Instead of binging on Netflix or spending hours scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, young people across Vietnam are using their time amid COVID-19 restrictions to share specialized skills with others from around the world.
Duc Duy, a student at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology has spent the past several months of the pandemic sharing music tutorials on social media.
His videos have so far racked up thousands of views.
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“Because I’m a student, I’ve found myself with lots of free time since the pandemic started, so I decided to begin making videos of myself teaching others how to sing and play guitar,” Duc Duy said.
“It’s not just a free time activity, but also a way for me to increase my own knowledge.”
Duy’s videos are not limited to music.
He makes clips in which he teaches others about cuisine and architecture.
Even though he is busy completing the last year of his doctorate through a program with the University of Sydney, these videos are his way of uplifting the spirits of young people who have been trapped indoors throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
As a long-term member of the Global Young Vietnamese Scholars Forum, Duy has held 18 online workshops across a variety of subjects so that young people can have the opportunity to make the most out of their extra time.
“We are able to keep things free by using a premium Zoom account supplied by our university,” explained Duy.
“Normally, hosting so many people would be expensive, but having access to a premium account for free means we can hold big events without worrying about the cost.
"Most of our workshops are fully booked!”
Learning through teaching
Duy puts several hours of preparation into each video, with the process beginning well before he even starts recording.
“First, I have to figure out whether the topic I want to talk about will actually attract viewers," he explained.
"Then, I need to market it to an audience and find guest speakers.
"It’s not easy because we have no budget and we don’t belong to an official organization."
Dr. Nguyen Tran Phi Yen, a lecturer at the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, has also been using the pandemic as an opportunity to teach others through the Internet.
Making use of the online platform Fan8, Dr. Yen has produced a series of videos detailing her life and work, most recently by inviting an environmentalist onto her series as a guest speaker to discuss wildlife conservation.
“Fan8 supports the community activities related to entertainment and academic events," Dr. Yen said.
"It’s a great platform, but I hope that one day I can hold live events so that I can better connect with my audience.
"At least in a virtual environment people with introverted personalities can feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
Yen is also not shy to admit that it is not just her audience who learns from the guest speakers in her videos.
“The guest speakers not only teach my audience, they also teach me!" she laughed.