By Nguyen Hoang Duy, Vietnam National University

My externship with BABSEACLE in Chiang Mai was the first time I went abroad… and it was totally successful. Before I arrived, I had many questions: about the land, the weather, the people… I also felt little nervous.  But soon after my arrival, I understood there was no reason for my nervousness. Chiang Mai is beautiful but the people living in Chiang Mai are even more beautiful, especially in the way they treat others.

Cultural Lessons

The most important thing I learned in my one month in Thailand was about the culture, which I will summarize in one word: Respect. The way they bow their heads and put their hands together to say hello is just one small sign — among many other ways they behave — of the respect I think you can always feel here. There is respect in Vietnamese culture, too, but it is not expressed as naturally as in Thai culture. I have learned that people should naturally respect others because everybody is equal and deserves respect.

Communal Living

The strongest memory I will always have of my time at BABSEACLE is the experience of group living. To have a chance to live with co-workers was, for me, the chance to understand much more about them and about myself. We did chores, we hung out together and we spent mealtimes talking together. We shared joy and made many memorable moments together. I had a new big family and I was happy and grateful for that.

I stayed in Bangkok for a few days but I left my heart in Chiang Mai. It’s the best. I think I found my soul in Chiang Mai.

I have come back to my university in Viet Nam with new ideas about how to teach in the community, how to keep track of procedures in the clinic, but most of all with a new appreciation for what true teamwork camaraderie feels like.

Thank you BABSEACLE!