Daily Life in Vietnam, Internship experience, Practical Advice

Sport in Saigon

If you’re looking to get involved in sports during your internship there is plenty you can do. Sport is becoming increasingly popular amongst locals and with some beautiful trail runs available across the Vietnamese countryside – running is the sport that is taking up fans rapidly. Not only that, but with the large foreign community flocking to Vietnam there are lots of other international sports making their mark here through clubs.

Running

At first sight you may think Saigon isn’t so well suited for running, with motorbikes everywhere, quite heavy pollution and not many pavements it does make it a challenge. However, the longer you spend here you start to find some nice quieter spots to get your morning or evening jog in. Some spaces you may enjoy running are: the newly developed area near Sala Stadium, Vinhomes Central Park, Hoa Lu Stadium, along the side of the canals.

Runclub.vn arrange group runs almost every day of the week at different areas in the city. They accommodate all levels and quite frequently are able to get discounts for marathons and trail races across the country. Saigon Hash House Harriers – Hashing exists across the globe and Saigon is no different. Every Sunday this ‘drinking club with a running problem’ head outside of Saigon for a run following a trail of paper or flour before finishing off the evening with a ‘circle’ and ‘on-on’.

Swimming

If you like training in the pool then there are quite a few options across the city, but it is worth checking opening times as some of them can be quite strange and open for 2 hour chunks throughout the day! This blog has a good variety of different pools for training and relaxing around the city.

Yet Kieu Aquatics Centre is a great 50m & 25m lane pool that is kept clean. It is VND 20,000 / VND 25,000 (on weekends) per go and early in the morning is not too busy. The changing rooms aren’t great, so perhaps be best to head home for a proper shower and change afterwards.

Saigon Swim Squad meets once a week for an hour at AIS in Thao Dien and costs VND 150,000 per session – all profits going towards charity. The class is focused on improving technique and fitness for freestyle so you need to be a pretty competent swimmer, but it is nice to train as a group.

Cycling

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam – but this is one you do have to get up early for to either avoid the traffic or the heat. Some bike shops such as Trisport and RidePlus may be able to rent out bikes for a couple of hours and they do frequently arrange group rides for the weekends. Trisport also arrange group triathlon practices in Sala a couple of times a month.

Clubs

Below is a list of different clubs that get together to train in Saigon. They may stop training during the holidays, or reduce sessions, so it might be worth just checking their Facebook groups or pages for up to date information or dropping them a message. Some have membership fees, some have a training cost per session, but it would be possible to discuss with them something that works for both you and the club, so that you are still contributing to training costs.

The Vietnam Swans – Aussie Rules Football Club for both male and female.
Saigon Geckos – Rugby Union Football Club for both male and female. They also arrange weekly touch rugby sessions.
Saigon Gaels GAA – Gaelic Football Club for both male and female. Their season starts again in August as they prepare for the Asian Gaelic Games.
Saigon Shooters – Mixed netball club that has social netball on a Monday night; they run two friendly leagues throughout the year.
Saigon Women’s Football Club
Saigon Australian Cricket Club

These are just a few, but you can find a lot more on Facebook if you search what you are interested in.

Other sports & gyms
If you are wanting to play some badminton or tennis then it is easy enough to book a court at one of the sport centres. There are also options for climbing, ice skating, yoga around the city, so something for everyone.

Gyms are cropping up across the city – the main chain is California Fitness but this is quite expensive. There are smaller options around the city that can easily be found using Google Maps including some that specialise in cross fit, or martial arts.

Hope this information helps you stay fit in Saigon and keep doing the sports that you enjoy!

Internvietnam - Transferwise
Practical Advice, Uncategorized

Transferwise – comment faire un virement international ?

