Today we visited the United States Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City to learn about what they do and how the relations between the Americans and Vietnamese really works. I found out the difference between a consulate and an embassy is that an embassy is located in the capital city of the country, but other than that they serve the same purposes. They spoke about how there are different focuses of each official at the consulate with varying focuses depending on personal interest. They informed us about how the trade relations work between the United States, a developed country whom mainly exports services, and Vietnam, who is currently in the process of rapid development and is more prevalent at exporting labor. We also learned that these employees of the consulate are responsible for all of the direct communication of the governments as well as working with the people of Vietnam about topics such as economics. Overall, this visit informed me more about direct relations between countries, which is always something that I hear about but never truly knew the logistics until now.
After the visit to the consulate we ate lunch before returning to UEF to finish our class for the week. Coming into this trip I had never really used chopsticks before and figured I could just fake my way through until someone taught me the correct way. This proved to be a mistake today because as I was eating my noodles with chili sauce some splashed into my eye, and let me tell you that was one of the most painful experiences ever. At least after lunch we went to class and they taught us the correct way it was just a little to late this time. To wrap up our language class today we had the pleasure of listening to Joe sing My Way by Frank Sinatra. It was one of the most surprisingly passionate performances I had ever seen, and I definitely won’t forget it anytime soon. Tomorrow we head to the beach for a bit of relaxation which I am really looking forward to.