February 26, 2018
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Its an honor to participate in the YSEALI exchange program. Trang Nguyen of the Danang Institute of Socio-Economic Development visited me in Bozeman, Montana for about a month in October and November 2017. As I touched down at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, I felt exhausted after a two-day journey but excited and interested to learn as much as possible about 1) education and innovation, 2) trade opportunities and 3) resiliency and economic development.
I have longed to visit Vietnam ever since I began learning about the country. It’s important for me to see Vietnam through eyes looking forward toward progress and partnerships not backward toward strife and conflict.
My day begins at 9 am today when I meet Mi Hoang for the first time. It’s important to see how others see you so we will tour the War Remnants Museum. We have a lunch scheduled at a restaurant called Nha Hang Ngon in HCMC where I will get my first taste of authentic Vietnamese food, an experience I have been anxiously awaiting. You can really get to know people by the food they eat.
After a quick visit to the Consulate, I will participate in a panel discussion titled Economic and Youth Development where I will be a panelist with some of the HCMC youth to discuss economic issues of interest to the Vietnamese youth.
More touring is on the schedule today including Reunification Plaza, the night market and a fitting end to the evening at the top of the tallest building in HCMC, the Bitexco Tower.
Thus begins my first day in the country. I will write more about my actual impressions and experiences as my trip to Vietnam unfolds and the stories begin to come together.