N’hésitez pas à cliquer sur les images pour les aggrandir

Etape 1 : Sur la page d’accueil, cliquez sur “sign up” pour créer un compte
Etape 2 : Entrez vos informations personnelles pour créer un compte
Etape 3 : Entrez le montant comme indiqué sur votre facture en GBP – le montant débité de votre compte en Euros apparaitra de lui même
Etape 4 : Entrez vos informations personnelles comme inscrites sur votre carte bleue
Etape 5 : Entrez les coordonnées d’InternChina comme indiquée sur votre facture
Etape 6 : Vérifiez que le montant versé à InternChina est bien en GBP et qu’il est identique à celui indiqué sur votre facture
Etape 7  : Choisissez votre moyen de paiement – si vous choisissez d’utiliser votre carte bancaire, le transfert est presque immédiat c’est ce que nous recommandons. Si vous préférez utiliser un transfert via votre banque c’est possible en choisissant ‘bank transfer’ cependant toutes les banques n’autorisent pas les virements internationaux
  • Comparativement à un virement bancaire, le processus est beaucoup plus rapide. Généralement, tout ce dont vous avez besoin est le nom du destinataire, son adresse e-mail, son code IBAN ou son numéro de compte. Les frais sont clairement affichés, et vous pouvez les comparer avec les frais bancaires avant chaque transfert. Je ne me soucie même plus de comparer puisque l’économie par rapport à n’importe quelle banque a toujours été énorme pour moi.
  • En tant qu’entreprise britannique dont les programmes se déroulent en Asie, nous envoyons beaucoup d’argent en Chine et au Vietnam afin de financer nos programmes. Nous utilisons TransferWise pour ce processus, ce qui nous fait gagner du temps et de l’argent.
  • Pour nos participants, ils ont la possibilité d’envoyer de l’argent depuis ou vers leur pays d’origine en Asie. De plus il est possible de nous verser des arrhes si vous êtes basés en dehors du Royaume-Uni. Afin d’utiliser TransferWise, vous pouvez utiliser votre carte de crédit ou de débit pour effectuer un paiement ou transférer des fonds de votre banque.
  • Concernant les paiements internationaux, nous recommandons toujours d’utiliser TransferWise. Les paiements sont moins chers qu’avec les banques. En effet le taux de change réel – que vous pouvez voir sur Google – est toujours celui utilisé. De plus, les frais facturés sont toujours minimes. Ils sont également sécurisés et approuvés par plus de 2 millions de personnes à travers le monde. Vous pouvez vous inscrire ici.
Quelques conseils et rappels :
  • Merci de nous communiquer votre choix d’option de paiement
  • Merci d’utilisez UNIQUEMENT la devise Livres Sterlings – British Pounds – GBP – £ pour effectuer vos paiements à InternChina
  • La caution de 200£ ajoutée au tarif de votre programme vous sera reversée à la fin de votre séjour si aucun dommage n’a été signalé dans votre logement

N’hésitez pas à nous contacter directement et nous essayerons de vous aider au mieux pour utiliser Transferwise !

Daily Life in Vietnam, Internship experience

On Reflection: Looking Back at My Experience Interning in Ho Chi Minh City

By: Jess Warren

So, you’re thinking about working in Vietnam? I’ve just come back from spending two months interning in Ho Chi Minh City for the expat-orientated magazine, AsiaLIFE, and it was one of the best ways I could have spent my summer. Instead of being sat at home, I was out gaining valuable experience in industry I’m looking to work in.

Working for a magazine for two months was also a pretty good way to see the city. Instead of being in the office nine-to-five each day, I was tasked with finding stories across the city, and interviewing interesting people, from business owners to government staff. I had the chance to work remotely, and was trusted to manage my time efficiently, and turn in the articles on time, without needing to be in the office. A pretty good way to grow my own time-management and organisational skills.

“Travelling across the city by bike is a fantastic opportunity.”

Living in Ho Chi Minh City is a bit of a whirlwind, the traffic is constant and chaotic, with bikes passing you by at every angle. If you’re up to it, travelling across the city via Grab (a ride hailing service for bikes) is a fantastic opportunity. Of course, take all the necessary safety precautions such as covering your legs and arms and wearing a better helmet than they provide. My employer gave me a helmet to use, and I would fully recommend making the minor investment.

