Students Without Borders is a WUSC and CECI program that enables Canadian university and college students to participate in exciting, volunteer learning opportunities in South America, Africa, and Asia.

Author Archive: carla

On living, learning, and leaving…

Three months.  Is that all?  Has it really been that long? Time is so confusing.  I’ve spent a beautiful and bittersweet week taking my leave of Hanoi.  Aside from my last few classes at HOU- most of which were spent fighting off entreaties to “Sing us a song!”- I spent my last week visiting my favourite…

my walk in the rain: a rant in good humour

It was a dark and stormy night…. It’s cheesy, but true.  I’d seen the storm brewing and, cheered by the prospect of a break in the humidity, had gone out for an evening walk.  If the rain starts before I get back, I thought, all the better.  I love to walk in the rain. About…

Sapa

“Sapa?” he asked, peering through the gate of my apartment complex.  My father nodded, and after gesturing for us to follow, the little man set off down the street at a staggering pace.  In the hazy Hanoi twilight, my parents and I followed this apparition through winding alleys and along the train tracks until we…

Playing tour guide

How the tables have turned. Teaching tourism students, I’ve been toured around the city on countless occasions.  Suddenly I’m the tour-guide, showing off Hanoi to my parents with the pride of a local.  I’ve developed a sense of identification with the city that I would have thought impossible two months ago.  Wading into motorcycle traffic…

in a cold sweat

Some people have nightmares about falling, or drowning, others about being naked in a meeting or at the bus stop.  In my dreams, I am standing at the front of a classroom, staring out at a sea of glassy-eyed faces.  I can’t think of a word to say.  My mind is reeling, and yet- somehow- blank. …

Tossing coins on the beaches of Hoi An

Ah yes, Life is beautiful.  But is it as beautiful as the beaches of Hoi An? The coast line near the historic village certainly is beautiful.  Postcard perfect.  And the village itself is beautiful as well, all masterfully restored and outfitted with every comfort and luxury that the wealthy (or not so wealthy) traveller could…

my first full month in Hanoi

Last weekend I celebrated my first full month in Hanoi, and this week marked a new month and a few new beginnings.  I attended the much-anticipated wedding of one of my colleagues, hung out with some of my students (and dare I say, friends?), and blundered through another week of teaching.  The wedding was beautiful-…

A “tail” to tell…

Snake gruel- snake flakes- fried skin and innards- coconut fried snake- grilled snake- snake wine. . .  and the evening was just getting started!  More than 10 courses of snake were served up before the other WUSC interns and I had finished off the two cobras that had been selected and prepared for our gastronomic delight.  (And…

bars, birds, and…blogs?

“This would make great material for your blog, Carla!” I knew that the WUSC director was joking when he said this to me before turning back to the waitresses at the club and trying to explain, in broken but functional Vietnamese, that I was not his wife… This was near the end of a whirlwind tour of Hanoi…

Teacher! Sing for us!

Those of you who know me really, really well may have had the misfortune of first-hand knowledge of what a terrible singer I am.  The rest of you should be thankful that you haven’t.  I know, I know, I don’t believe most people when they say that they can’t sing either- but this is different.…