experience

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International Experience
Internship experience, Practical Advice

Why International Experience Is Important

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)
  • Initiative

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).

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.
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!

Nightlife In Saigon
Daily Life in Vietnam

Nightlife in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City is also known as Saigon. It is definitely a party city with a variety of bars and clubs to choose from. Of course, Saigon parties to late, and it seems like the perfect place to spend your time is around the Pham Ngu Lao district area. Due to its popularity among foreigners, it is usually called the backpacker district, right in the heart of the city. The Pham Ngu Lao area is made up of two parallel streets, the Bui Vien Street and the Pham Ngu Lao street. In between, there are small alleys connecting them.

The streets are full of light and people. Small shops tend to set up tables and chairs on the street and offer drinks. Pham Ngu Lao is where the expats and the locals come together to eat and drink. The most popular places to go around the area are the Go2 Bar, Allez Boo Bar, Crazy Buffalo Bar and The View Rooftop Bar at Duc Vuong Hotel Saigon, where, rumor has it, you can find beer for US$1!

Because they are the perfect place to enjoy the sunset, rooftops bars are really a thing in Saigon.  Enjoy the sunsets in one of the most exclusive rooftop bars in HCMC, Chill Skybar on the 26th floor of the AB Tower. If you can afford it and if you can get past the strict door policy, it is the place for a classy drink or a date. Glow Skybar and MGallery are favourite among expats and tourists.

Rooftop Bar

In case what you are looking for is to dance all night long, then Lush is your place.  It is probably the most famous nightclub in the city, especially among foreigners. Ladies’ Night is every Tuesday!

Live Music

Saigon has something for everyone. In some places in the city you can find good coffee shops with live music. Whether you are into rock or jazz or anything in between, you can go to Abracadabra Café, House 7 Café, Yen Café, Cúcuta Café, and others.

Live Music

Quiet Nights in Saigon

If all of this sounds like too much for you, there are some quiet activities you can do. Good for a quiet night out, the Bonsai Dinner Cruise takes you to a  journey down the Saigon River with live jazz music and traditional Vietnamese dance. Or enjoy a play, opera or even ballet shows at the Saigon Opera House.

Cruise

Nguyen Hue Walking Street is the place you wouldn’t want to miss. It is the perfect place for a night walk through the city. The visitors, the performers and the local shops create an upbeat atmosphere.

People say “Saigon never sleeps”. Well…there’s only one way to find out. Explore Saigon with us and Apply Now!

Certificate of vaccination OMS
Practical Advice

Vaccines For Vietnam – What You Need To Know

While reading this, you are probably getting ready for your internship in Vietnam and checking everything off on your to-do list. Aside from all the usual important stuff you need for going abroad- your passport, visa, medicine, and clothes, you need to think about what vaccines you might need for Vietnam. This blog is here to save you time and will be a helpful guide for you to get over this last step.

Vaccine - Get ready !
Vaccine – Get ready !

This is something you need to consider before starting your adventure in Vietnam, and while vaccines aren’t necessary, you definitely need to speak to your doctor to see what they recommend!

It is recommended that you speak to your General Practitioner at least 6 to 8 weeks before your scheduled flight to discuss any health risks or vaccinations.

It is not necessary to be vaccinated before your arrival in Vietnam, however there are some recommended vaccinations for your stay in Vietnam: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Tetanus-Diphtheria and Measles if you do not already have them.

The boy who receives vaccination
A boy receiving vaccination

 

Ask Yourself

  • What’s the risk of me contracting a vaccine-preventable disease?
  • How long am I going for?
  • What will I be doing?
  • Can I be protected without a vaccine?

What Countries Say

For more information about vaccines, please check the CDC’s website or read some more information here about traveling safely to Vietnam !

Our team is looking forward to meeting you soon in Ho Chi Minh City!

Vietnamese Culture

5 Cultural Differences Between the UK and Vietnam

Introduction

When we talk about the differences between Vietnamese and English culture, we can think of many things; namely Literature, Style of Music, Arts, Religion, Language… and I will tell you some dissimilarities of the two cultures. This blog will describe some of the likenesses and contrasts between the UK and Vietnam!

UK and Vietnam flags

UK and Vietnam flagsMany Vietnamese traditions are beautiful to witness and you will really enjoy gaining a better understanding of life here.

Family structure

For example,  in Vietnam, children are the most important members and the center of a family. All of others (parent, grandparents, uncles, aunt) pay special attention to them. The central role of elderly people in the family and raising of grandchildren is a lovely tradition that gives the adults more time to themselves, seemingly keeps gramps feeling young and develops a community respect for, and connection to, the elderly. It is not uncommon to see old people taking their younger relatives to school on the bus, or playing with them outside, which always makes you smile on your way to work.

Drinking culture

There is a lot of cheap, cold, draft beer, sitting on a plastic stool on the side of the road.  That pretty much sums up the bia hoi experience.  Bia Hoi is a draft beer, made with no preservatives.  You will see lots of people sitting around, drinking, talking, eating, and people watching.  One good thing is rarely do you drink without eating, at least a little something – generally sliced cucumbers served with salt, chilis, and lime, or a fried, battered corn.s. Have you ever heard of the Snake Wine? It is quite popular in Vietnam. They put the whole snake (or scorpion) into the bottle and than pour the rice wine into it!

