Why Vietnam?

Ever since I visited Vietnam for the first time in 2006, I fell in love with the country. Many people ask me why specifically Vietnam. Is it the food? Is it the culture? The people?

I think for me, it is a combination of factors. First of all, I made great friends in the country; local Vietnamese who I met on the way. Some of them are young urban people, living in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). And others are villagers in Northern Vietnam, who I lived together with during my fieldwork period. Very loyal friendships, easy to be maintained, because everyone is on social media these days, also in Vietnam. Second, I feel very home to the way people live in Vietnam, I’m interested to learn and understand about their long history, their cultural habits and contemporary ways of living. The combination of my journeys through the country and my studies gave me many interesting insides in the Vietnamese culture. And last but not least, the rich food culture in Vietnam is an every day treat. Dishes like the famous beef noodle soup (Phở bo), cold rice noodles with BBQ pork (Bún chả), crispy springrolls (Nem rán) are not to withstand.

Vietnam’s fast changing society

Every time when I visit Vietnam, I notice that the country is developing in very high speed. It is
inevitable that such development brings changes with it. Some changes are for the benefit of the people; Vietnam’s mid-class society is growing fast. But it also brings social disintegration and exclusion, where the poorest of society, often the ethnic minorities do not benefit at all.
This phenomenon interests me most; first of all the question why the economically deprived are left behind, even when a country is developing the way Vietnam is developing. And moreover, what need to be undertaken to strengthen the position of the oppressed and economically deprived groups in Vietnam society. My Master’s thesis, which I wrote in 2013, also deals with these themes.

For the future, I would like to commit my skills and experience for a job at a local NGO.