With many of us hitting the two-month mark in our COVID-19 experience, things are probably getting…. weird. Enter: A quarantine culture trip through Vietnam! Whether you’ve blown through your Netflix watch list, downed the last of your wine stash, suffered Carpal Tunnel from endless Insta scrolling and playing Animal Crossing, or snuggled your pets till they’re begging you to go for a walk without them – WE SEE YOU.
Maybe you’re planning to head off to Vietnam to Teach English with TravelBud, or you just need some travel inspo for the future. Like every other step in your Teach Abroad process, we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a virtual cultural experience so you can get your feet wet while the dust settles. Before you know it, it’ll be time to dive into your Vietnamese adventure.
Your quarantine culture trip through Vietnam:
Fellow bookworms, rejoice!
If you’re like me, you’ve already consumed all of the books you stockpiled for the quarantine. Our first stop on the virtual culture trip brings us to one of my favorite places in the world: THE LIBRARY! My library opened for curbside pickup today, which I’m thrilled about, but you can find most of these titles digitally if you can’t get out! BONUS: You can pick up all of these titles on Bookshop, which supports local bookstores by allowing them to make more on each sale than Amazon and other big competitors!
Okay, you caught me, I’m just topsy turvy obsessed with the late Anthony Bourdain. If you’ve read anything by him, or have watched Parts Unknown, you know that he expressed his infatuation with Vietnam on numerous occasions. In this book, he goes in search of the perfect meal, and many of his adventures take place in Vietnam.
An American Classic, The Quiet American is written from the point of view of a US journalist in Vietnam pondering the growing US involvement in-country. Greene was inspired to write the book during his time as a war correspondent in Vietnam, and the book famously predicted the ending and outcome of the war. Complete with war stories, an exposition of blinding American exceptionalism, and a love triangle, The Quiet American is a must-read before heading to Vietnam!
This memoir tells the story of Phuc Tran, who immigrated to the United States with his parents at age 11 from Saigon. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will see the story of an immigrant’s battle with fitting in, coming of age, and facing life in a new country. While telling his story, Tran uses literature as a scope through which to tell his story and clues you in on his secrets to starting over in the States.
Andrew X. Pham takes you on a journey through Vietnam on bicycle as he explores his motherland after growing up in America. Pham shares his hilarious travelogue detailing his search for cultural identity at a pivotal point in his life and sheds light on his background and upbringing in the process.
Rough Guides are popular for their “tell it like it is” outlook, truly preparing travelers for the nitty-gritty when it comes to exploring a new place. In these pages, you’ll get first-hand information on culture, points of interest, great food, and social norms. This end-all-be-all guide need be the only one in your carry-on when you set out for Vietnam – or better yet, read it now!
Sorry Ms Jackson, OOOOOOH I am PHO real
Hands down, Vietnam has some of the best food a country can offer. No culture trip through Vietnam would be complete without some pho, a bahn mi, or some bun bo hue! During our in-country Cultural Orientation, you can try your hand at cooking a few favorites! If you’re dying to get a taste sooner, however, check out Helen’s Recipes on YouTube! Helen grew up in Vietnam before living abroad for a while, but now she’s back in Vietnam and aims to show people how to cook Vietnamese cuisine in the fastest, easiest, and most authentic way!
Probably the most in-depth Vietnam War Docu-series ever
The next stop on our virtual culture trip through Vietnam calls all history buffs! Give Dead to Me and Outer Banks a rest, we’ve got our sights set on a new binge-worthy series. Available on Netflix, this 10-part Ken Burns docu-series gives you a raw and unfiltered look at first-hand accounts from more than 80 individuals with varying roles in the Vietnam War. Check it out on Netflix here!
Brush up on your Vietnamese language skills
You’ll get some language lessons in our in-class Cultural Orientation, but why wait to start? Youtube is full of helpful videos for learning Vietnamese, so you’ll be ahead of the curve when you arrive! This means making local friends faster, dodging tourist prices, and an all-around better immersion experience. Learn how to order your favorite meal, or ask someone about their day! I recommend Viet Pod 101 on YouTube!
A deeper culture trip through Vietnam: Alumni Stories!
Our alumni tell the best stories about their time in Vietnam. Check out these blog posts featuring some of TravelBud’s teachers who have walked the path before you! You can add to this collection as well – email [email protected] if you’d like to share a story with us!
Top 8 Places to explore Whilst Teaching English in Vietnam by Ellie Borrell
My Experiences Teaching In Thailand and Vietnam – Kelsey’s Story