Over 9,000 miles away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the opposite side of the world, is the beautiful country of Vietnam, where I had the incredible privilege of spending my summer. Through the Rollins College of Business and UTC, I was fortunate to partake in an eight-week accounting internship at Ahamove, an on-demand delivery service company in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allowed me to work alongside the talented accounting and finance team and learn valuable skills that will aid me in my future career in accounting.
During my internship, I completed several accounting tasks and projects that gave me valuable hands-on experience. I learned to use Power BI, enhanced my ability to analyze financial statements, and strategically curated numerous reports for the purpose of competitor benchmarking. One of the most fulfilling aspects of my time abroad was building meaningful connections and having intentional conversations with the local people of Vietnam. Taking part in an accounting internship abroad allowed me to develop relationships and participate in a work culture different from the United States. I have grown immensely in terms of adaptability, communication, and critical thinking skills.
My supervisor inquired about my perception of Vietnam before I arrived and how my experience varied from my initial expectations. I explained that the research I had done and the conversations I had with people who had previously traveled to Vietnam were very positive. Vietnam met and exceeded my prior expectations. The people I encountered were inviting and kind, the workplace culture was intentional and collaborative, and the country was beautiful and culturally rich.
I also learned valuable skills outside of the office. I spent my weekends traveling around Vietnam when I wasn’t working at my internship. We strategically planned where to spend our upcoming weekend at the start of every week. We headed straight to the airport after work each Friday, traveling to a new destination. These experiences were nothing short of extraordinary. Some of my favorite moments included taking a scenic motorbike tour down the Hai Van Pass, exploring the beaches of Da Nang, snorkeling in the beautiful Phu Quoc Island reefs, canoeing through the ancient city of Hoi An, cruising along Ha Long Bay, and visiting the famous Train Street in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. Each place we visited throughout Vietnam was entirely different from the others, and each one offered memories that will last a lifetime.
I had always hoped that my college career would include studying abroad, and this opportunity has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences during my time as a student at UTC. I am immensely grateful to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and all the staff who played a pivotal role in making this experience possible. This extraordinary opportunity solidified my passion for travel and enhanced my skills as a future accountant. As I reflect upon my time in Vietnam, I eagerly anticipate the day I can return and explore even more of this charming country.
Madeline McKissick (BS Accounting) spent the Summer 2023 semester studying abroad in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam through ISA. Madeline had the following to say about studying abroad, “I had the privilege of spending eight weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I participated in an accounting internship. It has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences and the highlight of my time at UTC. During my time abroad, I developed meaningful relationships while submerging myself in a culture entirely different from the United States. I encourage everyone who has the chance to study abroad to take the opportunity – it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!”
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