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Dream trip for Springwood sixth formers

A group of Springwood sixth formers are embarking on the experience of a lifetime as they head to Vietnam on a 16-day adventure that will immerse them in the country’s culture.

The 16 Year 12 and 13 students from our school will be accompanied by three members of staff on the epic trip, which starts on October 18. Their trip will see them explore the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, as well as spend time in Can Tho and the city of Ho Chi Minh.

In Hanoi, the Springwood contingent will visit the cultural village of Dong Ngac, the Ho Chi Minh Complex and Temple of Literature, the Vietnamese History Museum and Army Museum, Hoa Lo Prison, and the Van Phuc Silk Village, as well as enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town. They will also cruise the Red River Delta and spend time at UNESCO Heritage site Halong Bay, while evening entertainment will include a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.

Outside the capital, the group will spend time at the ancient city of Hoa Lu and Can Tho University, visit museums and temples, participate in traditional Vietnamese games, and take part in a Tam Croc boat trip. The students will also take a cruise on the Mekong Delta, complete with visits to the river’s floating markets. 

The final leg of the trip will see the travellers in Ho Chi Minh City, where highlights will include the Presidential Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, City Hall, and Coa Dai Temple.

They will also have the opportunity to see the War Museum and Ho Chi Minh Museum, and to join war veterans on a tour of the famous Chu Chi tunnels, as well as visit local markets for souvenir shopping, and sample traditional Vietnamese Pho soup noodles.

“In particular the Chu Chi tunnels and visiting Ho Chi Minh City will be the highlight of the trip for me – just to be immersed in all the culture and history that it has in store,” said student Logan Freear. “I’ve come to have a fascination with the raw guerilla warfare that was used during the war, since beginning my studies at Springwood, and just the genuine outcome of the war, and how it has affected the culture and community we see first hand.”

Matt Scoles, trip leader and Personal Social Health and Economic Lead at Springwood, which is a member of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, said: “For some of the students that we are taking, this will be the first time that they have been on a plane, and for many it’s the first time they have travelled beyond Europe and been away for this long.

“Most, but not all, are History or Politics students who are keen to experience a different political system and see the tunnels and war sites that they have studied in History as part of their Cold War topic.

“This will be a new destination for everyone, including staff, so we are all excited to experience such an exciting tour of a country that we’ve taught for so many years.”

Run by Challenges Abroad as part of the UK Government’s Turing Scheme to provide funding for international opportunities in education, the Vietnam History and Cultural Studies Tour aims to ‘ignite compassion and create a new generation of global citizens’ by helping students ‘develop their skills and grow as individuals’.

The programme, which has been running for over a decade, covers eight locations across Asia, South America and Africa, and has seen over 6,000 participants take part since it launched.