Jim Gorski, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer from St. Paul, MN, describes how teaching English to Vietnamese students with his wife Mary Lou enabled him to “pay a debt” to the country’s people. After serving with Global Volunteers in 2014, he and his wife volunteered in Ipalamwa, Tanzania, teaching English and supporting our Reaching Children’s Potential caregivers. He now serves on our Board of Directors.
Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, where I first taught English with Global Volunteers, clearly does not have the resources of the average American university. The classrooms are bare, the technology is hit and miss, (or just missing) and the learning materials are relatively unsophisticated. Despite that, the students are impressive. They are intelligent, motivated, eager learners. And they are such warm and sweet people, that any teacher would feel lucky and grateful to work with them.
“Teaching English to Vietnamese students in Hanoi was one of the great experiences of my life.”
This is how we all felt. We signed on for teaching English to Vietnamese students – to help ease more English language into their heads on onto their lips. But they have found their way into our hearts.
I had written to friends and family at home that it would be impossible for us to have this experience and remain unchanged. We have been changed, and clearly for the better. I confess that I had my own agenda when I came here. I wanted my wife Mary Lou to see firsthand the beautiful country that was the setting for a significant chapter of my life as a young man. And I came carrying the burden of a debt to the Vietnamese people that I felt a need to repay. I have worked that debt off, and I am at peace. Teaching English to Vietnamese students in Hanoi was one of the great experiences of my life. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to continue working with Global Volunteers to help guide our corporate vision.
My noble and generous Vietnam teammates showed me the best of humanity. It was truly an honor to serve with them. They are pursuing a goal – helping heal a wound through English tutoring – that some may think futile, but they did the work and kept the faith. They will not see the full fruit of their efforts in their own lifetimes, but still they keep hope alive. Coming together in an exotic land to pool their talents in the name of peace is an inspiring act of love. Bless each of them on their life’s journey.
Dozens of Vietnam vets have been inspired to teach eager, enchanting students in Hanoi with Global Volunteers. You can also invest in mutual international understanding and peace. If you doubt you can make a difference, please call, chat or email us for more information!
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