Last blog post. I’ve been putting this one off. Summing up the last two weeks? From stepping off the bus with a lei thrown around my neck to adjusting my ao dai as we took photos at the farewell dinner – I don’t think I have nearly enough words to mark my experiences. Luckily, I gained enough friends, memories, and skills to more than make up for it.
Personally, I think the most important skill a person can have is effective communication. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an engineer or a businessperson, communication is everywhere. If you can communicate clearly and efficiently, you can get a lot done. Now, as an engineer, communication is especially important. In the future, I’m going to be working in teams, writing grants and reports, talking to clients, and so on. If I can’t communicate effectively, I won’t have a job – or at least, not for very long. That’s why the communication skills I learned while in Vietnam are so valuable to me. Throughout my two weeks, I talked to professionals and asked appropriate and intelligent questions about their field and navigated a massive language barrier. Beginning Plus 3, that really intimidated me. Now that it’s over, I’m glad to have gained a better understanding of how to behave, dress, and communicate to be successful as a professional. In addition, I’ve gone through enough embarrassing experiences due to my lack of Vietnamese that no language barrier can phase me anymore. As long I remain persistent, polite, and creative, I know I’ll be able to effectively communicate with anyone.
A lot of the company visits were very finance focused. At some points, I felt like I was dropped in the deep end with no floaties and no understanding of what a GDP was. In other words, I felt uncomfortable in how far we were from my area of knowledge. As such, I learned a lot very fast. Now I have a basic understanding of Vietnam’s economy and its trends towards the future. I find that so cool! This trip has improved my ability to process and adapt to new information and quickly apply it to the subject at hand. In the future, when confronted with more aspects of business I don’t understand (or anything else I haven’t studied), I can meet the challenge with confidence.
Lastly, I had to be more flexible. I’m comfortable when I know what’s happening now, what’s happening later, and all the little details in between. On this trip, there were some days where that wasn’t an option. We didn’t know where we were eating each day. We didn’t know how the Wifi would be working and if posting the blogs would be difficult. We didn’t know when we were leaving the hotel to go to the airport. All of these unknown factors tended to bug me. In most situations, however, I won’t know everything. I can’t know every minute of every day. As such, being able to roll with whatever situation presents itself is an important skill for both engineering and day-to-day-life.
So, to finally conclude, another quick Vietnamese language lesson:
hẹn gặp lại: see you again
I’m gone now, but I’m not gone for good! Thank you, UEF and Pitt, for an incredible two weeks.
See you again, Vietnam!