IFTM Around the World Main Headline

IFT exchange programme serves students a taste of Vietnam

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

A group of 10 IFT students, led by Assistant Professor Dr. Fernando Lourenço, took part in July in a summer international exchange programme in Vietnam.

The programme was arranged by the Institute and the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City. The purpose of the programme was to show the students Vietnamese culture and history as manifested in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, and in the Mekong Delta.

The programme lasted 11 days, during which the students engaged in various outdoor activities and visited places of interest that added to their understanding of life in Vietnam. While in Ho Chi Minh City, the programme participants learned about Vietnamese history, heritage, culture and food. They toured museums and government facilities, and paid visits to markets and entertainment areas.

The second part of the programme took the students to the Mekong Delta, where they explored cities, towns and villages. They made trips to places of significance to various religions, and to various landmarks, including buildings that are notable examples of indigenous or colonial architecture.

The visiting students had a taste of day-to-day life in the Mekong Delta. They visited a floating market, where the vendors sell their goods from boats. They inspected businesses, including a fruit plantation, a shrimp farm, a resort that endeavours to make tourism sustainable, and several small manufacturers.

Dr. Lourenço stresses the importance of this part of the programme. “These places are definitely not usual destinations for international tourists,” he says. “This added great value to the programme.”

The students participated in various traditional activities in the Mekong Delta, ranging from cooking to making handicrafts to playing music to boating, Dr. Lourenço says. “This exchange programme really taught us a lot about people living in Southeast Asia,” Dr. Lourenço states. He says the programme allowed the visiting students to interact with people with a wide range of social backgrounds, whether townsfolk or country folk.

“The programme also offered a lot of culture and heritage to feed the mind of participants with knowledge and history-related information about Vietnam,” Dr. Lourenço says. And there was a bonus for the visitors, he adds: “This programme was never short on giving students the opportunity to capture beautiful pictures to be shared on social media.”