Business and Beyond: Immersing in Vietnamese culture through the International Business Experience program

By Millie Beccia

Millie Beccia traveled to Vietnam and participated as part of the International Business Experience subject. The study tour program comprises of academic and cultural activities while providing students with an overview of business and economics in an international context.

Left to right: Millie, Eloise, Danica and Destiny

In November 2023, I participated in the International Business Experience program, delivered in Da Nang, Vietnam over two weeks. The program entailed a myriad of activities designed to immerse us in the economic, social and cultural context of Vietnam. In retrospect, this experience encouraged the development of intercultural skills and to gain a nuanced understanding of diverse business landscapes.

My primary reason for applying for this program was to build my commercial acumen by deepening my knowledge of global business and the role that culture plays in business and economics.  The two-week timeframe suited me more than having to commit to a longer study abroad program. Additionally, this program was supported by the Australian Government through the New Colombo Plan (NCP), where eligible domestic students could receive an NCP travel grant for financial assistance during their stay. The application for the travel grant was streamlined; with students being automatically considered with the submission of their subject application.

Lantern Boats in Hoi An

Program Schedule

The schedule was intensive, due to the subject duration. However, the first week predominantly focused on cultural, social and academic activities including lectures hosted by our partner institution, FPT University. FPT provided us with buddies, who accompanied us while sightseeing, attending lectures and lunches. This was particularly memorable since our buddies welcomed us so warmly, inviting us to learn about their city and culture. A highlight was our day trip to the nearby ancient town of Hoi An, where we learnt to make Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) and lanterns!

The academic lectures were hosted by guest lecturers, with topics on culture and business such as Vietnam’s entrepreneurial landscape. These lectures were insightful yet extended in value from the discussions they generated amongst fellow students and buddies.

In the second week, we began our company projects which we had been assigned prior to our departure. My team conducted our project at Enouvo IT Solutions; a technology product design and development company. We were supported throughout the project; working at the office and regularly meeting with our mentor, Truong, to discuss our progression until the final presentation. This experience was invaluable to understand the diverse interests of global companies and how to effectively communicate across cultures, in formal contexts.

Millie at Ba Na Hills

My insights

Upon reflection, the program offers a wide variety of learning experiences that rely upon your level of involvement and eagerness to learn. Personally, I gained a deeper understanding of myself and others, in terms of culture, values and beliefs, as well as communication styles. These experiences are invaluable in professional and social contexts, such as awareness and adaptability to diverse needs as a means to facilitate effective communication.

If you are a student who would like to experience studying abroad, or perhaps may not be willing to commit to long-term study abroad programs, I would recommend the International Business Experience program. It was highly rewarding to learn more about Vietnam and build meaningful connections with my classmates and company representatives.

Are you a Bachelor of Commerce student and interested in International Business Experience? Find out more.