Vietnam: A Real Experience of the Country in Transition

The field trip to Vietnam was an amazingly unique experience for the students that participated, myself included. By learning about the development of Vietnam in an international environment module, I was able to gain a rough insight into the economic growth of Vietnam through weekly lectures and videos. However, travelling out to Vietnam and experiencing the lifestyle, speaking to local people, seeing historical sights and attending lectures at Hanoi University have given me a completely different perspective and first-hand experience of development in Vietnam. 

Upon arriving in Vietnam, I was quite surprised at the level of patriotism in the country. The Vietnamese flag was seen on every street with posters. Historical sites were scattered across Vietnam, and students were able to visit the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, sites that used to be prisons and the Temple of Literature, where we saw important figures who inspired the Vietnamese people. The Hoa Lo Prison Museum was a truly amazing experience. Nicknamed “Hanoi Hilton”, it was built by the French in the 1980s but is remembered as a site for American prisoners of war. A true unification could be seen in Vietnam, with the capital, Hanoi, closing off roads for the weekend, so the public is able to play street games, enjoy street food and shop at market stalls. You can truly acknowledge the changes after its independence was declared from France. 

Another amazing experience from the field trip was the night stay on the cruise ship at Ha Long Bay. Spectacular views there were definitely worth the visit. The hospitality of the Vietnamese people was something to admire as we were greeted with smiles and provided with information of the history of Ha Long Bay. We enjoyed several activities which included kayaking (with also a heavy downfall of rain!), cave tours, hiking and spending time at the beautiful beaches. 

The trip to Vietnam has allowed me to further improve my knowledge of the development and economic growth of Vietnam. My most memorable time of the trip would have to be our visit to the United Nations building in Vietnam. I believe this gave us a real insight into how there are several projects ongoing to protect Earth’s environment and climate and also to end poverty. We were kindly presented with the Sustainable Development Goals, which the UN continues to improve on in Vietnam. I feel extremely grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank everyone that was able to make this happen.

Esra Yorulmaz, Year 2, BA (Hons) International Relations

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