Texas Tech students ready to challenge perceptions of Vietnam
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's a study abroad opportunity unlike any other. This Sunday, nearly a dozen Texas Tech students will start their 28-day trip to Vietnam.
While this country might not seem like your typical study abroad destination, Dr. Ron Milam says that's the point, encouraging students to put aside their preconceptions and learn what's really happening in the country.
"Those between 20 and 30 still have the images of Vietnam as a war...I'm not quite sure why that is other than they have been inundated with movies and Hollywood," Milam said. "We want to change that. We want our students to understand that Vietnam is not just a war in our memory, but a beautiful country with beautiful people."
Milam is a professor and a Vietnam veteran going on the trip hoping to open students' eyes to the truth of the country, but he understands where they're coming from, since he once had similar thoughts himself.
"I served in war in 1971 and it was one of those places where I said I don't care if I ever go back when I left," he said.
Since then, Milam has been to Vietnam 13 times and now sees the country differently.
"Not only did my view change of them, but I'm hoping their view changed of me because the Vietnamese people are very welcoming," he said. "In many ways this is therapy for me. It's what I do and it's wonderful."
For students like Peyton Oldham, he expects to make lifelong memories on this trip.
Oldham is a Navy veteran and has had the chance to hear many veterans tell their stories.
Oldham is also the director of the South Plains Honor Flight. He hopes the experience of this trip will help him make the Honor Flight a better experience for Vietnam veterans.
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