230 new students will start their first school year at UNIS today. Beautiful as Vietnam can be, there are a few things that can be remarkably different from other places of the world. Here are 5 you should know:
Vietnam has a tropical climate, meaning that the heat can go up quite high compared to most Western countries. Even worse, students often take note of the high humidity levels that Vietnam has, leaving you sweaty and sticky the whole day. On the other hand, students from other tropical climate will probably feel no different, maybe even a little bit better, with Vietnam’s climate. Nevertheless, everyone should take care to bring a water bottle or a cap.
The daily mantra of any Vietnamese driver of any vehicle on the roads seems to consist of only “keep moving forward”. As hectic as the traffic of Vietnam may seem to be, it is quite the chaotic order. Don’t wait for traffic to elapse to cross over (as they won’t), new students should note to do accept the mantra above, “keep moving forward” slowly. The thrill of having motorbikes pass you by centimeters (yet never actually hit) can be quite similar to the many activities thrill seekers participate in.
If you don’t find this helpful, tripadvisor got quite the tips.
Don’t be fooled by Hanoi capital status, we have very little nightlife; Ho Chi Minh City would be a better fit if you’re looking for one. Most shops close at around 9-10 PM, and traffic will dramatically decrease at the same hour. As for night roamers, don’t do so, later than 10 PM and the vehicles will suddenly replace their mantra with “need for speed”. It is also unfortunate that most often the fastest drivers are drunk.
The Early Hours:
Vietnamese love to wake up early. Especially the elders, but people of all ages participate in the daily rituals of morning exercises. If you’re so unfortunate, be ready to be blasted with aerobic music pounding on your eardrums as legions of woman dance to the beats. Traffic often follows with honk of cars and motorbikes. If you’re really really unfortunate, the neighbor next door might have a few live chickens for his party today…along with a very noisy dog…and some ultra-big speakers…with rock music…to wake his son up for school…(and you too!).
There are…..a lot of fakes. Fakes are everywhere and in abundance, it doesn’t help that shops are also ready to con you only if because you’re a foreigner, raising the price just a little bit higher, or even cutthroat price higher. The best and safest way is to stick to shops for foreigners, and drag a Vietnamese friend and let them handle buying anything.
Don’t be too worried. As any English teacher will tell you, opinion pieces should be taken with a piece of salt. If you have any questions, just ask around , and welcome to Vietnam!