From Misconceptions to the Reality of Vietnam

Vietnam was amongst the many countries around the world that I did not pay much attention to until I chose to study the ‘Learning in an International Environment’ module. This module changed my vision and perspective of Vietnam. I was able to learn different aspects such as economics, politics, and society. I became aware of how developed the country is. The economic growth reflects the reform policy that the state had launched since the 1980s. I have researched extensively during my study of this module. I engage with data about the one-party state and how the reform policy (Doi Moi) transformed Vietnam. It is now one of the fastest-growing economies in South-East Asia. Through my interest of the Communist Party, I studied the government’s success to tackle the economic reform.

Previous to studying this module, my perspective of Vietnam was based on the Vietnamese fighting against French imperialism until World War II and then the US, which ended in 1975. Based on its history, I viewed Vietnam as a less economically developed country, with the possibility of poverty being an issue in the country. Also, the little to no attraction Vietnam drew compared to its neighbouring countries such as Thailand made me assume that Vietnam was not developed nor a tourist hub. However, my perspective has changed after learning about Vietnam, which shows that one should not think negatively without studying it. I have grown to be inspired by Vietnam’s rapid development and the vision they have upheld in leaving no one behind, which has been evident in their educational facilities, healthcare investments and infrastructure.

I hope this field trip will help me to learn more about Vietnamese culture and its social lifestyle in an informal setting. I want to meet different students, including some Vietnamese, as I like to hear their view.

I am looking forward to clearing any misconceptions about Vietnam whilst engaging in the meetings to expand my minimum knowledge of Vietnam. I am looking forward to learning from the Vietnamese academics, the NGO and UN workers about the country.

Laila Barkat, Year 2, BA (Hons) International Relations and Development.

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