“Saigon has an energy with the positive things and a lots opportunities are waiting for you in every corner. Therefore, you need to go and explore it because it’s hiding somewhere in the city”
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Nurjona and I’m from Albania.
Why did you come to Vietnam?
Because Vietnam was definitely out of my comfort zone and didn’t know anything about this country so when I saw an opportunity, I took it to try, applied it and see where is it go. So I was supposed to come here and stay for about 6 months. But this is the fifth month and I don’t think I’m going to go back home anytime. I’m teaching English here but for now, my plan is doing anything else like taking photography more seriously or explore other things I still don’t know yet. Because Saigon has an energy with the positive things and a lots opportunities are waiting for you in every corner. Therefore, you need to go and explore it because it’s hiding somewhere in the city (smile).
Do think is it difficult to find a job in HCMC?
Ah. It depends. For example, in English teaching as a non native speaker, you are somehow will be difficult to find a job or you will get worse jobs and worse space. However, I saw that the city is so big then I think it has places for everyone.
What do you like the most in Vietnam? Why?
Ah. I like the people here. I come from a country where people are very friendly and I haven’t experienced that kind of environment when I’ve travelled mostly in Europe. But I’m not saying that European are not friendly but here is another kind of friendliness. An example of this kind of friendliness is if I need something, there is always someone approaching me without asking for their help. And in the beginning, I had a lot of people who took care of me like..as I remember, there was a waiter in Circle K+ in District 9 and he spoke a little English and then when I need to use the Uber and Grab, he told me: “Okay, stay here.” then he went out and talked to the driver, gave him my address…..So that’s why I like people here.
How long have you stayed here and when will you decide to come back to your country?
I’ve stayed here for 5 months already and I still don’t know when am I going back there because I still not have a plan to go back yet.
Do you think it is difficult to find a place to live in HCMC?
It depends. Because like I said, this city is big so depends on what you want for the place to live. For me, I want to have an international experience so I chose to live in a house with international housemates and I’m very glad for that because I’m in touch to people from France which is the habitat of majority of the house. Therefore, official language of our house is French; unfortunately, I don’t speak French but they are fun and nice.
Where do you live right now in Saigon? What do you think about your neighborhood?
I live in Thao Dien and I like it because here is an expat area. But I also don’t like it because it’s too international just like this area is an island of the city and like it’s not really connect to city. Whenever I want to change house, I’m going to find another area is more local such as District 3, Phu Nhuan District, Binh Thanh District. By the way, I really like Phu Nhuan District, it’s amazing.
What do you know about GlobeTrottr?
As I known, GlobeTrottr here in Saigon is the first co-living community. When I was looking for a houses, I posted on Facebook and there was a French guy contacted me and offered the building. After that we set up a meeting and I came to see the building. Because I was living in a hotel when I first got here and it has no window but that building has room with window and I decided to take one room (smile).
Can you tell us a little story about what has happened to you during your trip?
Ah.I’m gonna tell you the best thing that happened to me. I work in District 9 and the area around there is very industrial so basically has nothing there but near my school, there is a Pagoda. Because I didn’t know anything about Buddhism before but I was very interested in it and one day, I decided to visit the Pagoda during my lunch break. I went there and one of the girls, who live in the Pagoda, approached me and welcomed me to the Pagoda and showed me around. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Vietnamese either apart from how to say my name. Then we knew each other name, the girl’s name is Chi, she showed me around and invited me for lunch; we were tried to understand each other by body language and use google translate (smile). And then, the other girl from the Pagoda came and it was really good because they were sharing their vegetarian food; for me it was an amazing experience. It was like one of the most positive thing that has happened to me and it’s hardly impacted me (smile)
Can you describe Vietnam in one word?
It’s ALMOST-HOME in one word.
What is the biggest culture shock for you?
Ah I had a few actually. But the biggest is people wearing weird things outside, just because when I go to work or travel around, I like to observe people and sometimes I focus on their foot wear and sometime I see people don’t wear any shoes and I don’t know why. And another thing is motorbike here is the mean of transportation and the whole family can get many motorbikes.
What will be your next destination?
I’m not sure yet. I think I like tropical country now and I think I will go to South America.