Expand your social circle in Vietnam

Yes! I am also a teacher, the satisfaction of being in a classroom with students of all ages, from different  back grounds.Compliant or not,teachers me!  Vietnam! Can't wait to get back

Does your recruiter play game with HR personnel?

I have had no problem meeting people and have many Vietnamese friends. I walk a lot and talk to whoever says something to me and many do, being curious about the foreigner. Back 15 years ago people would ask for money but only after a long conversation. As the country has prospered that has ceased and I find it sometimes difficult to spend money as, for example,  my friends insist that the dinner out is on them. Just being an American is enough to meet people and become friends if you don't look threatening or gruff. The people remember good things about Americans from the war. I hear it from people who were on the other side. I mostly stay near Cam Ranh where that would seem to be natural but find it the same in HCM and Hue.

Dr. G
15 June 2016 04:00:35
62 posts

A simple message: Many Vietnamese people (adults) are like children. When in most situations that I speak Vietnamese, adults laugh at me - at my, sometimes, inaccurate mispronunciations. I have seldom observed Westerners within Vietnam laugh at Vietnamese people trying to speak English but making many sound/grammar mistakes. As well, I have seldom, if at all, observed foreign-speaking visitors to Australia or to the USA, being laughed at by native English-speaking people when attempting to speak English (ESL).

So what does this all mean, well it might suggest how uncomfortable it may be for many foreigners who live here longer to, more easily, adapt to the social climate among Vietnamese people while, even, trying to learn the language.

My experiences are different with you, I had lived in US for 30+ years, graduated with two Ph. D., and had taught at universities for 15+ years. When one of my student asked me to help his group in designing ........ I ended up working for the company he was working for at that time, what I experienced there and other places were an eyes opening for me in dealing with human. There were highly educated employees (Ph.D. & engineers) complained that they did not understand my English and because of that they were not able to do the works I assigned to them, when I was told that excuses, I tried to motivate them and spent a lot of times to explain the task and what need to do to them. They often told me "it is a piece of cake" or "no problem". When I followed up to check on their progress, there were no=progress. They complained that they could not do their job because "I look over their shoulder" .. etc......... I realized that I had a bigger problems and worked out a plan with the HR manager, then I called for a meeting with each individual employee along with the HR manager, I made up a story combining technical jargons and normal daily English, each of the employee challenged everything word-by-word and calling me a liar and I said "yes, I lied to prove that you had been using the excuse that you could not understand my English and not doing your jobs" then I asked each of the employees "If you didn't understand your tasks why did you tell me "it is a piece of cake or no problem?" and why didn't you ask me? ........ to make it short the HR manager fired most of them. There are more and I have met and seen at most of the 120+ countries that I have been to. One of the experiences I learned out of my travel is the poor people often more honors than the well to do people. In Ha-Noi I missed taken gave 1,500,000 VND instead of 500,000 VND to an old lady selling fruits in front of Dong-Xuan market, she found and gave me 1,000,000 VND when I was about two blocks away, I tried to give her 500,000 VND but she would not accept it even with other people near by telling her to take it. After several attempted to put the money in her pocket she only took 200,000 VND to get rid of me. In Saigon a boy and an old South Viet-Nam vet. selling news paper refused to take money from me and told me that "I am selling news paper not begging", I had to tell them that "Please take the money and give the news paper to those that not well to do and tell them that we like to give them a smile", as the same times I was cheated by hotel and restaurant owners, real estate brokers, dentist ....etc........... it seems me some of the well to do were much more dishonors and greedier than the poor. Well, happy traveling and don't let little buggers bother you.

Sad to see another thread that starts "How to Meet Locals" (or similar) get mostly responses like "Watch Out for Locals". And I don't disbelieve people experiences, or even generalizations, most generalizations are valid. I've been in Asia for only 1.5 years, I haven't worked for a company here, I haven't taught school here. Teachers really get a dose of the worst in people, the triple whammy of officious officials and pushy parents and kids.

Maybe it is because I don't expect to make connections easily that I feel so pleased when I do. I visualize friendships as a pyramid. There are many acquaintances at the bottom, then a layer of people who I converse more with, then an even smaller number with whom I share an interest. At the top of the pyramid are just a few really close friends and lovers. And the whole thing is dynamic with time. Now that I am in a new continent I need to rebuild it!

The culture shock of Vietnam is very real for Westerners. I don't think that is discussed enough. Vietnam is more 'different' than many other places. These days, moving or retiring to any foreign country is not difficult technically, "just follow 10 steps", but socially and psychologically there is no formula for how to adapt. I encourage all foreigners to try to meet locals. Sure, beyond language and cultural barriers the vast majority will stay acquaintances at best, and that is ok, still a human connection. And a path to feeling like belonging in this very different place. Call me an optimist!

@gobot ... You are an optimist.  A good optimist I may add.

Not sad, gobot.

Contrasting values are necessary for appreciation, so the stories are valid:
the silent majority agree, as they read between the lines...

Even as the vocal minority vent their feelings

Yet there is a 'social & psychological formula'  anyone can use.

Siddhartha Gautama's  'recipe', or eightfold path as (some) Buddhists call it has been around for over 2,500 years.   Lao Tzu,  Confucius, Socrates, Plato (et al) also said the same stuff.

Many (most?) miss the point in their denial.   Naturally, for response-ability means work.

Culture shock only exists in the minds of those unable to see we are all the unique and individual drops of water that make up the sea of humanity.   
The wordless sutra is recognition.   'Namaste' is the (Asian) greeting that is actually saying;     
  'I accept you as a part of the divine consciousness'.    Western values have some distance to travel before they become 'enlightened'.   Plato's 'Cave' analogy remains valid.

And sure, I am (always?) preaching to the choir: the silent majority already understand.

     Open the door to your mind before opening the door to the world.

       Viet Nam is not 'different'.  It is 'Unique', just as we all are.

      ..just another house in a Global Village...

    Tell it differently

No one has ever laughed at my Vietnamese, not so that I hear it or see it, anyway. Most are intrigued that the foreigner who is not even a diplomat or business agent even tries.

i think better said: every one want to do something with you,

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