“I like the area of Binh Thanh where we are located because where our house in like the most beautiful and so nice because everytime in the morning when I go to work and go outside of the house then I see those beautiful colorful houses around. I really love it with the nice weather then if it’s raining. Then around here are so many coffee shops and so many street food restaurants and it’s so cheap ”
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Sonja Biebl and I’m from Germany
Why did you come to Vietnam?
I came here because I have an internship here so I work here for 5 months. I’m studying in Germany and for this study, I need to do an internship and it was just randomly; actually, I wanted to go to Berlin and then I saw that this company is also located in Vietnam and they was searching for someone who doing an internship in Vietnam; then I just took the chance and moved here.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
Ah..Umm…That’s a difficult question (smile)…Okay, first I like the weather because it’s always warm…I love that because in Germany in the winter is so cold, it’s snowing and everything. Then I like that it’s never getting boring, you can go outside, there are many things outside the house; it’s such a vibrant life. There is always busy street and everything. So I like it a lot.
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
I came here at the beginning of August, I think on the 5th of August so right now is nearly 4 months. I planned to go back to Germany to continue my study there.
Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?
I think it’s belongs to what you expect because I think if you just want to live anywhere you can always find something. But I think especially for foreigners, it can be very very expensive and if it’s not expensive then it’s very very simple. I mean that’s okay but it’s very good to have an own bathroom and I have my own bathroom..that’s perfect..So I’m very happy that I found my place before I came to Saigon because I already booked it before I came. So that was perfect for me because when I came and I have a home where I can stay and it was perfect…(smile)
How can you know about GlobeTrottr to book your room?
Because my company told me that they would not provide a room for me, sometimes they organize something for interns but this time they have too many interns so they said they don’t have a room for me. And I came and checked myself with expat.com then I saw an announcement of one of the employee of GlobeTrottr who offered accommodation but I think it was actually another house but I just sent them an email that I’m coming on the beginning of August and do you have a room free for me at this time?? And it was about 1-2 months before I came. Then he said he knows one place actually and he also living in the house – he was an intern from France. He was the same age as me and very friendly, very sympathetic.
Where do you live right now in Saigon? What do you think about your neighborhood?
I’m living in Dien Bien Phu Street and I love my neighborhood here. I think this is the best neighborhood. I like the area of Binh Thanh where we are located because where our house in like the most beautiful and so nice because everytime in the morning when I go to work and go outside of the house then I see those beautiful colorful houses around. I really love it with the nice weather then if it’s raining (smile). Then around here are so many coffee shops and so many street food restaurants and it’s so cheap (haha). Therefore, I can go for dinner if I want to for 1€ like around 26,000 or 27,000 VND. I love it.
What do you think about youth mobility now? Is it easier compared to the generation of our parents?
I think today is very easy to go aboard something like that..For me this is my first time that I live and work so far away from home. Actually, I have travelled a lots before but it was just a holiday travelling. I was never live far away from home more than 3 weeks. So this is my first time and I was very scared before I came here…Ummmm…because I did not know if I will like it or if I will miss my family and my friends too much. And now when I looked back I think so easy to do it just because today with the flight and English then you can go nearly everywhere and I’m very happy with what I study because I have possibility to work in very many countries and I definitely want to do an internship again aboard.
Can you tell us a little story about what has happened to you during your trip?
(haha) The most interesting stories for me are with my motorbike (haha)….I came here and after 4 days I got my motorbike because I thought I need one to adapt to the Saigonee’s life. Because I did not always want to go with Grab or something but there are few stories for example, one time I got really lost in Saigon..i wanted to go to a sport class and always go with Google Maps because I never find it without Google Maps and it’s very hard in District 1, so I go from here around 25 mins and then suddenly, it started to rain and it’s not like a European rain when it started to rain like a flood..(haha..) within 2 mins my phone was death because I have a small thing in motorbike to put the phone there then I can check myself am I in the right way and then it got wet and was death and I was not at the sport class yet. After that, I tried to go to a coffee and tried to dry my phone, put it on again but it was not working anymore. I asked people around “Hey, Can you help me?”, I thought I need to go home now, I don’t want to go to the sport class anymore (haha).. And they showed me a Google Maps but I just could never find it because it’s just like a ziczac for a whole city and I just did not find it. So I always drove for few meters with my bike and then again I have no orientation, I don’t know where I am, I don’t know where to turn or where to go straight and I stopped like 5 coffee shops everytime and asked people for help but it was everytime like I was so far away from my home and it was raining the whole time and hard…I was wet until my bones. Then I was driving for really a long time when there was no more coffee shop because there was no more people in the street because the rain is so hard. Suddenly, I came under a bridge and there were few young people, I was really so exhausted because I was driving for 2 hrs (haha) under the rain (haha). I was really desperate that I will never find my way back home and it was like 10 p.m already…it was very late. At that time, there was a girl in a t-shirt dress was sitting there and drinking beer with her friends then I came there and asked them “Can I see maybe on your phone can you show me Google Maps where I am because I could not find my way home..”. Then she showed me and I was 12 kilometers away from my home (haha)….I just looked at this and looked away and started to cry… “Okay, I will never find the way home..”. And then, they were so nice, this girl, she talked to her friends and then she just told me “Okay, come and follow me and we will bring you home”. Then they drove all in front of me and brought me to the rounder bound of Dien Bien Phu so we were driving half an hour and the rain still hard, she did not have a raincoat; she was just wearing a small little dress and her friends also did not have any raincoat. But they brought me to near my home and she just said “Okay, bye bye”…She did not ask anything…no money…nothing. She just did it because she wanted to help me without knowing me or anything. Then I came home.. I was so exhausted and I was really freezing also..Haha…this is the first time I feel freezing in Saigon but I was really happy to make this experience because they was so nice and I think I’ve never make such experience in Germany. That was my best experience in Saigon..my worst and my best in one time..(haha..)
Can you describe Vietnam in one word?
In one word…Uhmm…DIFFERENT. For me it’s so different to Germany. I know it’s not very specific but in very many ways, I like life here much more than in Germany. The daily life here is so easy….
What is the biggest culture shock for you?
I think it was the traffic at the beginning. I’ve never been in a big city where is no metro station and with all the motorbike. I’ve never been to a city compare to this…There was shocking me at the beginning..like crossing the street was like a very difficult job for me (haha…)
What will be your next destination?
I want to go abroad again but I’m not sure yet where to go..My company offered me to work again for them here in Vietnam and they are also in Cambodia – Phnom Penh…Then they asked me if I want I can go to Phnom Penh next summer or stay in Ho Chi Minh..Maybe I will do it but nothing I’m sure yet….Maybe I will do an internship in South America but what I know for sure now is I never want to live for a very long time somewhere because I really love Germany…And this internship here showed me that I really love Germany…I did not know before…