When you first arrive in Hai Phong you will immediately notice a lack of high rise buildings. Unlike its neighbouring city (Hanoi, the capital), Hai Phong seems very back to basics, pre-westernisation. The culture shock is sure to settle in, as you initially struggle to locate where you are in a land void of English speaking locals. This slowly but surely fades as you get to grips with small fractions of the language and the whereabouts of your local area. Being able to ask for a bowl of noodles or two eggs in your ‘banh my’ can make your life a whole lot easier and more comfortable. Furthermore, from playing football games with fellow expats and locals, to drinking 20p beers on the street side, there is something for everyone, if you are willing to look for them. While having a lower count of westerners than its neighbour Hanoi may sound like a negative quality, this has become one of the more appealing attributes of this city, allowing yourself to immerse yourself in local culture as much as you like.
While working for DTLC, my peers and I have been able to make friends with our teaching assistants, who are more than welcoming and keen to assist day to day issues we may have, whether that be translating posters and signs we don’t understand or taking us to the local hot spots for coffee or a beer
To be continued…..