International experience is important because it not only pushes you out of your comfort zone; it also exposes you to new challenges, new experiences and new cultures. It is an opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and open your mind to different ways of working and thinking. Wherever you are in the world, it is important to try and understand how things work and why they are a certain way, for example in Vietnam, the war has had a massive impact on the way things are in Vietnam compared to other countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. Furthermore international experience also helps you to understand yourself more too. It’s a way for you to figure out how you handle certain situations, especially when in a new culture and new country. It is particularly a big challenge when you have moved to another country alone too. It may be hard to find your feet, but once you do, it can be very rewarding.
Trying new foods, meeting new people from different cultures and making friends from all around the world alongside making connections with a variety of people from the business world through networking are all part of the fun when you move to the other side of the world. All of these things not only benefit you personally, but also when you come to apply for a job in the future, all of these experiences and challenges are things you can talk about in an interview.
When it comes to employment back in your home country or anywhere in the world, international experience is one thing that can really make you stand out from the crowd as it exhibits a variety of skills. As well as this, moving from your home country to the other side of the world displays a global perspective; for example it shows drive, determination and flexibility as well as that you are an open minded individual. It takes a lot for anyone to move from the comfort of their home country to another country to work, which not everyone is capable of doing.
Some other skills you may display to a prospective employer on your CV, when you have ‘upped sticks’ and taken the plunge to work overseas could include:
- Problem solving skills
- Self sufficiency
- Perspective (gained or renewed)
Moving to Ho Chi Minh City was my first experience of living alone in a foreign country, away from the people closest to me and honestly it has been the most amazing and rewarding experience. I have learnt so much through my internship and along the way learnt far more than I ever imagined I would about myself too. There will be days where everything feels great, waking up to the sun and warm weather every day is amazing as well as never knowing what you may see on the back of a scooter! And then some days there will be times you wish you could just have a roast dinner with your parents. But even in the low moments, your friends and family are just a phone call away and the most important thing is also knowing how to deal with those moments and remembering that feeling home sick really is okay! There will also always be someone around who will be there to support you too. It is also important to remember to never give up on such an amazing and epic journey and learning experience.
Learning doesn’t just stop at learning new skills in a job but also learning about who you are – there is no better way than to push yourself and to figure out who you are, than by going out of your comfort zone.
The world is such a fascinating place, and wherever you go, there will always be something new to experience. Having volunteered in Africa and currently interning in Vietnam, I have learnt and experienced a lot of new things I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. I have learnt how to handle certain situations that push me out of my comfort zone and also actually realised how much I can handle (I really exceeded my expectation of myself).
When you first arrive in Vietnam it can be a little daunting, especially when you first encounter the masses of motorbikes and crazy traffic. Ho Chi Minh City is still in the process of constructing its metro system, so you may have asked yourself the important question – how am I going to get around? Of course there is the bus system, although this can be a little tricky to navigate when in a new country and city. But fear not, the Grab app, which is very similar to Uber will likely become your best friend whilst you are here. In this post we will explain how to use Grab. Making it much easier for you to get around the city and enable you to enjoy your time exploring and get the most out of your time here.
The main purpose of Grab is for rides whether it is a bike or a car, you will also see on there that there is also a variety of other services provided, for example ordering food and topping up your phone as well as earning rewards. Be sure to check for rewards when you use the app, as you never know what you may find.
The app has a location tracker of the bike driver, so that you can see the progress of the driver.
Step by Step:
1. The first step is to insert your Vietnamese sim into your phone, ensuring you have data. Then install the Grab application onto your mobile device, entering your contact details to create an account. For example, you will be first required to enter your Vietnamese phone number, but there is also the option to sign in using Facebook.
2. There is an option to add your card details, you can do this if you wish although be aware of any bank charges that may occur every time you use your card to pay for a ride. Cashless is also an option although it depends on what you’re comfortable with.
3. You can then select the service you want from the homepage, for example choosing a Grab Bike.
4. You can save locations on the app so it would be a good idea to input and save your ‘home’ address and ‘work’ address so that you can easily access them (this also saves time), especially if you forget the address of a name of a building for example.
5. When you want to book a ride, enter the location you want to be picked up from, this will be a blue pinpoint. Grab can detect your location but sometimes its incorrect so be sure to double check that the pin point is in the place you want to be picked up from. If it is incorrect you can change it by readjusting the pin point or typing in an address.
6. Once you have done this, you then enter the destination you wish to be taken to – the marker will be red when you search for the location. You can then confirm the details once you’re happy and the app will search for a driver nearby and confirm the price.
7. After the ride is booked and confirmed, you will then be given the registration number information – make sure you check the number plate on the app and on the motorbike both match before getting on the bike.
8. Always wear a helmet, sometimes you will need to adjust the helmet so that it sits comfortably and securely on your head.
You can also watch a video version of this here
Doing your first phone top-up in Vietnam can be a little bit confusing if you have never done it before, especially if you are used to pay monthly back at home. In this post, there will be a step by step ‘how to’ guide to make your first top-up simplified. It is also important to note that new sims may need to be registered using some form of identity for example a passport, in order to top up. You can take this into the provider’s store, for example to Viettel, where they will happily assist you with this.
1. You can add credit to your phone to one of the phone stores, the 3 main network providers in Vietnam are:
Alternatively, you can also go into a convenience store such as Circle K, Seven Eleven or Family Mart to top up your phone.
2. Before topping up your phone, you can check the balance by dialling 101*# then call. It will then show your current balance on the screen.
3. Tell the cashier which network you are with and the amount you would like to top up. Usually, 100,000 VND (Approx. £3.40) is enough and this should last you 30 days. The cashier will then give you a receipt.
4. Once you have been given your receipt, you will find a unique 12 digit number at the bottom of the receipt. You will need the serial number.
5. In order to apply the top up to your phone, you will need to dial *100* followed by the 12 digit number then hash (#) and then press call.
6. You will then receive a notification or text that will confirm the top up was successful
7. It’s best the double check that the top up has gone through by calling *101*#
8. If you want to renew your data package, you will need to compose a new message and send a specific code to a certain number, depending on the network you are on will depend on the code and the number.
9. For example, V90 followed by sending to the number 191
10. You can also watch the video version of this here
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.
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’.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Partez-vous bientôt au Vietnam ? Nous avons regroupé quelques réponses aux questions que vous pourriez vous poser !
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Copies de votre passport et documents nécessaires à l’obtention du visa dans votre bagage à main
- 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.
- 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.