Hẹn Gặp Lại, Vietnam!

The title translates to “See you again, Vietnam!” and I truly believe I will. Vietnam challenged me in ways I had I never encountered before and ultimately gave me a new appreciation for my life, especially air conditioning. If I were to explain everything I took away from this experience, this post would turn into…

Me and the Mekong

Day 11: 5.16.19 Today was the long awaited day trip to the Mekong Delta, arguably the experience that gave us the biggest culture shock yet. They had mentioned in lectures that the difference between generations was astounding but seeing it in person was even crazier. I saw a child playing a game on his iPhone…

Perfect Day for an IE

Day 10: 5.15.19 We started bright and early this morning, but fortunately the bus ride was long enough for a nap. We traveled to Cat Lai Terminal, one of the largest ports in Vietnam and one of the most interesting site visits of this trip. I have been to naval bases before, so I didn’t…

Buddhism, Bloodshed, & Bartering

Day 9: 5.14.19 I had learned about Buddhism in history class before, but today’s lesson was much more engaging. I was most surprised to learn that it’s okay to be another religion and still follow the Buddhist philosophy because all the other religions I’ve had experience with lean more towards all or nothing. Mr. Ted…

Two for One: VSIP & II-VI

Day 8: 5.13.19 The first site visit of the day was VSIP (Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park), a company that started as an initiative between the Vietnamese and Singaporean governments, who strives to provide a place where people can live, learn, work, and play. While this has been and continues to be a successful venture, there…

Cu Chi Tunnels: Creepy but Cool

Day 7: 5.12.19 Today we visited the Cu Chi Tunnel System, which were used by Viet Cong soldiers for protection. The tunnels were a tight fit; to get in, you had to put your hands up, which wasn’t a problem because that was how you put the cover back to camoflauge the entrance. For me…

Crazy Cars and Relaxing Resorts

Day 6: 5.11.19 Despite leaving bright and early at 6 am, we got stuck in traffic as we were leaving Ho Chi Minh City. In the U.S., cars merely sit bumper to bumper and inch along. Here, I wasn’t so surprised to see the mopeds getting off the road to continue driving on the sidewalk…

Consulate, Culture, and Cute Puppets

Day 5: 5.10.19 Today we visited the US Consulate, and I learned that the kind of work a foreign officer does is dependent upon the sector there in and where they are sent, because each country has it’s own unique issues and diplomatic relations. The cons include the several rounds of testing it takes to…

Investing in Hope for the Future: Real Estate and Disadvantaged Children

Day 4: 5.9.19 Today we visited Vina Capital, an asset management and real estate development group and I can confidently say that I learned more about business during this presentation than I have in any class I’ve taken thus far. The future of Vietnam’s economy is headed towards high tech exports rather than natural resources…

50% Vehicles, 35% Environment, 100% Impressive

Day 3: 5.8.19 Today’s lecture focused on the history of Saigon’s development, it’s economy, and where it’s going in the future. The part that stood out to me the most was the SMART City Innovation Challenge, a call to create a comprehensive masterplan that can provide things that have always been important such as affordable…

Developing Prosperity, Beauty, and Strength

Day 2: 5.7.19 Today we visited Phu My Hung, a development corporation that literally means “prosperity, beauty, and strength.” A century ago, Saigon South was thought to be a lost cause, impossible to develop because of it’s swampy nature, but after a successful design competition, this company set out with a mission to transform the…

Hanging Out in Ho Chi Minh

Day 1: 5.6.19 Now that the 30+ hours of plane rides and airport layovers are finally behind us, it was exciting to start exploring Ho Chi Minh. On our city tour, I immediately noticed the unique blend of cultures conveyed by the architecture. Directly across the street from the Central Post Office, which was filled…

Keeping Up with Keilani

Xin chào! (That’s “hello” in Vietnamese!) My name is Keilani Swartzmiller. I am currently a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in industrial engineering and I intend on minoring in Chinese. As far as extracurriculars go, I am involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Pitt Excel (the diversity undergraduate program), and I…

Meet Plus3 Vietnam 2019!

Welcome to the Vietnam Plus3 Study Abroad Program! During their two weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, students will experience a dynamic mix of educational and cultural activities. Plus3 participants will have the chance to be immersed into Vietnamese culture during the trip. The main academic portion of the Plus 3 program features visits…