The Freshmore Asian Cross-curricular Trips (FACT) is a 1-week programme incorporated into specific Freshmore courses, allowing us to visit SUTD’s partner universities in ASEAN and China, and “see the world” right from the start of our SUTD journey. And yep, this is for all first year students. The cherry on the cake? We also received a one-time travel subsidy to offset our airfare/accommodations. Read about our adventures below!
A physical trip all the way to Vietnam? Fully subsidized by SUTD? Flying with SQ too? Does this sound too good to be true? Apparently not, with 3 physical FACT Trips this year only the trip to Hanoi, Vietnam is fully subsidized. Being some of our first times in Vietnam, we were curious about what we would discover when we arrived in Vietnam.
On our 1st day, we were given a tour of a local park. Besides the calm and tranquil environment similar to one at Chinese Garden, most of us were feeling something else,,, the heat. The temperatures and humidity in Hanoi, Vietnam were slightly higher than in Singapore. With that out of the way, we ended the tour and went for lunch. The rest of the day ended uneventfully.
Our following days in VNU-UET were filled with lectures from Professor Teo Tee Hui and local professors, where we learned more about robotics and perovskite solar cells. My group, Group 1: Civil Engineering and Transport, focused on ideating designs for VNU students who were participating in FORUM8’s Design Competition. They were tasked to design and develop a city located next to Sydney Western Airport that was meant to be a business and commercial district. They had come up with a few city designs but were struggling to complete the rest. After discussing and understanding the main theme the VNU students were trying to achieve, we compiled, brainstormed, and presented our ideas to them. Although we were unable to directly contribute to their project (CAD-ing and designing the city), they found some of our ideas refreshing and were interested in them. Thankfully, our presentation sparked inspiration among them and some of our ideas will be implemented into their designs.
Meanwhile, we had also immersed ourselves in the local culture outside of the classroom once classes ended in the afternoon. We made it a point to try as many of the local cuisines as we could during lunch and dinner.
We made friends with our VNU-UET counterparts and they kindly brought us around and introduced us to the various local cuisines that we just had to try. “Pho” being the most common dish we saw was simply a beef/pork noodle soup. “Bun Cha” consists of grilled meat, a bowl of rice noodles, and finally a fish sauce broth to dip the noodles into.
Overall, this short trip not only exposed us to different fields of study outside of our own but also to the different perspectives of someone else outside of our home. These perspectives and ideas are valuable to our growth, for us to think differently, and to account for different opinions. The friends we have made are invaluable, the memories we have made are timeless and we will hold onto them close to us for years to come. Thank you VNU and thank you Group 1.
Ethan, Aqif, Jolene, Zach, Davis
Anh, Hai, Nam, Trang, Huong