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July 01 2019

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To many students, summer is the time for their relaxation after a year of intense study. This year, 190 students from 05 junior-high schools in Nha Be district have spent memorable summer days as they experienced interesting subjects taught by 39 volunteers coming from Saigon South International School; Lawrence S. Ting School and from abroad.

2019 Saigon South English Camp was organized in 10 days, from 21st to 30th, June 2010, providing an interesting environment for students to improve their English communication skills and spreading the spirit of community sharing. This is the 5th Camp held by Lawrence S. Ting Foundation in partnership with Saigon South International School. This year, the Camp welcomed 190 poor students from 05 junior-high schools in Nha Be district (including Hai Ba Trung, Nguyen Thi Huong, Hiep Phuoc, Nguyen Van Quy and Le Thanh Cong junior-high schools) and 39 volunteers from Saigon South International School; Lawrence S. Ting School, and from abroad.  

During the 10-day Camp, 6 subjects of English, Hello World, Science/Activities, Art, Music and Physical Education were designed lively and communicated completely in English to the students by volunteers. In addition, all students’ daily activities were also subjected to the Camp’s English-only rules. Through learning, playing, communicating directly to volunteers from schools with a good English training background, international schools and foreigner volunteers, students are trained and will improve their English speaking and communication skills.

The selecting criteria for English Camp’s volunteers are English proficiency, teamwork ability, and especially a sense of community service. After applying, volunteers have to go through rounds of interview, selection, and depending on their strengths, they will be assigned to be in charge of specific subjects. Furthermore, before the Camp opening, volunteers will test students’ English speaking and listening skills so they can divide them into classes of their English level.

"What I like most is Volunteers are the main people in charge of organizing, managing and running Saigon South English Camp. Lawrence S. Ting Foundation supports us in logistic and advisory work. We developed our own plan; prepared our answers and worked together to implement them. That makes us more aware of our responsibilities, as well as improving our teamwork skills." Tong Le Han – Volunteer from Saigon South International School (SSIS) said.

I learned a lot from other volunteer friends about the spirit in serving the community and from student campers about their determination to overcome difficulties; and I also understand my teachers’ hardship after being “one” in the Camp.

With the role assigned clearly, volunteers coordinate the activities of the Camp in a smooth and professional way as they are providing students different knowledge in English rather than just teaching it. This also requires volunteers to have diversified knowledge and a thorough curriculum preparation process to ensure that the contents are easy to understand, lively, and enable students to learn, play and enjoy English at the same time.

To Nguyen Hoang Phuoc Thinh, 7th grader at Nguyen Van Quy Secondary School, “The first time hearing about the English summer camp, we were kind of afraid that we could not keep up. But when participating, we see that all the volunteer brothers and sisters are all very nice and friendly, and they are very patient with us. Anything that we didn’t understand, they would repeat slowly and clearly for us to catch up. It is very interesting as all subjects are lively and explained through the games with prizes, so we like them very much. ”

From her first time knowing about the Camp through a Vietnamese friend, this is Maya Neckles’s second year participating the English camp as a volunteer. Maya - Brooks High School, USA said: “I told my parents about all the friendly and affectionate greetings of the students at the camp. They were both very surprised about how people with differences in skin color and language can be so close. At the camp, I act the role of a teacher so that I had to learn how to improve my strengths, overcome my weaknesses to become more mature. The students shared with me about their dreams and English is a tool helping them to achieve their dreams. I taught them the necessary skills and received valuable life values in return.”

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This year's camp brings both the students and volunteers a very different summer. For students, it is about their happy time, making new friends and especially becoming more confident when communicating in English. As for the volunteers, they had the opportunities for self-experiences, share and spread the good values to the community, and "feel life becomes more meaningful when you help others become better."