Sian’s employability and cultural experience in Vietnam

Sian is current second year Computer Games Programme student, and in November 2022 she went to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for a weeklong DMU Global trip focused on employability and Vietnamese culture. She shared her thoughts with us about her time in South East Asia…

Why did you decide to travel abroad with DMU Global?

I’d always wanted to go on a DMU Global experience, and it was a key factor in choosing to come to DMU. I’ve never been to Asia before and when I saw the Vietnam trip, I thought it was a great opportunity and affordable, due to the generous funding offered by the University. 

Were there any barriers that you had to overcome to participate on this experience? Were you nervous about anything prior to going abroad? 

I had travelled abroad before and enjoy travelling, but the culture of Vietnam compared to the UK is very different and going with the guidance and support of DMU and Pagoda Projects helped reassure me. Going solo would’ve been very intimidating and watching YouTube videos could only do so much to prepare me. Having the local guides and expertise in-country made the transition and integration much easier.

Did you notice any cultural differences whilst abroad, that you needed to adapt to?

Basic things such as crossing a road in Vietnam was a challenge as the vehicles come at you from all directions, but you learn to adapt and almost enjoy the experience. From spending time in Vietnam, I also learnt more about the community-focused nature of their society and how people are much less individualistic. People tended to mix more, and there was a communal aspect to how people socialised and spent time outside together.

The other thing that I need to adapt to was how in the marketplace it’s acceptable to haggle, as this is not something we do in the UK. I learnt that you had to firm when making an offer, but also not focus on just one stall as you may be able to negotiate a better price elsewhere. Understanding that the seller wanted a deal, gave you the advantage in the negotiation. 

Has your DMU Global experience inspired you to pursue further international experiences?

I want to spend a year studying abroad after my second year of studies. After these kinds of experiences, I feel like I can adapt to different cultures and environments more easily. I think that spending a longer time overseas will help enrich my studies and make me more culturally aware as well. 

What would you say to somebody considering participating on a DMU Global experience?

I would recommend other students to apply as the trips are well organised and by travelling as a group with other students and staff you have the safety net and support from the University. This support helps remove any stress, and it allows you to enjoy the experience.