So the countdown has already begun for my study abroad term. I know that Vietnam seems like an unlikely choice, so in response to the numerous questions already posed and those that have gone unasked, I’ve decided to make a post on why I chose this particular foreign term.
LONG, LONG AGO… okay I’m lying. It was about a year ago. I signed up to go on Vienna and Vietnam, ultimately choosing Vienna because of the musical/cultural experience that the term offered. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe and HEY it’s freaking Vienna, for chrissake. Have you met me? It’s right up my alley. However, I guess fate had other ideas in mind. It turns out Vienna term was cancelled due to lack of interest (probably because it was the most expensive foreign term Augie offers), and I was offered the opportunity to switch to Vietnam.
That being said, I did have my reasons for applying to Vietnam, and they still apply today. First, Vietnam is not somewhere I would choose to travel on my own. I pride myself on my traveling ability, having even helped my bf in his last minute attempt to pack (or rather unpack) for Brazil term. But even I’m not brave enough to travel to an Eastern communist country alone. My professors, God bless them, have much more gumption than I do and frequently travel to Vietnam. My second reason might seem typical for a college student: I have friends who are going. Indeed they are, I’m sure, going to be my safety blanket throughout this whole term. My travel experiences consist of the United States and Ecuador, so being in a country where I haven’t the slightest about what anyone around me is saying is a terrifying idea. The beauty of a study abroad program like this is that I have native English speakers to fall back on when I need it.
The third reason for this study abroad experience has really come together since I started the term. I’ve never been much of a history buff. I’ll leave that to my Grandpa (who can, by the way, tell you where his family house is in Germany). Yes, it might be a shock, but the term “Tet Offensive” and “Tonkin Gulf Incident” meant little more than a dotted line to Asia and a shaky finger pointed at the Vietnam War as of a few months ago. I find this terribly sad. I’ve lived through one of the most atrocious incidents in American history. I know how appalled I would be if my children asked me one day “what’s the big deal about the World Trade Centers?”. And yet that is, more or less, how I treated every presidency and international incident from WWII- the Bush administration. This term has given me a more firm grasp on the history of my country, and for that I’m grateful. As one of my professors proclaimed after the first two weeks of class: “You now know more about the Vietnam War than 95% of Americans”.