Chris Sayles has been part of REI’s resident staff in Hanoi for several years now. This month we asked Chris if he would describe his service in building up the people of Vietnam to build their nation, and how he came to serve in this way. The following is Chris’s reply. Enjoy!
Category – Resident Professionals
Presley McFadden, REI’s resident staff team leader in Hanoi, has taught English at three prominent universities in Hanoi (Hanoi University, Academy of Finance, and National Economic University) over the past 6 years. Last year he decided it was time for a change. Presley was already working closely with Michael Ong at Tea Talk through volunteering at a number of workshops and English clubs. Could Tea Talk become a place for full-up English courses? The answer: YES!
Why train Vietnamese students in English? Because English, although not the most commonly spoken language in the world (that honor goes to Mandarin) is nevertheless our era’s lingua franca of business and academia. In most countries it is the primary second language taught in schools and can be understood to some extent by 1/3 of the world’s population. English is crucial for anyone who wants to thrive on the global stage. For the past year REI’s Zonia Go (third from left above) has been investing her life in training both students and instructors of other subjects at the Hung Yen University of Technology and Education.
Presley McFadden, newly appointed Team Leader for our resident professionals in Vietnam, has impacted Vietnamese students since 2004 as an English language instructor. A two month visit to Vietnam in 2001 kindled a desire to return in some capacity after graduation from college. After two years of planning, he was disappointed to learn that he was not accepted by the first program to which he applied. But Presley’s disappointment turned into anticipation after discovering a new opportunity made available to him through partnership with REI-Vietnam.
Zonia Go is returning to Vietnam, where she previously taught English, to apply her newly acquired knowledge in intercultural studies and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), gained while earning an M.A. at Wheaton College in Illinois. Her vocational pursuits today differ greatly from what she pursued a decade ago.
Tea Talk, a social venture with the mission of making counseling and psycho-educational services accessible through the use of interactive drama, is the brain child of Michael Ong. Conceived while Michael was taking a graduate level course in social entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, it was cited by Michael’s professor as the “best project” in the class.