Summer Getaway from Peaceful Sendai

Have you ever thought that life should be about going on journeys and taking opportunities to learn? If so, it is time to get away from peaceful Sendai for a while and fly to Vietnam for a short-term exchange program at Foreign Trade University (FTU).

From the viewpoint of TU students, and of anyone else who has visited Sendai, the city always seems like a very peaceful place with green landscapes, delicious food and kind people. Sendai leaves the impression that life here is more or less easy and stress-free. Therefore, to a large number of TU students, travelling to a bustling city like Hanoi means stepping outside their comfort zone.

When TU students who have been to Hanoi are asked to describe their first impressions of Vietnam, the most common answers are “motorcycles”, “hot tropical weather”, ”traditional markets” and “street food”. Crossing busy streets, coping with air humidity and communicating with locals etc. can be unfamiliar, challenging and sometimes scary during their first days in this special country.

But once they figure out that they can learn about a new culture and connect with people despite differences, they realize that they can do many things, and suddenly the obstacles seem less obstructive and more like welcomed challenges. For example, when they figure out how to ask for directions or buy things in a grocery store, they build their confidence and ability to adapt in foreign situations.

“Until I arrived in Vietnam, I didn’t think I could make any foreign friends because I’m a shy person. However, thanks to the warmness of the people (not that of the weather) here, I started being open, so I gained more knowledge about this amazing country and made some incredibly valuable connections”, said Rui from TU, a participant in the FTU Summer Program. Another TU student shared that he hoped to learn the Vietnamese language and sharpen his English upon returning home, adding that he wanted to go back to FTU as an exchange student in the future.

Understanding the value of international cultural and academic exchange, TU and FTU are always focused on building an increasingly fruitful partnership with a view to creating more opportunities for students of the two universities. Grab the opportunity, take yourself far from the comforts of home, embrace the differences and open yourself up to new cultures and experiences!