Today we decided to mix things up a little bit. We go to start an hour later which meant an extra hour of sleep thankfully. Instead of starting with classes today, we visited the U.S. Consulate in the morning, had lunch, then proceeded with classes in the afternoon.
During our visit to the U.S. Consulate, we talked to two staff members, one from the economics department and the other from the public relations department. They answered a very simple question for us right from the beginning; we asked what the difference was between a consulate and an embassy. Their answer was that an embassy is where the ambassador is and is typically located in the capital of the country while a consult does much of the same work it lacks those two factors. They informed us about the current state of Vietnam pertaining to the economy and work force. The country is currently experiencing 7% economic growth. Currently, Vietnam has fairly cheap labor so as of right now they are producing very easy-to-make products but soon they will begin to produce more challenging products and the easier products will be made in a lesser developed country. This is how the normal cycle works for manufacturing basic goods. Vietnam’s per capita GDP is steadily rising but it is far from the statistics from the U.S. The most interesting thing I learned from our discussion is about a having a job at the U.S. Consulate. It entails a lot of travel, being assigned a position for 2-3 years, helping each country you are stationed in, and making an impact on the world. Also, there was a magnetic map of the U.S. and some of us students spent a considerable amount of time just enjoying how it looked and discussing things about the United States. I would have added a picture of it but the website/wifi is not working in my favor.
After the tour and classes were over, we got the opportunity to go to a water puppet show. No one had any clue what exactly a water puppet show was until it began. It consists of live music and voices from the sides of the stage and a giant pool of water where workers stand in in order to control the puppets. It is way more interesting that I can put into words. So if you ever get the chance to see a water puppet show, I would highly recommend it.