Today was the first day of camp! As we drove to breakfast, the whole town of Hoa An was bustling at 6 AM (((most people wake up around 5 on a normal day))). Our bus pulled up to the bridge leading to the school and kids on bikes and mopeds zipped by us. They were all waving and some spoke some English to us. The school is sooo different than any I’veimage image image image ever seen before. It is mostly outdoors with vented window and doors. All classrooms open up to a balcony overlooking the courtyard. The rooms have ceiling fans, but they are usually hotter than outside! I’m teaching biology and basketball, so throughout the day I rotate from the classrooms to the courts to teach the kids. The hardest part of today was having to rely on the Vietnamese students to translate what I was saying as well as what the kids were. It is such a different experience, but communication became easier throughout the day. Although the kids don’t know much English, it is easier than I thought to communicate with them. I’ve learned some keys words and phrases from them that go a long way (((and they love to laugh when you pronounce them wrong))). The kids are so eager to learn and full of energy. They try so hard to remember all of the American coaches’ name and say them correctly (((I’m now known as Lessi because the “x” sound in Vietnamese is like an “s”))). Their classroom etiquette is much more formal than than usually practiced in the US. Each student stands up when called on to give and answer and they won’t eat or drink in the classroom. Another difference between the Vietnamese students and their American counterparts is their size. The sixth and seventh graders that I taught are comparable in size to second and third graders at home. Also, most of the kids have never touched a basketball, so teaching basketball involves a lot of basics. In addition to biology and basketball, I teach life skills to my color group. We are the green dragons and our slogan (((breathe fire, WIN WIN WIN))) is hilarious to hear them say because it sounds like “weave fire wee wee wee.” It was a long 8-hour day, but sooo much fun. I can’t wait to get to know the kids better and see what the rest of the weeks brings!

– Lexi

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