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May 16, 2019

Vietnam Reflection - Hamish Turner

If I could go back tomorrow, I would. With the same team, the same tour guides. The only thing I would change is to visit different places, eat at a different restaurant’s each night, continue with our goals and try something new every day.

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Wow. Just wow.  What a trip!  Who Knew 7 days could be so filled with exhilarating activities, packed days, tiring nights, confusing moments, funny laughs, an insane amount of learning and still be enjoyable 24/7 of the time.  I have so many people to thank for this.

To SEACAPE – for your funding of the trip and help with organisation. I had the most amazing experience over in Vietnam. I told you in my application that I wanted to get a better understanding of Vietnam’s economy and their culture. With this trip I can say that I definitely achieved this because of your team. The different things I learnt on this trip will help me in the future with whichever path I decide to follow and I thank you for the knowledge I have gained.

To Colin, Liz and the Young enterprise Scheme.

I cannot express my gratitude enough in words, only these photos could. (mainly the first one)

But on a serious note the companionship that Colin and Liz built with our team was incredible.  We were treated like adults. We were treated with the utmost respect and not once did I feel like I was unwanted, so I thank you for that. The effort you guys put in with timing, taking the time to talk to us, answering questions and everything you did behind the scenes was amazing. You both made the trip not just ‘a trip away from home’ but an unforgettable experience as well.

To Lightpath.

Everyone we were able to work with were amazing, the structure of each trip, the meals and the atmosphere. For us to have someone to translate when we needed another drink or whether we ordered a roast duck or fried squid was helpful to say the least. The best thing you guys had to offer were your people skills – when any of you were with us, you were still a part of the team.

For each visit we were shown a different perspective on business in Vietnam. Each industry of the business we visited was different in its own aspects and each one taught us something we didn’t know before. For example, KOTO showed us that you can create something simply because you want to do something good for your community and look where that has gone! This visit showed me so much more than just a restaurant, but an opportunity and a family. The opportunity being for each employee there, all of whom started with nothing and KOTO giving them an opportunity. The opportunity also being that if you see something that is a problem or something that could work better don’t wait for change, be the change. Say Yes to doing something. In comparison of this visit we were also able to visit and look around VNG which I can honestly say was my first step inside a unicorn company. This visit was extremely interesting as I personally found it very hands on. I enjoyed the discussions as the management team weren’t much older than us. We were able to have in-depth conversations including developing good understanding through the questions and answers. I also really enjoyed their hospitality and how they treated us. When it came to their business, I was fascinated by how they didn’t have set schedules but monthly goals. This reminded me of the ‘new learning environments’ we have been in our school. -Despite not having a set schedule the company still manages to be the top seller of games in Vietnam.

When we were completing the business challenge on the last day, we had two different mentors come around and offer advice. We had three huge names in the Dragon Den and the school’s facilities at our use. This was incredible. So many resources to use, we were spoilt for choice. When the mentors weren’t coming round Colin and Liz were doing the rounds to ensure everyone was happy and no one was confused. This just reinforced what I said above about the companionship you guys built with us. The knowledge you would share with us would quite often spark a question in my mind or make me rethink my previous question. You both constantly kept the team and myself on our toes.

The cultural experience was incredible as well. When you minus out all the business trips and just take a second to appreciate the all-round culture, it was such a fascinating change.  Learning the rough 5 words of Vietnamese was a real cool addition to the trip, even if my pronunciation was beyond terrible 99% of the time!  Being in Ho Chi Min city was a great cultural experience and looking at how Vietnam has grown economically. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for the trip to take us on a journey inside the culture of the rest of the country. In the future I think that this is something I would like to explore more for my personal knowledge.

There is one thing I must include. The way we learnt on this trip was great.  Not once was I told ‘Sorry, this is only an Achieved because you haven’t included this.’  Neither was I told that my work wasn’t up to standard. Despite this I still know that the information I took out of this trip is and will continue to be invaluable for whatever path I take in the future. After I figured out that Colin and Liz didn’t care about the final product but how we got to the final product, I was able to enjoy myself a lot more. This was all about the learning.  A huge stress reliver personally.

If I could go back tomorrow, I would. With the same team, the same tour guides. The only thing I would change is to visit different places, eat at a different restaurant’s each night, continue with our goals and try something new every day. With this trip I think the life lessons and the relationships built are the most important, so again, I thank you all for the week I’ll never forget.

cảm ơn bạn, Hamish.