All posts by Thao Nguyen

日本はすてきですね!With kindest greetings, from Sapporo, Hokkaido

Just a month ago, I arrived at Japan for an internship exchange in Hokkaido University in Sapporo. Time flies so quickly when you’re having fun, and the last month was a wonderful time for me and probably the Golden time of my academic journey.

I came here as an intern student for Water Reclamation Laboratory in Department of Environmental Engineering. The aim of the researches in the lab was to improve performance of pre-existing treatment methods, or further develop it. At first, I thought my task was to conduct measurements, lab works and do errands in the lab. However, as soon as I spoke to the Head Professor of our lab, the situation was totally different from what I was expecting. Each student here has their own research project, and since I join as an intern student, I should choose a project that I am most interested in and work with it. Thus, the first week of my internship was basically just talking to everyone, getting familiar with the working environment, and getting ready. Therefore, my recommendation, if you decided to conduct an internship here, is to be clear of what you want to do before coming.

Besides the work here, everyone was super friendly and kind. I have really fun lab-mates who held a welcome party for me, which I didn’t have to pay anything. We also had a barbecue party to enjoy the cherry blossom, since in Hokkaido they bloom later than the rest of Japan. My lab-mates English skills are not so good since Japanese people overall do not excel in listening and speaking. However, they are always eager to learn and very patience when they try to communicate with me. A guy even told me he wanted to practice his English with me, and I was thrilled that I could also help them like they have helped me here.

My lab-mates enjoying Sapporo cuisine, soup curry
e3 welcome party

In Hokkaido University, there are many student clubs and organizations. One of them are e3, which are the students studying their master and doctoral in English Engineering Education program. This student organization held many events for members, including a welcome party and barbecue in a park. Even non-e3 students can join, if you contribute to the club by paying for the event you participated in. I joined both of the party and made friends with plenty of international students of Hokudai. It really helped me with my time here, since I don’t have many friends besides my lab-mates. It was great to be able to socialize with other international students and share with them your experience in Japan. I highly recommend that you join events like this one.

Last week was the Golden week in Japan, when they have a 10 days holiday to travel or rest. During that time, people often travel all over Japan for sightseeing, hobby, and to relax after months of hard work. However, the ticket price was very high during this period, so I decided not to go too far and just travel around Sapporo. I went to hot spring in a small town near Sapporo and visited some sight-seeing location there. This was also a good time to enjoy Japanese food, as I got the chance to try real authentic sushi!

Cherry blossom season
Seafood rice bowl, my favorite Japanese dish

Japan has always been the country on the top of my bucket list, and I finally made it. All the experiences, good or bad, will be something that I cherish. Japan is such a lovable country, that I look forward to returning here again, either for business or vacation. So, are you ready for it?

 

To be home – Vietnam

This is the last week of my internship in Vietnam, which is my home country. It has been two months, and I am finishing up with my documents and also this course. Since it’s my home country, I’ll try to write this from the most open perspective as possible and makes it easier for you to understand my culture, my job and my life in Vietnam.

My internship started from the middle of January for approximately two months. It’s done in Goshu Kohsan Vietnam held in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and is also my home town. Goshu Kohsan (hereby GKVC) is a leading company in Wastewater and Water Treatment and is very well-known among industrial companies such as Panasonic or TOTO. They were all our clients and we have installed wastewater treatment systems for them so that the discharge wastewater meets the national quality. My job is based in the Sales department where we receive orders from the clients and forward them to other departments, although I prefer working with the Laboratory department. In the laboratory, I was able to practice the skills I learnt from TAMK and learnt so many other techniques that has not been taught in TAMK. The ladies who work there are very friendly and they answered every question I had, because there were so many things that were unfamiliar to me.

 

My workplace/office

To be home, is the best feeling ever, and that is also why I wanted to do a short practical training in my home country. I wouldn’t lie, I have gotten a bit bored with the coldness of Finland, so I decided that I want to do my internship at home. And it was worth it, I had mom and dad always there to support me, and being home also relief a lot of stress. I work from 8am to 5:30pm, which requires me to wake up at 6 to go to work in time (since my workplace is in an industrial park that is 15km away from home). Working the whole day and return home late in the evening, I don’t think I would be able to do it if I were in another country. I don’t really have much time for other personal issues since in the evening I can only have dinner and go to sleep to get up early. If I were in Finland, I don’t know if I could cope with that as easily as I am now.

During my free time, I maintain my habit of going to the gym. I usually go after work, thus I go home very late. But in the weekend I am free, so I love roaming around the city on my motorcycle. Hanoi is a very big and eccentric city, so there is always a lot of things to do at anytime of the days. The movie ticket is very cheap, will blockbuster movies released all year round. There is a free walking street where people display all sorts of cultural activities and play folk songs. It’s a really great event to get to know Vietnamese culture. If you’re interested in museums, you can always check out the Museum of History, or Museum of Women. There are also plenty of historical monuments that scatter around the city as proof of our independence. Vietnamese people are very proud that they have defeated the Chinese, the French and US to defend for their freedom. Therefore, the monuments are a great example of our courageous past, and is something that we are all proud of.

My stay in Vietnam is soon coming to an end and I must continue my journey to Japan for my next intern exchange. But no matter how far I am, my soul remains in Hanoi, the heart of Vietnam.

See you soon!