Andhra University has often fostered a vibrant and multicultural community by attracting students from across the globe.
In an interesting turn of events, a group of Vietnamese students who had come to study at AU apparently arrived with their own groceries!
One would have thought India to be a natural home to vegetarians but not for this group of Vietnamese students.
Seeds, saplings, and cuttings of plants were brought in by these students who are indigenous to their home countries.
“We are a group of Vietnamese Buddhist Nuns and are pure vegetarians. When we started to explore food in Vizag, we did not find the kind of veggies we needed the most,” shared Nguyen Thuy Chi from Vietnam, a Ph.D. scholar in Anthropology, AU speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.
And what better way to grow organic vegetables ourselves and that too with seeds from their native country? There has been no second thought since then and today the varsity is proud to see the foreign saplings find a place in the garden.
Lanh, another Vietnamese student in AU said, “I am a Ph.D. student, and in addition to packing luggage to support my studies and long-term living, I always remember to bring plants that I adore because they are extremely excellent for health and promote vegetarianism,” adding that she enjoys her part-time employment because it allows her to relax after a long day of studying.
There are various vegetables (seeds from Vietnam) that are now being cultivated in the AU international girl’s hostel premises, including Amaranth, Sweet potato buds, Lemongrass, Piper Lolot, Mint, Morning glory, Basil, Ginger, and a few other herbs.
The students say that their cuisine is basic yet healthy. The weather in Vizag (hot and tropical) is a lot different from Vietnam. “So, the cultivation of quality native vegetables requires a lot of water and nourishing soil. With the support of our warden Dr Rajamanikyam and other gardening staff, we are able to maintain the garden very well,” added Nguyen.
Prof V Krishna Mohan, Registrar of AU, said, “Cultivation of organic plants by foreign students has led to a trend of growing one’s own food.
There is ample fertile space around the hostel and the future plan is to convert most of it into gardens where students can grow their own food”.