Before going to Vietnam, I had no idea what to expect, I went with an open mind with eagerness to know and experience its culture, traditions and way in which people live their lives. I already had a huge interest in countries within Asia, especially East and South East Asia, and Vietnam was the first one I went to within that region. Everyone around me told me it would be an experience of a lifetime going there, and they were absolutely right. If I could relive the short time that I was there one hundred times over I would. I can really say it one of the highlights of my university life and I was so lucky to have the opportunity go there and experience and explore such a cool country. Even now I still miss the experience and memories that I made there; the country left that much of an impact on me.
Me and my fellow classmates were there for nearly 2 weeks, but if it was up to me, I would have stayed way longer. Upon arriving I was so excited that instead of taking a rest from an 11-hour flight that we all just had, I went exploring around the area that we were accommodated at. The people seemed so kind and friendly there, they would randomly smile or wave at you and were generally really nice. Even those selling on the street offered free fruit for us taste whilst we were scouring our surroundings.
Vietnam is full of historical landmarks, history, and a drive for greatness. There were a few historical places that we went to, which provided us with lots of information about Vietnam, and it was so nice to get information like this from actually experiencing it and going to the places instead of just reading about them. This first-hand learning was really so insightful and taught me a lot.
Everyday there was an amazing day. But my favourite day in particular was the day that Vietnam had won the football match. The whole country was in celebration, everyone was so happy and, on the streets, high fiving each other, dancing and joyously celebrating the win. I had never experienced this in my entire life, celebrating so much over the win of a football match and what was really so wonderful was when the people saw us celebrating, they were so touched, that as foreigners we were out there celebrating like crazy with them. It was like a win for us all. That trip alone had me buying more storage for my phone, because I took many videos and pictures that were all so amazing, I just could not delete them.
This trip really taught me a lot and allowed me to experience something so unique. After coming back to the U.K I missed Vietnam a lot and I still do. I learned a lot about their music culture as well and I enjoy it thoroughly, I also made good lifetime friends there who I still keep in contact with, in hopes to see them again one day. It is not enough to write down my experiences in a single document because if I could, I would go on and on about how much of a wonderful time I had there. But it really opens your eyes and allows you to experience something completely new. If ever the chance arises I 100% recommend you go there!
Mahnoor Shahid, Year 3, BA (Hons) International Relations and Development.