We began today at the U.S. Consulate of Vietnam, rather than a business site visit. I was honestly quite uneducated about what a consulate did and the visit was luckily very informative. The U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City helps distribute non-immigrant and immigrant visas, looks into privatization and the investment environment for the U.S. economy, and connects businesses to Ho Chi Minh City to hopefully get offices there to take advantage of the market opportunity. Visas need to be applied for and there’s an intense interview process where non-immigrants need to prove that they won’t immigrate and the interviewer assumes that they do want to immigrate. The visas take very different amounts of time depending on kind of visa, the country, and the person themselves. They explained the current challenges of Ho Chi Minh City, which included poor infrastructure, no good source of public transportation, and no space to park cars. I found it interesting that the reason why motorbikes are so popular is that they’re cheap and convenient for the narrow streets. They contribute to the pollution, which is growing at an alarming rate with the influx of people into the city from rural areas. This being said, the Vietnamese love the U.S., as they have a higher approval rating of the U.S. than we do ourselves. However, the U.S. is mainly in Vietnam as a consulate for our own economic and security benefit. After the consulate, we went to UEF and had desserts as part of our culture class, which were mung bean, sticky rice, and jelly. For dinner, we had authentic Vietnamese food and I ate a shrimp head, rice paper, and pancakes.