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Internship in Vietnam 2022 | Andrew’s Journey

ABROADER March 03, 2022 8 minute read

As there are some green lights for traveling to Vietnam, many students are eager to re-activate their study abroad plans in Southeast Asia countries. Happy as it might be, many students must be curious how things have changed after nearly two years. How to prepare documents for visa application? What documents are needed to get through the airport? How is the covid-19 in the country? We understand you will have many more questions.

Let’s read further on our blog to read more pieces of stories that we had a chance to interview Andrew James Fajt about his experience in the in-person internship in Vietnam this 2022!

About Andrew

Andrew James Fajt is a student from the United States. He applied through  International Studies Abroad (ISA) – our partner, for an internship in Vietnam. In his internship in Ho Chi Minh City, he works at the Office of External Relations and Research Affairs (ERA) at the University of Social Science and Humanities (USSH).

Visa Application 

To apply for the visa to Vietnam, the ISA team and ABROADER – ISA site-team in Vietnam had collaborated to get through this process. Back in December 2021, visa application was still quite challenging. Together with Andrew, we managed to get a package of documents including a copy of passport, Visa page, Visa approval letter, Approval from City Committee, Offer Letter from USSH, CDC Covid-19 Vaccination Card, Proof of negative PCR covid-19 test within 72 hours before departure to Vietnam and Information vehicle and specialists of cars.

“The step that took the longest was waiting for approval to apply for my visa from the Vietnamese government. Another step that took longer than expected was waiting for confirmation that my visa application was received by the Vietnamese embassy in the US once I had applied. Their online system for confirmation did not work. It took many calls to the embassy to finally confirm that they had my visa application. Once the Vietnamese embassy in the US confirmed that they sent the visa, it took less than 24 hours to receive it in the mail from FedEx.”

Flights to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

“It was a long trip! I think the trip took 36 hours in total. I began my journey with a three-hour drive from my hometown of Greencastle, Indiana, to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. My first flight was to Istanbul, Turkey. The first flight was quite long but it was good and I like Turkish Airlines a lot. One important thing during all my flights was to try to update the team in Vietnam on the status of my travel. When I arrived in Istanbul, it was a beautiful Airport but there is one thing access to Wi-Fi was not available right when I got there. I had to find a Wi-Fi kiosk and scanned my passport. Then there was a code for me to enter free Wi-Fi. And then, the next one was my flight to Ho Chi Minh City. The plane wasn’t all the way full so I was able to move to a different cabin and find a road that nobody was sitting in and I was able to lay down and take a nap. That was really nice. It made that flight a lot easier.”

Procedures at the airports in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

“When I arrived at the Ho Chi Minh Airport, I got off the plane and I wanted to connect to Wi-Fi. And there was an option that said Medical disclosure. I selected that and that is where I entered some information Moon (site-team program manager) had sent me before. She showed me how to select English and stuff before so that was really ideal at that moment. So then I entered information about where I would stay for a 3-day quarantine, my accommodation details for my stay in Vietnam, personal information, and typical covid surveys. And then I showed that to the airport staff who checked that. After that, she sent me along the way to immigration.”

At the immigration check, I was simply asked for my Visa, passport,  and covid testing vaccination. It was super easy. It took like 4 minutes, really easy going. So that was great and I got through that. They pointed me to the exit where I just went through one last security check and they scanned my bags. 

Out of the airport

“Awesome! I walked to the door to go outside. Warm air just hit me. So that was a great moment. It was sunny out at 6 p.m. in the day so it was a great time to see the city. And my driver recognized me. He called out my name, came over to grab my bags, and took me to my transport which was like a luxury van, a really nice van where there was just me in it. So we went on about a 30-minute drive through the city to the hotel, which was really cool and exciting just think about that drive. Yeah, that’s it for my transfer.”

Quarantine in reality

“There wasn’t much of a procedure for check-in at the quarantine hotel. Someone greeted me at the door. They took my bags, showed me to the elevator, and gave me an envelope that had my room number on it. They also gave me the Welcome Package that the ABROADER team prepared.  Once I got there, I was just in my room the whole time.”

They provide three meals a day so three times a day. The doorbell rings. And I put on my mask and I step outside to grab my meals then come back. You have to make sure the door doesn’t close behind you though. That did happen once and then you had to call the front desk. It will be embarrassing that you lock yourself out. 

For covid prevention, you just stay in your room and wear masks when you have to step outside. On the third day of the quarantine, I had to do a Covid-19 PRC test. Someone guided me to the elevator where they sprayed some sort of aerosol cleaner into it before I went in. And then I went down to the first floor in the lobby for the test. It took like a minute, really quickly. Then they sent me back on the way and sprayed the elevator again. 

Plus, it was easy to contact on the phone if you needed anything. They can speak English well so it was very safe and convenient. 

Suggested activities for quarantine time

“Besides the check-in with staff from ABROADER, learning Vietnamese with my local buddy, I was able to do some calisthenic workouts in my room. I felt it was very healthy. I also got plenty of sleep there.”

Welcome package from the ABROADER team

“It was the best feeling, I think when the hotel staff handed me the package. It was the perfect care package at the perfect time. I had completed a day-and-a-half-long journey and was very tired. My welcome package was waiting for me at my quarantine hotel when I checked in. Inside was milk tea, Vietnamese snacks, a note, and a Vietnamese SIM card. The snacks provided some great nutrients when I needed it most and the Sim Card allowed me to immediately contact my family and let them know I was safe.”

Welcome Package internship in Vietnam

After quarantine

Luckily, my PCR test was negative and I was allowed to go around. The first thing to do after the quarantine was check my accommodation. 

The first night was my welcome dinner with a few members of the ABROADER team. We tried some traditional Vietnamese dishes at a beautiful rooftop restaurant in District 1. The group is lively and makes fun conversations. I also had breakfast with my local buddy at a ‘mom and pop’ restaurant near my accommodation the next day – the day I had Orientation with ABROADER and Induction Day at USSH – where I will work for the next few months. Other than that, I have spent time exploring the street vendors and markets in my neighborhood.

Welcome Dinner Internship in Vietnam

My motivation to come to Vietnam

“Coming from a small town in the heart of the United States, I yearned to experience living in Vietnam’s biggest and busiest city. The city is bustling with locals working hard or enjoying free time with their friends and families everywhere you look. It’s a beautiful thing. I found that to be very appealing and it drew me in.”

Should we be hesitant to do an internship in Vietnam in the pandemic?

“I do not think you should be afraid to fly over. Everyone can evaluate their own risk and I do not believe COVID risk is higher in HCMC than in other cities. Masks are required on airplanes and in airports. Most locals were masks in HCMC even when outside. Masks will be a common part of your outfit every day. However, no one will demand that you wear a mask outdoors if you do not wish to. At-home COVID antigen tests cost only $5 at any pharmacy. Pharmacies are scattered throughout the city and easy to find. This being said, locals go about their business with masks being the only visible change to their pre-pandemic life.”

That’s a lot of useful, detailed sharing from Andrew. Stay tuned to read more stories of Andrew during his internship in Vietnam!

Andrew made it and we believe you can, too if you are resilient! Starting from March 15, Vietnam will be fully reopening for international visitors. Take your opportunity to write your own stories in Vietnam!

Check out Summer Internship Opportunities in Vietnam 2022 below! Let us support you to make your travel easier and bring home stories!

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