Living and working in Vietnam, I have gained a greater awareness of my abilities, limitations, and how to navigate the new. This environment has pushed me beyond my comfort zone in ways of growth and brought perspective to the ways I cope with challenges and change. Through this journey, I have been shown immense openness and generosity. From the on-site team to my host organization and host family, I have grown a deep gratitude for everyone who has welcomed me into their life.
Thoughtful planning from the on-site team brought experiences like journeying to Hạ Long Bay, a Vietnamese cooking challenge, and paddle-boarding on Hồ Tây that truly shaped my time in Vietnam. Over the past weeks with iSEE, my internship team was able to make impactful contributions to the NGO’s Gender Justice team and the Building Responsibility and Accountability for Gender-based Violence Elimination (BRAVE) campaign. We conducted research and created a confidant guidebook that will be used, within this campaign, to train individuals on gender-based violence, victim-blaming, and best practices to offer survivor-support. iSEE’s willingness to share their knowledge and space with us allowed for a valuable final product that will further support their work within the community. Above all, my host family opened their lives and home to me for this impactful two month period. Little moments like my host mother pulling out bags of longan fruits for me to enjoy after dinner, simply because she knows I like them, are just a glimpse of the generosity I have experienced here. To convey my experience in Vietnam, and offer a “check-out” as our on-site team likes to call it, I share these few words to summarize my time: exhausting, rewarding, and grateful.
Paddle-boarding on Hồ Tây
Last day of work with the iSEE (and Abroader) team
Returning to Chicago for Final Summit will bring a lot of adjustments: The biggest of which being that I will have to wait at cross walks again…but I think I am ready 🙂