The strangest thing about living abroad for two months was the considerably lower living cost, it actually turned out to be more expensive to buy western food items in a supermarket and cook at my apartment compared to eating lunch and dinner in small eateries and restaurants. This meant I had the opportunity to try out a variety of cuisine. Whilst you might think Vietnamese food is the only option, it’s far from the truth. In fact, Ho Chi Minh City has restaurants featuring every food from around the world, and done to a very high standard. At the end of my street, I had a pizza takeaway run by an Italian man from Naples. However Vietnamese food is incredibly fresh and delicious, so I would fully recommend.

“By embracing living abroad, I found so many more opportunities outside of my working day.”

The one thing that made my experience even better whilst living abroad was joining expat Facebook groups, and going to local events. I stumbled across a trendy arts café about five minutes from my apartment, where locals performed live music, stand-up comedy and there was even a magazine launch party there. By embracing living abroad, I found so many more opportunities outside of my working day. I joined a group and practised yoga in a local park situated on the riverbank, and I followed recommendations of places to see and go from the people I met. Instead of seeing your internship as a temporary ‘holiday’, I found the best way to view it was that I was living abroad in a city I would call home for two months.

Interested in applying for an internship just like Jess’? Then apply now! 

Daily Life in Vietnam, Internship experience, Practical Advice

Questions sur mon séjour au Vietnam – FAQs

Partez-vous bientôt au Vietnam ? Nous avons regroupé quelques réponses aux questions que vous pourriez vous poser ! 

Argent

  • La monnaie vietnamienne est le dong vietnamien (VND). Pour vérifier les taux de change, nous vous recommandons d’utiliser le site xe.com.
  • Vérifiez avec votre banque avant de partir si vous avez des frais de retrait ou paiement.
  • Il est facile d’échanger des euros au Vietnam. Nous vous conseillons donc d’emporter des Euros avec vous. Vous pouvez aussi partir avec un peu de monnaie locale pour votre arrivée.

Logement

  • Vous pouvez arriver 4 jours avant le début de votre stage – le jeudi – et partir de l’appartement 2 jours après la fin de votre stage – le dimanche.

Avion

  • Vous pouvez réserver vos billets d’avion dès que vous avez trouvé un stage et signé notre formulaire de réservation.
  • L’aéroport international de Tan Son Nhat est le seul aéroport de Hô Chi Minh – vous devrez donc arriver ici.
  • InternVietnam recommande d’utiliser notre partenaire officiel STA Travel pour réserver vos billets. Ce sont les leaders mondiaux dans l’organisation des vols pour le Vietnam pour les étudiants. Obtenez votre devis gratuit pour les vols internationaux requis directement ici.

Passport

  • Vous devez être munis d’un passport valable au minimum 6 mois après votre arrivée au Vietnam.
  • Votre passport doit contenir au minimum 2 pages blanches.
  • Il doit être en parfait état, ni taché ni déchiré.
  • Pensez à nous envoyer une copie de votre passport au plus vite. Pour que nous préparions les documents nécessaires à l’obtention de votre visa.

Visa

  • Nous vous donnerons tous les documents nécessaires à l’obtention de votre visa. Il vous faudra les emmener avec vous et remplir un formulaire.
  • Nous prenons en charge les frais liés à l’obtention du visa.
  • Vous obtiendrez votre visa à votre arrivée à l’aéroport. Il vous faudra être muni des documents fournis par notre équipe, le formulaire à remplir au préalable, deux photos d’identité , et de votre passport.
  • Notre équipe vous donnera plus d’informations 4 à 6 semaines avant votre arrivée.
  • Si le processus de demande de visa évolue nous vous tiendrons au courant.

Assurance

  • L’assurance santé et voyage est prise en charge par InternVietnam pour vous sur la durée de votre séjour.
  • Vous recevrez les documents sur l’assurance avant votre arrivée. N’hésitez pas à les réclamer si besoin.

Vaccins et médicaments

  • Aucun vaccin n’est obligatoire pour le Vietnam. Nous vous conseillons cependant de vérifier cela avec votre médecin avant de partir. Vous pouvez aussi vous rendre à l’hopital et prendre un rendez-vous avec le centre des vaccinations pour être sûr.
  • Vous pouvez trouver du paracétamol partout au Vietnam. Si vous avez des médicaments plus spécifiques, nous vous conseillons de partir avec un stock pour la durée de votre séjour.
  • En cas d’allergie ou de diabète, nous vous conseillons d’emporter 2 crayons à insuline ou EpiPen.

