Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Our last Tuesday in Asia… I am surprised at just how fast the time has gone by.
Today we started the day by going to the US Embassy in Hanoi to meet with a few members of the U.S. Commercial Services. In our meeting, it was discussed how it is that businesses from the United States can enter the market and begin to do business with Vietnam. It was an especially good visit because our hosts were more than willing to answer all of our various questions—from the movement of the population from rural to urban areas to the internal corruption and how it is being dealt with. I thought that it was very interesting to hear how involved they have been in helping to write and implement policies that are helping Vietnam to promote trade and establish a more business friendly environment.
After lunch it was time for the final visit of the program. We went to VITAS the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association. VITAS is a nongovernmental association that works primarily in the textile and garment industry in Vietnam. All together there are over 1000 members both direct and informative members across Vietnam making up more than 70% of the industry. The association represents the industry and serves as a bridge between the industry and the outside world. I thought that it was a good visit because we had heard so much about the importance of textiles in the Vietnamese economy and we finally had a chance to experience it all firsthand.
After the visit we had the opportunity to go to a war museum. It was interesting to be able to see how different conflicts are viewed from the different perspectives of the opposing sides. I especially enjoyed seeing a somewhat abstract presentation of the American War, as it is called here in Vietnam. It consisted of pieces of a crashed American plane stood, stacked, and heaped—showing the destruction and devastation of the American forces that fought here. Unfortunately we were not able to make it through the whole museum before it closed for the evening.
In retrospect this study abroad program has been a wonderful experience for learning and fun cultural exposure. I am grateful for the chance that I have had to participate and learn so much. I hope that those that are able to come to Asia in the future will have an equally enjoyable and fulfilling time. Thank you to all of those that have made this experience possible for my peers and me.