After passing three tough admissions rounds, 23 participants of ASOD-7 have officially joined the ASOD “family.” They met and introduced themselves at this year’s ASOD opening ceremony – Autumn For You.

In order to become ASOD learners, participants must pass three, extensive admissions rounds, including CV submission, essay submission and interviews. ASOD’s selection of individuals who show strong interest in personal and social development must, at the same time, look for a harmony (without assimilation) of personalities and hobbies. Lecturers thus struggled to narrow down to 23 suitable applicants for the course this year.

ASOD 7 members on a team-building day

The Autumn School Of Development, ASOD – organized by the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment – is a course designed to help learners explore the constant flux of the surrounding world, humans, and themselves. With the help from experts and researchers in various fields, learners have the opportunity to access fundamental development topics, ranging from theoretical ones such as Discourse, Epistemology, Human Rights, and Justice to artistic disciplines like Literature, Cinema, and Music.

Teachers and ASOD alumni in info session

Coming from all walks of life, ASOD learners each have their own, uniques reasons for applying for the course. For some, it’s to gain more knowledge, for others to support their career, others to find out what they really want in life, and some just simply to enjoy the course. All these reasons are equally respected, since ASOD is an environment where learners are free to express personal opinions and viewpoints without the fear of being judged or having and ethical values imposed, an environment where diversity is respected.

It is truly difficult to explain the concrete lessons or gains of ASOD alumni, a common word used to describe how they felt was ‘shattered’- but not in the superficially negative way. To be shattered means to have realized what they had not known, to rebuild their lives in a better way, and to break the prejudices, hesitations and fears that prevented them from being closer to one another.

“I began to think more deeply, follow my own choices and be consistent with my aims. Now, I can easily communicate with my family because I do not just assume my father is right, and I am wrong. My father and I are right in different situations. I share my thoughts more frequently to my parents and I am happy when they really pay attention and encourage me to make my own decisions for my future,” wrote Quach Hoang Quynh in her ASOD diary.

ASOD 7 members are getting closer after few weeks

Our hope is that after 10 weeks, 23 ASOD learners will have shared unforgettable experiences and let themselves be “shattered”!