Study Abroad in Cambodia and Vietnam

Caroline Wilkerson ~ Copy Editor

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Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo Taken from Dr Dawson Religions of Asia Syllabus

This J-Term, from December 26th to January 21st, students at the University of Lynchburg studied abroad in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Students began their adventure, travelling thirteen hours and crossing the international dateline from Dulles International Airport located in northern Virginia, to Seoul, Korea. From Korea they travelled four and a half hours to the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi.

Students studied two classes while on the trip abroad.  These included Religions of Asia, taught by Dr. Stephen Dawson, professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy, and Film and Literature of the Vietnam War, taught by Dr. David Lipani, professor of English.

While there, students really immersed themselves into the two different cultures, by not only learning about them in the classroom, but by also getting a first-hand look into them. They were able to see Buddhist pagodas and temples, where the students learned about the more religious aspect, but also visited Ho Chi Minh City where they learned more about the historical aspect.

University of Lynchburg student, Madeline Hansen, a senior who attended the study abroad trip this J-term, said, “As cliché as this is, it really was a life changing experience. Having the opportunity to surround myself with such a different culture than our own was eye opening. I got super close with the other students on the trip and highly recommend studying abroad if ever given the chance!”

According to a study performed at the University of Hawaii, students who study abroad have many advantages including, “Broadening world views and ways of thinking by experiencing different cultures firsthand, providing opportunities for leadership development through interactions with different cultures, and complementing and accelerating fluency in speaking, reading, and writing foreign languages.”

Dr. Dawson also added, “Studying abroad is more of a hands-on experience. You do not get to experience anything more first-hand than going to the country and being immersed into the culture.” He continued, “one of the things about going to Vietnam and Cambodia, in particular, are that they are unfamiliar places where you can gain a different kind of experience compared to going a place where the culture is more similar to your own.”

Maggie Chiappazzi, sophomore and another attendee of the trip, said, “Studying abroad is an amazing experience. It gives a chance to learn outside of an ordinary classroom and experience in real life rather than reading it out of a textbook.”

The next study abroad opportunities at the University of Lynchburg will take place in summer 2019. Some of the destinations include London, Rome, the Balkans, and South Korea. To learn more, contact the Study Abroad office at


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