First-year Chloe Lai on volunteering for Vietnam medical missions

Portrait of Chloe Lai

Chloe Lai (UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

“I’m looking forward to the people at Berkeley. Coming from my school in L.A., which was predominantly white, I never felt like I fit in. But at Berkeley, with all the different ethnicities and races, I feel like I’m appreciated and welcomed.

I’m going to join the VSA, the Vietnamese Student Association. My parents joined the VSA at UCLA — it’s how they met — so they’re pushing me to join. I know it encourages students to volunteer for programs. One is VnHOPE, which takes volunteers on medical missions to Vietnam.

I went to Vietnam last summer. I visited an orphanage with my family. I’m planning to go there this summer with VnHOPE to treat children living in an orphanage who are still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, a poisonous chemical used by the Americans during the Vietnam War.

We’ll bring over-the-counter medicine, and doctors will go in rounds and assess the children. Some of them have never had a doctor or dentist appointment. I’ll be there for two weeks — it’s very intensive work.”