Difference Betwixt Home and Travel

When you’re preparing to go to another country, especially one as “exotic” as an Asian one, everyone will tell you over and over again how incredibly different it will be. These people are correct. It can be hard to adjust, and you need to relearn some things you probably take for granted, such as knowing…

Adventure Goals

^Me entering the Củ Chi Tunnels International travel has always been an important goal of mine. I have wanted to study abroad since before even I knew I wanted to attend college. Before I had had a kind of bucket list of countries and locations, including a lot of mainstream locations such as Paris, Germany,…

Locals and Americans

^This is Bunny, one of the Vietnamese students. She is one of the most fun and out-spoken people I’ve ever met. For the most part the locals we interacted with were Vietnamese students at the University of Economics and Finance—the partner university that makes Plus3 Vietnam possible. The students knew WAY more about American pop…

Company Visits

  ^Model of VSIP My favorite thing about the company visits was seeing what we were learning about. We had read articles about development and globalization, but the difference between simply reading about something and actually seeing it and how it impacts the world is huge. During the company visits we got to see exactly…

Challenges: Finding ANYTHING that fits!

Honestly one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome in Vietnam did not actually stem from the culture difference, but rather my inability to dress business casual. I did not pack enough appropriate business casual clothes and had to buy new shirts in Vietnam. This was quite the challenge, as people from Vietnam and…

Overview of the Plus3 Vietnam

Plus 3 Vietnam is a three-credit study abroad experience offered by the University of Pittsburgh to business and engineering students. This program focuses on how globalization has affected the development of Vietnam. This course consists of two main components, a pre-departure component and actual trip. The pre-departure component includes an introduction to globalization, the country-specific…

Vietnam in a Coconut Shell

“Please provide a summary of the experience.” What? How do you expect me to summarize the strangest and most interesting two weeks of my life? So much has happened, and I want to say everything! However, due to time constraints and the fact that you probably don’t wish to read an 8 page paper about…

Day 11: The Mekong

Today we visited the Mekong Delta, the end of the mighty Mekong River, the region of crisscrossing streams that make up the rice basket of Southeast Asia. After a two hour bus ride we hopped onto a boat floating on the choppy tan water. Out first stop was to a small establishment where we were…

Day 10: Cát Lái Terminal and Reunification Palace

We started off the day by visiting Cát Lái Terminal, one of the largest ports in Vietnam. Cát Lái receives imports and exports, where they are held until they  are picked up by the owners. Imported and exported goods (but mostly imported) go through customs, which can vary in thoroughness based on the kinds of goods…

Day 9: Sacrifice and Charity (VinaCapital)

So the day started off with our last lecture at UEF, a brief overview of Buddhism in Vietnam. This was to prepare us for our later visit to the Xá Lợi Pagoda. Anywho, on the way we stopped at the street corner where Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức self-immolated to protest South Vietnam’s persecution of…

Day 8: 1, II, VI…

  Today started off with a visit to the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP). VSIP works to make life as easy as possible for companies to start operations in Vietnam. They provide area with a solid infrastructure, and they also work with various government agencies so that companies don’t need to spend time meeting and dealing…

Day 7: Củ Chi Tunnels

Today we visited the famous Củ Chi Tunnels. These tunnels were integral to Vietnam’s guerrilla tactics during the Vietnam War. Soldiers would pop up out of the ground and ambush American troops, then seemingly disappear. They had camouflaged entrances, which worked so well that when the attendant covered up one of the entrances we’d previously…

Day 6: Jesus and Squatty Potties

So today we visited Vũng Tàu, home of some lovely beach and of Christ at Vũng Tàu, a large statue of Jesus on top of a small mountain. We started by climbing up to see Jesus ( I almost didn’t make it). After many many stairs we saw Jesus at the top, and we even got to…

Day 5: Visit to the US Consulate

So today, I decided to take the first step to becoming a foreign service officer by switching my major from bioengineering to Political Science! (Just kidding, sentence included to scare my family.) Although I did learn a lot about the lives of foreign service officers on our visit to the American Consulate in Ho Chi…

Day 4: Little Mistakes and Big Mistakes

As often happens, whether at home or traveling, little mistakes will tend to interrupt your day. Today we had one of those little mistakes occur when a miscommunication caused a planned site visit to not occur. We arrived at the office and were shown to a room, only to be informed that the man we…

Day 3: Glass Egg Digital Media

Today, after a delicious lunch of broken rice, we visited Glass Egg Digital Media. This company does graphic design work for companies that design video games. Their past and present clients include Microsoft, SONY, UBISOFT, Zynga, and many more. Glass Egg is best known for their cars–60% of their business comes from racing games. They…

Day 2: Phú Mỹ Hưng Builds Bridges to the World

Today we visited Phú Mỹ Hưng Corporation, a joint Vietnamese-Taiwanese company responsible for the planning, construction, and upkeep of a large part of South Saigon. This area was once desolate wetlands, but Phú Mỹ Hưng turned the unused land into one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city. Below is the a model of…

5/7 Day 1: Phở and Scooters

Well, after 30 hours of travel we’ve finally arrived!  And let me just say, when people say everyone in Ho Chi Minh City (which everybody calls Saigon, official name change or no) drives a motorbike, they mean EVERYONE drives a scooter. This is a relatively uncrowded intersection. Although the scooters sure surprised me, I was…

Đến Việt Nam!

I’m Kestrel, but you can call me Kess if that’s easier (or Lynn, or really anything other than Cass). I’m from the small central Pennsylvanian town of Winburne. I live with my Mom, and am very close to my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live down the road. I am currently studying bioengineering at Pitt,…

Meet Plus3 Vietnam 2018!

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