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Annual student showcase highlights Vietnamese culture on campus | The Triangle

Annual student showcase highlights Vietnamese culture on campus

Photo by Christopher Willi | The Triangle

Drexel University’s Vietnamese Student Association hosted its annual culture show at the Suzanne Roberts Theater on March 9. 

A yearly tradition, the culture show offers talented members of the VSA an opportunity to show glimpses of Vietnamese culture and entertainment through a showcase of acting, dancing and singing. 

“The culture show is an annual event that VSA hosts, which is open publicly to everyone,” said VSA President Minh Trinh, a second-year economics and data science major and the culture show’s producer. “We’ve held the event at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre since 2019, and each year, there’s different themes, but our main goal is to introduce Vietnamese culture.”

The show had four singing performances, one play, and five dance performances — two from the Drexel K-pop Club’s Prism dance team, two from the K-pop cover dance team Hope 4 Tomorrow and a Bollywood dance performed by Niyati Srinivasan and Audi Soetiono. 

“This year, aside from the play, we also have [members] singing songs from Vietnam, dances that aren’t just to Vietnamese songs, there’s also Korean and Bollywood dance, showing the diversity of culture when it comes to America,” said Trinh.

“Duo,” the show’s play, is about two Vietnamese international student siblings who return to Vietnam to reclaim their inheritance and reminisce on the wonders of their home. Its background graphics featured a lot of media and imagery from various parts of Vietnam, including Saigon, Hanoi, Sa Pa and Hoi An. 

“Our journey is to find the inheritance our parents [left] for us so that we can stick together and redefine our sibling love,” said Huy Cao, a first-year business analytics and finance major who plays the duo’s brother Minh. “We [go] through several destinations throughout Vietnam to get all the [inheritance] back.”

Behind this story is a blend of foreign and domestic experiences coming together to bridge the gap between living in Vietnam and experiencing new things in America.

“This character is very similar to my life and personal experiences in the U.S., as I do have a brother in real life, and I am studying in a different country, so I appreciate the time that I spend with my family [when I go back],” said Thuy Duong, a second-year interior design major who plays the duo’s sister An.

The show is the pinnacle of the VSA’s tireless effort to provide authentic Vietnamese representation to the Drexel student body.

“The reason I come and help out is because a lot of people still have a lot of stereotypes about Vietnamese people and our culture, and the culture show is bringing in the modern look of the Vietnamese and also helping people blend in since we have a lot of international students in the VSA, so I feel like it’s a great challenge and opportunity to bond and showcase who we are,” said Doris Pham, a third-year marketing major and a media team member for the culture show.

The VSA has once again used the show as an artistic channel to promote solidarity between Vietnamese American and Vietnamese international students and to provide the VSA’s international student members with reminders of home.

 “I feel like the show resonates with everyone, feeling far from home and detached from it,” said Trinh. “As an international student, I’m in America, and half the world away from Vietnam, and this show is a gift-wrapped love letter to those who want to feel a sense of warmth and reconnection while enjoying the culture of sharing and kindness Vietnam has to offer.” 

This article is part of a column dedicated to supporting underrepresented Asian student organizations on Drexel University’s campus.