The opportunity of a lifetime 

3rd Jan – Stepping into the unknown

As I stepped into the Auckland Airport, my nervousness consumed my body. It hit me; this is my first time travelling alone, my first time going to an Asian country, and my first time working in a corporate setting, let alone working in Vietnam. Several thoughts rushed through my head; how would I react to the culture shock, the new country, the people, the food, and the hot climate? 

There is so much uncertainty, risks and many unanswered questions that can only be answered if I take that leap of faith. However, jumping into the unknown is nerve-racking. But I also know that seeking that discomfort is the only way to grow as a person. Real change begins when you are out of your comfort zone. I am grateful to have had such a sheltered life, but it is time to face the world head-on. And I know that if I can do this, then the possibilities are endless.

It was also comforting to know that I am not doing this alone and that I have nine other interns to share this experience with. Nine strangers, but I am sure we will be no less than family by the end of this internship.

4th Jan – Delay after Delay 

Our flight got delayed by two hours at Auckland Airport, and we knew that was not the end of our worries. After our 11-hour flight, we had a 1-hour and 45-minute layover in Kuala Lumpur before our second flight to Ho Chi Minh. However, we missed that due to the delay. So we had to stay at the Malaysian Airport for over 7 hours. We all could have been frustrated by this. But we took it as a blessing and instead used it as an opportunity to get to know each other, which we wouldn’t have gotten if the flights had gone to plan. And by the time we got on that second planeI better understood everyone; they no longer felt like strangers to me.

5th Jan – My home for the next two months

After nearly 20+ hours of travelling, through all the delays and flights, we finally landed in Ho Chi Minh City. As we stepped out of the airport,the heat settled around us like a hot breath. It was 30 degrees, and we all started sweating profusely while the locals wore hoodies and jackets. If this is their winter, I can’t imagine what summer would be like, and honestly, I don’t want to find out.  

On the way to our apartment, we were all amazed at the spectacle of Vietnam. The streets were swarming with motorbikes. Cars were driving on the right side. People were crossing busy roads without a crossing, while the cars and scooters didn’t stop for them but rather went around them. These cars stopped for nothing, not even red lights. It was a special welcome and a first impression of a country I will never forget.

That night we had our welcome dinner with Massey University students who had been here for about two months. While we had our first taste of Vietnamese cuisine,the Massey students shared their wisdom with us on their experience here. It was great hearing about their stories, but I couldn’t wait to experience the country myself. That’s why I am excited to track my journey through this blog and take you along for the ride.

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