Alex Patchett & Her Two-Month Adventure in HCMC

Posted by SE Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

Coming from snowy Loyola University Chicago, Alex Patchett arrived in the sunny Ho Chi Minh City to become a Marketing intern at DigiPencil MVV – a local digital innovative agency. As this is her first time traveling and living in an Asian country, this 2-month internship is unforgettably challenging yet exciting to her. Now let’s scroll down to know more about this special journey of our lovely Alex!



Challenges of living in Vietnam

In the beginning of the internship, it wasn’t easy for Alex to adapt to such a totally different culture. Her first reaction was: ‘‘So overwhelming! How can I adjust to this? Everything is so different!’’  Like every other foreigner first coming to Vietnam, she was confused by the overcrowded streets and the use of different currency. However, to Alex, language barriers turned out to be the biggest difficulty. She told us that she had to use Google Translate to communicate with her landlady and asked Vietnamese people to talk with her Grab drivers on the phone. Meanwhile, Vietnamese food wasn’t a problem at all to Alex. She loves all Vietnamese food especially ‘‘cơm tấm’’ (fried rice with pork)!



Support and surprise in Vietnam

Hard as it seems to overcome those challenges, Alex quickly adjusted to life in Vietnam with her own efforts, the unfailing support of Abroader and other local people. Alex shared that Abroader’s help such as regular check-ins, an assigned local buddy, and extracurricular activities supported her a lot during the whole period of the internship. While she was in America, we regularly kept in touch with her to give her updates and instructions about the visa or things she must prepare. While she was in Vietnam, we did a weekly check-in to help alleviate any of her struggles. During her first few days in Vietnam, the orientation session, city tour, and extracurricular activities provided by Abroader were such great support as she was equipped with basic knowledge about Vietnam and built friendships. Being accompanied by the Vietnamese local buddy was the most incredible thing to Alex as her presence made Alex’s exploration of Vietnam much easier. She showed Alex many things: from how to change the currency to where popular coffee shops and delicious food are in Ho Chi Minh City. She even invited Alex and her family to her hometown – Tay Ninh, and Alex was extremely happy to get exposed to the local Vietnamese life in such a small and peaceful city.



One thing that really wowed Alex is the hospitality and friendliness of Vietnamese people. She once got a fever during the internship and was very touched by Abroader’s enthusiastic support and the doctor’s dedication. In her workplace, all the colleagues were very helpful and willing to share their knowledge. One of the most surprising things to her was to directly co-work with the CEO in many projects even though she was just an intern. In her home country, the CEO is a little bit intimidating; however, the CEO in her internship workplace is very approachable.




Do what you love and love what you do in Vietnam

During the internship in Vietnam, her main responsibility was working with many partners and conducting researches to figure out insights and creative ideas. These experiences are a great fit to her passion and knowledge since she has been pursuing the Advertising and Public Relations major in her university. Getting exposed to a real innovative working environment, she gains tons of rewarding knowledge to adapt to her future jobs, especially greater understandings of the Asian consumers.



All in all, the 2-month internship in Ho Chi Minh City has been a blessing to Alex. This internship is an important step for her in her career and life path as she has gained so many helpful experiences and established precious friendships. Abroader is very happy to support her in this special trip and thankful for her enthusiastic sharings about her time here.

Wish you the best luck, Alex!

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