the nation’s future, shaping minds and giving hope for a brighter, more prosperous Vietnam.
Happy Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, November 20th 2023!
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