I spent one week living with a local Vietnamese family in the beautiful capitol city of Vietnam, Hanoi.
I was introduced to Trang (pronounced ‘Chang’) via Workaway. Chang had created a profile so that native English speakers could come and help her and her and husband, Long, improve their English speaking skills.
After my last Workaway experience, which was a little rocky, I wasn’t sure what to expect at this one. I was nervous, slightly dreading it, and had actually considered just saying phooey on it and canceling – boy, I’m glad I didn’t.
The set up
In exchange for some meals and a room, I would practice speaking English with the family. This came in the form of English lessons for Long (he’d like to learn new vocabulary and better pronunciation for business), and general conversation with Trang while making dinner, playing cards or just hanging out.
My room was spartan, but enjoyable. It was so very nice to have my own space – and a space where I could spread my things out to boot! When home, I was invited to share every meal and snack they had, was welcome to food in the fridge, and use of the kitchen. I did use it once to make spaghetti for breakfast! The sauce was entirely improvised and homemade with ingredients from the market.
It was a highly educational experience for me, in many ways! The day to day Vietnamese life is very different from life in America – dare I say: ‘more enjoyable’. When I return to the states, I hope to implement some of these lessons back home.
5 things I learned living with a Vietnamese family
1. Sharing really is caring.
My week with Trang and her family completely redefined “Hospitality” for me. Look out Georgia, Vietnam can give you a run for your money! It wasn’t just in the way that they shared everything they had with me – but with other family members too. The house was consistently abuzz with people coming in and out, eating, visiting, sleeping.