Vietnam: An Opportunity to Develop Academically

My understanding of Vietnam was limited to what I have been taught about the Vietnam War in secondary school; however, having met some Vietnamese people whilst living in London, my interest in the country has peaked. I know whereabouts Vietnam is on the map and its neighbouring countries, such as Laos and Cambodia, as well as its beautiful natural landscapes, with Hanoi being the country’s capital city. Nonetheless, there is definitely more to learn about it than that!

Historically speaking, I am aware of Vietnam’s partition of the country into North and South Vietnam after 1954, when the country ceased to be a French colony, as well as the historical events occurring between 1955-1975, which encompass political elements such as the socialist party, which the US was trying to crush due to popular support, in order to prevent the spread of communism to Vietnam’s neighbouring countries.

Regarding the economy, I am aware that the country’s economy is growing rapidly with high levels of exports of crude oil and textiles, with the service sector contributing the most to the country’s GDP. However, agriculture still appears to be one of the most important sectors within the country.

My understanding of Vietnamese society is probably the most limited but with a simple understanding of it being a Buddhist-majority country and the national dish being Pho, in addition to the country promoting various cultures.

Due to the gaps in my knowledge and the interest I have gained in Vietnam in the last few years, I wish to join this virtual field trip to learn something new about the country, which I hope to visit someday. From what I have seen and heard, Vietnam is presented in a favourable light in regard to the development and retention of a vibrant culture in addition to the astounding natural beauty. Furthermore, I believe this virtual trip gives me an opportunity to develop academically in various ways, through experiencing notetaking and chairing of meetings, which is something I have not done before; the ability to develop my presentation skills, which not only will help academically but also professionally as well as being able to collaborate with people from a different country, which is an exciting learning opportunity. 

Zuzanna Lachendro, Year 3, BA (Hons) Spanish and International Relations

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