Doing a placement abroad means that there is so much more to the experience than just a job. Living in a country as wildly different as Vietnam has led me into some pretty fun ‘extra-curricular’ activities on a regular basis. Here is a selection of my highlights from the first half of my placement.
Parasailing would have been a great activity to try in the UK, but throw in a little Vietnamese-style health and safety (and lack thereof) and boy is that an experience!
But I didn’t die, and it was amazing to be able to see the entire city to one side, and endless ocean to the other.
2. Trips Away
I’m so lucky to have a placement in such a wonderful and diverse country such as Vietnam, and so any opportunity to see more of it and I’m on board.
I have the beautiful Ancient town of Hoi An on my doorstep, and have been able to have weekends away in the old capital, Hue and the bustling, hectic Ho Chi Minh City.
On top of this I was able to spend my Christmas expanding my horizons and exploring more of Asia, visiting Bali, Kuala Lumpar and Singapore.
Each of these trips have given me new and diverse perspectives on life, shown me spectacular views and allowed me to taste wonderful foods.
Travelling really has been one of the best parts of this placement.
3. Ending up in the Ocean After Nights Out
We work hard but we certainly play hard too. For such a small city, Danang has a surprisingly consistent night-life. Each week we meet new people travelling through, and make some really great friends in the process.
And what better way to solidify a friendship? Ending up in the ocean at 2am. Yet another perk of having the beach so close.
4. Attending my First Vietnamese Wedding
Weddings are a fantastic way of seeing into a country’s culture, and as luck would have it, one of the best friends I have made on this placement got married in October, and I was honoured to be part of it.
It was slightly crazy, I understood very little of what was going on, but it was a brilliant night, full of joy and love, and I was thrilled to be there.
5. Meeting Ambassadors
For a teaching job I’ve done a surprising amount of networking. I’ve met a lot of important people I never thought I would get a chance to meet, including both the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, and the American Ambassador to Vietnam. I’ve had a chance to meet and work with some great minds from around the world and it really has been a pleasure.
I’ve also taken shots with the keynote speakers from international conferences, but that’s a story for another day…
6. A Few Body Mods
So it looks like I’ll be coming home with at least one new tattoo and one new piece of facial jewellery – but the year’s only halfway through…
Getting a new tattoo and my nose pierced in Vietnam weren’t actually as scary and back-alley as they sound, I did go to well established places.
It was a lot of fun, and tends to worry people when I tell them.
These are just a few of the things I’ve been up to both in and out of work. Whittling it down to just these few was hard, as these six months have been so full and diverse. Who knows what your year will hold!