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Venturing around Vietnam: The Outward Bound Experience in Ha Long Bay

Outward Bound Vietnam Opening Ceremony
Students raring to embark on their Outward Bound Vietnam Journey

In the second iteration of the Outward Bound programme in Ha Long Bay, a total of 23 SUSS students embarked on a voyage of discovery in Vietnam. The 12-day programme in December 2023 consisted of an Outward Bound Course at the Ha Long base of Outward Bound Vietnam (OBV) and a student-led socio-cultural immersion programme in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Experiential Learning in the woods
Students navigate their way through the woods and toward their next campsite.

Over the seven-day OBV programme, students delved deeper into Ha Long Bay by engaging in outdoor activities like kayaking, trekking, and caving. Embracing a back-to-basics approach and connecting with nature, they conquered challenges and physical demands together as a cohesive team.

Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
Students going on a short kayaking expedition around the remote areas of Ha Long Bay, away from the tourist spots.

The trip's standout activities included outdoor abseiling, cave exploration, and kayaking in Ha Long Bay. Keeping with the Outward Bound spirit, the seven-day programme featured knowledge sharing on leadership styles and nightly reflections. These sessions facilitated profound self-awareness and fostered development of students' leadership abilities. As the journey unfolded, students were gradually entrusted with the autonomy to independently lead and manage their teams during various expeditions and activities.

According to Aw Leng Suan Nicelle, a Year 3 Part-time Human Resource Management student, kayaking was her favourite activity out of the whole OBV experience. She shared, “We got to take a closer look at the limestone formations and understand more about Vietnam’s sustainability initiatives in conserving the natural environment”. She further highlighted that the sweeping views were something she could not experience back in Singapore.

Through it all, the outdoor challenges and hands-on experience in Ha Long have left the students with a lasting impact that cultivates personal growth and a deeper understanding of their capabilities in a supportive team environment.

Cultural exchange in ULIS
Fully immersing in the Vietnamese culture with students from the Vietnam University of Language and International Studies.

As we moved along, the students continued their time in Vietnam with a three-day socio-cultural immersion programme in Hanoi. The students planned out various activities like an industrial visit to the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, where they provided insight into the country's agricultural practices and technological advancements, and a full day of cultural immersion at the Vietnam University of Language and International Studies that deepened the participants' understanding of the local language and culture. According to Lucas Koh Wen Zhuo, a Year 2 Full-time Marketing Student, “The student exchange with the university has provided us a platform to bridge the cultural gap between each other. I also forged new friendships along the way!”

Touring around Central Hanoi
SUSS students learning more about the historical significance of the Hoa Lo Prison from the local student guides.

The students also went on a walking tour in Hanoi, exploring historical landmarks such as the Hoa Lo Prison and the fascinating Train Street, offering a blend of cultural and historical perspectives. The programme topped off with a day trip to Ninh Binh province where students get to explore picturesque landscapes and historical wonders, further adding to the natural and historical dimension of the journey.

Exploring picturesque Ninh Binh
Exploring the historical capital of Ninh Binh as part of the student’s socio-cultural immersion.

All in all, these excursions not only broadened the participants' knowledge but also allowed them to engage with Vietnam's rich heritage. The combination of educational, cultural, and recreational activities made this programme a well-rounded and memorable exploration of the diverse facets of Vietnam. 

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