Vietnam: the experience was unforgettable

My journey to Vietnam was unforgettable; the culture, food, and geography were all incredible, and the people were warm and inviting, making us feel at ease.

When we arrived, curious and friendly students from Hanoi University welcomed us to their country. We quickly realised that we were in an environment where they were as interested in us as we were in their country!

We engaged in a discussion about each other’s cultures. My perception of Vietnam was that there was some poverty as a developing country with a communist political system. Still, there was only a divide in the rural and urban areas, which was very visible, with hardly any ‘poverty’ or homelessness in Hanoi. The cleanliness of Vietnam was moderate, with litter pickers throughout Hanoi. Still, the air pollution was very severe as their primary mode of transportation was motorbikes, which produced a lot of smoke and gases.

The agricultural side of Vietnam was intriguing to witness – farming for their food and fermenting drinks; seeing the religious aspects in areas we visited was a cultural refresh too.

The most important aspect of this trip was the culture; despite their complex history, their community relations were evident, with friends sitting together, sharing meals, dancing, and having fun, which I witnessed throughout the trip.

The diversity of our group and joining Vietnamese students has changed my perspective of education in general and, specifically, the field trip. Vietnamese education has strict regimes and rules for their families to do well. I have also learned that spending time with my classmates and getting to know them made me appreciate my university experience more, as it brought me much closer to those I would not usually talk to. Our interaction as a group was one highlight of this trip.

Learning in an international setting has also given me a better understanding of where I can take my degree and use my abilities to aid underdeveloped countries; by visiting countries with very different political structures than Western ones. Therefore, I would go on another field trip. I enjoyed getting to know different individuals on my course and meeting new people from other countries, with whom I will stay in touch via social media, and I hope to meet again in person.

Overall, I recommend anyone taking this module to any other student, as my experience was unforgettable. I made so many friends along the way.

Elina Souris

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