Experience Story: Thu-Yên Pham, Hanoi, Vietnam
After my graduation, I wanted to travel through South-East Asia and do some voluntary work in Vietnam. The main reason for seeking voluntary work in Vietnam was that I wanted to learn more about my background. The project ‘Global Passport – Hanoi 2015’ from AIESEC seemed to be a great opportunity for me to explore Vietnam and its culture. I did not know what to expect from the city Hanoi or Vietnam itself, but this country has surprised me in so many different ways. I can really recommend people to do a voluntary project in Vietnam!
My personal experiences
The day that I arrived in Hanoi, my buddy picked me up and brought me to the apartment for interns. I immediately felt comfortable because she was so welcoming! We did not know what to expect form this voluntary project, but after the introduction meeting with the AIESEC members of the Global Passport everything became clear. The best thing that I experienced during this project were the members and the Vietnamese students. The AIESECers were very helpful and sweet, as well as the students, who were super eager to learn. Its was clear that they were truly interested in our Western countries. Sometimes the courses were a challenge for us, because there were some very shy students. But as we got to know each other better they started to open up more and you could see these courses really help them to be more confident.
Living in Hanoi
In Hanoi there are so many motorbikes and not a lot of traffic rules. In the beginning the traffic seemed crazy and chaotic, but after a while I started to get used to it and even liked it! We could live the local experience due to the project and the OC members. They took us to karaoke bars and showed us the best local street food restaurants in local areas. On our free days we usually did some sightseeing in the city or took some small trips. During the weekends we would meet up with the interns from other AIESEC projects. There are so many things to see and to do in Hanoi.
My personal development
I have learned that it can be difficult to work in an international team due to cultural differences. However, I managed to cope with these cultural differences. Through this project, I have also learned more about the Vietnamese culture and I was able to improve my Vietnamese. Overall, this voluntary project has been a great experience and I got to know so many wonderful people
This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth. Read more of our experience stories here.