Written by Tho Nguyen, (Student Correspondent) University of Kansas
CET Public Health & Service-Learning in Ho Chi Minh City, Summer 2015
Three things you should know about me:
1) I was born in Vietnam and my family moved to the United States when I was ten years old.
2) I am a biochemistry major with an emphasis on pre-med.
3) I love foooooood.
The three things I have listed pretty much explain why I choose to study abroad in Vietnam with CET. Not only is this a great opportunity for me to enrich my knowledge in the health sector, I also get a chance to revisit my homeland. Considering that it has been 10 years since I have left my homeland, I am really looking forward to see how much things have changed.
My main goals for the semester include learning more about Vietnam’s public health and improving my Vietnamese language. I am actually working on my second goal as I have just arrived in Vietnam very early this morning. As you can see on the picture, I am extremely happy about the food in front of me, a type of dessert called chè khúc bạch thập cẩm along with two other dishes. Fortunately, I still have connections here in Vietnam as some of my relatives still live here. It is such a treat being able to talk with them in Vietnamese while eating this yummy dessert. Unsurprising to me, many of my relatives have told me that my Vietnamese is a bit “broken” and that makes me even more determined to make sure that I improve my Vietnamese language with my two months here.
Despite the hot weather, I am loving Vietnam so far and I know I have made the right decision coming here. I know for a fact that I will gain so much more from this study abroad than I will ever expect and I will go far with my goals than just learning more about Vietnam’s public health or improving my Vietnamese. I aspire to be a physician and this will definitely be an eye-opening experience about community health. Ultimately, I hope to join an organization called Doctors without Borders and I believe this study abroad/internship program is a stepping stone in the right direction. After all, there is so much to see when it comes to a developing country like Vietnam because its public health aspect is constantly changing due to environments. As a bonus, I get to eat great food while learning and seeing all of that.