If you want to understand Vietnam—a vibrant Asian nation riding the tide of development—you need to be in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is a fast-paced city with laid back people. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with a street stand vendor when you order a bowl of bun cha (grilled meat on vermicelli loaded with spices and fresh herbs). Find a fashion boutique hidden in an old building. Explore a Buddhist temple. Stroll through an art space. Shop for lacquer tea sets at an outdoor market. Go to a water puppet theater performance with your roommate. Or plan an adventure: the mountains, highlands, deltas, and coastlines are calling.
This is the place to immerse yourself in Vietnam. This is the place to start exploring the developing world. This is the place to call home for a semester.