Chelsea Shine (Wayne, Pa.), a rising senior on the women's basketball team, recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to give a first-hand update on the team this summer.
Hey Cavalier Fans!
I can't believe we're in our last week of summer classes and workouts! And for me, my last summer as an undergrad ever! It's bittersweet. Lots has been going on this summer which is probably why it feels like it has flown by. We have definitely been keeping busy and working hard, but one of the fun things I did this summer was take a trip to Vietnam!
I got the opportunity to be a part of the Coach for College program, which is a global initiative to promote higher education. Me and seven other student-athletes from the ACC went to a rural area in
the southern part of Vietnam just outside of Can Tho city. We worked with students who came from Can Tho University to put on a three-week camp for kids going into ninth grade. Our goal was to promote higher education to these kids through our sports as well as the personal experiences we brought with us. We each paired up with another American coach and two Vietnamese coaches and we taught a subject from physics to health and English to morality and coached a sport; either tennis, volleyball, soccer or basketball. I taught morality and coached basketball.
The kids we worked with and got to know for three weeks were amazing. They didn't speak any English so there were times when it could get frustrating because we wanted to directly communicate with them so badly but we formed a different kind of bond with them, finding other ways we could communicate. The translators were tremendous and made it all possible.
We stayed at a research center that was affiliated with Can Tho University that was about five minutes away from the school we worked at. As you can imagine it was a very different culture and way of living than we are used to here in the United States. Our room did have air conditioning however, we got to know the small wildlife very well! Geckos and bugs often became our roommates. The food was surprisingly good. We ate a lot of pork, white rice with every meal, and soup for breakfast! Some of the Vietnamese coaches were calling me "Miss Soy Sauce" by the end of the trip because I used it on everything!
I got to experience so many cool things while I was there. I got to see sights I had only dreamed of. And I think I learned more from the kids we worked with than they probably learned from me. I learned patience. I realized that life can be simple, that you don't need much to make you happy. I learned that you can communicate with people in so many different ways on so many different levels. And on the last day, when we were saying goodbye to these sweet teary-eyed kids, it all came together, that you really can make a difference in someone's life.
[Editor's Note: David Teel of the Daily Press caught up with Chelsea Shine earlier this summer and wrote this article on her experience in Vietnam.]