“I live in Binh Thanh district. It’s a folk area, which is fairly quiet and peaceful. You can find whatever you need there.”
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Quentin, and I come from Strasbourg, from the east of France.
Why did you come to Vietnam?
I came here to study in an university in Ho Chi Minh City, which was a partner of my school in France. The one-year exchange program was part of my training.
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
I arrived here in last September and I leave on July 1st.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
Vietnamese people are really smiling and helpful. For example at the beginning, when I arrived with all my lugagges, I was also so tired of my 13-hours flight and I couldn’t find my house. I didn’t understand all the Vietnamese streets name. Luckily a Vietnamese woman came to help, she helped me carry my luggages and find my house !
Where do you live right now in Saigon ? What do you think about your neigboorhood ?
I live in Binh Thanh district. It’s a folk area, which is fairly quiet and peaceful. You can find whatever you need there.
What do you think about young mobility now? Is it easier ?
It’s easier now because we have more diplomas, and it’s more open, we are more free to move. Moreover in France, we have many scholarship that help us going abroad.
Do you think in general, with digital evolution, home ownership is still a social standard for young people ?
I think it’s safer to own a house. It might be a huge investment, but we also have to think long-term.
Can you tell us a little story which happened during your trip ?
Once, I was waiting for my friend to come, to have a drink. I was waiting on my scoot, scrolling my Facebook feed. I saw a young Vietnamese in front of me, on their scoot, making goings and comings, I thought they were looking for something. Then they started to look at me so strangely, but I didn’t understand. Until the 3rd going and coming, I realized I didn’t have my phone anymore (laughs). They just took my phone and ran away, I insulted them in English but of course it was useless. A similar story happened to my friend. Once, he was leaving the nightclub when suddenly some guys came and beat him. They put him in their car, stole his credit card, money and phone, then dropped him off in a lost place in the middle of nowhere. Except those stories, Vietnamese people are really nice, I swear ! (laughs)
Can you resume Vietnam in one word ?
What is the biggest culture shock for you ?
I think religion. For example, when there’s a burial, because there were three burials in our street, we can hear it for days. And there might even be lots of traffic on the street. There’s also Tet ! In Saigon, when we went out, there was nobody in the streets, it was desert. It was impressive how empty it was, compared to usual.
Do you consider yourself as a global citizen ?
Yes! I even feel more like a global citizen than a French. I actually don’t see my future in France, that’s why. I am proud of my French roots, but only considering myself as a French is too restrictive.
What will be your next destination ?
Interviewed by Corentin, GlobeTrottr staff