After more than 72 hours in the United States, I’ve slowly become adjusted to my normal way of living again. No more photos, no more pointing, and not nearly as many inquisitive stares. As much as I found the attention to be flattering, it’s been nice to go to the grocery store without someone taking a picture.
As I reflect back on my two weeks in Vietnam, I can’t believe how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve met so many new friends, made incredible memories, and built connections that will last a lifetime. I’m in awe with the number of things I’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time.
In terms of transferrable skills, I definitely feel like I have been able to improve my ability to write concisely. My initial blog posts were straightforward, filled with facts and objective details. As time went on, I began to get more comfortable with the idea of a blog. I used more pictures, depictions with better diction, and focused more on “reflecting” instead of reporting. Since I’m writing for an audience who isn’t actually in Vietnam, it’s important for my writing to display my experiences accurately. Rereading my older posts really emphasizes my growth as a writer, and I’m pleased with the structural development of my work.
Additionally, my teamwork ability has seen significant enhancement. Working in a group, especially on a topic that we weren’t very familiar with, unquestionably forced us to form a smooth-running operation. It was important for every member of the team to contribute the same amount of effort; therefore, we were able to compose a better understanding of what our Vietnamese company was really about. I am so proud of my group’s final presentation — I think it reflects the considerable amount of time and effort we all devoted to its success. Despite not knowing one another at first, we worked well as a team in order to elevate the group’s progress.
Upon my return, I’ve also found my communication proficiency to be of my most advanced transferrable skills. One of the hardest parts of the entire trip was the consistent language barrier; often, words would become miscommunicated and / or misunderstood. At first, I didn’t know how to go about this difficulty. As slow as I tried to speak, the Vietnamese students still had a hard time understanding us. However, I was determined to overcome this obstacle. I couldn’t let their obvious efforts to make a connection be dissipated by a difference in verbal communication.
Numerous trial-and-error runs determined that hand gestures were a considerably helpful means of communication. In addition to writing some words out on paper, we found it much easier to focus on the pronunciation of each word. Additionally, we tried our hardest to simplify our sentences. By removing a reasonable amount of unneeded adjectives and fillers, we had a much easier time communicating with our Vietnamese friends.
As I look back on the photos and moments I carry with me from my trip, I know I made the right decision picking Vietnam. Despite the initial nervousness, I am so glad I chose a location far outside my comfort zone. I’ve grown so much as an individual while developing an immense respect for a completely different culture. I look forward to my hopeful return in order to reconnect with the wonderful students I met along the way.
It’s not goodbye Vietnam, it’s see you later!