Written by Bethlehem Besrat, (University of Denver) Student Correspondent CET Public Health & Service-Learning in Ho Chi Minh City, Fall 2015
My time studying abroad in Vietnam has officially come to an end. It feels like just yesterday I was arriving in Saigon and ready to start my time abroad. Now I’m leaving and there are so many things that I will miss that makes it hard to leave. Although there are so many things I will miss, here are some of the main things I will miss in no particular order.
1.Street Vendors: From food to flowers, street vendors sell a variety of items. I was initially surprised to see how prevalent street vendors are in Saigon and that there was an array of things you could buy. However, there is always something new to try or being sold and it became a staple in my daily life in Saigon.
2.Cafes: Cafes in Saigon are often located in the least expected places with interesting and unique interior design. Sometimes you need to go into a random building and climb three levels of stairways to find a cafe. Some cafes are so hidden that I sometimes have to ask someone who has been there before to show me where it is located or else I’d never find it. Another great thing about cafes is that they have ca phe sua da. Ca phe sua da is Vietnamese iced milk coffee and it is delicious. Be warned, it’s very strong coffee.
3.Food: I love trying new foods and there is such a variety of food to try in Saigon. From restaurants to street vendors, there is always a new place to try food. When buying food from street vendors, it’s great seeing how the food is prepared and amazing to see it be done so quickly. When ordering food, it’s a great opportunity to practice your Vietnamese and often people will appreciate you ordering or trying to order in Vietnamese. I’ve also had the opportunity to take a few classes to learn how to cook some Vietnamese food and it’s been fun learning and attempting to recreate the food I like so much.
4.Classes: I’ve really enjoyed taking classes on Public Health, Service-Learning, and Development in Vietnam. I’ve learned a lot from these classes and it makes me excited to go into the public health field. Throughout my time in Vietnam, I have been able to apply the course material I’ve learned to daily interactions or things that I’ve seen. It’s also helped me think critically about issues in public health and development and the causes behind them.
5.Fellow Classmates and roommates: These past few months, I have gotten the opportunity to meet and get to know an amazing group of people. We started off as strangers but we all become so close by the end of the program. I’ve learned a lot from them and feel so fortunate to have met such great people. This is definitely what I will miss the most.