Interview Corentin


“It’s like a small community in the city, it’s so different from the rest of Saigon and that’s why I love it ! It’s like a big village, where everybody knows each other, there’s a good complicity between them, it’s such a warm and friendly neighborhood.”

What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Corentin, and I come from La Roche Blanche, which is a small village near Clermont-Ferrand, in the Auvergne countryside, in the center of France in the mountains.

Why did you come to Vietnam?

I came for my end of study internship, for 6 months.

Is it difficult to find a job/internship/open a business in Vietnam in general ? How did you do that ?

Honestly, I don’t know. I found my internship thanks to pure coincidence, because I had a friend who worked here one year and a half ago, so I just sent a spontaneous application. I think that there are plenty of jobs such as English teachers or French teachers, it is very accessible. So I think there are lots of jobs for expats. But it also depends on what you are looking for.

Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?

No I don’t think it’s really difficult. It depends on what you are looking for. It could be difficult if you have high expectations with a low budget. For example if you come here and you think that you’ll get a villa with a pool at 200€ per month, then you’re wrong. But more generally, it could be easy thanks to all the Facebook groups, Airbnb, etc.

What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?

I’d say food ! Because I was really surprised by the quality of the food here, both streetfood and restaurants. They really have a good gastronomy, a good culinary culture. I also really like Vietnamese people, they are really friendly, even the ones who don’t speak English really well. They always make the effort to help you. When I arrived in Saigon, I couldn’t find the house where I’ll live in. And people in the streets all helped me to find it.
Oh and also the Vietnamese coffee ! We can’t find Robusta coffee in Europe, we only have the Arabica one. And I really like the taste of the Robusta coffee !

How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?

I’ve been here since more than 2 months now, and I’ll stay here until the end of October. Actually my internship ends at the end of september but I want to take one month for traveling.

Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?

No, it’s super easy ! It depends on what you look for : an apartment, a house, a sharehouse. There are many agencies, and many Facebook groups, on which there are lots of posts everyday, with different prices range. For example I had the opportunity to live in a sharehouse for 3 years (3 different sharehouses), then in a studio in the district 1, then in a house, and now I’m living in an apartment. Each time, I have never encountered any difficulty to find them !

Where do you live right now in Saigon ? What do you think about your neigboorhood ?

I live in Binh Thanh, a popular quarter, and honestly I really enjoy living there ! It’s both quiet and noisy at the same time. Like from 5am to 9pm, it’s really lively, and from 9pm, it’s so quiet. It’s a family friendly area, so people go to sleep early because they always wake up early on the next day. It’s like a small community in the city, it’s so different from the rest of Saigon and that’s why I love it ! It’s like a big village, where everybody knows each other, there’s a good complicity between them, it’s such a warm and friendly neighborhood.

What do you think about young mobility now? Is it easier ?

I think it’s really easier than our parents. For example, I come from a family which is from the countryside, so they have never left their village, they have a “local life”. Nowadays, and thanks to our studies, we can move to another town. In France there are lots of partnerships between schools, and it is extended to the whole world, we can study abroad, do our internships abroad, etc. It’s easier and cheaper. Especially for us French people, we can go almost everywhere with our passport.

Do you think in general, with digital evolution, home ownership is still a social standard for young people ?

I don’t think it is a standard for young people, because as I just said, we are incitated to move a lot. But it still depends on every person, because some people I know just want to stay in France, they know that they won’t move anywhere else, so they can build the project of buying a house. But for some other young people like me, who do their internships abroad, traveling is more important, so buying a house would be useless. To sum up, I think it depends on your age, your wishes and your ability to afford it. Because we shouldn’t forget that the price of real estate is different from 30 years ago !

Can you tell us a little story which happened during your trip ?

After one week living in Saigon, I was discovering the area I live in, so I was just walking around the district, around the market… and I don’t know how it happened but my money fell out of my pocket without I notice it. Then I went back home, and 15 minutes later, my housemate came to tell me : “Someone’s waiting for you outside our house, she says that she wants to give you back your money.” She may have seen that if fell out of my pocket so she came here to give it back to me. I was so surprised ! Finally I told her to keep that money but her intention really amazed me !

Can you describe Vietnam in one word ?

Pollution and traffic jam.

What is the biggest culture shock for you ?

Pollution and traffic jam.

Do you consider yourself as a global citizen ?

Yes I think so. I cannot deny my French culture, but I believe that nowadays we should all think global.

What will be your next destination ?

I will go to Angkor for 4 days for my visa run, but I won’t have enough time to visit anything else. After my internship in Vietnam, I’ll go to Myanmar.

Interviewed by Joanny, GlobeTrottr staff

Category: GlobeTrottr Profile
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