Vietnam: An Incredible Experience

To finally have had the opportunity to visit Vietnam was incredible! It was one of the best trips I have been on, and I have the most amazing memories from it. Since I studied the Vietnam module and attended two Vietnam virtual field trips, it was so amazing finally to have the opportunity to see what Vietnam has to offer and to see everything that we have learnt about online in person.

After visiting Vietnam, I can say that I understand Vietnam on a deeper level in that I saw things first-hand rather than online. Whilst on this trip I learnt even more about the country, from its political aspects to the social aspects. Seeing the Vietnamese perspective on the Vietnam war and post-colonisation was so insightful. We visited numerous historical sites in Hanoi that depicted their history, from the Ly Thai To statue, the Temple of Literature, the Hoa Lo Prison and the United Nations Centre. Many statues around Hanoi were quite patriotic, and we also noticed a lot of Vietnamese flags hung around on the streets.

The most significant aspects of this amazing trip were the Vietnamese students, the culture and the architecture. The Vietnamese students were so nice and so friendly to be around, and they quickly became so acquainted with us; it was so lovely! They are so kind and lovely to talk to; they showed us so much of their country, and I enjoyed their company. I’m so glad to have finally met them after two years of speaking online. If I ever go back to Vietnam, I’m happy to say that I have friends to go back to there and visit! Hanoi and Ha Long Bay have amazing views and places there, such as the Hoan Kiem Lake, the caves and Ha Long Bay itself. Also, it was amazing to see Hanoi’s nightlife every night, and it was lively every day. The Lake at night was also busy with people taking pictures there and just enjoying the scenery.  As we were there on the weekend, some streets had closed, so there were no motorbikes or cars, and it was great to walk on the once busy roads and see all the open markets and stalls. There were also live performances by Vietnamese singers and street theatre players. The old town was amazing to walk down at night, there would be roads just filled with restaurants, and everyone is eating together and so happy, and then there were roads filled with stalls selling various items. It was so amazing to see how lively it is at night. Another aspect of the trip I enjoyed was the Hanoi Opera House which was one of my favourite places to visit even though we didn’t go inside, we would sit outside on the steps and watch Vietnamese life go by. This is where we met and spoke with many Hanoi locals who were so nice and friendly and would happily chat away with us.

Furthermore, the number of motorbikes was something I wasn’t expecting at all. I had prior knowledge that there were more motorbikes than people in Vietnam but just seeing it in person was incredible. (Hanoi’s traffic cannot be compared to London traffic at all.) The cars and motorbikes would all just flow with each other, no matter what way they were coming. This is where we slowly got the hang of crossing the road as well!

This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and I am so glad I could go. Now that I have been to Hanoi, I would love to go back to Vietnam and explore different areas to see what it offers and visit my Vietnamese friends there!!

Momina Nehmat, Year 2, BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations

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