Confessions of an Expat

My other life…

MoulterDr. Bob Molter is currently living in Vietnam with his wife and lecturing at the School of Optometry at Pham Ngoc Thac University (PNTU) in Ho Chi Minh City as part of a program which is supported by Brien Holden Vision Institute, Optometry Giving Sight and VOSH International. He was formerly Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Michigan College of Optometry but this is his first experience in lecturing. The Optometry School at PNTU commenced in 2014, and currently has 94 students – the first of whom will graduate in 2018.

When I was a student I decided to go into Optometry because it promised a good salary, but when I was at school I learned to love the field of Optometry and this profession as an avenue for serving others. My joy is now at this later stage in my life I am getting to fulfil that early realisation.

By far, my favourite part of teaching is the interaction that I have with the students during lectures and labs. I try to keep the students engaged by including interactive portions in the lectures and calling on them in turn to give answers or describe something about the topic.

The song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, “Getting to Know You” would be a pretty close approximation of how I feel about my experience with the wonderful students here. Especially the lyric “that if you become a teacher, by your students you’ll be taught.” Watching the student’s progress in their skill and confidence is incredibly satisfying for me. I am very happy to have a small part in this process and am inspired to consider being involved with lecturing at emerging faculties in the long term.


Part of that inspiration comes from my interaction with a specific student and his father. The father is the head of the Corneal Department at the Eye Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve been to dinner with him and his wife several times and he has expressed his confidence that Optometry has a place in the healthcare system here. He is so confident that he has enrolled his only son in the program. His son is one of our top students in the second-year class and I can tell he will be one of the leaders of Optometry in Vietnam in the future. It’s been fantastic and eye opening to see the support on this grass-roots level for the profession.

If you would like information about volunteering your services at a School of Optometry internationally, please visit the VOSH Corps website.

 School of Optometry

Mr. Tran Hoai Long, Head of Optometry Sub-department, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Hiệp, Vice Dean of UPNT, Bob, Kim, Ms. Ngân Tran – Optometrist – Teaching Assistant, Ms. Yen Phuong – Opthalmologist – Teaching staff. Feb 25,2017.