Bia Hoi Junction Hanoi

Nevertheless, a few cultural differences I have noticed are a little bit harder to get used to, and you’ll just have to learn to live with them when living in Vietnam.

 

Number 1: Munching and belching is normal in Vietnam!

The first cultural difference I discovered was on a business trip on my second day of my internship. For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant by a river and quickly I noticed the loud eating going on in the room.

Loud eating is considered as rude in most countries on the world. But not in Vietnam. You may also see people dropping litter or food scraps, on the ground as they eat, but again this is completely normal- you will find used napkins, food scraps and cigarette butts on the floor of lots of traditional Vietnamese restaurants.

But reassure yourself, not all the people in eat loudly though and not every restaurant is dirty!

This presents a further challenge; be prepared to eat loudly as well! It is widely accepted and interpreted as you are enjoying your meal.

InternVietnam - Food
InternVietnam – Food

Number 2: Wild driving

One of my favorite things about living in Vietnam is the madness that runs wild on the roads. I’m talking about scooters, motorbikes, motorcycles,electric bikes… tonnes of fun! In fact, because of all the unpredictable swerving, it seems drivers are more observant, with quicker reactions than most in the UK. Not to mention they get you from A to B super quick and so cheaply! Upon that realisation, and having taken many more taxi journeys, I have become increasingly trusting of the local drivers. However, I will welcome the orderly and comparatively peaceful roads with open arms when I return home.

On the other hand, driving in Vietnam is sometimes quite frustrating. There seems to be a lack of rules, or a lack of enforcement of rules. If you ask a Vietnamese person what the rules of driving are, they will look at you like you are coming from another planet.

Source : http://www.itchyfeetonthecheap.com/2016/06/02/how-to-drive-in-vietnam/
InternVietnam - Traffic
InternVietnam – Traffic

Number 3: Non-existent queuing

Being British, I have had queuing drilled into me at an early age and can’t help but be overwhelmed with annoyance if someone queue jumps. In Vietnam, however, queuing seems to be more along the lines of a polite suggestion rather than a strict social norm.

Many times I have been queuing for the cash desk in a supermarket and, as it reaches my turn, someone walks in front of me and places their items on the desk. You soon learn to become more pushy and assertive, as well as perhaps a little more impatient. Although it can become a bit of fun, I still can’t quite overwrite my innate desire to respect a queue.

Vietnam queue
InternVietnam – Vietnamese queue

Number 4: The nap after lunch

The Spanish cannot beat the Vietnamese when it comes to napping! Napping in Vietnam is an art and the people here are professional nappers. Vietnamese people can take a siesta almost everywhere from hammocks made of rope mesh and suspended by cords at the ends to under the trees and in the bus next to strangers, pavements, right on the concrete floors, pavements or motorbikes. At elementary schools, taking a nap is mandatory, little students have to listen to their teachers, transforming desks made with two wood panels into beds to sleep after lunch time.

Nap-time is when you can observe the very slow pace of life by strolling through the streets in light volume traffic, feeling the chilling breezes going through your hair, and seeing an idyllic Vietnam in the midday.

Source : https://www.mazevietnam.com/2016/12/10/10-strange-things-about-vietnam/
InternVietnam - Sleeping anywhere !
InternVietnam – Sleeping anywhere !

Number 5: Loudspeakers everywhere !

Vietnam has about 10,000 loudspeakers. Loudspeakers are a throwback to the 1960s- 70s war years between N. Vietnam and S. Vietnam, when they delivered news and warned people to get into a bomb shelter for protection against attack from the air.

Nowadays, these loudspeakers still exist, with announcements covering a range of topics like residential clusters meetings, avian flu prevention, healthcare information and sanitation reminders all over Vietnam through the daily 6:30 AM and 5:30 PM broadcasts in a male or female voice. They begin and end with some beautiful music sort of patriotic rhythms.

If you stay in Vietnam, I am 100-percent sure the loudspeakers will wake you up in time.

Source : https://www.mazevietnam.com/2016/12/10/10-strange-things-about-vietnam/
InternVietnam - Loudspeakers
InternVietnam – Loudspeakers

 

As a conclusion…

Throughout my time in Vietnam, I have attempted to fully immerse myself in the Vietnamese culture and have really enjoyed my time here because of it. Even these cultural differences that may be a little out of my comfort zone made my experience more enriched and interesting and, aside from maybe number 1, I wouldn’t want them to change.

If you want to join us in Vietnam for an amazing experience, you can apply here!

Practical Advice

How Not to Lose Your Luggage!

Imagine travelling for 21 hours to get to Vietnam, with all 3 flights delayed along the way at some point, only for you to arrive, but not your luggage. Unfortunately this is what happened to me on my trip to China.

