Off to Vietnam in a Ho Chi Minute!

Hello everyone! My name is Braden Hurst, a Freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. I am originally from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, a small town in the middle of the state. As of now, I intend to double major in Marketing and Supply Chain management within the College of Business Administration, while pursuing a minor in Spanish and certificates of both Latin American Studies and International Business. As you can discern from my intended fields of study, I have a great interest in international affairs, sparked by my life-changing experiences during mission trips to the Dominican Republic during high school.

In addition to these trips, I played soccer, tennis, served a class officer, was selected for PMEA District and Regional choral festivals, and participated in the RISE student team, an organization which helped improve the school environment. Here at Pitt, I have been able to continue to pursue some of my passions, as I am a paid singer at the Church of Ascension, the president of the Society for International Business, and occasionally find time to play pickup soccer or tennis. In my free time, I enjoy working out at the Pete, listening to music, watching sports, hanging with friends, and going out to explore everything Pittsburgh has to offer (especially the food). In terms of professional experience, my father and I have run a small DJ business, “Hurst Entertainment”, for several years, providing entertainment for many weddings, school dances, and other celebrations. Over the summer, I work at Bingaman and Sons Lumber, doing tedious work that allows me to better understand a manufacturing firm from its most basic level.

I chose Vietnam because it’s such a unique country with a vibrant history and culture, and a country that is often overlooked by the rest of the world, or in the case of the United States, frequently demonized. It’s the kind of place that my family was scared about me traveling to because of their acquired prejudices of Vietnam, and I feel as though I would be doing the country a disservice if I were to accept such judgements without experiencing it firsthand. Obviously, the food is also quite intriguing, and certainly was an influential factor in my decision, along with the vibrant growing economy that provides a breadth of opportunity, and the chance to meet people from such a different background to mine. Had I not decided to go to Vietnam, I likely never would’ve gone, which is ultimately what solidified my choice to go.

In terms of what I hope to gain this trip, I would consider the chance to meet with people working at these Vietnamese firms to be a tremendous opportunity, as it allows me to make connections with large international firms; I find this to be especially valuable as I plan to work abroad at some point. Academically, I look forward to the language courses, site visits, and other lectures as they will allow me to develop a rich understanding of Vietnamese culture and history that’s only obtainable through this sort of immersion. From a personal standpoint, I hope to befriend countless Vietnamese people, bond with the others going to Vietnam, and make some incredible memories.

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