^This is Bunny, one of the Vietnamese students. She is one of the most fun and out-spoken people I’ve ever met.
For the most part the locals we interacted with were Vietnamese students at the University of Economics and Finance—the partner university that makes Plus3 Vietnam possible. The students knew WAY more about American pop culture than I thought they would—maybe more than I do to be honest (I am a hermit who shuns social media). Most of the Vietnamese students had favorite American songs and Disney Channel shows. I was surprised to learn that the approval rating of the US in Vietnam is actually 93%; for a point of reference the US approval rating of the US is in the 60’s. Vietnamese students liked America and its inhabitants—I had always heard that foreigners generally disliked Americans, but that is certainly not true, at least not in Vietnam.
The students knew a lot more about Americans than most Vietnamese as they were in the English club, but in general there was a lot more English than I expected. The only time I was jarred by the differences between our cultures was when one of the Vietnamese students asked if women drivers were common in the US. The only other thing that surprised me about the Vietnamese students was that they were a lot more extroverted than I had expected. We were told both explicitly and via stereotype that Vietnamese people would be soft spoken and shy. This was as far from the truth as possible.
I suppose all in all remember that your expectations will most likely be incorrect. We always have some sort of preconceptions about something or a group of people we’ve never had a chance to experience ourselves, but we need to remember that these can be and are often wrong, usually for the better.