How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
My studies at Georgetown focus on security challenges in South and Southeast Asia. I have had prior experience living in India and studying Hindi, but I wanted to pivot further east to better understand regional security dynamics that affect Southeast Asian nations. I hope that Vietnamese language skills alongside my Hindi skills and in-country experience living in Hanoi will help me to become more knowledgeable about the politics and foreign policy of Asia, and also more understanding of cultural nuances. I am interested in working for the State Department-- possibly in the Foreign Service-- and I believe language skills are an invaluable asset in diplomacy.
Is there anything you wish you would have known before leaving and why?
I wish I had known that this an amazing city for foodies! I really enjoy Vietnamese food, and I came to Hanoi with the idea that I would be eating Vietnamese food everyday (and missing peanut butter greatly). I actually packed jars of peanut butter to bring with me, since I thought such a product would be hard to find overseas. However, I am enthralled that Vietnam has a crazy variety of restaurants and grocer options that make it is virtually impossible to have repetitive food options. On one street, you can have your pick of Vietnamese street food, fine vegetarian restaurants, American BBQ and smokehouses, pizza places, or Indian food. The street markets are excellent and I’ve already tried three new fruits I’ve never heard of before. The small bakeries also make excellent fresh bread and muffins every day, which is incredible. I don’t think I’ll be missing much of American variety or peanut butter while I’m here.
How did you come up with your project and why does it interest you?
Learning foreign languages has been an interest of mine since middle school. I’ve been fascinated by the way a world transforms when you can listen, understand, speak, and communicate in a way you couldn’t before. Outside of my personal language learning interests, I chose Vietnam for strategic reasons. With so much international security discourse revolving around China’s developments, I decided to look at the country below China: Vietnam. With a rapidly developing economy and expanding diplomatic, economic, and security ties with the U.S., Vietnam will have an important role in Southeast Asia in the years to come. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to study Vietnamese and use it everyday, both inside and outside of the classroom, and ideally, one day, in my career.