Coach for College is a service learning program that has attracted TTU students to participate in every summer. The program was initiated in 2007 by Parker Goyer, who was a women’s tennis student athlete from Duke university. Coach for College was first run at Hoa An secondary school in Hau Giang and then expanded to Da Nang. Since 2016, the program has been operating in only 3 sites of Hoa An, Thuan Hung, and Vi Thuy in Hau Giang province. Each site has 2 camps for 6th-7th and 8th-9th graders.
Coach for College has become a very common playground where American athlete-students and Vietnamese bilingual university students partner to teach and promote higher education in the areas. The program mainly aims at using sports to increase the excitement of going to school and reduce drop-out rate in rural Vietnam. During each 3-week camp, the kids will have a chance to learn from US coaches, who received higher education through sports and Vietnamese coaches, who made it to university and have a high ambition to improve the current drop-out situation.
What are the differences that teaching in camp will make to the kids? Traditionally, Vietnamese students are taught to memorize information and tested through answering questions. In Coach for College, secondary students go to the camp from Monday to Thursday to have life skill lessons, academic classes (Math, Biology, Physics, English) and sports (tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, and dance). On Friday, which is also known as competition day, the kids have to take the overall test for everything they learn during the week and play sports against other teams. The points of each team in Academics, Life Skills, and Sports will be announced the following Monday.
Being the most beneficiaries of the program, secondary school kids now learn how to apply academics subjects and life skill lessons in sports and life. In addition, they have a chance to learn real sports from US athlete students, who have been professionally trained and playing it to a high level in their sports. Through learning and playing sports in teams, the kids can also get a better idea of leadership, determination, self-confidence, failures, motivation, goal setting, teamwork and sportsmanship. Coach for College is also an opportunity for US students to gain great experiences in coaching their sports, exploring new cultures, making new friends and getting a better insight of education in rural Vietnam. At the same time, Vietnamese university students will get to work with and learn from people of different cultures and backgrounds, to dive in, step out of their comfort zone and discover their better selves. Above all, both US and VN coaches will see how difficult it is for rural kids to pursue higher education due to their family and financial situation. Realizing how privileged they are to get higher education, all the coaches join hands to set brilliant examples and become real role models for those kids.
Coach for College was first brought to TTU students by Ms. Dang Duong Phuong Truc, a business graduate. Since 2012, TTU has become one of the most common partner schools which have students apply for and take part in the program every year. CFC alumni from Tan Tao University include Tran Phuc Vinh, Nguyen Minh Tri, Truong Hoang Danh, Pham Hoang Man, Le Thi Xuan Mai, Le Dinh Van Lam, Vo Thi Hoai Thuong, Le Nguyen Bich Ngoc, Nguyễn Nhật Lan, Trương Thị Thanh Trúc, Bùi Thị Mỹ Ngọc, Bùi Như Hồng Hạnh. This summer 2017, Tan Tao University was proud to have Nguyễn Thị Thùy Nhung and Châu Nhật Huỳnh become coaches in the same camp and Lê Đình Vân Lam come back in new positions of College Director and Test-Survey Director in 2 camps. TTU students have always made great