The last two months are definitely up there among the best in my life. There has been so many great stories, great people and great places. If you have read any of my blog posts so far, you can probably tell that I’ve had an agenda. I have been using my blogs as a chance to reflect on my time in Vietnam but also as an opportunity to think about the world and to get others to think about it. Especially the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Over the last three months I’ve been part of a programme with EIL called the Global Awareness Programme, where I’ve been trying to do just that. I’ve been learning about the world, myself and trying to change the way people think. I hope that throughout my time in Vietnam I was able to positively influence my students and others by teaching them about a little island on the edge of Europe with a big culture. While teaching I was able to give students an opportunity to consider the world beyond their own life’s, beyond their own communities, to experience a different culture and to relate the world as they see it to their own lives. To be fair, it sounds a bit much for English class…

In a similar way I’ve been trying to influence people at home with my blogs and in other ways still to come! Even if it’s the case, that it’s just been my aunty and a few others reading my blogs, it was the hope that the theme of them might spark some thinking on the way of the world and if nothing else they offered some structure for my own reflection on my journey.

The main Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) I’ve been talking about is education. It’s the one I’m most passionate about and one I already knew a little bit about from school and college but also from volunteering in Citywise. A place committed to quality education because of the prospects education can bring young people but also because of its transformative power. This is the other reason I chose SDG4. Education changes minds, changes attitudes and changes communities. So really when you work towards quality education, you work towards all 17 SDGs. The more people that know about the goals, the more people that work towards achieving them! In this way, when quality education is achieved, the others become easier to solve.

My time in Vietnam offered a chance to learn a lot about education and to remind myself of some important stuff. To be honest, I didn’t ‘find myself’ as my friends have joked, but it was a great refresher course. It’s not exactly ground-breaking to discover that education is important but it’s great to be reminded of just how life changing it can be.

We (basically the world) have committed to improving society through the United Nations’ goals. They cover everything from poverty to climate change, health to economic growth, gender equality to conservation. These areas all require quality education for their respective goals to be realised, so we have to ask ourselves how we can continue to improve educational outcomes in our own country and further afield. Any ideas?

About the Author:

Name: Dáire Hennessy
Age: Over 18
Applied for: Global Awareness Programme Award
Exploring: Vietnam