Sep 15, 2021
Vietnam-Japan Youth Exchange Program 2021 (VJYE 2021~to the VJ Island~) is a two-month virtual exchange program aiming at promoting cultural experience for 17 Vietnamese students from the University of Economics (UEH) and 15 Japanese students from Tokyo Keizai University (TKU). They will have significant moments immersing into each other's culture, at the same time developing enjoyable experiences through interesting daily activities. Besides focusing on cultural exchange, VJYE 2021 also includes academic parts, which are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - "Deepen understanding of SDGs from daily life" for this year's theme. This program is the premise for the establishment of the future co-operation and development of the two universities.
On Sunday (June 13th, 2021), the Opening Ceremony of VJYE 2021 was kicked off. On the first day, we enjoyed each other's amazing performances and got to know more about our adorable friends from Vietnam and Japan. During the session, we gained a lot of knowledge and were well-prepared for the program's upcoming activities. In addition, we were honored to welcome our President, Professor Akinori Seki (Professor, Tokyo Keizai University) as the representative of AAEE and Tokyo Keizai University in Japan; Prof. Dr. Pham Khanh Nam (Dean of School of Economics UEH) and Dr. Nguyen Luu Bao Doan (Department Chair & Program Director Real Estate, School of Economics UEH) as the representatives of the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City; Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh Xuan (the pioneer of the VJYE program by AAEE) for the Opening remarks. The Opening Ceremony was a success, as evidenced by the fact that it has been featured in newspapers on UEH's official website and the School of Economics UEH's website.
Before the extensive week
Before the extensive week, our meetings were virtual cultural exchange tours. We had "Introduction" day for cultural interaction, "Presentation of Education" day for sharing about educational issues and distinctions in each country, "Talent" day for showcasing individual abilities, and "Zoom Information" day for taking a more in-depth look at the SDGs, particularly Climate Change and its impact. It was our great honor to invite Ms. Phạm Hương Quế, who is a Founder of Life-Interrelationship-Valuation-Environment Youth organization (L.I.V.E) in Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry to be the guest speaker. Through the workshop "Interrelationship & SDGs", we traveled the virtual world to learn and explore climate change.
Throughout the discussion, laughter and conversation continued to spread, brightening the happy mood. Because we were immersed in foreign history and culture, we might be startled and sometimes shocked, but we could undoubtedly develop our interpersonal skills (and many other soft skills). The information shared during the meetings has provided the delegates with an endless source of knowledge and inspiration, which would aid them not only in their next final presentations but also in their future quests to learn more about the SDGs.
The extensive week
On August 2nd, we began researching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as their differences, importance, and impact. On the 3rd and 4th of August, we watched TED TALK videos to gain a better understanding of the SDGs, and then we worked well together for the final presentations. We specifically considered the solution's advantages and disadvantages, as well as how they could be implemented. On the 5th and 6th of August, we were delighted to welcome Mr. Nguyễn Thế Hải (A former turtle training course student of the Asian Turtle Program) as the guest speaker. We had a great meeting exploring many aspects of life below water, as well as situations concerning the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development. On the same days, we cherished our friendship by playing games and learning about each other's culture. We were able to successfully engage with everyone via engaging activities; learn more about countries, languages, interests, and practice speaking English in a comfortable setting. On August 7th, each group gave a practice presentation for their final presentations and got comments from the other delegates. Each group had put in a lot of effort over the last week and was always ready to present what they had prepared so far for the final presentations.
Final Event - International Student Summit on SDGs 2021
This event, "International Student Summit on SDGs 2021 - TO GIVE A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION FOR SDGs BY PLANNING A SMALL PROJECT" is the final presentation event of Vietnam - Japan Youth Exchange Program 2021 (VJYE 2021). The final goal brings together a diverse group of international students to take part in planning a small project and coming up with creative iterating solutions to some of the world's most intractable problems. While learning about the various global issues that gave rise to the SDGs, we will learn about ourselves--and about how each of us can harness our leadership to make sustainable changes in our communities.
Students' voices matter as we look to the future challenges we face as a global society. This summit provided opportunities for us to develop our awareness of our thinking on key global issues relevant in 2021, and to verbalize our perspectives and critical thinking in creative, thoughtful projects. The students from the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) and Tokyo Keizai University (TKU) presented their projects and solutions throughout this program and introduced the importance of "dialogue" as a base to achieve the SDGs.
On the final day, Professor Akinori Seki (Professor, Tokyo Keizai University) spoke on behalf of AAEE and Tokyo Keizai University in Japan, while Prof. Dr. Pham Khanh Nam (Dean of School of Economics UEH) and Dr. Nguyen Luu Bao Doan (Department Chair & Program Director Real Estate, School of Economics UEH) spoke on behalf of the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City. We were also grateful to invite Ms. Hoang Thi Hong Hanh (AAEE researcher, VJEP 2019 leader of organizers, VJEP 2018 delegate) as a judge for our final presentations.
Upon the ending of the program, the Vietnamese delegates exchanged contacts and could hardly say goodbye to their Japanese friends. The Japanese delegates would fall for the hospitality, friendliness, and openness of the students from the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, in particular, thereby contributing to creating a good impression on Vietnamese people. This annual exchange program not only strengthens the cooperation between the two universities but also contributes to fostering a good relationship between Vietnam and Japan.
Here's what the delegates shared about their experience at VJYE 2021:
My teamwork and leadership skills have been upgraded a lot. I can concentrate more on my work and finish them very fast as well as effectively. My communication skills (listening ability) have been improved and developed so much. I wanna say thank you a lot to my teammates and all delegates in general because you all are willing to listen to me, show me your respect, spirit, and cooperation together to make VJYE highly successful.
I learned how to appreciate our differences, make use of them effectively and finally try my best to get along well with my teammates.
Working in groups with foreign friends requires a lot of patience and, of course, improved leadership and teamwork. We know how to analyze the problem and divide the workload reasonably, following each individual's characteristics. At the same time, we can manage working time and limit certain risks.
Thanks to VJYE, I can gain more knowledge on SDGs and research information.
Thank you for participating in VJYE 2021 so that we have the opportunity to meet and become friends. Thank you to everyone for their enthusiasm and support during the program. This will probably be the most impressive and unforgettable summer for me. After 2 months, maybe it's time for us to say goodbye, but let's keep in touch. I hope this pandemic will pass quickly and we will meet again in person somewhere. For those of you I haven't had a chance to talk to yet, I hope we can talk to each other to understand each other better. I wish everyone to stay healthy, eat well, and stay positive to fight the epidemic. Goodbye and see you again, I love VJYE 2021.
Editors: Phuong Thao, Yen Ngoc
Photos: Tuong Vy, Phuong Thao