Emily Romano is a third year, Global Studies major currently abroad in Hanoi, Vietnam through SIT’s International Honors Program: Health and Community!
We arrived in Hanoi four days ago, after two full days of flying. This week has been absolutely surreal. We flew through three sunrises and found ourselves in a city where everything is constantly in motion- from the thousands of motorbikes that flow through streets like blood cells through capillaries to the women lugging baskets of dragon fruit and lychee to the particles in the air that seem to coat every part of your body as soon as you walk outside. We are continuing with the same public health and research methods classes from New Orleans, but here they are taught by KC and Dr. Nguyen (and Diane, she travels with us!) at Hanoi Medical University. We are all staying with host families- I’m paired with San and our host family is awesome! We have two host sisters, Phuong (15) and Mai (12), host parents, and host grandparents (and a kitten and lots of other relatives that live next door)! We usually eat dinner all together. Everything is slightly intimidating because San’s parents are from Vietnam, so she knows quite a bit about the language, food, and customs. I, on the other hand, feel very huge and very blonde. I’ve never been to a place where I know so little about everything- I’m catching on to some Vietnamese, but pronunciation is really difficult. The one word I have really mastered is cao- TALL!