FDU students embark on Vietnam, Cambodia adventure

QUEST student Patty Manhart rides a water buffalo next to rice paddies at a pit stop on the group’s way to Hoi An in Vietnam. (Photos courtesy of Patty Manhart)

By Kenna Caprio

Visiting Wroxton College as undergrads proved to be just the beginning of travel adventures for FDU graduate students Patty Manhart and Candice Duckworth.

The two women, both fifth-year QUEST students, recently returned from a 17-day trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, the optional study abroad component of Professor Gary Darden’s Pacific Worlds class. Manhart and Duckworth both studied with Darden earlier in their academic careers, but could not go on the previous study abroad to Japan offered.

“He mentioned that in a few semesters when he offered the class again, he would take students to Vietnam and Cambodia. Even though it would be during my graduate year and I did not need the credit, I would be welcome to ‘audit’ the class and just do the pay and go option,” says Manhart. Both women chose to start saving so they could head out on the trip.

They joined 13 more FDU students, Professor Darden and Professor Gloria Pastorino abroad to experience museum trips, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization world heritage sites, artisan shops and markets, and traditional meals.

“FDU has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world in ways that may not have been possible otherwise,” says Duckworth. “The semester at Wroxton really opens your eyes to understanding a different perspective of the world. From that I've made it a goal to actually see the things that most people only see in textbooks and get out and experience them. Trips like this give me a unique perspective to bring into my future classroom.”

During travel through the different regions of Vietnam, students got insider perspectives courtesy of their guides on a country that’s been trying “to promote its growth since the 1970s but really has left most of its population behind,” says Manhart.

“It felt like a time warp almost — where Facebook is banned, people break their backs working in rice paddies while megaphones blare communist propaganda, and million dollar monuments are built instead of bridges for students who have to swim to school every day,” says Manhart.

Detailed itineraries were provided to the FDU travelers for most days but, like on most study abroad trips offered by the University, students also had the opportunity to explore a bit on their own.

“I had an opportunity to swim in the South China Sea in Vietnam,” says Manhart. “Candice (Duckworth), Chaz (Krygowski) and I borrowed bikes from the hotel to ride through a local village to get ‘pho’ (noodles) for lunch.” Later that day, Manhart and the others headed to the market for some “souvenir haggling” before hanging out at a backpacker's destination to play pool and chat with people from Australia, England, Finland, and “all over,” she says.

Exotic experiences, including visiting Angkor Thom temple ruins in Cambodia, made this trip into an adventure, helping students expand on their global education.

"This trip was an amazing opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and travel to a place that was very foreign. It was the first time that I traveled somewhere where I didn't have a handle on the language and culture," Duckworth says.

To see two photo galleries of the Vietnam/Cambodia trip, visit FDU on Facebook.

Traditional Cambodian dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia surround FDU travelers and students Candice Duckworth and Patty Manhart.

For Immediate Release

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