The project Media Literacy for Social Change has left a great impact in my life. Having a MA in Project Management, nevertheless, this is my first time participating in a Capacity Building Project in education. I had a chance to meet all professionals from regional and international universities, learn the management methods from Vienna coordinating team, and especially gain the major knowledge in media and media literacy. The project has facilitated me towards my PhD orientation. Initially, media literacy was not a PhD topic at the Academy of Journalism and Communication (AJC), but after this project it will be added, and myself might be the first PhD candidate who is writing about this topic.
This project has affected me personally as well. In the past, I was usually an easy-going person, even with my points of view. I had the tendency of believing what others said almost without second consideration, even for news in the media and social media. I remembered some hot topics that were blown up on Facebook which had me and my friends talk about them for days. Then it turned out to be all made up by some strangers that craved for attention. This phenomenon was and still is very popular in Vietnam. However, I came to know about the concept called “media literacy for the public”. For Vietnamese educators and students, media literacy is a set of skills and standards for media practitioners, to be effective in practicing media. But it is more than that. Media literacy is for the public also. For me personally, I started to have second guessing to whatever information I have received. I actively searched for other sources to double check it, and apply all knowledge I had to see whether the news are genuine, or fake. This has been a major change which affected my mindset, habits and viewpoints in life. Further than that, it was not just me that experienced this positive change. I tried my best to convince my parents, my relatives and friends to do the same. Think again once when you are about to trust the news. Think twice when you are about to share it on your social media. And please think it over and over when you come to affect some people’ lives or hurting their reputation for what information you have received.
I did experience some difficulties along the way. Firstly, this project was the first one of its kind for me and my institution as well. We have not participated in any Erasmus+ projects before. It took me a long time and big effort to examine all documents, all procedures and learn to fulfill the tasks step by step. However, I also received such great support from the Vienna team (especially Prof Fritz, Prof Thomas, Michael, Kim and Fiona) who were willing to consult, give advice and guidance in every matters. Secondly, we did have difficulties with the procedures in Vietnam as well. It took us such a long time and through a complicated process to get approval from institutional level, superior institutional level and national level.
What I will be missing the most is the inter-cultural affection that we have towards each other. We did have a lot of chances to gather together and discuss during the meetings and TtF workshops. With all the cultural differences that you can imagine, coming from different countries, trusting different religions, living different lives, we were getting along very well with each other and actually learned a lot from each other, academically and socially. I had the chance to come to many cities, learn about their culture and talk to their people. These are indeed the precious experiences that I am thankful for.