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Courtesy: Rubenstein-Bing Student-Athlete Civic Engagement (ACE) Program
2017 ACE Class Checks in from Abroad
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 07/21/2017
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DURHAM, N.C. -- Each week this summer, student-athletes from Duke and Stanford are sharing reflections from their experiences with the ACE program. This week, the Duke and Stanford participants in South Africa partnered up to write their second week of blog posts and the participants in Vietnam wrote their final final week of blog posts.


By Alan Ko, Duke Men’s Fencing

Where are you from? Haley and I asked this age-old question to both our 8th and 9th graders during one of our last English lessons. After the usual responses – “I am from Vietnam” and the less grammatically correct “I am from in Vietnam” – I was surprised to hear one of the 8th grade red team boys clearly ask me, “Where are YOU from, Alan?” Pleasantly surprised by his audacity, I replied, “From the U.S.A, like the rest of the American coaches of course! More.

Culture and Perspective
By Christine Streisel, Duke Women's Track & Field, and Maya Jackson, Stanford Women's Softball

The past week’s reflections and activities focused on cultural diversity and the history of the townships and South Africa. On Tuesday night, MC, a local GVI staff member who grew up in a Xhosa township, came and spoke to us about the traditions and culture within the townships, especially those among the Xhosa people. We also had Stanford Professor Dr. James Campbell speak to us about the history of South Africa as a whole. Lastly, we toured the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, which taught us all about the uprooting of about 60,000 people that lived near Cape Town’s city center. More

A Duke Wrestler and Stanford Field Hockey Player Walk into the Gym
By Araad Sarrami, Duke Men's Wrestling, and Julia Ditosto, Stanford Women's Field Hockey

As our second blog post for the trip, we are collaborating on a short interview to provide our readers with insight on assimilation. Hope you enjoy!
1. What has it been like living and working with student athletes from Duke and Stanford?
Araad: I first thought it was going to take a little bit of time and working through that initial awkward phase where everybody was still trying to get to know each other, but the complete opposite happened. As soon as we all met everyone got along great and meshed real well with each other to the point where we were all comfortable. I honestly haven't laughed this hard in a while, and for that to happen with this group of people that I haven't known for more than a couple weeks is pretty amazing. More

A Rugby Crash Course for Two Beginners
By Sean Tate, Duke Men's Swimming & Diving, and Teaghan Cowles, Stanford Women's Softball

As a softball player and a swimmer, neither of us knew anything about rugby: the teams, the rules, or even how points are scored. The full-contact sport played without any protection seemed a weird, dangerous mix between American football and soccer. But we came to learn a great deal quickly. In South Africa, rugby is religion. More

Competition Day
By Mackenzie Willborn, Duke Women's Swimming & Diving

Returning home from Vietnam is honestly a bit daunting to think about. After seeing and feeling so many things, going back to my daily routine might not be the same. As I prepare to step off the plane in Dallas, I am almost as nervous as I was when I left. More

March Madness in Vietnam
By Kevin Gehsmann, Duke Football

The most humbling moment for me was watching the kids love to play basketball.  We started coaching from the ground up in a sport that they were largely unfamiliar with and culminated with a scrimmage at the end of camp.  On the last day, the teams competed in 4v4 half-court basketball.  It was set up bracket style – a 16 team field in both grade levels, one of the four color teams in each region.  It was pretty difficult to explain March Madness to the Vietnamese coaches- and hype it up to the Stanford athletes (whose basketball team does not give them the annual excitement that Duke’s does each March), but once they understood the bracket concept, they saw how exciting and competitive it would be. More

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