From Iris Nguyen, teacher at An Giang University

For the past two months, I had been teaching at a hotel in Chau Doc called Victoria Hotel. It was actually Jillian’s old class and I took over for her when I left Vietnam. She only had great things to say about the hotel and her class, so I was very excited when I got the opportunity to teach at the hotel. When I first arrived at the hotel, I was completely overwhelmed because of the generosity of the staff and how luxurious the hotel was. I recently graduated college so I am not one to spend money on hotels. I am a ‘find-a-futon-at-a-friend’s-house’ kind of girl.

The staff were very accommodating and let me stay overnight because I would often take the bus after my afternoon classes and would teach at the hotel the following day. They provided me with delicious meals for free. I usually forget to eat when I am teaching because I get busy, so my weekly stay at the hotel was to replenish my body. It was my little haven once a week.

The classes that I taught were attended by various staff members. Their English was pretty good so it made lessons easier. I mostly taught them basic hotel phrases, writing business letters and emails, responding to complaints, pronunciation, etc. Sometimes I did not have a definitive lesson plan and I just threw whatever information I had at my students and they were able to successfully complete everything I handed to them. My goal with this class was to make each of them feel confidant and comfortable when speaking with different guests from all across the world. I wanted them to be able to deal with various situations on the spot.

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On Thursday after my morning class, my students decided to take me out on a boat ride down the Bassac river for lunch. It was an amazing boat ride because of the great view of the river. I had never been on the Bassac river before. Most visitors that go on the river are crossing over to Cambodia by boat. The river is surrounded by stilt homes and floating boat homes. Many of the homes were fish farms and I was able to hop aboard a floating fish farm. It was quite interesting and it was something that I had never experienced before. I was even able to jump onto a boat that sold watermelon in the floating market. I learned from my students that it is cheaper to buy directly from the boats than to buy them at the market.

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The entire boat trip was very memorable and I will never forget my time teaching in Chau Doc. After I leave Vietnam, the city and hotel will hold a special place in my heart. I will remember each of my students and my time I got to spend with them. Their larger than life personalities will not be forgotten and I will always miss them.

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