Why did you choose this program?
I chose to intern in Vietnam for 3 main reasons. Primarily, I wanted to reconnect with my heritage as it was 18 years since I left Vietnam. I wanted to immerse myself in my culture to learn more about where I came from. Part of this included seeing my relatives and hometown. Secondly, I wanted a global experience to help me decide on which career pathway to take. Doing an internship at home in the US would have been okay, but I knew it would have been more fun on an international level. Lastly, I wanted to go to Vietnam for traveling and food, two of my biggest passion in life. I knew I had to explore the beauty of Vietnam while feasting on the delicious Vietnamese cuisine.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My university (KU) helped me find and awarded me multiple scholarships that funded my trip. Without their financial assistance, I might not have been able to go. Regarding my program provider, ABROADER, they helped connect me to a company to intern with prior to the start date. Throughout the trip, they also planned various activities for me and fellow internees to participate in. Lastly, ABROADER provided care and support if needed. Besides that, the only thing I had to plan for myself was the plane ticket process.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
The thing I recommend, and wish I did more for myself, was to believe in the notion that "you'll only be here in ___ once, so might as well go for it". For me, my introvertedness won often, leading me to stay inside and chill. Obviously, I liked that but I also wished I pushed myself to go out more. So, the thing is that, even if you don't necessarily feel like it, remember that you're supposed to have fun and enjoy your time here. Go out there and do ANYTHING. From going to coffee shops to exploring random local attractions to enjoying the city's nightlife, do it all because you might not get the chance in the future. You can always be a couch potato when you go home, so might as well go wild and have fun.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
From Mondays to Fridays, I had to work from 9 am - 5:30 pm with a lunch break around 12-1:30 pm. I was lucky that my company enjoyed having downtime so we often spent a little bit longer eating so that we can converse and joke around. After I was done with today's work, I would go home and just rest up for the rest of the night in my accommodation. If I had plans, however, I would usually be hanging out with friends from 6:30 pm - 2 am. On weekends, I had free time so I normally spent that hanging out with my family or friends. This could mean traveling to various city locations such as Da Lat or Mui Ne, even though they're 3-8 hours away. Despite that, I always made it back in time to work.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Personally, for me, my biggest and only fear was that I would NOT have a final answer to which career path I wanted to take. Although doing an internship was required for me, I wanted to do that internship in hopes of it giving me an answer to whether the business pathway was right for me. I didn't want the internship to be a flop or come back from Vietnam with so a decision. Luckily, with how my internship went along with some internal reflection, I was able to find a solution. Was a stressful fear but I'm glad to have gotten over it.
What is one thing you'd recommend fellow travelers to try in Vietnam?
I'd 100% recommend looking into the Datanla waterfall canyoning trip in Da Lat. Especially if you're an outdoor kinda person who enjoys doing hikes and vigorous/dangerous activities, this experience was so much fun. It was my first time doing it and I thoroughly enjoyed jumping off cliffs, climbing down waterfalls, and swimming in the river. I would definitely go back or try to replicate the activity somewhere in the US when I have time.