Mini-Unit on Cambodia and Vietnam

Contributor :

Benjamin O'Donnell

Action Plan

I plan on taking photos each day on our trip and organizing them on Google Drive whenever we have WIFI available at our hotels. I’d like to keep a journal on the trip so that I can record conversations I had during the course of the day (I’m hoping that we will encounter some people who speak English) and reactions to what I experienced daily.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I plan on doing a mini-unit on Cambodia and Vietnam to start off my 50 person lecture course entitled Global Studies (almost like a case study to prepare a foundation for the rest of the class where we cover more widely known regions like China, India, Japan, etc). For most of my students, SE Asia is probably only known in terms of its interactions with America, particularly the Vietnam War. The history of these two countries did not start with American involvement in the region and did not end once American forces departed. I want to fight student ignorance of the region by providing a brief overview of the histories of each country and by making the citizens and culture of this region more real for students by creating a virtual tour of my travels.

Preparation During Travel

I need to do additional research on the different cultural regions of both Vietnam and Cambodia so that I can be better able to spot different customs on the trip. Believing there is one universal way of life across an entire country is foolish and I'd like to document for my students the varied cultures across these countries (but also see what unites the people, too). If I plan to document people's lives and take photos of everything that I can, I need to be sure that I'm not violating social norms. A basic understanding of Vietnamese and Cambodian social faux pas and how to avoid them would go far in enabling me to connect with the people I encounter during the trip.