By studying abroad in Vietnam, I had an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget. I studied abroad through ISA who placed us with a Vietnamese company called Abroader, and Abroader provided me and the other interns with an orientation, a city tour, local buddies for a support system, and more! My local buddy was the most outgoing guy ever and he was amazing. They went above and beyond to make sure that me and everyone else had a comfortable experience. The moment we arrived at the airport, they greeted us, got us to our accommodations, and filled our schedules with the orientation where we learned Vietnamese words, mannerisms, internship information, and more, and we also got to go on a city tour, where they took us to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Central Post Office, a local market called Thai Binh, and the Vinh Nghiem pagoda. We arrived with a couple different schools so there were a group of about 30 of us that got to do these activities together, and I was with three other students from UTC.
Saigon was full of interesting places such as the war museum where I got to learn more about the Vietnam war from their side, a massive party street called Bui Vien Walking Street which is one of the most popular destinations for night life, and it also has a network of tunnels called the Cu Chi Tunnels. I got to go to these tunnels, climb inside, look at traps that were used in the war, and shoot an AK-47. It was also really interesting how cheap that the city was. Street food was about 1 to 2 dollars to eat, and if I were to order a fast-food meal at a restaurant, it was 3 dollars. Other services such as Grab, their Uber equivalent, were also extremely cheap being from 1 to 4 dollars to use each time on a motorbike, so I was able to get around the city and explore nicely.
Besides working and exploring Saigon, on some weekends I would travel, so one weekend I got to go to a small town in the mountains called Da Lat through a sleep bus. It is interesting because while Saigon is very hot and humid, Da Lat is elevated, so it is around 70 to 80 degrees with a cold breeze. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and waterfalls, and it was a nice escape for me to get into nature, hike, zipline, and it was probably one of my favorite places in Vietnam because I love the outdoors. I also went to the Mekong River on a tour where I got to try food, eat local fruits, and get on a paddleboat on the river! My other favorite place was Ha Long Bay because of the massive limestone formations. It was really cool to cruise around and I got to explore a massive cave on one of the islands as well.
Finally, the internship company I was placed at was phenomenal! I had such amazing coworkers and I got to work in the CEO’s house where I got to eat a homemade Vietnamese lunch every day and support them in their marketing. They would take me and my other internship partner from the U.S. out on excursions to other parts of the city to explore other areas of interest and let us visit other companies they had partnered with. The coworkers were such cool people, and one coworker would even motorbike me back to my apartment every day. One week they hosted international students from different countries around Southeast Asia and it was really cool to hear their stories.
Ultimately, I never really thought of Vietnam before this study abroad, but now I have such a much wider worldview where I know what Vietnam is really like. I feel like I gained valuable communication skills by communicating with my coworkers and other Vietnamese and I feel that an adventurous part of me has opened up that I never knew I had before. If anybody ever has the opportunity to study abroad, I highly recommend it. My outlook on Vietnam and international countries is changed forever and I am so happy I got to experience it.
Isaac Hendren (BS Accounting, BS Finance) spent the Summer 2023 semester studying abroad in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam through ISA. Isaac had the following to say about studying abroad, “While I was in Vietnam, I did not find myself missing home much. Honestly, studying abroad is more than an academic pursuit, but a life changing experience that offers immense growth. I got to immerse myself in the culture and ride a motorbike everyday, eat local food, explore new places, and meet new people. It was so much cheaper than I ever could have imagined it to be and it allowed such an amazing growth opportunity that let me expand my worldview. So, why not look into it? It is worth it.”
Share this post: