Adam Croglia ’10 was recently featured in The Buffalo News for his summer spent in Vietnam as a recipient of the 2009 Charles H. Salisbury Summer International Internship Stipend Award. Croglia, a double major in political science and comparative ethics studies, spent 11 weeks interning in Ho Chi Minh City, at the Institute of International Education (IIE), a multinational not-for-profit organization founded in 1919 to promote peace and understanding through cultural exchange.
“Vietnam is a rapidly developing country with a remarkable desire to globalize,” Croglia said. “Living there opened my eyes in a way I couldn’t get from visiting.”
The article notes Croglia worked with students interested in pursuing an education at American colleges and universities and gave presentations throughout the country.
“The students who I interacted with had an immense interest in both American schools as well as American culture,” said Croglia. “Educationally, they find it fascinating how we do college in the states.”
While this was his third trip to the Country, Croglia hopes to return to Vietnam as a professional.
The complete article follows.
The Buffalo News
Student’s visit to Vietnam is lesson in college culture
Ja’Nay Carswell • News Staff Reporter • August 31, 2009
The third time proved to be a charm for Adam Croglia of Amherst, a senior political science major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.
After visiting Vietnam as a tourist twice before with his family-for a month in 2006 and again in 2007 – Croglia went again for 11 weeks this summer as an intern with the Institute of International Education, an organization in Ho Chi Minh City promoting cultural exchange. Croglia, who returned home earlier this month, said his latest trip was very rewarding and culturally enriching.
“Vietnam is a rapidly developing country with a remarkable desire to globalize,” said Croglia, who traveled through a grant funded by his college. “Living there opened my eyes in a way I couldn’t get from visiting.”
In Ho Chi Minh City, Croglia advised and educated Vietnamese students interested in pursuing an education at American colleges and universities.
“I had the opportunity to reach many Vietnamese students,” he said. “Through my presentations both in Ho Chi Minh City and around the country, I think I presented to a total of about 1,500 people.”
Croglia, 20, gave presentations throughout the country on resumes, personal statements and relationship building. The 2006 St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute graduate said the students were very receptive and intrigued by American culture and education.
“The students who I interacted with had an immense interest in both American schools as well as American culture,” Croglia said. “Educationally, they find it fascinating how we do college in the states.”
Education in Vietnam, he said, is centered around the professor as the expert imparting knowledge, whereas in U. S. colleges, instructors are much more interested in getting students to analyze things for themselves and develop critical thinking skills. That fascinated the Vietnamese students. In turn, Croglia was equally fascinated with the culture of Vietnam, particularly the people.
“I learned just as much from them as they learned from me,” he said, noting that the people were very friendly and engaging. “They’re very eager to learn about you and to teach you about themselves.”
His biggest surprise this trip was experiencing the cultural differences in the workplace. He said the biggest is the somewhat slower pace and the fact that Vietnamese workers are focused on “ensuring accuracy all the time.” He also found the workplace there to be more “communal,” with more concern about “you as a person.”
Croglia said he made good friends while in Vietnam, noting that young people there were not yet born during the Vietnam War and hold no grudges against Americans.
He hopes to return to Vietnam in the future in a different capacity. He plans to pursue a career in foreign service with the State Department, saying his recent trip reaffirmed that desire.
“I feel that I have played a vital role in giving Vietnamese students a means to receive higher education and to bring that knowledge back to Vietnam to improve so many aspects of society,” he said. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”