"I hope the experience will enrich and broaden the students’ cross-cultural experience and enhance their sense of empathy and worldview to become more socially responsible and conscientious global citizens."
A 2016-17 Engaged Faculty Fellow, Thúy Tranviet is a senior lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her course is “Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam,” where students expand their international experience while learn about climate change. Read about Tranviet on her faculty profile page.
About the Project
With the support of the Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum Grants, Tranviet is designing a year-long course to offer students an international education through the lens of climate change. The course, “Climate Change Awareness and Service Learning in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam,” is a three-semester course encompassing a seven-week preparatory course taught at Cornell in fall 2016, followed by a two-week field trip in Vietnam in January 2017. Returning to Cornell in spring 2017, the group will meet for another seven weeks to reflect on the field trip and work on presentation and projects.
During the first seven weeks in the fall, the students will be offered lectures on topics related to international development and climate change, broadly speaking, as well as the specific problems facing the Mekong Delta. The students will have lessons on Vietnamese language and elements of Vietnamese cultures prior to traveling to the country. Topics discussed include the Vietnam War, with a special focus on the environmental impacts of the War.
In Vietnam, the students will have opportunities to visit museums, temples and other cultural sites. They will also travel to national parks and biosphere reserves as well as crisscrossing the waterways to fruit gardens, mangrove forests and rice paddies in the Mekong Delta of Southern Vietnam. There, the students will attend lectures given by local university scientists and climate change experts and engage with representatives from local government agencies, residents and farmers to gain knowledge and assess beliefs and perceptions of climate change. They will also spend some time interacting with local university students and engage in hands-on work as part of the service-learning experience.
In Her Own Words
“I am developing this internationally oriented and interdisciplinary course because I would like to offer Cornell students an ultimate education. I want to provide students with an opportunity to expand their international experience through interacting with people from a different country and background. This has always been very important to me; my early years spent traveling the world shaped me, both as a person and as a teacher. The idea of connecting classroom instruction with experiential learning is crucial, not only for the practical experience gained but also for learning about other people’s ways of life. I hope the experience will enrich and broaden the students’ cross-cultural experience and enhance their sense of empathy and worldview to become more socially responsible and conscientious global citizens.
“The issue of climate change is also very dear to me. Through this course, the students will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of climate change and the challenges faced by millions of people living in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam as a real and lived experience. They will also gain knowledge on other pressing issues such as the global food system and its security and the meaning of environmental impacts of war, its legacy, and implications for environmental and socio-economic unrest. I think this course will be among the most salient learning moments of students’ Cornell education.”
This is a collaborative project between two Cornell instructors from two different colleges (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences) as well as several partnerships including host country universities and local communities and provincial leaders in Vietnam.
“Climate change in Vietnam spurs students to speak up” (Cornell Chronicle)
Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program
A yearlong cohort program in which faculty dive deep into the theory and practice of engaged learning; meet monthly to discuss readings, share projects and workshop challenges; and help transform what it means to teach at Cornell