Very dear Vietnam

For me, in the first place Vietnam was not just a field trip but more than that. I want to call it “school”, not just because it contributed unforgettable memories to my life but, above all, to my personality. As a keen international relations student, one of my dearest fantasies has always been about experiencing something in my regions of study that have historical importance. And, of course, it is undeniable that Vietnam could not escape this category. That is why I started researching some countries with notoriously problematic backgrounds even before I even began this module. When I saw the notification about the module, I decided to choose it without a single hesitation. I must confess that when I started the course and began spending more time with my group mates as well as dear Farhang, I realised that the others from the group were at least as passionate about the subject as I was. That was the first way of learning. But it was learning not only from books, journals, articles or other academic resources but, most importantly, from my groupmates. Engaging with students of other subjects, such as psychology, and criminology, was fascinating. I try to learn something from every one of them. 

I had gained enough background before going to Vietnam. But, without experiencing the field trip, this knowledge would have stayed as knowledge alone. As time went by, and it came nearer our time to travel to this dearest Vietnam, I found I was going there with lots of questions waiting for answers. These answers were relatively easy to find. First of all, as one of my questions was about the country’s infrastructural development, I immediately saw the answer when we touched down in Hanoi. It was impressive to see a country that has faced serious challenges until recently flourishing within a brief period. Most notably, when they built those new constructions, at the same time, they always remembered to preserve and keep the historic buildings as well.  

Second, it was about gaining profound knowledge about sociocultural life in Vietnam. Having gone through the experience of studying and visiting the place, I am happy with what I experienced. It is more than what I was expecting before the trip. I met many Vietnamese people and learned about the Vietnamese education system. As a result, my knowledge about sociocultural life became enriched to a great extent. 

I take pleasure in saying Vietnamese people are truly kind, warm and lovely. They always have in stock a gleaming smile for you. That is one of many reasons to love them.

Another point is that even though they faced wars with the French and then the US until 1973, they always communicated with foreigners. That is why I never felt out of things. Most Vietnamese friends are aware of their past and proud of it. 

It is essential to point out that even though they are open to getting acquainted with foreigners, they will never tolerate being intervened in again by others. This is one of the noteworthy beliefs for most Vietnamese.

Although I have gained insight into Vietnam’s historical past by attending the lecture at Hanoi University and listening to our invaluable teacher Thi, I feel visiting the unique historical places such as the prison and the ancient village provided me with a better understanding of the region. In addition, visiting the UN headquarters in Hanoi and listening to their general briefing about environmental issues in Vietnam gave an insight into their operation and the challenges the country is facing. 

The module and the field trip developed me as a person and contributed positively towards my academic development. However, as a young man living alone in London, this kind of trip involving diverse students is difficult to process and can positively and negatively impact personal growth. 

Although it was periodically hard to socialise even with my group mates in London, it became more accessible and joyful in Hanoi. Moreover, the more I got to know people from different backgrounds, the more I understood their psychology. Thus, so long as I perceive myself as a character that regards discovering more from others, this field trip has helped, is helping and will help me further to be involved in life more intensely at every stage of vita.

Fikrat Guluzade 

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