A Piece of Southeast Asia
Traditionally when students opt to go abroad, they choose countries they are familiar with, where they can live comfortably for many months.
Most semesters abroad are spent in Europe as it is a very comfortable destination for American students. When it was my turn to choose a country for my summer internship, I took the less beaten path. I wanted a unique experience. I signed up for Vietnam.
I did so without expectations. I was prepared to accept uncomfortable situations, failure, and possibly, deep regret. I set myself up with the challenge of going to a foreign country and making the most of the resources available to me, determined to thrive.
To my surprise, I am indeed thriving. Three weeks past my internship inception, I could say that it has been some of the happiest times I have had in my life.
Axis Group, a Vietnamese market research agency, has welcomed me to its work force and assigned projects that are meaningful, with practical impact.
My executives are some of the kindest people whom I could constantly engage in meaningful conversations; talking is one thing, but feeling one is genuinely interested in my professional development, as well as personal growth, is another.
The company allows my voice to be heard and my opinions to get across. I could openly participate in healthy debates on the task at hand in order to achieve the best possible project result.
Vietnamese people are kind, intelligent, and hard working. The entrepreneurial culture in Ho Chi Minh City is inspiring. The people in Vietnam have taken their traditional values and used them to propel themselves into a booming economy.
For a while there, I have even thought of a future for myself in Vietnam, for good. Nevertheless, my experience in this sunny part of Southeast Asia has been amazing and I am grateful.
Surely, I will forever leave a piece of my heart in Ho Chi Minh City.
Alejandro Adarve, 2019 Summer Intern
Alejandro is a Junior student of BA Business Administration at the University of Florida. Born in Colombia and raised in Miami, Florida, Alejandro is a travel enthusiast who enjoys food, culture, and adventures.