“The world is a book and those who do not travel only read page one.” -St. Augustine

Ever since May 27th, I have been living inVietnam. I wouldn’t say it is like a vacation but more of a “living abroad”. Here, I have done so many amazing things discovering more about my Vietnamese heritage, but there are downsides to living abroad. These are ups and downs to living in a different country.

The Upsides:

Exciting Travel Opportunities

In any country, there are different cities, restaurants, and things to do. Every new country offers new travel opportunities and it’s a chance to see the world! In Vietnam, I’ve done and seen things I have never seen before in the United States. I ride motorbikes daily to get around and have mangos, durian, and jackfruit growing in my backyard. Not to mention, the literal petting zoo going on in my house with pet bunnies and chicks. Living here has really given me the chance to experience things I couldn’t do and see in the United States.

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Christ the King Statue in Vung Tao
Expansion of Knowledge

Experiences you have living in a different country can teach you so many things that just can’t be shown on a documentary, book, or even the internet. Even during a walk to the grocery market, I learn many things about Vietnam, its culture, and people. I get to engage in conversation with the locals and truly expand my knowledge about the world outside of Texas. One of my favorite things to learn about here is the deep history of the Vietnam War and it’s one of the easiest things to learn about because of its numerous monuments, museums, and historic places that are just a minute’s ride away.

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Personal Growth

When you move to a new country, you’ll be thrown into brand new situations and settings that may seem intimidating and scary at first, but are always the best ways to grow as an individual. Not only will you grow physically- but emotionally, too. You’ll encounter different environments and create relationships with new people that help strengthen and grow your thoughts and understandings about life. I can see myself as a different person than when I first came here. Things I see in Vietnam humble, inspire, and teach me so many things I didn’t know living in the United States.

The Downsides

Culture Shock

This downside hasn’t affected me as much as some other people because of my familiarity with Vietnamese culture already, but there are little things like taking your shoes off before you step into a store or house, the language barrier, motorbikes instead of cars, the different foods, and monsoon season. These examples make adapting into the culture harder. Over time, little things like that stopped being weird to me and just part of everyday life.

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I encounter myself missing my friends and family every day and sometimes feel lonely. I miss the little things like my bed at home, eating a hamburger, and going to the movies. Homesickness never goes away but you can counter it a little, by keeping in touch with your family and friends through Facetiming and social media. For the things I miss at home like McDonalds or something, I focus on what I have where I am. There are so many things to do when living in a different country, so I try my best to take advantage of that.

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Even though being here means a month and a half away from people I love and things I miss, I am truly glad for this experience and can’t wait to see what else I can learn.

Thank you for reading and I hope this was interesting! ♥♥♥ -KATIE



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