Interning Abroad: CET Vietnam

Written by Bethlehem Besrat, (University of Denver) Student Correspondent CET Public Health & Service-Learning in Ho Chi Minh City, Fall 2015

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I get on bus #35. For the 15 minutes I am on the bus, I observe the scenes happening outside the window. Taking the bus has become one of my favorite parts of the day. Sometimes people will come and talk to me, excited to practice their English or just wanting to know more about what I am doing in Vietnam. Other times, I look out the bus windows and see things that I didn’t notice before. Riding the bus is not only time that I use for reflection but is also the means of transportation I use to get to my internship.

Heartbeat Vietnam's logo

A unique aspect that CET Vietnam offers is an internship component. It was one of the aspects of the program that really drew me in. I currently intern at VinaCapital Foundation. I go to VinaCapital Foundation three times a week for three hours each day. VinaCapital Foundation works to provide health and education opportunities to youth and children to empower them. One of the main programs VinaCapital Foundation has is called Heartbeat Vietnam. Heartbeat Vietnam has outreach clinics in Vietnam to find children who have heart defects. They not only find children with heart defects but also funds life-saving heart operations for families who cannot afford it. VinaCapital Foundation also has programs that build capacity in pediatric care by providing training and equipment.

Space I work in at VCF

Space I work in at VCF

After getting to my internship, I catch up with some of the people that work there and see what tasks need to be done. Some of the tasks that I have gotten has consisted of working on grant proposals, making ads for several campaigns, and editing documents. Sometimes families and their children, who received a heart operation, will visit the office. It’s amazing to see the effect Heartbeat Vietnam has and how important the work they do is.

The tasks that I have received in my internship are skills that I can also use in other future endeavors. It also has opened up the possibility of working in NGOs in other countries beside the U.S. Having an internship like this has helped me understand more on how NGOs work in Vietnam and the importance of NGOs like VinaCapital is.