This year I am very excited to meet many new students from many countries in the world. It will create a cultural diversity, something that CEU wants to achieve as an international university. As a foreigner, I always keen on travelling and hearing stories about other places from all of you. But for today’s blog post, let me introduce you to my country, Vietnam.
Location: Southeast Asia, below China; from map is look like an S shape (like Italy has boot shape)
Area & population: 330000 km2 & 90 million people (to compare: the area is half of Spain but double the population)
Capital city: Hanoi
Language/s: Vietnamese is the national language; many ethnic languages.
Currency: VND- Vietnamese Dong (1 euro= 25.000 VND)
Common religion: Buddhism
Greetings: Hello- Xin chào, goodbye-tạm biệt, thank you- cảm ơn.
These are basic facts about my country and the boring part. Now I will show you some unique and beautiful features about the culture and the people.
Experience 1: Early day in the capital
When I had my summer holiday in July, I felt difficult waking up every day at 5 a.m.- to do exercises. Oh my God! I got used to the late lectures habits in Spain and at that moment, my entire schedule changed. However, we have a reason to do that: the temperature is always about 35 degrees during the day, reaching its peak at 12 p.m. and did not become fresh till the night. Probably people will finish dayshift at 12 and no one goes out to the streets unless it’s compulsory.
Ok, back to the theme, if you visit Vietnam, just try to do fitness at Westlake and eat Phở right after as your breakfast. Not in the gym or sports centre, the lake bank is exactly where to find healthy people. You can find men/ women, youngsters, kids, seniors, single/ couple/ family and even foreigners. They ride bicycles, jogging, do aerobics, play badminton, practice with fitness facilities or maybe just to enjoy the clean and pure air of the morning. Thus, all we need later is going to Pho restaurants and grab a bowl of beef noodle– it will provide energy for the whole day. I actually miss those days so much and I can’t wait to do it with some of you if I have the chance.
Experience 2: My childhood was memorable
I think each time someone reminds you of your childhood, it would take forever to memorize and most of the time, childhood is one of the most beautiful lifetimes. It gonna be challenging for me to do it with the translation, but pictures can. I will present to you the nosing culture of every Vietnamese student (believe me when I say all) and the way we entertain ourselves with many simple games.
Talking about film and music, we used radio tapes and some families haven’t had enough economy to afford it yet- about two, three decades ago. Time has gone so fast and with the development of the country, old games were barely played by kids. When I was writing this article, I had a feeling of recovery familiar things I have forgotten.
Experience 3: What do international friends like?
90% of the time I ask people, the answer is street food and I am actually very proud of it. Hang on, we have more than that and you will only know if you keep asking them. Have you ever seen Vietnamese women wearing traditional Áo Dài? In high school, girls have to wear it every Monday and in important school ceremonies. Do you notice that every tourist has a conical hat (Nón lá) when coming back to their countries? Would you be confident to cross the road (jaywalking) at the first attempt, knowing that our traffic system is complicated? More things, for example, we honking a lot; we running red lights even when we are not in hurry; we travel 3, 4, 5 people on a motorbike. Next one, you have to wear our legendary honeycomb sandals to play shuttlecock kicking… check this out.
Finally, it is relatively cheap to live in Vietnam. Not counting the Visa and the flight tickets, with the same amount of money spent in Japan, Singapore or Myanmar, you will be satisfied to stay a few more days in my country!
I hope that you have understood more about this small country and you will plan to go in the future. We love our landscape, beaches, mountains and we try to spread the beautiful image to all international friends. To finish, this is a song composed by a talented Vietnamese crowned beauty.
For Spanish speaker, I have seen a program Madrileños por el Mundo, about Madrid people to many places in the world, including Vietnam.