International English Teaching Project


H’Exchange is an international English teaching and cultural exchange project. It began as an answer to the specific request of the Hmong community of Hau Thao to have access to new resources for learning and improving their command of the English language. Speaking English is important for the community because it represents a way to communicate with tourists visiting the region and therefore to expand their commercial outreach through homestays and guided tours of the mountains around Sa Pa.
The project started in August 2013, when a first group of international students established contact with the community of Hau Thao and trialled the first teaching session. This try-out was warmly welcomed by the community and achieved great success with more than 50 Hmong between 6 and 16 years old attending English classes and taking part in the learning activities. In the following months, this on-line platform was built to allow more like-minded volunteers to get involved and carry on the teaching program in Hau Thao. This website is in fact not only a way to inform about the project but also a means for guaranteeing continuity and coherency with teaching methods and goals. This is achieved thanks to the log in area that allows volunteers to download information and advice from previous volunteers and to upload their own material.

H’Exchange is both a teaching and a cultural exchange project. The importance of sharing knowledge and a strong ethics of respect for different cultural identities and social realities are the core principles that inspire this transnational endeavour.
We believe that the encounter between different social and cultural realities is essential for learning, for growing and for becoming global citizens. The Hmong of Hau Thao have a very strong ethnic identity that gives shape to their everyday habits and to their social and economic organization. Understanding and appreciating this culture and sharing bits of your own is a one in a lifetime opportunity.
Thanks to this English teaching project we want to promote the active participation of international volunteers in the breaking down of social and cultural boundaries, in the mingling of experiences and sharing of knowledge which are essential for the creation of new ideas and for the discovery of alternatives.
H’Exchange aims at transferring skills and raising awareness about H’mong culture and lifestyle while promoting a strong ethics of respect for diversity which can only stem from a critical and unprejudiced encounter with the other(s).

We cannot stress enough that H’Exchange is not a development project. ‘Development’ has in recent years assumed the very narrow meaning of modernization, presuming that there is a single or a best way to progress. By promoting the encounter between international volunteers and the H’mong of Hau Thao we want to go against this tendency and common beliefs. Our hope is to inspire our volunteers with a worldview that differs from that which is often proposed in the development realm. While this one somewhat places emphasis on the idea of GIVING something to anOther, we wish to establish a relationship based on a reciprocal and pure form of exchange in which the percentage of what is learnt and that of what is taught is of equal share.

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