Feels like a Dream

It’s almost been about a week since I’ve been back at home. I’ve been reflecting on the whole trip and enjoying the good memories and friends that I made. It doesn’t even feel that long ago when I stepped off the bus and got a lei put around my neck at UEF. Now 3 weeks later I’m back in my daily routine and almost ready to start working at my summer job, it’s amazing how fast the trip went. It’s easy to forget that this trip to Vietnam was for school, I learned a lot and gained many useful skills that I’ll be able to put to utilize in my future professional career.

One important skill I’ve acquired is being able to articulate and present myself professionally. Throughout the company visits, I’ve learned to reciprocate the manner and professionalism of the company representatives from talking with them. My company visit, II-VI, was one of the last company visits we had. And by that point in the trip I’ve already developed a professional mannerism by observing at other company visits. I was able to converse with executives from II-VI and hold a professional conversation. Being able to professionally compose myself is a very useful asset that can be used later in life and I’m glad I gained exposure through this trip.

Another important skill is time management. Time management was heavily stressed during the interview and orientations for the program. In the past, I’ve had some issues with time management, but for this trip I think I really stepped it up. It was probably because I knew that a lot of people would wait on me if I wasn’t on time, I didn’t want anyone to be angry with me. It also helped having a roommate to keep you on track if you ever lost track of time. This is one of the most important skills in life, because if you’re consistently late or rushing to everything, your employer might lose trust in you. Being on time makes you more responsible and look more professional.

Lastly, another important transferable skill I picked up on was active listening. The only active listening I do is in class lectures when I write down notes that are already written on the board for me. For this trip, it was different to write down notes from information our tour guide was saying, not just the stuff that was on the Powerpoint. The Powerpoint mostly consisted of graphs or data while the tour guide presented the importance of the information verbally. For this, I had to stay way more attuned than normal and not lose focus. Also, it was more difficult at points because there was a lot of business information about the company that was conveyed. Business is not really my specialty, so there was a lot of struggle trying to make sense in my notes of what they were trying to say. However, by the end I started getting pretty good at it. I was taking partial notes of points that they made that I didn’t quite get, and I would look terms up later once I got back to the hotel. The VinaCapital visit was the most prominent example of this because all the information that was presented was analytical business statistics that I couldn’t comprehend, but I jotted down enough information to be able to look up the terms later and was then able to understand what he was saying.

Overall, this trip is an experience I probably will never get to have for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful I got to experience a whole different culture and meet all the people at UEF. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly and they really made the trip more comfortable. I made so many friendships with the other people on this trip, it’s going to feel so different seeing them at Pitt instead of Vietnam this fall. Although the weather was hot and sticky, I’m going to miss Vietnam and the adventurousness that came with it. I know I’ll be back one day, thanks for having me.

Thanks to my readers who stuck through my mediocre writing all the way to the very end. You guys make me big happy.

Pitt Division I Soccer Team

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