Pre-departure thoughts by Marika Lee

It’s strange to think that I will be in Vietnam in a few days. My GLC class has been talking about going to Vietnam all quarter and it felt like a day that would never come. I have spent the past couple of days packing and preparing for the trip. The more I’ve done, the more nervous I have become.

I know a little bit about Vietnam, but it does not feel like enough. I have hardly any idea how much products cost in Vietnam. I had $350 exchanged into Dong, the Vietnamese currency. It came out to 4.8 million Dong. Is that a lot? Is it enough? I guess all the unknown about Vietnam is what is making me nervous. I know a fair amount about Vietnamese culture.

When I tell people that I am spending part of my winter break in Vietnam, I think they think that I am joking. Nha Trang is a popular tourist destination in Vietnam, but I don’t think that Americans think of it as a vacation spot. A few people can’t seem to find a reason why anyone would want to go to Vietnam, but Vietnam has become a growing player in the global economy.

I am most excited about being immersed in a different culture. I have never been to a country that has a totally different culture than America. The only other country I have been to is Germany, which is pretty much just like Cincinnati, but with more German spoken, more beer and more BMWs. Vietnam will be a completely different experience. I am excited to try the variety of seafood. I want to learn as much as I can about the culture in the short amount of time I am there.

One thing I am definitely not looking forward to is the 36 hours of travel it is going to take to get to from Columbus, Ohio to Nha Trang, Vietnam.

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