Visiting Vietnam: Learning for the sake of learning

Rachel D., Michigan State University, '16

March 11, 2013

A friend once told me, “sometimes I think that the best writing comes from the heart of the mess.” And that’s currently how I’m feeling, like a mess. Trying to reflect on something I’m currently feeling. 

Today was the last day for the study abroad program in Vietnam, adventures will continue, but the group has split. Half of us are going to Hue, Vietnam, tomorrow and the other half are heading home. This wouldn’t affect me if the group didn’t affect me. And it’s kind of funny how that works. How after just a single, intensive week, a group can actually become quite the clique. 

Although groups will most likely grow close after a dramatic1 experience, I think there’s more to it. I think that having an actual mission2 with these people gave me a purpose for being in Vietnam. I am not an Animal Science major, not am I even in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. So why study “Emerging Issues in International Agriculture”? Since this is not my focus, and I have slim, to no knowledge on this subject, do I no longer have a purpose for being in Vietnam? Then this Mark Twain quote pops into my head: “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.” 

So maybe there’s our answer, the purpose is to learn. Learn what it’s like in Vietnam, with or without a group of animal science students and educators. Although this isn’t a drastic change in environment without them, it just changes the tone of this trip for me.

I apologize for the lack of closure, but I cannot close this thought with this blog post. So please be patient for part two of "learning for the sake of learning". 

Over and out.       

Side note: A shout out goes to Michigan State University’s study abroad program for allowing students like myself to learn in a foreign setting. 


1.  Dramatic means “Sudden and striking.” Like a week trip to Vietnam or winning a regional game.

2.  Our mission solely being an exploration of culture and agriculture, all in the name of education.

Rachel and her classmates studied in Vietnam March 2 to 10, 2013 as a part of a Michigan State University class on emerging issues and sustainability in international agriculture. They stopped in Korea on their way home. 

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