USSH-UF Exchange Scholars Face to Face

29th May

Lunch at La Rotonde Saigon, a short taxi ride from the USSH campus, brought together five USSH – UF Exchange participants: Binh, Phuong, Nga, Marie and the newest member of the group selected to represent USSH in the fall of 2015, Vy.  Lunch conversation continued through the noon hour into the early afternoon as stories of various campus and travel adventures in the USA and in Vietnam encountered by the Exchange participants generated laughter  and encouraged the introduction of one new topic after another.

The background of the exchange program, briefly shared earlier in this blog, is presented again to encourage reluctant travelers to consider submitting an application.  The experience is valuable and, if asked a year ago where travels might lead me in the coming year,  I’m not sure I would have named Vietnam. Fortunately, it was named for me…and it continues to be an “amazing experience” as a student suggested last … Read More »

My new home (and let the life lessons begin!)

Posted by Emilie Ehrman in Sprouting in Brussels. No Comments

26th May

After my longest travel journey (ever), I am officially moved into my apartment in Belgium! Bif and I are sharing a room, and have two other girls in our apartment, Paula and Jamie. They both seem wonderful. We are are expecting our fifth roommate on Tuesday.

I have been in Belgium for slightly over 24 hours, and I have already noticed a handful of things:

Americans are not exotic or exciting.

Belgium is full of foreigners, so being American does not make you an outcast. People do not ask about the U.S., do not try overly hard to welcome you, and do not give you second glances when they hear you speaking English or with an accent. This is both good and bad; it is good because nobody enjoys feeling like an outsider, and it is bad because I would genuinely like to … Read More »

Mazza Museum at the American Center

26th May


At the Mazza Museum, Findlay, Ohio, USA, an impressive collection of original art from children’s picture books continues to stimulate the mind, excite the imagination and trigger spontaneous sensory responses to the art.

This complete visual experience is the result of a bold idea proposed by Dr. Jerry Mallett in 1982 to celebrate the arts.  The project was funded in part by Dr. August Mazza and Mrs. Aleda Mazza. Through their vision and generosity, the project was established with four works of art valued at $1,700.00.   In their honor, the project became The Mazza Collection and eventually would become the Mazza Museum. The basement level of a college library was identified as the location for the collection. During the dedication ceremony, Dr. Mallett set what he believed to be an ambitious goal stating that “one new work would be added to the Collection each year.”

In 1994, the art was relocated to … Read More »


26th May

Viet Nam News: The English Language Daily

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Following front page world news and national news on pages 2 and 3, readers will find information about local happenings under Domestic Press, on page 4.

Of particular interest is the information in Wednesday’s edition of the Viet Nam News.  The topic is updated information on a recent installation in the city: the new pedestrian street.

A visit to the newly built and just opened Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street was included in my first introduction by USSH students to Ho Chi Minh City.

Both students commented on the ‘calming beauty’ of the place and the elegance of the in-ground lights and they remarked favorably about the spacious walking area without the interference of motorbikes or even bicycles.

But, they asked, “why no benches?” The “walking street should have benches; it’s a big space and even young people will get … Read More »

Saigon Today

26th May

Until the seventeenth century, when it became part of Vietnam, Saigon was a small port town belonging to the Kingdom of Cambodia.  In 1975, with its fall to the North Vietnamese, Saigon was renamed by the Hanoi government.  Today Ho Chi Minh City, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is home to a population of more than eight million. To this number is the annual addition of tourists, students enjoying a “gap year” between high school and college, exchange students and Fulbrighters, business men and women on assignment for corporate study and medical research, an enclave of expats and a growing art community.

The arts community is, in part, nurtured by the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University.






Oilers Away!

Posted by Emilie Ehrman in Sprouting in Brussels. No Comments

22nd May

I am officially at the Detroit Metro Airport with my roommate, Bif, for our flight – there’s no turning back now, even if I wanted to! There are countless thoughts going through my head.

Below is a list of my top ten concerns:

1. Will my ginormous suitcase pass the weight test?
2. Will they know I am an American?
3. Will language be a problem?
4. Did I bring enough Euros?!
5. How will I best communicate with my friends and family?
6. Will Bif (my roommate) and I get along with our other roommates?
7. Is eight weeks enough to see everything I want to see?
8. What is the difference between the bus, the tram and the metro?
9. Since when did Europe use military time?!
10. How do I avoid looking like a typical tourist?

Although I have concerns, I am very, very excited.

Here is a list of the … Read More »

Mekong: The Mother of Rivers

21st May

The Mekong River, the twelfth longest river in the world, begins its southern passage through six countries in the high plateau of  Eastern Tibet more than 4,000 kilometers (2, 500 miles) north of its delta in Vietnam.

From its source, this Mother of Rivers as it is known by the Lao and Thai passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam on its way to the open sea.

Throughout its long journey,  the Mekong River – without fail – provides life support to millions of people through its gift of clean water. A source for food supply and livelihood, irrigation, transportation, power generation, industry and domestic use in a multitude of forms, the river nourishes and continuously sustains the lands and the people on its long journey south to the delta.

Children of the delta who grow up and move away for school and work, return after successful careers to grow old … Read More »

Saigon to Siem Reap

21st May

Crossing the Vietnamese border into the Kingdom of Cambodia at Moc Bai  passports were gathered, reviewed and held for safe keeping by the border patrol to be returned when travelers returned to cross the border from Cambodia back into Vietnam.

The angst of leaving behind tangible evidence claiming one’s citizenship was soon forgotten as friendships were forged with other travelers – young and old alike – and as the unrestrained beauty of earth and sky and provided momentary glimpses into the daily life of the Khmer people – and particularly its children.


Siem Reap, the life-support system for the Temples of Angkor, lies 573 kilometers to the northwest of the border crossing.  On the return three days later, we would follow a southern route to spend a day and night in Cambodia’s capitol city of Phnom Penh ‘the pearl of Asia’. For now, though, we traveled a northern route through long stretches … Read More »

Feeling at Home!

18th May

An invitation to colleagues asking each to share personal reflections of time spent in Vietnam as a participating member of the UF –USSH Exchange Scholar program, resulted in the following paragraph from Dr. Louann Cummings:

Vietnam seduces and surprises me, exhausts and exhilarates me, every time I set foot in this amazing country.  The place assaults all senses and yields a perpetual dichotomy of experiences–from incense to fish sauce, a cacophony of motorbike engines to the solitude of women working in a rice patty, a place broken and complete, a garbage strewn neighborhood to the splendor of a meticulously manicured city park, magnificent architecture to haphazardly constructed abodes, the haves and the have-nots, flower selling entrepreneurs on bicycles to huge multi-national corporations, a country steeped in tradition and anxiously dabbling in world economies.  The list is endless. 

But one thing stays the same: the extraordinary, exquisite, … Read More »

The Zoo and its Greenhouse

18th May




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