There are things you learn that are not in the course material…

November 23, 2018 | Maegen, Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Development and Globalization and Minor in Management, Uniterra Vietnam, Saigon Tourism Hospitality College, Events Planning and Communication Intern

As my time in Vietnam is ending, I am spending time reflecting on the last 3 months here.

Reflection: I am grateful for my time spent here and what I have learned. Unlike social media may display, my time in Vietnam was not a three-month vacation filled with picture perfect memories. Honestly, it was much better than that, there were challenges, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning things I could have never learned through four years of lectures and hours of textbook readings.

I would not trade this experience for the world. My top three takeaways from the last three months in the Internship as a Communication and Event-Planning in Vietnam are:

First lesson: Challenges are inevitable, accept them and grow from them.

I can promise you, anyone who does an internship abroad will be faced with challenges and be pushed outside of their comfort zone. It is a challenge to go to another country, climate, culture, language and not knowing the different norms, customs and expectations. Challenges are bound to happen in these circumstances; however, you will learn from it.

Second Lesson: Practical experiences is more valuable than anything you can learn from a textbook. (I have done endless amount of textbook readings).

Being given a task that I have never done before gave me the ability to research and learn how to do something while at the same time being able to put it into practice what you have learned in a professional manner. Some of the best learning is by doing and through trial and error

Third Lesson: There are things you learn that are not in the course material such as individual growth, independence and exposure to different lifestyles and adapting.

Going to a country alone and traveling around to explore the different culture of the country you are in is an experience on its own. I must say your work is your priority as the more you put in the more you will get out. That being said, I do believe traveling and immersing yourself into the culture is key to making the most out of your international internship. However, traveling around Vietnam I was better able to understand the culture, understanding why things worked the way they did, and therefore being able to adapt in the organization’s culture. Vietnam has gone through years of war, which has greatly affected the country, and shaping it to what it is today.

Beyond that, going off on your adventures, being responsible for everything- planning, transportation, food, shelter etc., and taking responsibility builds confidence in yourself. I highly recommend traveling around Vietnam. I have been here for three months and still have not seen nearly as much as I would like to with so many beautiful places, with different cultures and geographic regions to see.

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