Welcome Maile Moore for Public Heath Internship in Vietnam

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

SE Vietnam welcomes Maile Moore from Oregon State University to Vietnam for a three month Public Health Internship in Vietnam.

Maile’s host organization is a social, professional organization of volunteers who work in Public Health field based in Hanoi. Maile herself is a proactive student who is very passionate about her major, public health at the university and had overarching experience being involved in activities and work related to public health prior to this internship in Vietnam. She even joked that her mom thinks she’s “over-involved” in the activities.

On her first day in Hanoi, Maile shared as she watches the motorbikes swerving around all over the place to get where they want, that she felt amazed by the flow of traffic and the mere number of motorbikes in Hanoi’s busy streets. “This is definitely nothing like the U.S.”. :) She was also pleasantly surprised by how lively the stores along the streets are, here and there were beautiful flower shops, food venders and of course fashion stores, all are open and easily accessible.

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Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Coming to her workplace on the first day with SE Vietnam Coordinator, Maile was a bit nervous, however, as soon as she walked into the office and see the smiling faces of the co-workers and supervisor, she immediately felt more confident. Her co-workers were young, energetic and motivated people, they were all very happy to welcome her into the office and offered her very useful advice to start work.  Maile’s supervisor, was frank and sincere in giving Maile tips to adapt and feel comfortable working in a new environment in a new country, he suggested Maile to be proactive and to ask as many questions as she could to everyone. On the other hand, her incredibly nice coworkers offered to help take care of Maile’s social life in Vietnam by taking her to places after work to explore Vietnam and its cuisine during her internship in Vietnam.

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Maile and co-workers in front of the office

After the first office visit, Maile was able to take a break and enjoy her first Vietnamese food adventure :) SE Vietnam Coordinator chose to take her to a popular Pho restaurant in Hanoi where she got to have, of course, a mandatory lesson of how to eat Pho the right way. To our surprise, Maile was pretty confident with her chopstick skills and only needed to be instructed on adding several other elements (lime, veggies, hoisin, chiily sauce…) to her already glorious bowl of Pho. The typical Vietnamese meal was enjoyed with a delicously fresh iced sugarcane juice which reminded Maile of Hawaii, where she used to spend part of her childhood at.

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Getting instructions on how to eat Pho

At SE Vietnam, an on-site orientation is a must-have to all interns to ensure their safety, help them adapt more easily, limit culture shock during their internship in Vietnam and to help make the most out of this extremely valuable experience. Of course, Maile was given the orientation on the first day after she arrived in Hanoi for her internship in Vietnam. During the orientation, everything from dos and don’ts, how-to, internship obligation to must-see places in the North, were covered by SE Vietnam Coordinator. The concerns were raised and answered. Then, unfortunately, Maile had to come to what she thought was the most intimidating part of the day, learning useful Vietnamese expressions. For her, the most challenging part was learning how to regconize and pronounce to accents, Maile didn’t think she did so great, but we thought her pronunciation was just fine. :) 

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Learning how to pronounce Vietnamese

One can’t simply get used to living in Hanoi without having a tour around the downtown area of the city so Maile got taken down to the Old Quarter by her local buddy to enjoy the weekend atmosphere and more delicious Vietnamese food. 

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Visiting Temple of Literature – where Vietnam’s first national university was located


Having ice-cream (kem) at the most popular spot in town is a no-brainer 

Now, let’s here Maile herself describe the great slash adventurous time she had at the beginning of her internship in Vietnam:

“Monday was my first full day at the office, Mondays include a staff meeting with our founding president, the meetings are in Vietnamese, so I will not attend the meeting, but the president had me come in after the meeting business was finished to meet me and discuss what we can bring to each other. I found out I will be mainly working on the giant conference in November on sexual and reproductive rights. There is an international steering committee that is meeting next week in Ha Long Bay, and I get to attend the meeting and will be in charge of taking minutes to be sent to the members. My host sister is studying tourism and will be in Ha Long Bay for a project starting Thursday until Saturday and I will be there Monday through Thursday – so I will stay after the work meeting is over and explore the bay for a few more days! At the end of the day our office got together in the conference room for a snack which included the infamous fertilized quail eggs… my co-workers offered me one and I was hesitant at first to try one, but figured I would give it a go – they were nothing like I expected. I figured it would be crunchy or at least could feel the texture of the feathers, but it was actually fairly smooth and the taste was not bad. I would eat another one, but not a regular snack for me.

The last few days have been quite busy – on Saturday after my city tour of the Old Quarter with my local buddy we went to my host family grandparent’s villa on the outskirts of Hanoi and stayed the night. I got to help make spring rolls and go groceries shopping with my host mom at the local market, she also bought me pineapple because it is my favorite! It turns out my host family spends most weekends at their home, so this Saturday we will return and the host grandma will show me a new dish to make.”

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Maile cooking with her host family

 Follow Maile’s journey as she discovers life in Vietnam and fulfill her internship goals!!


Want to have an amazing internship in Vietnam like Maile? Click here to learn about our customized internships.

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

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