There had been a bit of a misunderstanding at my transfer in Beijing. My bag was supposed to go all the way through to Qingdao, but I needed to get a new boarding pass for the internal flight. I arrived at the transfer desk and a fuss ensued because I did not have my luggage with me. Naively, I believed this was all a big misunderstanding; the airline assistant simply did not understand my Scottish accent and all would be fine when I arrived in Qingdao and reunited with my backpack! This was not the case.

It quickly became apparent that I was not going to get my bag in Qingdao when the few people on my flight collected their luggage, and I was left cutting a very lonesome figure in the baggage hall watching the empty carousel go round and round. I filed a lost baggage claim and left the airport for my new Qingdao residence.

InternVietnam- Lost Luggage
InternVietnam- Lost Luggage

After 18 phone calls and 4 days with no clothes or personal belongings, I was finally reunited with my backpack!

Over 3.3billion journeys were made by aeroplane in 2014 and of these, 24.1million bags were mishandled (i.e lost or misrouted). Statistically this means there is less than a 0.1% chance of your luggage going anywhere but its intended destination. Unfortunately I was one of that 0.1%, and there is a very, very small chance you could be too. Therefore, this post outlines how you can avoid losing your luggage and also, what to do in the event that it does go missing.

How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage

According to some key travel experts, every time you fly you should assume your luggage will go missing, and should therefore take note of these key tips to minimise the risk!

Luggage Tags

InternVietnam- Don't forget luggage tags!
InternVietnam- Don’t forget luggage tags!

Never leave home without a nametag. This is essential to helping airport staff locate your bag if it does get mishandled and it could be the difference in you getting your bag within 24 hours or a few days. Another tip if you are unsure about putting your personal details such as your name, home address and telephone number on a luggage tag, is to print your Twitter handle or social media accounts on the tag. This allows any airline staff to quickly contact you without compromising your privacy.

Check in early

At least 2-3 hours before an international flight. This gives airport handlers maximum time to move your bag to the correct area of the terminal and on to the right plane.

Pack your itinerary

Place it somewhere easy to find in your checked bag. The journey from check in to plane can be quite rough for luggage and sometimes the airport tag with the intended destination can get ripped off. If you have an itinerary in your checked luggage, when airport staff open the bag to look for information, they can quickly identify the bag’s owner and intended destination.

Personalise your bag

Embellish your bag with stickers, ribbons or a luggage belt- anything to make it stand out! Firstly this helps at the carousel as it will stop somebody picking up your bag accidently but also, if your bag does get mislaid, it will make your luggage easily identifiable to airline staff.

Take photos

Before you close your bag up for the last time and head to the airport, take photos of your belongings in a pile. This will help you remember exactly what was in the bag, and it will also help you prove the value of the belongings in your bag if you do have to make a lost luggage claim.

InternVietnam- Document your belongings
InternVietnam- Document your belongings

Double check the airport code

Airport staff are only human, and they make mistakes too. Double check that the right airport code has been attached to your bag so if its intended destination is London Gatwick (LGW), it doesn’t go to La Guardia, New York (LGA) by mistake!

Electronic tags

If you really want to be on the safe side, you could invest in an electronic tag with a microchip that sends you updates on your bags location anywhere in the world.

Prior to leaving the UK, I was not aware of most of these tips. Unfortunately my bag ended up in South Korea but eventually I got it back after 4 days.

Less than 0.1% of luggage gets mishandled or lost, so it is extremely unlikely that it will happen to you; but mind these tips to further ensure your luggage arrives in Vietnam at the same time as you!

InternVietnam- Unfortunately you can't pack the dog!
InternVietnam- Unfortunately you can’t pack the dog!

Finally, it is also worth noting that in the event that your luggage does unfortunately get mishandled, you should have your hand luggage prepared with the necessities to keep you going for a few days.

Remember to Take

Spare clothing

Take at least a spare top and underwear. If you arrive in Vietnam without luggage, you will desperately want some clean clothes to change into. The spare clothing will also help you get by until you can get to a mall or market to buy some new garms!

Essential toiletries

Again, pack the necessities that will get you through at least your first night in Vietnam. This includes any travel-sized cleanser/moisturiser etc as it can be quite tough to find your preferred products in Vietnam due to the inclusion of whitening ingredients in the formulas.

Medication

Remember to take any medication in your hand luggage in case your checked bag goes missing. If you are staying in Vietnam for a few months or longer and therefore have a substantial amount of medication with you, remember to take a prescription and/or doctor’s note with you to present to customs if asked.

Charger and adapter plug

It’s really essential when you arrive in Vietnam to have a charged, unlocked, functioning phone. This is especially important when you arrive at the airport in case there are any delays, but also because you will use your phone frequently to navigate the city and keep in touch with your new friends!

The above list is in addition to standard carry on baggage items such as:

  • Phone
  • Passport
  • Wallet/Purse with VND, credit card (if you have) and at least 1 debit card.
  • Itinerary
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Pen- for filling out customs forms!
  • Hand sanitiser

If you want to join us in Vietnam for an amazing internship, you can apply here!