Valise

  • Copies de votre passport et documents nécessaires à l’obtention du visa dans votre bagage à main
  • Ordinateur
  • Adaptateurs pour les prises
  • Médicaments avec les ordonnances
  • Déodorant, désinfectant pour les mains et autres produits de toilettes
  • Pour les filles : des tampons qui sont difficiles à trouver à Ho Chi Minh
  • Pour les personnes de grande taille : emportez vos chaussures et vêtements. Vous risquez de ne pas trouver de chaussures ou vêtements à votre taille
  • Vêtements simples et formels pour votre stage
  • Un costume/tailleur/tenue classe pour un rendez-vous important ou une soirée importante
  • Vêtements de pluie et chaussures imperméables en cas de pluies intenses
  • Répulsif à insecte et crème solaire
  • Tongs ou claquette pour l’intérieur de votre logement
  • Vestes et pulls légers . En effet l’air conditionné peut être trop froid dans certains endroits
  • Masque anti pollution pour vos trajets en taxis
  • Serviettes de toilette

Téléphone et applications

  • Pensez à débloquer votre smartphone avant de venir. Sinon la carte sim que nous vous fournirons risque de ne pas fonctionner.
  • WhatsApp et Facebook seront les applications utilisées par notre équipe pour vous contacter durant votre séjour et stage.
  • Grab est l’application pour commander un taxi.
  • Vietnammm est une application pour commander à manger en ligne.
  • Xe Currency pour pouvoir convertir la monnaie.
  • Google translator ou un autre système de traduction.

Plus d’infos

  • Dans l’avion avant d’arriver il vous faudra renseigner votre adresse de résidence à Ho Chi Minh. Vous pouvez utiliser l’adresse de notre bureau. 94 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
  • N’oubliez pas de remplir vos documents pour l’obtention du visa avant de prendre l’avion. Ainsi en cas de questions nous serons donc en mesure de vous aider, sinon il sera trop tard.
Front of the Notre Dame Basilica
Vietnamese Culture

Top 10 Tourist Attractions – HCMC

Looking for something to do in Ho Chi Minh City? Well, you’ll find it pretty easy! It’s a city of contrasts, with the old mixing with the new in this wonderful melting pot of a place. It offers visitors a plethora of things to do; from its coffee shops, markets, cheap food and drink to its buzzing atmosphere – alive with the sounds of motorbikes (there are around 10 million in the city!) However, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best places to visit in HCMC to help you out!

 War Remnants Museum

Displays the brutal results of war on its civilian, including well publicized atrocities, that many westerners rarely hear about. The displays feature victims telling their stories of US military action. Many of the information about these atrocities are from US sources, including the infamous My Lai Massacre. This is a very important site to visit in HCMC if you wish to understand its history and how it came to be the place it is today.

Picture of the exterior of the War Remnants museum

Giac Lam Pagoda

The Buddhist temples has aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism in its design and Gives a great insight into Chinese influence on religion in Vietnam.

 

Reunification Palace

A window into the 1960s this historic government building has a solemn atmosphere as you walk around its quiet halls. Once home to the offices of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war, it was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and has some very interesting Architectural features.

Exterior of the Reunification Palace

 Jade Emperor Pagoda

This Taoist pagoda was built by Vietnam’s Chinese community in 1909. It is also known as ‘Fuhai Temple’ – Sea of ​​Luck Temple. This is a spectacular temple full of with beautiful statues depicting the gods and heroes of Taoist belief.

 

Phước_Hải_Tự

 

Fine Arts Museum

Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts covers three buildings featuring Vietnamese silk paintings, sculptures and lacquer painting, as well as traditional woodcut paintings. It used to be the Villa home of the ‘Hua’ family but became a museum in 1987.

 

 

Antique Street

This street is just a short walk from the Fine Arts Museum. The art and antiques stores along this street are full of fun curios, but beware of fakes!

