Day five began with the usual class at UEF, however today’s lecture focused on history and culture of Vietnam. My favorite part of the lecture was learning about the many different ethnic groups in Vietnam and their unique customs. We had lunch at the rival HuTech University where their hospitality students provided us a 5 star meal and I tried veal for the first time!
Instead of visiting a business today, we visited the Consulate General of the United States. At the consulate, they perform services including issuing visas, providing services for Americans abroad, and help to facilitate relations and communications between the U.S. and Vietnamese government. At the American Center where we held our visit, they provide services and programming to locals interested in the United States such as assistance for students applying to U.S. colleges.
In the session, I learned the difficult process of applying for a visa. It appears straightforward: fill out the form, pay the fee, wait in line and interview at the consulate. However it is difficult to get chosen in countries like Vietnam where hundreds of people apply everyday and the consulate has to evaluate their intentions. One of my UEF friends has applied for a visa multiple times to study in the United States and has been rejected, and it’s clear that the experience is hard for her.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to the consulate general. It was cool to hear the perspective of government officials, and to learn about a possible career in foreign service.
That’s all for today, off to the Mekong tomorrow!