This year marks our tenth year partnering with PLAN International, a global organization that provides resources to children and communities to promote education, healthcare, and safety to those most in need. In celebration of this anniversary, we will be featuring the stories of past employee travelers here on our blog. Check back each month to learn about our employees’ travel experiences, see videos from our host sites, and discover how Hobsons and PLAN will continue to help increase access to quality education opportunities for children across the globe.

One of the best things about working at Hobsons is the incredible sense of community among all the employees. When the opportunity presented itself to take part in this community worldwide through the PLAN trip to Vietnam, I knew I had to participate.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There were things I thought I knew before I left for Vietnam, but here are just three of the eye opening moments that I experienced as a result of the trip.

Vietnam is hot. Really hot.

Before the trip I had done my ground work. I googled “what to pack to travel to Vietnam;” I looked up the weather daily. I bought clothing designed to prevent sweat. But none of this prepared me for the heat. Vietnam has the kind of heat that takes your breath away. The kind of heat that makes it hard to focus on anything but how hot it is.

Yet, when we visited the school site we met with amazing kids who were so excited to greet us with their songs and dance, eager to learn, and keen on showing us how they could read. It quickly made me forget about the heat and focus on ensuring we create an environment where these kids could learn and thrive.

Education affects the entire community.

I had physically prepared myself for the main purpose of our trip: to help build a school structure in a rural area of Vietnam. But I was not emotionally prepared for the reaction from the community at our visit. While we were visiting the site, many family and community members came to shake our hands and thank us for our help and support. It was humbling to see how truly grateful they were.

Our collective actions can make a difference.

I knew the trip would be a unique experience and that I would meet amazing people and inspiring children. But I underestimated how much I would be reminded of these children in the days to come. I continue to carry reminders of them with me as I go about my day. The trip made me realize that Hobsons work with PLAN helps to create the world-changers of tomorrow. Because of this trip, I was able to experience and witness how this partnership is making a difference in the lives of children and communities. 

For a look back at our Nepal trip, read our story here.


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