Carin Rustema is lecturer reasearch for the master in Tourism Destination Management course conducted at NHTV, Breda University of Applied Science. Every now and then she writes about the her view on the master course here on this weblog. If you want to know more about this master course, take a look at the information in the under “Tourism master at NHTV” or visit www.nhtv.nl/tdm.

We all have dreams. In the day. In the night. About having the time of our life. About interesting work. About nice colleagues. Nice people. Nice places. Nice food. About life and what it can be like.Now you might wonder: what kind of introduction is this from a teacher who stayed two weeks in Vietnam to supervise students, help them with their research assignments, participate in discussions and presentations, organized small meetings? Wasn’t Central Vietnam about research? About collecting data and finding answers to questions?

Well. Call it research. Call it an assignment. Call it studies. But dreams suddenly become part of research while understanding the dynamics of an emerging destination like Central Vietnam.

Let me first consider my own role. Many people think that teaching research is the most boring subject of all. It can be, indeed. But that’s not the way we have defined research in this Master programme. In many ways, field research in our programme is much more then just finding out the truth and analysing the situation at hand. Field research becomes especially interesting when it helps students to develop a new role. A role of the researcher in a natural setting. Students learn how to become researchers, but students are also individuals who are developing as true professionals in a new environment. With idea’s, dreams, plans.

How this worked in Central Vietnam? It was a place where most of us had never been. Complex. Different. Lots of developments. Many businesses, entrepreneurs. Many resorts. Restaurants. Boats. Cycles. Tailorshops. Cultural heritage. Musea. Markets. Rats.

Now how do you cope with such an environment if you have to perform as a professional? The answer is: try to develop a vision, and idea or even a dream. As a researcher. And as a person.

A vision can be like a dream. It can be far from reality. Often not even understood by others, unless you explain it, unless you use material to support your idea. And this is when research kicks in. It might even kick in hard!

But if you can support a dream with findings, with information, with supporting material, then you carry research forward and make it interesting, appealing, revealing.

When you work at an emerging tourism destination, looking for the true answer is utopia. But at the same time, many people are eager to understand what is going on, and what could be done to grasp the opportunities at hand. Research can support this process. And students can grow into a role of offering support. To make dreams into potential realities.

Central Vietnam has proven to all of us to be an interesting place. A rare piece of land, lost of money being invested and residents taking the opportunity to step into business. With ideas, visions or dreams. It makes the area interesting. Not to be forgotten. Like a warm drink, it seeps into your soul.