How to Integrate in Your Community during Your Internship in Vietnam.
It is a big challenge coming to a completely strange country (where you might not even know how to speak the language) to live and do your internship. You no longer have your family, your besties to hang out and watch movie shows. You have to start making friends all over again. If only there was a way you can speed up this process of making as many local friends as possible and start discovering the new country right as you arrived for your internship in Vietnam? We thought so too, and we built our services accordingly so that would help you better integrate in the community and have as much fun during your internship in Vietnam as possible.
Photo source: gatewaynazarene.org
Making friends at home is much easier because there are no language barriers between you and other people, and since you share more or less the same background, there are more things in common to talk about. Making friends in Vietnam when you don’t know Vietnamese can be tricky. Fortunately, Vietnamese are world known for their friendliness and young Vietnamese are eager to practice their language skills with foreigners especially those who speak English. If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you can stumble upon groups of young students going around the parks in District 1 approaching foreigners and ask to speak to them. If you are in Hanoi, you can find these students at the walking area around the Sword Lake on the weekends. These a great chances for you to actually meet and make friends with local friends, they might not be your age but they probably know inside and out of the city and can give you lots of great insights you can’t find on the Internet.
You can also take initiatives to talk to street vendors or shop owners when you go shopping in touristy areas as they speak English quite well. They probably won’t be too thrilled when you don’t shop at their place but they certainly would be proud when you want to hear their stories.
2. It’s okay if you have no friends your age.
Photo source: multco.us
The internship in Vietnam might give a new understanding to the saying “Age is nothing but a number.” In some companies, you might easily be able to meet other people your age, but this isn’t the case everywhere. Your co-workers might be 5 years older than you, have a family and kids, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with them. You might learn a lot from older people and that will surely enrich your experience in Vietnam.
3. Learn some local phrases
Learning some fun local slang phrases can be a gem when it comes to impressing locals and starting conversations with new people you meet while working or at social events. People love fun phrases especially spoken in their own language by a foreigner so they would be prompted to teach you more and become interested in talking with you.
Photo source: Saigoneer
4. Don’t skip after-work events
There are good chances that your workplace will organize some kinds of welcome or after-work events while you’re there. Although it is tempting to turn down invitations when you’re tired after work, these occasions are actually good chances for you to expand your professional networking make new local friends and have fun the Vietnamese way. When you participate in these events, you can show that you care about the workplace and enjoy hanging out with friends at work which helps improve the overall relationship with your co-workers.
Photot source: mengnews.joins.com
5. Join in the Gossip
It can be hard to join the gossip when you don’t know the language. However, you can join the conversation in different ways, for example, you can remind me co-workers to speak in English when talking by a light smile, asking them what they’re talking about, or politely ask to join in the conversation. Most office workers in Vietnam can speak English and employers would love to have their staff’s skills improved, so you’re actually bringing more values to the companies when you converse with your co-workers.
Different people find different ways to connect with people in a new country, so it is best to follow the advice that works best for you. These tips, however, will help locals see you not as just a foreign intern, but as a part of their community. Becoming visible and respected will take patience, but it will be profoundly rewarding.
by Ta Ha
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