Today we flipped the script a little and did our site visit before lunch and class. Instead of going to a business site we visited the U.S Consulate (not pictured because I left my phone on the bus). This was one of my favorite visits because the speakers were really interesting and well-spoken. They talked a lot about one of the duties that workers in the consulate do, visa interviews. We all asked a lot of questions about these because they are very interesting. I thought it was very cool how they determine visas, I never thought of having someone prove they have strong Vietnamese ties, although that makes a lot of sense. I found it crazy that each interview is only a couple minutes and they have to do hundreds of them a day. I had no idea there was that volume of visas being applied for.
They told us Vietnam is the 5th most visas applied for to go to the US out of all the countries. At first I found this surprising until they explained there are a lot of Vietnamese living in the U.S because they came over during the war. This means there are a lot of people who travel to see their family. I found this concept interesting. Another thing I thought was interesting was the section of the Consulate that deals with the economics also deals with the environment. That is interesting to me and I wonder if those were split up if they would get more time for each.
We also learned that the Consulate hosts events to educate people on various things. I had no idea the consulate was the type of place that would host movie screenings. It was interesting to me that they had workshops and events. It sounds like those events are really valuable to the public. This resource, combined with the countless others, are beneficial to the U.S because it strengthens our relationship with Vietnam. The people today stressed the importance of having this strong relationship. One of them used the word “strategic” a couple times. Vietnam is in a good place right now with its rapid development and low cost of living. Being friends with them reduces the chance of war and helps us with trading.
We talked a little about Vietnam’s infrastructure as well. I find it really interesting that when countries get richer they start buying more cars. This is not going to be good for Vietnam because they do not have the space for them. Their roads and parking are made for motorbikes, not cars. This is an interesting problem because you don’t usually think of a city not having enough parking. Problems like those are so interesting to me and I loved hearing these people analyze Vietnam. Especially since they had lived so many other places so they could compare and contrast.
It was interesting thinking about a job like that. I know I want to travel for work at least in the beginning, but I am not sure I could ever do that for so long that I never get to settle down. I don’t know though, and I have until I’m 58 to decide!
The rest of the day was relaxing. When we left UEF there was a beautiful sunset, which is my favorite thing. That was nice to see because you can’t always see them as well in cities. We finished the day with a traditional Vietnamese dinner where we tried lots of crazy foods that were all really yummy.