 

 

Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda

 

 

The built in 1902 the temple is dedicated to Quan Cong as well as several other guardians to happiness and wealth. The temple is full of beautiful features including brass lanterns and coiled incense hanging from the roof beams as well as fine woodcarvings.

History Museum

Built in 1926 museum home to a collection of artefacts from across Vietnams history, from the Dong son civilisation to the modern Vietnam. For those interested in Vietnamese history the museum is definitely worth a visit.

 

Binh Tay Market

Binh Tay is the main market in the Cho Lon district of HCMC. This area is part of HCMC’s China town, which covers almost half of an entire district of the city. The market is a bustling lively place and expect to have a warm welcome when You got eat at one of the markets many street food vendors! It is also home to a fantastic outdoor Wet Market where you can buy fresh local seafood.

 Binh Tay Market

Notre- Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

 

Completed in 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral lies right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s government quarter. It still contains some of its original stained glass and with its 40m-high square towers the cathedral is a striking contrast to other styles you will see in HCMC.

 

 

Front of the Notre Dame Basilica

 

many people riding scooters in vietnam
Vietnamese Culture

Populations Demographics In Vietnam

Curious to know more about Vietnam’s population? It is a relatively young country, which has undergone incredible growth over the past 70 years and thus has seen some fascinating changing to its demographics. Here are some facts to help you get to grips with the country!

Vietnam is the 14th most populated country on the planet with a population of close to 100 million in 2018. It has seen a huge population increase over the last 68 years with estimated population in 1950 being just 28 million. The means the population has more than tripled since the 1950s – an impressive population increase considering Vietnam is a relatively small country.

Smiling Vietnamese Woman

The country’s life expectancy is continuing to grow and currently averages at 73.

Vietnam’s age structure further emphasizes the country’s population growth with the majority of Its population consisting of 18-64 year olds, who make up close to 70% of the population. Children make up almost a quarter of the population whereas the older generation is just 6%!

In terms of ethnicity, Vietnam’s population is made up of majority Kinh, who represent 85% of the population. However Vietnam has a very large number of ethnic groups, with 54 recognised by the government.

Gender is very well balanced in Vietnam with almost exactly the same number of men as women for under 65 year olds. However, Vietnam’s population demographics also reveal historical conflicts, such as the Vietnam war, which have meant  the older population has far fewer men than women, with a ratio of 0.6 men for every women.

Vietnamese is the county’s official language however, some minority groups also speak Chinese, French and Khmer. English is also taught widely in schools.

Smiling Children

ho chi minh city river at night
Daily Life in Vietnam, Practical Advice, Vietnam Basics

Ho Chi Minh City’s 24/7 Accessibility

Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, has many things do offer during the day time as well as during night time. If you need urgent medical help or just want to buy some snacks late at night, you can find it in Ho Chi Minh City 24/7.

Shopping

Shopping malls are mostly opened till 9 – 10 pm but many small convenience stores are opened 24/7. You can find most of the elementary products there if you need it in the middle of the night. Inside most of the 24/7 convenience stores or nearby them you can find ATM s where you can withdraw money anytime you want.

Citymart in Vietnam

Eating

There is no problem to find food place in Ho Chi Minh City at any time of day or night. Most upper and middle class restaurants work only until late evening but you can enjoy food from small restaurants and street food at night.

Transportation

Moving around Vietnam takes a lot of time, so choosing overnight travel might be a good option. If you want to go from/to Ho Chi Minh City to/from other cities or just around the city, you have choice of taking plane, train, bus, taxi or motorbike. Vietnam Railway Systems (VRS) and The North – South train are providing good quality connections across the country also during night. You can buy tickets directly at the train station or, if you need English service, some websites and travel agencies are providing it. The taxi and bus are relatively slow, as the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is extremely heavy. Good alternative to taxi and bus for going around the city is motorbike (you can get it as a taxi, rent it or buy – if you’re staying for longer).

Alternatively, you can rent a car. It is easy – requires only passport and valid driving license. The car rental company might only accept international driving license or one in common language such as English or French.

grab moped taxi in vietnam

Entertainment

The most popular (non-stop) party place in Vietnam is Pham Ngu Lao, well-known amongst backpackers as it’s comparatively cheap. If you’re looking for some more fancy clubbing places popular within young people, then you should check out clubs in District 1. If you’re a fan of Karaoke, you will be able to find a few places where you can rent a room at any time.

