Vietnamese Teachers Program
Welcome Jayhawks 2.0! We in Lawrence, Kansas, USA can’t wait to meet you!
My name is Kellie Smith Herrod and I am a Language Specialist at the University of Kansas. I have a deep interest English language instruction in Vietnam because I was a US Department of State Fulbright Scholar award recipient in 2013-2014.
During my time in Vietnam, I taught English language courses at Vietnam National University, University of Languages and International Studies (VNU/ ULIS). Perhaps some of you studied English there? I taught speaking, listening, and writing classes in the honor’s program. I worked with some of your gifted high school students who will be the future language instructors, translators, and business leaders in Vietnam. They were excellent representatives of the gifted English language instruction going on in the Vietnamese gifted high schools today. I have never met such a talented, enthusiastic, and creative group of students in my 25 years in the field of ESL!
Since my experience in Vietnam and my experience with the teachers in Jayhawk 1.0, I have been thinking a lot about how you can make your transition to college life in the US as comfortable as possible and have come up with a few ideas.
First, I may love food as much as Vietnamese people do so many of my suggestions are related to that. I am sure you know that Americans have a very different style of cooking and food presentation from Vietnamese people. Even though Lawrence is a small college town, we do have two “pretty good” Asian markets that are accessible by bus or walking. You will be able to get a lot of food items that are imported from Vietnam such as rice, fish sauce, and local fresh vegetables and tofu. The other good news is that you will have access to a community kitchen in your residence hall, although most nights you will want to eat in the dining hall. When dining in your residence hall cafeteria, it might be a good idea to bring along some items to put a Vietnamese twist on your dining experience. Some items that come to mind are fresh rice wraps for Vietnamese spring rolls. For example, in the United States, we do not have fresh Vietnamese rice wraps. The wraps that we have available in stores are very thick and dried so you have to dip them in a bowl of water to make gỏi cuốn,
Another item that you will want to bring is Vietnamese coffee and tea. While we have a lot of coffee and tea in the U.S., it just isn’t the same as what you are used to. I think you will enjoy having your favorite hot drink on hand when the seasons change.
Finally, bring spices! It is really difficult to find good Vietnamese spices in the local market. It is especially difficult to find the spices to make pho. Again, I think this is something that will not take up a lot of space in your suitcase but will make you very happy a few months in to the program.
Other ideas? Prepare for winter. It does get cold here in the winter but it is different from the kind of cold in Vietnam. It is a dry (very low humidity) kind of cold but all of the buildings and living spaces are heated so you will be fine. Bring plenty of warm socks and long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and a rain coat or winter coat. The more layers of clothing you wear, the warmer you will be. Please don’t worry though! We will do all we can to keep you comfortable.
The staff at KU is very busy preparing for your arrival and we are all very excited to meet you! If there is anything we can do or if we can answer any questions you may have, never hesitate to ask! We are here to support you in your experience at the University of Kansas.
Wishing you safe travels and see you soon!