My time in Vietnam has been challenging, yet extremely rewarding. Coming from living in a small town, to moving to Hanoi is as close to opposites as there is. Hanoi is chaotic, charming, unique, and traditional. It seems like there are no traffic rules and to cross the street you simply have to walk, or else you’ll be standing at the corner forever. Moving to this city has been a big adjustment for me, but I have learned to embrace the uniqueness of the city and learn to enjoy the craziness. Student teaching has been the familiar feeling while I have been here, schools are generally the same anywhere you go. The staff was extremely welcoming from day 1 and I can’t be more thankful for how they have treated me. The biggest challenge with teaching instead of studying abroad is I am not surrounded by people my own age. Meeting friends has been difficult because I spend 40+ hours a week at a school where the staff goes home to their own families at night. I have found that going to the backpack area in the city is a good way to meet people, but those relationships usually last only a few days as those people move on to their next destination. I have had to learn how to travel alone. It was a challenge at first, but I began to enjoy it. I get to do whatever I want to do at any time I want to do it. I am not waiting on someone or debating where we should go next. I get to make all of the decisions on what I want to see. I have tried to travel around Vietnam as much as possible. A lot of my weekends have been spent seeing parts of the country. There have been many nights of terrible sleep on a sleeper bus, but this country has amazed me beyond belief. I did not know of the natural beauty this country has to offer before coming here. My favorite weekend trip was to the mountains of northern Vietnam, very near China. I went to a place called Ha Giang, which is a small town where a 350 km bike loop starts. I rented a motorbike and spent 3 days covering about 400 km surrounded by mountains and small Vietnamese villages. This loop was absolutely stunning. You could easily stop every 10 km and take a picture. Driving a motorbike on these winding roads was one of the most liberating feelings. I have loved all of the adventures I have been lucky enough to go on, and I am glad I have come to peace with being by myself.

Last modified: April 25, 2019