written by Rosemary Max, Executive Director of Global Engagement, Oakland University
I had the opportunity to go to Vietnam for two weeks on the Outbound segment of the Professional Fellows Program. I was in Hanoi and hosted by my colleague Kim Chi Vu Thi, a lecturer at Banking Academy. During this time I was able to offer three workshops to students on the US higher education system, on the school to work transition and entrepreneurship, and on professional writing. I was also able to meet and discuss potential partnerships with faculty from Banking Academy and 6 other universities in Hanoi. The visit culminated in a business case competition in which I participated as a judge. The visit was an amazing opportunity because it gave me a window into the university system, students and life in Vietnam. Students in Vietnam, much like students in the US, are focused on and preoccupied by getting a foothold in the working world after graduation. We talked a lot about how to be proactive during one’s university career, ie to develop competencies, networks, and experiences in addition to their coursework. I am sure that my university will develop partnerships with a few Vietnamese universities because of this opportunity.
I also took the time to visit cultural sites and to learn more about my host country. I visited several museums, Ho Chi Minh’s tomb and museum, saw a performance of water puppetry, and I took a cooking class. One of my favorite things to do in Hanoi was to find a Cong Café and to sit and have a Coconut coffee drink. Probably the best cold coffee drink I have ever had. It is the perfect mix of sweetened condensed milk, coffee with an icy coconut topping and it manages not to be too sweet. Cong Café has a retro revolutionary feel to it. It is a chain of cafes started by a Vietnamese female entrepreneur. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my money—in support of this successful woman owned business.