Much to my surprise I thought I would hate it here in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, but I honestly love it here. CET Academic Programs have made my transition into the city both easy and enjoyable. My abroad program is located in District 1 of Saigon, the wealthiest area of the city, so safety and luxury has not been a concern of mine. In fact, I have been able to live an extremely luxurious lifestyle on a mere few US dollars a day. The meals here are delicious and only $1-3 per meal with drinks included. The most common foods you will find here in Vietnam are Pho and Bun, a type of noodle soup, that most Vietnamese people eat for breakfast to keep them hydrated during the day. Also, you will find street vendors selling che, a type of Vietnamese dessert, or Banh Mi, a club sandwhich, for about 50 cents or less. So, although no meals are included in our program, it has been quite an enjoyable experience touring and eating at different restaurants, especially since everything here is so cheap.
The best thing my abroad program has to offer aa Vietnamese roommates. CET hand selected our roommates according to our needs and who they felt were the most suitable for touring students like myself. They make our lives here in the city so much easier. They drive us around on their motorcycles or speak on our behalf. I can only speak a bit of Vietnamese and I also have a strong accent, so it is difficult for Southerners to understand me. Thus, having a Vietnamese roommate makes it easy for those like me with a strong accent or for my peers who do not speak any Vietnamese at all. They will order on our behalf, teach us Vietnamese, and help us with our Vietnamese homework. Our roommates also shows us the ins and outs of Saigon: best places to eat, best places to shop, the best places to hangout. Our roommates have been incredibly helpful and I am glad they always make time in their busy schedules to spend with us.
It actually has amazed me to look back and see how much I have done after just one week here in because Vietnam has so much to offer. Thanks to my roommate, I was able to see bits and pieces of France, Korea, and other foreign countries. District 1 was colonized by the French, so much of what I see where I’m currently studying has quite a bit of French Architecture. There are also quite a bit of restaurants that are based on cuisines from other countries, so there is an opportunity to try a bit of everything from all around the world. As much as I would love to tell all of you gators to study in Vietnam, I know that each country has their own uniqueness that defines their country. Vietnam this week alone has been such a great experience; I cannot even begin to say how happy I am that I decided to study abroad, so I encourage all of my readers to do so too.
Luxurious Sky Bar in Vietnam in Vietnam where you were also allowed to go out into the balcony and eat dinner with a fantastic view of the city. Note: Drinking age in Vietnam is 18.
CET Academic Programs: Ho Chi Minh City: Public Health and Service Learning Students and our roommates during a CET sponsored roommate activity.
My wonderful roommate and I during the CET welcome dinner.
Pho (noodle soup), a traditional Vietnamese dish.