REI-Vietnam News

REI’s Foreign Resident Professionals

by REI-Vietnam |

Image: REI’s Foreign Resident Professionals
Making a Longterm Sustainable Impact

The group of men and women pictured above, REI’s foreign resident professionals, are choosing to make a significant difference by investing their lives year round in the culture, people and work of Vietnam. What motivates them to accept this challenge? They want the people and the institutions with whom they work to be strengthened and empowered for greater effectiveness. Building People to Build a Nation is not a slogan for them. It is what they give their lives to.

The Challenges They Face

The challenges they face are not for the faint of heart. Crossing cultural boundaries requires rigor in language study, negotiating a constant undercurrent of differing values and ways of doing things, and adjusting to life in an ever burgeoning Hanoi. To be successful, they need expertise not only in their professions, but also in cross cultural skills. They need to be people of courage coupled with humility, sensitivity, and pliability. It is a tall order and our foreign resident professionals have exceeded the standards.

Academic Preparation

All of our foreign resident professionals entered Vietnam with an undergraduate degree and some with Master’s degrees. Over time, many have pursued additional degrees. Two have earned their PhD’s, three more their Master’s degree and two are currently pursuing a Master’s. Increasingly they are “training the trainers” so that their impact can be more effectively multiplied.

Their Work

Most of our professionals have assignments teaching in public universities. Their specific work includes advancing English competencies and Social Work through teaching students, teacher training, curriculum development and strategic planning.

Longevity in the culture coupled with expertise often brings significant contribution. Such is the case with our staff leaders, Jerry and Diana, who first went to Vietnam in 1994. Earning a PhD has given Diana the opportunity to collaborate with Vietnamese experts regarding national English standards while extensive field experience makes Jerry an insightful Team Leader for the Resident Professionals.

Other staff have made and continue to make significant contributions as well. Will and a group of teachers whom he coached received national commendation for designing a curriculum which, in part, uses the newspaper for the teaching of reading. Michael has birthed and is developing a Tea House which will provide a venue for training social work students. Bob and Ginny have written an English pronunciation curriculum which they have used with hundreds of students over their decade of contribution in Vietnam. Presley is currently teaching a short course in English to a group of men and women in the judicial system. Zonia helps university staff with English as well as English Clubs. Sara and Samantha, first year ESL teachers and associates of REI, teach undergrads and live on campus which gives them more face to face time with students.

A few of our resident professionals are currently not working at universities. Jacqueline and Coli have given priority to educating their children at home. Our newest long term staff, Mary from Singapore married to Presley, is currently studying the language and will be attending to her baby to be born this spring. Eventually Jacqueline and Mary hope to be involved in the Tea House.

Contributing to the River

There is a river of life flowing in Vietnam. Some of our professionals come to make a contribution into that river for one to two years. We welcome them. Some stay the course over a longer period of time such as one or two decades. This usually involves a special calling to the people of Vietnam and a strong vision of desired outcomes. Yet each person who comes whether for one or two years or one or two decades adds a unique and valued contribution. Each enters the river and where the river goes, what it nourishes, and what it empowers is difficult to quantify because of its fluid and organic nature. One thing we do know is that the river continues to flow and the people and the nation of Vietnam continue to be built.

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