In October 2015, Vietnam had four months ahead of me. My anticipation and excitement grew immeasurably, but of course one or two worries mixed in with my thoughts.
I would live a full semester at RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, and of course I was faced with the same questions that every exchange student probably asks before leaving: What is life like in this new culture? Can I find a connection quickly? What will i experience? Will i like it
In retrospect, all worries were unfounded and I had one of the greatest times of my life. I learned to appreciate and love the Vietnamese culture and every day I miss the light-heartedness that I was able to experience in the four months in Vietnam.
I spent my semester abroad at RMIT International University Vietnam, abbreviated as RIUV by answerresume. The university is actually from Melbourne, Australia, but the university has two independent campuses in Vietnam – one in the capital Hanoi in northern Vietnam and the second in Ho Chi Minh City in the south of the country. The latter was my choice.
Due to the Australian “origins” of the university, all of the lessons were held in English and a large number of the lecturers and professors came from Australia. But of course there were also many Vietnamese professors to be found, as well as others from various countries – for example Israel or Canada – who teach a total of around 6,000 students on the Ho Chi Minh campus.
This internationality could also be found in the students; we were almost 40 exchange students from all possible countries.
The first days in my new home went by in a flash and, thanks to the RMIT “Buddy Team”, they went without a hitch. The “Buddy Team” is a group of students who volunteer to look after us exchange students, accompany us as we settle in and also during the course of the semester and help us with any problems that arise. As for example when looking for an apartment. International students can of course also live in the university’s own dormitories, but these are quite expensive and have strict rules. That’s why I had previously decided to look for my own apartment on site, which was quick and easy. My buddy showed me and another student I had already met different apartments in a house complex that was only a few minutes away from the university. After an hour we had decided on a fully furnished apartment, had signed the contract and could move in the next day. I was thrilled – arrived on Thursday and in my own room on Saturday. So together with another Australian we were in a three-person flat share.
With that the first hurdle was taken and settling in could go on without any problems. The next step, of course, was to get a scooter, which is called a motorbike all over Vietnam. Because without it, nothing works in Vietnam. Around 8 million people live in Ho Chi Minh who seem to own almost 10 million motorbikes. The streets are full of them, it’s noisy, horns are honored and traffic rules don’t seem to exist at all – and it’s unbelievable fun to be out on the town with your own scooter! Motorbikes can be rented in all kinds of bike shops in the city without any problems. For example, I got mine for 40 euros a month. Of course, you can also buy your own bike cheaply and sell it again at the end of your stay.
With the bike and the apartment, the existential things were settled and I was able to plunge into the university adventure in Vietnam.
The university itself was also absolutely amazing, the campus had been built from scratch, everything was super modern and technologically. In each “classroom” hung up to date at least four flat screens on the wall, there were several fully equipped computer labs, working WiFi on the entire campus – more than can be said of some German universities
The other facilities were also impressive. There was a huge sports hall with a fitness center, yoga rooms, dance halls, an outdoor tennis and soccer field. In addition, a huge repertoire of clubs, teams and groups was offered, in which everyone could find something suitable for themselves. So I joined the volleyball team, took the yoga class twice a week, and used the free fitness center. I was excited!
But apart from all the leisure time fun that you could have at RMIT International University Vietnam, there was of course still the actual study. As a rule, you take between 3 and 4 courses in a semester. In each of these you have 3 exams / tests, which can, however, be very different – sometimes a homework alone or in a group, sometimes a presentation, a small test or a classic exam – this varies depending on the subject. I took the courses “ International Business ”, “ Strategic Management ” and “ Human Resource Management ” and was largely satisfied with my choice. However, the level of study is a little more demanding than I was used to from my courses in Germany.
But of course that is not a disadvantage in the semester abroad. So I didn’t necessarily have to spend my free time studying, but could use the opportunities to explore the country, which is just incredibly impressive. I fell in love with this country, used every free minute to explore other regions and cities and tried to get to know and understand the culture as well as possible. The hospitality and warmth of the Vietnamese made me feel welcome everywhere and got to know wonderful people with whom I still have contact today.
I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone considering spending a semester abroad in Southeast Asia to study at RMIT Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh. The university itself is well equipped, the fellow students and professors are warm, open and greet foreign students with great friendliness. It was an unforgettable time and an experience that shaped me and made me grow. This country is so incomparable, exotic, exciting, chaotic and above all lovable! As soon as I have the time, I will return to Vietnam and also visit the university and my friends there.