Xin chào Việt Nam

Hello Vietnam!

Our day started with the welcome ceremony and a city tour. The city tour was an amazing experience. Driving through the narrow city streets, infested with motor bikes and people was something that I’ve never seen before. The streets were surrounded by vendors, selling foods (that I’ve never seen before) and other convenience items. In the area that we had our tour, the signs of development were not as prevalent. From a distance, we could see some more metropolitan-looking buildings. In the areas that we were in today, I saw a lot of poverty and old worn down buildings and shacks. In the area where we ate dinner, it seemed much more developed, with a larger tourist population. The restaurants and shops seemed high end with more westernized designs. The restaurant we ate at tonight was beautiful, inside and out. Its architecture seemed to represent traditional Vietnam. The food was very traditional and most of it tasted great. I loved the fresh goi cuon. Everything was rich with so much flavor. I loved the appetizers that included the rice wraps and rice noodles. Everything that I tried tasted great, however, the dipping sauces were a little questionable, especially the one that was made of fish guts… There was one difference from the Culture Smart Book that seemed to be consistent with what I saw today. The book made the Vietnamese culture seem stricter about certain traditions and behaviors. It said that the Vietnamese people tend to be more sensitive in terms of social etiquette and are usually more reserved in social situations, for example, smiling was said to be used only as an act of confusion or embarrassment. However, all the UEF students greeted us with so much excitement and love. They welcomed us with smiles, laughs and many hugs. All and all, today has been unbelievable. I had no idea what to expect during my time here, but after today, I am even more excited for the next two-weeks…jennifer vietnam

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