Have you ever watch the movie ” Paris, I love you” or “New York, I love you”? Both movies are a collective work of many short stories which relates to the cultural and social aspects of society. In this blog post, I am going to present my intercultural experiences in Vietnam in a movie-like format. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!
Looking back, I’m so glad that I documented all these precious experiences on my blog.
ViệtNam, Tôi yêu em
Setting: Trường Đại Học Khoa Học Xã Hội Và Nhân Vân
(Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City)
Main Characters: 4 NUS students(including me)
1 Spanish guy
2 Russian ladies
1 American guy
Uncle Kong (Korean)
Rest of our classmates are
Background: Last summer, I joined the school’s Vietnam immersion trip with a group of NUS students studying Vietnamese. In this immersion programme, we had to attend Vietnamese lessons at Vietnam National University for 3 weeks. Most students studying in this school are in their mid-30s or 40s and quite a number of them are business corporates working in Ho Chi Minh City and a majority of them are Koreans.
WARNING: The conversations held between our classmates were in Vietnamese(Pure 100% Vietnamese) as most of them do not know how to speak English.
Act 1 : “You took our seats!!!”
A young bearded
” Yes! This is unfair
Uncle kong started to converse with the rest of the Korean students. I did not understand what they were saying but it seemed that uncle kong was trying to protect us. And the Koreans were quite understanding and some of them told the teacher that they did not mind having us in their class.
Then, uncle kong turned to us and said: “It’s alright. Don’t worry about it. I will take care of this.” He gave us a comforting smile.
Act 2 : The fight
The next following day,our vietnamese teacher announced that she had brought up this issue to the school and the school had decided to give us a larger classroom.Everyone thought that the problem was finally solved but the drama continued,reaching to its peak.
When we moved to a bigger classroom,students complained that the classroom was too stuffy and the aircon system was not working.
Uncle kong started complaining to the teacher and made a big fuss about the poor air-conditioning system.
“Stop complaining!!! You are disrupting our lesson! ” The Spanish guy shouted right at him.
Uncle Kong jerked up from his chair and directed his clenched fist towards the Spanish guy.
One of our male classmates( not from NUS) went forward to stop Uncle Kong. To everyone’s surprise, our Vietnamese teacher said :”싸움을 그만! !당신이 진정해야합니다” . All of us were quite amused by that fact that our Vietnamese teacher could speak Korean.
And thank goodness, Uncle kong calmed down after talking to the teacher in Korean. It seems like uncle kong was in a bad mood that day. The next day, we were asked to go back to the original classroom.
Since then, we have become good friends with Uncle Kong because he is kind to us and that is why we call him “Uncle”.
Even if we are living in this highly globalised and integrated world, the differences in culture and religion are not going to dissolve or dilute away in the big melting pot. It seems that we are still drawn towards people and language which we are closely-associated to or familiar with
Communication becomes much easier when people are standing on the same level or platform
This photo was taken after studying for 3 weeks at the language school. Although everyone is smiling in this picture, could there be someone hiding a knife behind his back?
Joke of the day
This is an actual exam paper written by one of our Korean friends studying in Vietnam.
Ans: He wrote: “wanna die ah?”