Healthcare

Hospital Symbol

In case you need urgent medical help, those places have 24/7 emergency service with English speaking doctors: Family Medical Practice Clinic, Franco-Vietnamese Hospital, International SOS Clinic, Columbia International Clinic and Hospital (3 locations), Cho Ray Hospital, Emergency Centre. For urgent dental cases you can seek help in Victoria Healthcare Dentist Department in District 1. 24/7 pharmacy can be found in Family Medical Practice Centre and International SOS Clinic.

Daily Life in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Retail Market

Going to a foreign country is always intimidating due to the new environment – even the retail market might be very different to what you are used to! Even going for some shopping might become an adventure. This blog is here to give you an insight of the Vietnamese retail market and prove you that it will still be possible to find some familiar shops there !

  • Which popular conveniences stores can I find there ?

If you are familiar with Asian conveniences stores, Vietnam will feel like home. More than 70% of convenience stores in Vietnam belong to foreign companies (mostly from Asia)!

  • How is the retail market in Vietnam and what about its organization ?

Vietnam has a huge retail market : 800 supermarkets, 150 shopping malls, 9,000 traditional markets and about 2.2 million retailers (Source : Aseantoday.com).

Roughly speaking, the Vietnamese retail market can be divided into different types of modern distribution, as follows :

Conveniences Stores :

Popular ones : Circle K / Family Mart / Shop & Go / Mini Stop / 7 Eleven / G7 Mart. 

They are competing directly with roadside stalls and traditional markets in Vietnam. In those, you will be able to purchase everyday items such as snack foods, soft drinks, groceries, confectionery, tobacco products, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. You can find them everywhere!

+ : Very convenient, easy to find. Hungry at 2AM ? No problem, let’s get some snacks at the neariest Family Mart!

– : Some may have more choice than others. Chose carefully!

Shopping Malls:

Quite a new concept for Vietnam but this is also the best place to be for a perfect shopping afternoon! The most renowned ones are the Lotte Mart (one in HCMC and one in Hanoi) and the Vincom Center in HCMC. These shopping malls may include special stores, a cinema, and of course a hypermarket, supermarket and department stores.

+ : You can find and do anything, you will never get bored!

– : It is very easy to spend too much money. Your bank might not be happy!

Hypermarket:

Examples of foreign popular hypermarkets : Loblaw and Superstore (Canada), Fred Meyer, Meijer and Super Kmart (US), Asda and Tesco (UK), Carrefour (France) and NTUC Fairprice (Singapore).

Basically, this is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. Therefore you will find a wide range of products, from full groceries lines to general merchandise.

The only Vietnamese brand name of hypermarket is Big C. They are usually located on the outskirt of the city and cramped which means you should probably avoid going there on evenings and weekends !

+ : Wide range of products, many foreign brands, you might feel familiar in these!

– : Avoid at all costs going there on evening or weekends as they are very busy.

Supermarket:

Popular ones : Intimex / Co.opmart /Fivimart /Citimart. 

If you are more of a weekly shopper, supermarkets are the perfect fit! You can often get discounts as some of them offer frequent buyer cards. Their goods and services are likely to be the same from one to another. By going there you will have a wide choice of food and household products.

+ : Possibility to get discounts with a frequent buyer card. Good for weekly shoppers.

– : If you are a daily shopper, you should rather head to a convenience store to save time and money.

Department Stores:

Popular ones (HCMC): Parkson / Diamond Plaza.

Popular ones (Hanoi): Vincom / Trang Tien Plaza / Grand Plaza / The Manor / Parkson.

These stores sell luxurious items such as brand-name clothes, shoes and high class electronic devices.

+ : Very clean, luxurious, can find many foreign luxury brands.

– : Expensive.

The Vietnamese retail market is such an intriguing and exciting experience. And if you ever feel homesick, you will still be able to warm up your mood with imported products. I hope this blog will help you during your adventure to Vietnam!

