Day 5: American Center

Today we started the day with an in depth overview of Vietnamese culture. It was such an engaging lecture and so interesting. We learned about the history and formation of modern Vietnam, and the religious and ethnic divisions that define modern Vietnamese culture. After that, we had another hour of Vietnamese class, which has significantly increased in difficulty.  Everyday, the teacher introduces many new vocabulary words and grammar constructions, without giving us much time to have the information sink in. Our Vietnamese friends help us a lot with the pronunciation and tones, but it is still very difficult when we are trying to say full sentences.
After that,
We drove to UEFs rival school, HUTEC where their hospitality school served us a very fancy lunch of Caesar salad and veal, along with delicious “nice pear” mocktails. We then went to the American Center to meet with representatives of the US consulate. It was very interesting to talk to them about the duties of foreign service workers abroad. They are the communication link between America and all foreign countries. The consulate in Ho Chi Minh city also provides services to Americans, such as replacing lost passports and providing birth certificates. They also are a support network for any concerns an American in Vietnam may have. In addition, they have outreach events for all people, including Americans, Vietnamese, and other foreigners. These events allow give Vietnamese people access to information that is not allowed by their government such as banned books, movies, and documentaries. They also have events about American culture to help Vietnamese people understand our country and have a more favorable opinion on us, even though the overall favorability rating of America in Vietnam is already 94%.
The consulate representatives told us about the application process, and I am seriously considering it as a career option. I’m not sure exactly how relevant civil engineering is in the foreign service, but I am enchanted by the idea. You move countries ever couple years, each time taking an intensive language course. They get to help solve global problems and help countries find solutions to conflicts. It is a career that a person can start later in life, so I have time to consider it as an option.
In all, today was a very interesting day, and I feel like I have learned so much.

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