It has been over a week since our team of San Diego staff and athletes from the Exodus Social Justice Volleyball Club arrived in Vietnam for our first youth sports diplomacy program. This collaboration with the National Ability Center and the Social Justice Exodus Club in San Diego has been an eye-opening and empowering opportunity for the participants, as they engage in new cultural experiences and delve into the local cultures.
As soon as the team disembarked from their flight to Vietnam, their schedules were packed with exciting activities propelling them through an array of cultural and social activities. One of the first stops was the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, where the team met with the Vietnam Sports Administration in anticipation of the scheduled volleyball matches in the coming week.The volleyball team has participated in several friendly matches. On July 12, the Exodus Club played against the Duc Giang Volleyball Club at the Gia Lam Stadium in Hanoi. The following images are from a Vietnamese online article that highlights moments from the game. To view the article and read more about the athletes, visit: https://news.zing.vn/bong-hong-nguoi-my-noi-bat-tren-san-bong-chuyen-tai-viet-nam-post859710.html
After the matches, the Exodus team spent the day with the athletes from Quang Ning before preparing for departure. The next segment of their journey consisted of travel on an overnight boat trip to Halong Bay, Vietnam where they would learn about environmental protection programs. In Halong Bay, the team continued playing volleyball matches with the local athletes, which became a collaborative, interactive, and fun experience. In addition to athletic games, the San Diego girls had the opportunity to explore new cultural activities. Later, the leaders of KOTO Van Mieu, a training restaurant in Hanoi, shared inspirational and impactful stories to the young athletes.
The San Diego team accomplished a variety of cultural and interactive activities through trying local delicacies and playing numerous volleyball matches. Along the way, they shared positive learning experiences and heard firsthand from the new friends they met in their travels. What is next for the team? The following part of their journey will send them off to their next exciting destination in Luang Prabang, Laos.
To view more on our team and the athletes of the Exodus Social Justice Volleyball Club, check out this video collaboration with the U.S. Embassy Vientiane.