Huong Nguyen

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Washington & Jefferson College
Heinz Programming Area: 
Arts & Culture
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

Over the course of five weeks in Bangalore, India, Huong Nguyen gained a wonderful amount of hands on experience in the daily lifestyle of an Indian. She performed a Bollywood dance routine in front of the Chancellors, students, staff and faculty of Christ University, she learned how to make dosas and poori in her Indian Cuisine course, and she spent time volunteering at various locations outside of class. The majority of her volunteer hours took place at the Christ University Recycling Center Unit, and she was able to work closely with the currently employed women. She helped tear up, form, press, dry, and paint the recycled paper that would eventually end up as a photo album, notebook, or various other paper products. The remainder of her hours was spent at the Rajendra Nagar slum area volunteering at the local library, classroom, and the neighborhood of a family that she was introduced to by her Sociology professor. She had the opportunity to play “Simon Says” with kids after they learned about plants, and she taught other kids the “Fifty Nifty United States” song. Volunteering in the same neighborhood, she met a young woman, Suganya, whom Huong eventually befriended after the first visit. On the first day that Huong visited the neighborhood, Huong was able to help a young mother give a bath to her baby boy, John. She had the pleasure of meeting Suganya’s family and friends, who became Huong’s Indian family. Huong became so close to her adopted family that she hosted a pizza party for Suganya and her family, where everyone made their own individual pizzas out of ingredients that Huong and her friends bought at a local grocery store. On the weekends, Huong took advantage of the field trips offered through her program, travelling to Mysore and a village on the outskirts of Bangalore. She had the most memorable and rewarding experience in Bangalore, and this will not be her last time in India!

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Holi Festival of Colors

Huong assisted in the creation of the Holi Festival of Colors, a two-part CEE that occurred at Washington & Jefferson College and the LeMoyne Center in Washington, PA. At the first event, Huong and her team infused Indian culture into W&J’s annual spring street fair where students and community members threw vibrant colors similar to the actual Holi Festival of Colors in India as well as danced to Indian music. At the second event, Huong and her team taught a lesson on Indian culture to elementary students at the LeMoyne Center. They incorporated the celebration of colors into the activities by finger-painting t-shirts, decorating cookies and learning Indian dance.

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