If you are ready for an adventure in Vietnam, please click here!

a picture of vietnamese food
Practical Advice, Vietnam Basics, Vietnamese Food

Dietary Requirements

Life would be so much easier if everyone liked to eat everything or could eat everything. I know my life would, but, like many people, there are some things that I don’t like and others I can’t eat because I am allergic. There are so many dietary requirements in one’s life that you have to be careful, especially when you are not cooking yourself. When you go to a restaurant and order something, it is hard to know what ingredients they use exactly.

Vietnamese food is full of fresh ingredients and spices. If you are planning on going to Vietnam and you have specific dietary restrictions, this blog may help you get through.

It is ok! You don’t really have to eat EVERYTHING there is. There are several reasons why someone doesn’t eat a specific type of food. It could be allergic reactions, religious reasons or simply because you don’t like it.

Allergies

I hate it when I start eating something and all of the sudden my entire body starts itching because of something I ate (a lot of times I don’t even know what exactly). Others react very differently from me. Sometimes you could have a serious reaction to it, so you have to be careful.

I am allergic

Vegetarian / Vegan

Many of us have chosen to live a certain lifestyle and we all have to respect it. Vegetarian restaurants are really common in Vietnam, as there is a large Buddhist population. It means that being a vegetarian is not a big deal!

It is important to know the Vietnamese word for vegetarian (chay) and that would get you through. You can make any Vietnamese dish into a vegetarian dish like phở chay, bánh xèo chayhủ tiếu chaycà ri chay, and so on. Or say “Tôi ăn chay”, which means “I’m vegetarian” or, if you are a vegan, “Tôi là người ăn chay trường”.

I don't eat meat

Religion

In some religions, certain animals are sacred like the cow in Hinduism. In other cases, for example in Islam is forbidden to eat pork.

I don't eat beefI don't eat pork

But also in Judaism you can find dietary restrictions. Jews are only allowed to eat Kosher.

Only eat kosher

Or if you simply don’t like a certain time of food you just simply say “I don’t eat (type of food)” in Vietnamese “Tôi không (…)”. For example,

I don't eat seafood

 

There are many other dietary requirements and restrictions. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know if you like something if you haven’t tried it!

Come and apply for an internship with InternVietnam. Apply now!

Daily Life in Vietnam, Practical Advice

How easy is it to get by with just English?

If you are going to Vietnam and have no knowledge of the language, you ask yourself: How easy is it to get by with just English? I will talk about English in Vietnam and how difficult it is for a foreigner to get by without any Vietnamese in this blog.

In the past, Chinese and Russian were largely taught in most of schools and were considered as second language. In recent years, as Vietnam’s contacts with Western nations have increased, English has become more popular as a second language and taught in a larger scale, eventually replacing Chinese and Russian.

English in School

Nowadays, English is mandatory in most schools in Vietnam, sometimes alongside French. English proficiency is now seen as a vital requirement for employment. According to an educational reform, all students will have a minimum level of English by 2020. English in schools is limited in reading and writing skills, but not much speaking & listening skills. As part of the strategy, officials have adopted the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to measure language competency. Students are expected to reach the level B1 by the time they graduate.

EF English Proficiency Index

The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) attempts to rank countries by the average level of English language skills amongst those adults who took their exam. Vietnam is in place 34 of 80 countries worldwide and 7 of 20 in Asia with a score of 53.43, which is considerate a moderate proficiency. While the Southeast and the Red River Delta, Ho Chi Minh City’s and Hanoi’s regions respectively, are regions with the highest English proficiency within Vietnam; the North Central Coast, on the other hand, has the lowest proficiency. According to EF EPI, women have a higher English proficiency than men, but the difference is not big.

Vietnam English Proficiency
English Proficiency per Region
Source: https://www.ef.edu/epi/regions/asia/vietnam/

So…is it easy to get by with just English? Long story short, the answer is yes, BUT depends on where you go. Residents in all the tourist areas are able to communicate in English. In more remote areas, English speakers can be very rare. Some older Vietnamese people will speak more French than English, especially in the former South Vietnam. The importance of promoting English in Vietnam is growing due to its importance in the business world.

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