Anddd We’re Back

One month later and I still miss Vietnam and the friends I’ve made. This experience was beyond amazing, and I am so lucky and grateful to have been apart of it. I told my Vietnamese friends that I would see them again someday and I sincerely meant it because they were the highlight of the trip and I miss them more than I could have imagined.

This trip was such a great experience because not only was I able to see beautiful sights with my new friends but I was also able to take away valuable lessons. Lessons about development, culture, business, engineering, but also lessons about myself. One of the major points that kept being drilled into our heads before we left was that we were going to gain transferable skills. Sure enough one month later looking back I can pinpoint the exact moments when I had to use one of these skills or where I developed them.

Skill one: Communication. From day one it was evident that even though my new friends spoke English, we weren’t at the same level. In the beginning, all of my conversations were short and basic. But as the week went on, I wanted to have more meaningful conversations with my friends and learn about their lives. I had to figure out ways to communicate what I was trying to say simply. Sometimes it was easy as just explaining the meaning of one word to them, but other times I would have to change the sentence entirely.

Skill two: Negotiating. As I explained in one of my previous blogs: The very first time we went to the market I could not bargain at all and felt overwhelmed. However, that night I went back to the market and with the price I wanted to spend in mind. I did not budge, and I learned how to get the object I wanted at the value that I thought was appropriate. The market was a really cool experience for me because I had learned about negotiating techniques in Organizational Behavior. I was able to take the techniques I had learned in the classroom, outside to a real-world experience.

Skill three: Flexibility. Not every day went as planned. One day we showed up for our site visit, but our tour guide forgot that we’d be coming, so on short notice, we had to change our plans for not only that day but the rest of the week. At that moment we could have got stressed and even possibly annoyed at this change of plans, but we went with it and didn’t let it impact the rest of our week. After returning from Vietnam, I have started an internship at Dun & Bradstreet. Last week I had a meeting with one of my project leaders, during it we both realized that my excel skill level was far below the level that I needed to complete the assignment that I would be given. The meeting ended with her telling me that she would figure something else out for me to do because she didn’t think I was best suited for this task. Even though the situation was a little awkward and I was slightly disappointed to no longer know what I’d be doing because I had already done pre-preparation for this project I was able not to let this incident rattle me and instead just wait to hear back from her and go from there.

This experience was so much more than seeing a new country, it was experiencing different activities with different people while learning different things. It was a trip that I will never forget with people I will always remember. Vietnam I will miss you and hopefully see you again soon. ❤

Thanks for following me on my journey.

~Maddie

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