Day 5: Back in the US – 5/10/19

Today we mixed things up a bit because we did a site visit in the morning and the lectures in the afternoon. We had a later start, so I got to sleep in a bit. I had the classic vegetables, bread, and fruit for breakfast. Then, we went to the US Consulate, which has mostly the same function as the embassy, but it is less concerned with politics. Their main goal is to help both US and Vietnamese citizens in the country. They advocate for the government to change laws regarding businesses that are in line with international norms. This is especially prevalent in the issue of privacy. The Consulate advocating for more advanced laws helps to aid development in Vietnam and raise the standard of living. In addition, the Consulate provides information to Vietnamese students about studying abroad in the US, which will help them to prepare. By aiding students in study abroad, the Consulate promotes Vietnam’s globalization. This could also benefit the US as it would bring more diversity and new perspectives to society. For example, the speakers discussed the first Vietnamese-American woman that worked for the US government and how this diversity provides all of the perspectives necessary to make sound decisions. Currently, the Consulate is working to repair relations from Vietnam following the Vietnam War. They are cleaning up unexploded bombs as well as the damage from the use of Agent Orange. This helps to strengthen the countries’ relationship because it shows Vietnam that the US wants to support them and help bring prosperity. By cleaning up the environmental damage, the US is also helping Vietnam to develop environmentally. Economically, the US and Vietnam are entwined due to the main exports of the two countries. The US depends on Vietnam for many manufactured goods, including clothes and plastic products. Vietnam then relies on the US for services, including financial, banking, and healthcare. This reliance increases Vietnam’s globalization because their interactions in the world economy are necessary to their development. After visiting the consulate, we went to lunch. I snuck even more vegetables into my day and got a fig salad that had tofu, peanuts, figs, and greens. It was really interesting to see a salad here because it is cooked, not raw. After lunch, we headed to UEF for culture and language class. The culture class was really cool today because they had a little fashion show for us with the traditional Vietnamese clothing. It was all so beautiful! We also learned about traditional foods and religions in Vietnam. I found it really interesting that more than 70% of Vietnamese have no religion or believe in folk religion. Between culture and language class, we had a break, and they gave us a newly popular dessert. It was a bunch of jellies in a bowl with a bit of milk poured over it and ice. It was very different from anything I’ve had in the US, but it was pretty good! Today in language class, we learned how to ask how much something costs and how to bargain. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember this when we go shopping; gotta get those deals! After language class, we headed back to the hotel, and a few of us went to the Co-Op (grocery store) to pick up some snacks for breakfast since we have an early morning tomorrow (we have to get the bus at 5:55!). Then, we met the Vietnamese students to go to a water puppet show. The show was so cool! It was amazing to see some of the traditional culture. The show consisted of little short scenes with puppets in the water acting them out. The puppeteers stood behind a curtain in the water to control the puppets. I honestly don’t even know how to describe the experience because it was so unique. After the show, we went to Pho 24, which is a popular Pho fast food chain. I got beef pho and kumquat juice, and as usual, it was delicious! After dinner, we went to this shopping center that is popular among Vietnamese youth. It was so cool because it was kind of underground and it had a bunch of really small stores. All of the clothes looked really nice and cute too! After looking around, we headed back to the hotel, since tomorrow will be an early morning. I’m so excited to go to the beach and relax tomorrow!

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