To escape the grey February weather, Lukas Neururer, a student of the Bachelor program Medical, Health and Sports Engineering, offers insights into his fascinating semester abroad in Vietnam.
My name is Lukas Neururer. I have recently returned from a unique semester abroad in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a fifth-semester student in the bachelor program of Medical, Health and Sports Engineering, I was lucky enough to be awarded a fully funded place at the prestigious Vietnam National University, thanks to the MCI. In the following, I will give you insights into the experiences I gathered during my semester abroad.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the economic hub of Vietnam, with a bustling population of over 15 million inhabitants. The city boasts an array of cultural institutions and historical landmarks, ranging from Catholic churches dating back to the French colonial period to Buddhist pagodas and tunnel systems that are remnants of the Vietnam War, which can be visited at the War Remnants Museum.
The urban center boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with an abundance of street food stalls and bars that come alive at night. However, navigating the bustling streets can be daunting, particularly for newcomers. The streets are packed with mopeds, prompting drivers to sometimes drive on the pavements. This can be difficult for pedestrians who also have to contend with air pollution. To make the most of your stay, you can hop on a moped taxi or, if you are daring enough, rent your own scooter, as I did after two months of being in the city.
Although I was the only exchange student in my courses, I quickly made friends with the Vietnamese students and enjoyed the high level of hospitality and generosity. As for the university, I found the workload demanding with lots of homework and group projects. Although the difficulty level of the courses was lower than in Austria, so I had enough free time on the weekends to explore the country.
The thing I liked most about my stay was the friendliness and kindness of the people towards me and the culinary diversity. Moreover, from Ho Chi Minh City it is possible to get to the most beautiful holiday spots in South-East Asia for very little money with a short bus trip or flight.
In conclusion, I can recommend a semester abroad in Vietnam to any student who is considering such an experience. The opportunity to immerse oneself in a different culture, make new friends, and gain new perspectives is priceless and, I am very grateful for this incredible opportunity.
Impressionen from beautiful Vietnam © L. Neururer