East Coast College students benefit from once-in-a-lifetime trips to Vietnam and Germany


East Coast College students have benefited from two once-in-a-lifetime educational trips across the globe, travelling to Vietnam and Germany to support their studies.

Travel and Tourism students are currently in their second week of a two-week educational trip to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam where they spent the first week living in a tourism college, volunteering at a soup kitchen, and preparing hundreds of meals a day for a homeless shelter. They had lessons on Vietnamese culture, customs and language and spent the next few days battling the heat in the kitchen, cooking a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes for the elderly and homeless.

Students then undertook a week of exploring in the tourist areas around Ho Chi Minh City such as the Mekong Delta, where they held snakes, fed crocodiles, and learned about the impact of war on those they helped at the homeless shelter. During their trip to the Mekong Delta, the group visited the largest Buddhist temple in My Tho and travelled through the bamboo channels wearing Non-las – palm-leaf conical hats on traditional sampans.

The educational trip was made possible thanks to funding from the government’s Turing Scheme, which provides young people with the opportunity to work and study abroad while boosting ties with international partners. This meant the experience was fully funded for all students, and has helped them to develop their CVs, build employability skills and enhance their subject knowledge, giving them the best opportunities when they progress from college.

Amber Spearing, course leader, said: “Opportunities like these can be life-changing for our students. They get to embark on adventures and personal development journeys that can only be made possible by Turing Scheme funding. Volunteering with people in extreme poverty is very humbling and character-building. We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity again.”

Meanwhile, Automotive students are currently experiencing 15 days in Germany as a part of their course, where they spent the first week of their trip in Berlin. The group visited Wolfsburg – the home of Volkswagen, the famous Autostadt vehicle towers as well as Technische Universität Berlin’s multi-million pound Automotive Engineering Department.

Students then travelled to the South of Germany to Stuttgart where they focussed on Automotive performance visiting the incredible Porsche Museum.

Simon Hands, course lecturer, said: “During this trip, learners have been able to grow and learn new life skills. They have developed resilience and problem-solving skills and gained independent living skills. Learners have experienced being away from home for an extended period and having such a positive experience has given them the confidence to do it again in the future.”

“The trip has been both aspirational and motivational as learners have seen their dream cars and some have witnessed possibilities of attaining dream jobs. The visits have opened their eyes to opportunities after college such as studying at university, following different engineering routes, working for a specific manufacturer, working within different roles in the automotive industry and allowed them to consider international travel or employment. They now have the confidence to approach companies with an enhanced CV following this experience and insights from this trip. A once-in-a-lifetime experience of the German Automotive Industry.”

Holly Chase, East Coast College Assistant Principal, said: “We are pleased to have had two more life-changing experiences supported by East Coast College and the Turing Scheme. Students undertaking fully funded international work experience opportunities such as these are enrichment at its very best. Students have been able to immerse themselves in the culture, problem-solve, and develop independence, resilience and confidence as they learn new skills and see parts of the world they might never have seen before.”

“The learning does not stop there. Students will bring back their experiences to share with their peers, employers in the local community and staff and governors here at East Coast College.  We are really excited as a college to carry on the momentum of our international experiences that we have secured over the last three years and the life-changing benefits this has for our students.”

 The next international trips will see students studying Health and Social Care travelling to Budapest to learn about the health care and social care systems for both adults and young people visiting hospitals, schools and other relevant settings. Students in Animal Care will be travelling to South Africa to undertake a two-week internship on a nature reserve and Creative Arts will be visiting Rome, Florence and Venice. All of these trips have also been made possible thanks to the Turing Scheme.