“Vietnamese are very friendly, nice and super kind. They are always try to help you. many demands everyday, many restaurants, coffee shops and you have so many things to do here”
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Claudia and I’m from Barcelona, a city in Spain.
Why did you come to Vietnam?
I got a Spanish scholarship to be here and work at a company. I’m a designer there, we making clothes
Is it difficult to find a job/internship/open a business in Vietnam in general? How did you do that?
No, actually not. I’m pretty sure because in Saigon, there are many events for expats, and Facebook and everything. And everyday there are a lot of offers for teachers, actors and actresses, many many things.
Since same here I received one offer for being a Spanish teacher and another one to work at a graphic designer but freelance. One more is having a casting to be an actress. Yeah so many things to do in Vietnam.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
I think it’s the freedom. Because here, nobody cares about anything, you can do whatever you want I don’t know. Everything is super cheap so you can do everything if you are an expat. It’s super cool
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
I don’t know. The plan is until Halloween, I will leave on 31st of October that’s my last day of contract; however, the condition of my scholarship let me stay 10 days more, so my official last day is around 10th of November. But I don’t know yet what I want to do if I want to stay here or come back to Spain or go to Mexico. I really don’t know because here I’m living like super well; if I go back to Spain I maybe lose many things. In Europe, if you are young, there are many things pretty cool. And if you are 22 or 25 and starting your first job and you’re not going to earn much money. And here, with that amount of money is not so much much but it’s enough for me to live alone.
Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?
Uhm..Yes. When I was in Spain, I don’t know anything, and I just know about GlobeTrottr because I wanted to live in a shared house with student and young people and at that time, GlobeTrottr is my only choice. But now, since I’m living here, I saw that there are so many Facebook groups and people renting the house/shared-house. That’s pretty cool. Actually, I know about GlobeTrottr and Airbnb, but Airbnb is really expensive for a full month. Because you need to live alone and pay a lot. But I like living here.
Where do you live right now in Saigon? What do you think about your neighborhood?
I live in the house in Bui Huu Nghia Street, the first thing i think is Very cool because I’m living in a Vietnamese area not so many expats just Vietnamese style. But after one week there are something is going annoying because the smell is not so good because I’m leaving near the market where all the animals are alive, there are so many people, noise and bad smell.
However I like it because here you can find many places super-cheap that you cannot find in District 1 or District 2. Everything has good points and bad points at the same time (smile).
I like my neighborhoods, they are very friendly, nice and super kind. They are always try to help you. So the first time I crashed with a motorbike, and there were 4 people helping me at the same time, helped me take my bike and asked if i’m okay. Then I wanted to catch a taxi but I could not; and there was a guy appear asked me sit in a chair and I will call a taxi for me and he will help me catch a taxi. I was like: “Okay…”. Then I sit there and wait. He asked where do i want to go, I showed him a maps and he said: “Okay, no problem, wait here”. Then he went to the middle of the street and tried to stopped a taxi for me. And I was looking at him then: “Thank you..”. That’s so cool.
For example, Two weeks ago I lost the cap of the gas storage in my motorbike, Because I took it out and put the Petro in and forgot to cover it, so I closed the seat and go. I crashed and my motorbike fell off and there are so many always in the street. and I was like: “Oh my God, where’s the oil? Where does it come from?”. And I remember I forgot the cap in the gas station. and I went to some garages and the guy gave me one for free. Actually at the beginning, he said he don’t have any cap for me and I said thank you then went away. When I was leaving like almost crying because it was an awful day for me; I was almost crying on my motorbike and then he called me again: “Hello, come back, I got one for you”.
Can you tell us a little story about what has happened to you during your trip?
Ah okay, I know one. Last week, I went to a restaurant for dinner with my friend in Binh Thanh. we were having dinner day and it started to rain, it was a heavy rain and a lot. And we think it’s time to go home because it’s gonna flooding soon. So we called a Grab, I have my own motorbike and my friend called a Grab, I waited until the car arrived and I went to take my motorbike home. I did not see the way because it was full of water, it was very crazy because when I stepped into the road the water is up to my knees. (Haha) I can’t believe that because it was raining for 30 minutes and the water is up to my knees.
And I was super stubborn, I said it’s okay and will drive home with my motorbike. After 5 meters driving, my motorbike stopped working; God I can believe it, I was stopped in the middle of the road. And I saw a car of my friend, a Grab, arriving and they start to leave the restaurant. And I called them: “Guys! Stop! Wait for me!”. And my friends was standing there, a waitress came to get my motorbike back to the restaurant and left it there. And we were waiting for the Grab, it was so crazy, 1.5 hour no one want to come to us. And if the driver accept it, when they coming here and from 100 meter away from the restaurant, the saw the street with full of water and they cancelled the trip. OMG, me and my friend keep waiting for 7-8 mins and then when the car arriving closer, they cancelled it. Tell one hour and a half the waitress was super nice. He went to another street, stopped a taxi, asked the taxi to wait us out there and came back the restaurant took the umbrella and took us to the taxi. After 1 hour and a half of waiting I already got home at 1. We wanted to leave around 10:30 pm but we got home at 1. I almost crying at the restaurant but my friend was there and she said: “Calm down! Calm down! You Are Not Alone!”.
Can you describe Saigon in one word?
Uhmm.. I don’t know. I would say LEISURE. Because there are many demands everyday, many restaurants, coffee shops and you have so many things to do here.
What is the biggest culture shock for you?
Here, there are many Vietnamese could not speak English so it’s pretty difficult sometimes because I’m leaving here and I want to know about your culture, your language, your lifestyle. And sometimes it’s very difficult to find a Vietnamese could speak English to tell me these kind of things. So i think, the language is the biggest culture shock for me.
What will be your next destination?
I don’t know. I have many options and I don’t know yet which one I want.