From Saigon With Love
I left for Vietnam in 2018 to do my five-month practical training after two years in Finland. Not until I came back to Vietnam did I realize how much I miss the country and how much everything has changed in the last few years. I also have learned a lot of lessons myself, especially related to my career path and future goals.
I did two different internships at two different companies in Ho Chi Minh City, one from start-up and one from global cooperation. At the start-up company, I was working as a Digital Marketing intern who would perform tasks related to planning and strategizing the marketing campaigns, copywriting, graphics; handling Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, and other marketing channels to increase branding, engagement, and conversion or managing social media channels of the company. The start-up was the placement where I took on the responsibilities with my creativity and flexibility. It was also the place where I found out that I was not really into the marketing field, and I needed to seek an alternative. However, I did learn something here and nothing wasted. Specifically, I could demonstrate my design skill and use my imagination to make creative products published on social media platforms. I was delighted to see many audiences get interested in the content created by myself.
Meanwhile, I spent another three months as a Research Analyst intern at a management consulting cooperation. I was in charge of conducting desk research related to projects; building up potential respondents list; handling in-depth interviews, and transcribing and translating interviews. The practical training at the global organization gave me a lot of experiences. More importantly, I recognized my career path in the future. I would follow management consulting industry and become a business consultant. I am interested in working for projects in various business sectors from the automotive industry to the construction industry from which I have acquired a large amount of knowledge and specific skills.
During my return to Vietnam, I usually spent my spare time discovering the city and hanging out with my friends. We gathered together at some famous cafes in Saigon, then went for shopping or buying foods. I often shared my stories about my life in Finland to my friends and most of the time, they tended to get curious about how life would be when living abroad and how I could get over challenges or culture shocks. Besides, I did travel. My family and I traveled to Thailand in early June and to Danang, Hoian, and Hue in July. What I remembered most were the food and the sceneries of the tropical countries with sunlight and warm atmosphere. I love the beach. I always feel peaceful and calm in front of the ocean waves. The fresh air and the wind makes me feel fresh and relaxed.
It is difficult for me to point out the differences in the working environment between Vietnam and Finland, perhaps because I did not pay full attention to what happened around me or I made quick adaptation to the environment. However, the most significant difference I recognized was related to high context versus low context. At my companies, people tended to avoid telling straight about mistakes and problems to co-workers. Instead, they would try to suggest that everybody should look at other directions and start new plans. People rarely gave feedback on the work that I was doing although sometimes I had to ask if there was anything wrong and what I should do to correct my mistakes. Now and then, I find it confusing to understand the case and solve the case. I thought that the best way to go through these obstacles was to focus on my work and leave the problems behind.
It was time to leave Vietnam for Finland. When I got back to Finland, I missed Saigon a lot. Saigon was the city where I had a lot of memories with my friends as well as unforgettable experiences that made who I am today.