Pho. That was the extent of my knowledge about anything related to Vietnam, other than the fact that it tastes amazing. I went to this workshop hosted by the Vietnamese Student Association impulsively and with no expectations since this was my first club meeting at Baruch.
After stepping into the room, I noticed how the official club members/executives made sure to greet and talk to everyone in the room. Within the first few minutes I could tell the friendliness and inclusiveness in this association, especially by the smiles on their faces. I never made a spring roll in my life before, but there’s a first time for everything and September 7th seemed to be the day. It was simple (pretty similar to making dumplings): hold the rice wrapper under water for a few seconds, remove and place the ingredients (lettuce, rice vermicelli, shrimp) on top, roll, dip in sauce, and enjoy. Although my spring roll looked more like a spring ball, it tasted delicious.
Shortly after, the first language workshop to be hosted began. A variety of teachings were presented on the PowerPoint, from greetings “xin chao” which translates to “hello” to the names of different ethnic dishes such as “com suron”. Furthermore, I appreciated how the PowerPoint consisted of the pronunciation broken down since I had some trouble accentuating the vowels without a native tongue.
The next activity was a matching game using the phrases we just learned with photos and the proper Vietnamese translation. Since I didn’t expect to be quizzed on the material, I somewhat struggled but my group finished with correct answers. Thankfully, the names of a few dishes stuck with me and looked so tempting that I’ll have to try them out next time I go to a Vietnamese restaurant.
My first meeting at VSA and Baruch taught me not only about Vietnamese culture, but also about the atmospheres and communities in Baruch’s clubs. The great vibes, laughter, food (!!), and learning made this experience enjoyable and rewarding. Additionally, these reasons go back to my goal of being a part of the community in college since I was active in high school. I’m excited to participate in more events and student life activities. 🙂