For the summer semester of 2016, I decided to spend a semester abroad in Vietnam. Vietnam fascinated me because of the completely different culture and the beautiful landscape. We became aware of the RMIT in Ho Chi Minh City through MicroEDU , who put us in touch with the university and assisted us with both the application and the visa arrangements.
When I landed in Ho Chi Minh City by plane, we were warmly welcomed by the buddy team (local Vietnamese students who were at our side with advice and help throughout our stay). I quickly realized that Ho Chi Minh City a completely different city is, as I do this in Europe was used. There are scooters everywhere and it seems like there are no traffic rules.
I spent the first few days with two friends in an apartment rented through Airbnb, from which we visited various apartments for our stay. There are a number of real estate agencies in Ho Chi Minh City, so you can quickly find a place to stay. However, you can also use the help of the buddy team to find an apartment. After two days we decided on an apartment on the 8th floor of a residential complex with a great view over the city. The cost was $ 300 per person. The university’s orientation events helped us to find our way around the university better and to integrate more quickly into everyday university life.
The university amazed me with its state-of-the-art facilities, its numerous restaurants and the wide range of sports. The facilities are very clean and you almost feel like you are in Europe. There is also the opportunity to participate in various sports and leisure clubs, such as B. Join MMA club, tennis club, chess club and health club. A fully equipped fitness studio is also part of the wide range of leisure activities. Furthermore, the university has a modern library with several learning islands, where you can prepare well for tests or exams.
In my opinion, however, the lessons are very different from those at my German university: Small classes, active participation in lessons and professors from different countries characterize everyday university life. Instead of an examination at the end of the semester, the grade consists of several small assignments such as term papers, lectures and tests. I would rate the level as a bit easier than in Germany. The free time gained and available on weekends is suitable for short trips. In addition, there are no lectures in the 7th week, which means that you can travel to other surrounding countries in addition to Vietnam.
The infrastructure in Vietnam can be rated as poor and so it is inevitable to rent a scooter or use taxis. Taxis are very cheap compared to Germany. Here it makes sense to use the Grab taxi app. However, I would recommend everyone to rent a scooter for the equivalent of 40 euros a month, as this is a lot of fun and you are also very flexible. The risk of accidents due to the confusing and adventurous road traffic without recognizable or observed traffic rules is, however, relatively high; I’ve heard time and again that exchange students cause a lot of accidents.
Although our apartment had a kitchen, we only ate out, which was partly due to our poor cooking skills, but also due to the fact that restaurants and small takeaways are very cheap. For the equivalent of around 2 euros, you can find something delicious to eat almost everywhere. We also had a great desire and appetite for Vietnamese food.
Vietnamese cuisine is very versatile and varied. Unlike other Asian cuisines, it is rather mild.
If you want to satisfy your local or European cravings in between, you can choose between numerous western restaurants in the city. There are also various options for going out in the evening, e. g. B. to prove your singing skills in one of the numerous karaoke bars.
Ho Chi Minh City is a very good starting point to visit other surrounding countries, which you should definitely use. There are so-called sleeper buses that are ideal for this, so you can take them to Cambodia, for example. The plane tickets for flights inside and outside Vietnam are really affordable thanks to low-cost airlines like Vietjet and Airasia.
I would rate the commitment of the RMIT Buddy Team particularly positively, which tried very hard and was always at our side, regardless of whether it was about restaurant tips, hairdressers or weekend activities. It was very reassuring that the RMIT provided the students with excellent medical care when required.
It was impressive and extremely enriching for me to gain insights into a foreign culture and to get to know the friendliness of the Vietnamese and their hospitality. I had a very good time in Vietnam and would recommend this semester abroad to anyone looking for a little adventure or interested in dealing with a completely different culture.
You shouldn’t be squeamish, however, because those who are spoiled by western standards can experience adventures here.