International Trade Practicum Winter 2013: We’ve Arrived in Vietnam!

Blogged by: Emily Green

We arrived here in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday night, after a four hour layover in Hong Kong. It has been very cold and damp in the north, we are flying down south to warmer weather in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday.

 Outside of the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh

On our first full day here we spent the entire day touring around Hanoi City. We visited the ethnology museum and learned about the hundreds of tribes that exist in this area of the country. We also visited the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, one of the most important people involved in bringing Vietnam to independence. After doing some sightseeing we took a one-hour rickshaw ride around the Old Quarter, it was a good chance to get up close and personal with Vietnam’s street culture.
Motorbikes are the primary means of transportation here. The streets are absolute chaos at all times of the day; there are hardly any traffic lights or lanes and crossing the street can be very scary…even scarier than New York! Our second full day here was spent on a four-hour boat cruise of Halong Bay, a beautiful area on the coast of Vietnam where over 1900 mountainous islands rest on the water.

Halong is Vietnamese for descending from dragon, the Viet people feel that the islands are holy and have protected them from invasions from the many countries that have tried to invade them. We were able to hike through the caves inside of the islands and were amazed at their natural beauty. Everyone in the group felt so lucky to have been able to see Halong Bay, it is impossible to capture the feeling of being there in a photo.

After our long day on the coast we had a free day to work on our projects for the course. I am studying the furniture industry here so I took some time to walk around and visit a few interior design shops. Me and Nicole, my roommate in Vietnam, took a taxi to a yoga studio for a morning Pilates class.

Last night the group met a few FIT alumni at a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. The food here is really different from what we are used to but I have been trying different kinds of noodles and seafood.

Today we are traveling to the Song Cong apparel factory and then some of us will be visiting an children’s orphanage. Hopefully I can post again before we leave for Ho Chi Minh City!!