5 Most Common Regrets of Intern Abroad Alumni

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

No one says, “If only I hadn’t traveled.” Regret may be too strong of a word, but when our alumni were asked, “What is one thing you would have done differently during your internship in Vietnam?” several answers came up time and time again. Find out what they were and learn from the mistakes of fellow world travelers, although they loved every minute and knew that things could have been even better.

1. I should have let loose earlier.

Oftentimes, travelling to another country on your own is a big challenge; you might imagine yourself being very excited about discovering new places, meeting new people and learn bits of the new language. However, things rarely go as smooth as your expectation and you will find yourself being intimidated by the new culture, the new people and even the food (What do they eat for breakfast?!). Many interns said they stayed in their comfort zone for too long. They would turn down invitations to a party, meet-up or trying new foods because they are worried about the safety standards. They may refuse to ride on the back of one’s motorbike because it looks dangerous and it doesn’t looks comfortable. Although many alumni said that they did eventually break out of their shell and that is when the real experience began.


Let loose and try as many fun experiences as you can during your internship in Vietnam. Our intern, Maile and her local buddy at Hanoi’s Color Me Run.

2. I should have spent more time out and about.

Going around by yourself in a strange country can be intimidating, especially if you don’t speak the language, it’s hard to bargain while grocery shopping, you don’t know the ways around. All these things might deter you from getting out there and having as much fun as you can. Many alumni say they may go try new food with the people they know from the internship provider like program coordinator, local buddy or their colleagues. As soon as they are on their own, they slip back to only trying out what is safe. Many built a fortress at the comfy apartment, only ventured within a few blocks around, or shopped at the same place every day. This is perfectly understandable, sometimes, after a hard week of work, you simply just want that “me” time where you can chill on the couch in your air-conditioned apartment and forget about the crazy world out there. However, Vietnam has so much to offer from the beautiful landscape to the friendly people, and of course the amazingly diverse Vietnamese cuisine, all are waiting for you and you will need to pick up that backpack and go see. You can spend time just around the city center area to explore where you are staying or venture to a whole different area where you have never been to and try out some activities that locals recommend.

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Go out and discover tons of exciting things in Vietnam. Our IVEY Global Laboratory Group Internship and their local buddies

3. I wanted to take many memories home but didn’t take enough pictures or record anything.

Recording the memories during your internship in Vietnam can be tricky if you are by yourself. You’d like to take as many photos as you can, but it is awkward to have the camera out everywhere you go and take photos. Or you want to take photos of yourself but you are unsure if giving the camera to a stranger is a good idea. Sometimes when you are alone, you are simply not in the mood for photos at all.

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Pictures are important memories keepers

4. I wish I had lived with a stranger. internship in Vietnam

Another common regrets our intern alumni have is that they didn’t make more friends in the country. Many students choose to live in a single apartment on their individual internship. This maybe great if you want more personal space and privacy. And, it is not the best option if you want to make friends or close connection with other people during your internship. Sharing a room or an apartment building with someone who is doing the same thing with you might be a novel experience but a very worthwhile one. You will get to share all of the strange things you encounter day to day, explore the country together and even do low-key activities like Netflix and popcorn on the weekend. And when you get back home or go on your other adventures, you might even have a reunion with that person to celebrate all the amazing memories you had in Vietnam.

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Sharing an apartment with other students while abroad can be really fun

5. I should have tried harder to learn the language.

Learning a foreign language is one of the best souvenirs you can give yourself and others when you are back at home. Learning Vietnamese can be hard and is very easy for us to just fall back on using English when you navigate around. However, our alumni can all agree that learning short Vietnamese slangs can be rewarding both when you are still in the country and when you return. You can impress the locals with your slang vocabulary and you can try teaching those slangs to friends back home (while you brag about your awesome time in Vietnam, of course).

Obviously one can never avoid having some regrets after an internship abroad. However, at SE Vietnam, we try to maximize your “wow, I’m glad I did this” moments and minimize those “Well, I wish I had done that” moments. And that is why:

We can help you avoid these regrets with our Group Internship Program

At Student Exchange Vietnam, our goal is to help as many young people as possible, they have as many deep, transformative, and profound educational experiences of an internship in Vietnam as possible. With our Group Internship Program, you won’t have to explore and navigate your internship in Vietnam alone, but rather, in a fun group. You will be pushed by your fellow interns and our local buddies team to open up and let loose, to learn Vietnamese slangs, to spend more time out and about taking awesome pictures home. We want to help you be the hero in your story, and we’ll be here after it’s done to get you connected with our network of international students and share your new insights with future adventurers. Read more on why a Group Internship is meant for you here.



Want to discover more about our past Group Internship in Vietnam programs?

Click here to learn about IVEY Global Laboratory or here to learn about SEND Education Group Internship

or Visit our Reviews page for more wonderful stories of other students sharing about their experiences in Vietnam!

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