by Thanh Phuong Hoang (Safe & Sound 2023 alumna)

After a long flight, Bergen welcomed me with rain in August, but it couldn’t dampen my excitement about embarking on a new journey – a journey to explore the knowledge, nature, culture, and people of Norway.

Let me share three things that exceeded my expectations:

  1. Studying program

We had the opportunity to study two courses: “Global mental health” and “Crisis psychology and disaster response”. The curriculum focused on improving our ability to critically evaluate relevant research and evidence, apply research-based knowledge in practice, and gave us opportunities to conduct research, express our opinions, and develop personal skills such as self-study, teamwork, and presenting in a multicultural environment.

Through these courses, I gained knowledge about mental health and mental disorders across different contexts, as well as the existing gap between needs and services. I learned about various mental health programs such as Mental Health Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Community-based Psychosocial Support (CBPS), School-based interventions, Psychology First Aid, and Teaching Recovery Techniques. These topics made me reflect on how to translate scientific knowledge into practice in Vietnam to address mental health issues.

You can find more information about the course:

  • Friendship

I am grateful every day for the opportunity to meet teachers and friends from different countries, listen to their experiences, connect with them, and be inspired by their stories from Norway, Nepal, Peru, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. We learned together, explored the mountains, and shared our lives.

  • Life activities and nature

In Bergen, I was able to participate in many volunteer activities and clubs, which allowed me to interact with the local people, engage in cultural discussions, and learn new things. I joined the Naturvern Hordaland organization to protect the forest by cutting down Tsuga heterophylla, became a member of the Board Game Club, and practiced ice skating with my friends at Bergen Shallen during the weekdays with free entrance.

After almost three months of participating in the exchange program in Bergen, a collaboration between VNU and the University of Bergen, I am forever grateful to the teachers who gave me this opportunity and to the friends I have learned and worked with.

Thank you, Bergen, for your warm hospitality.

Thanh Phuong Hoang

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *