This week, we want you to meet Shaylie, who volunteered for 6 weeks in Hanoi. Shaylie spent most of her time working with children living in SS3, an orphanage in Hanoi. Before 2016, Shaylie had been on other short-term trips with GVI to engage in our Family domain. Let’s join her as she reflects on her experience.
- Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Shaylie Maskell, I am 19 years old, born and raised in Canberra, and just entering my second year at university, studying Secondary Teaching, History and French. I have been teaching dance for the last few years and love to perform, whether dancing, singing or acting. In my spare time I love to read, write, go for long walks and hang out with my friends.
- What did you do during your internship with GVI?
I assisted Hue with teaching English to the Rainbow Kinder and My Dinh Nursery children. I also taught a dance class to the older children at SS3 and hosted and English Club once a week. I also enjoyed a lot of flexible free time which I used to explore the area I was living in, prepare for lessons, talk to my family and friends, and walk around the more touristy areas.
- What were your reasons for coming back to Vietnam?
God has inspired me with a love for Vietnam. I love the culture and the people, and they always make me feel so welcome every time I come there. I love to be able to help people, and to work with kids, so assisting at SS3 has been an awesome experience for me! Plus all the Vietnamese food is delicious!
- What was your favorite memory/experience?
I think one of my favourite memories was when I came into SS3 on a Saturday and all of the Rainbow Kinder children cried out “Chi Shaylie!” and ran up to me, hugging me, fighting for who got to hold my hand and dragging me around the courtyard. It was just so wonderful to see their smiling faces as they showed me around their home, I felt honoured that they enjoyed my company and wanted to welcome me into SS3. I also have fun memories of the English Club lesson where I showed the students Australian slang to see if they could work out what it meant, and discovering how ridiculous Australian English was!
- What impact did you hope to make in the community you served?
I hoped to be able to share experiences with the community around me, to be able to help them grow their enthusiasm for English and to show them that there are people who care for them from all over the world.
- How did the community/children impact you on this trip?
In a big way! Apart from learning more about the culture, cuisine and language, the people inspired me to take a look at my own life and culture and improve it. I was inspired by the welcoming, friendly, kind people who opened their homes to me. The kids’ resilience and friendship despite their unfortunate situation really made me feel especially conscious of what I can do with my privileged background to help the people around me.
- How did going to Vietnam shaped you as a person?
Going to Vietnam helped me to really understand what life is like for the Vietnamese people and how their communities are so tightly knit by their experiences, but are still always so welcoming. I have come to realise the power of community, and the need for love to be the thing that comes first and foremost in all lives. I carry this with me as I go about my life in Australia, and hope that I can use it to inspire others around me.
- Why do you think people should volunteer and serve in Vietnam?
I think that people should volunteer to serve in Vietnam because they will have a big impact on the people there. No matter how much you underestimate what your service would have, the snowball effect that can come from one person’s visit, from one person sharing their time and love with the Vietnamese people, can have a great reach than anyone could imagine. If you want to change the world, you can do it one person at a time!
- In three words, please summarize your experience as a GVI Intern in Vietnam.
Love, belonging, happiness