April 2016, things changed. It turned out that I would have to go back to Viet Nam to extend my visa so I could complete my degree, which was quite irritating as the visa application process is much more complicated back there and I would end up spending much more money than I should. The only bright side would be the fact that I was going back to my country the second time this year, which I would never complain because as much as I enjoyed my student life in the UK, I was craving some sunshine and authentic Vietnamese food.
After freaking myself out for quite a bit of time, I then scheduled some talks with people at university’s Visa and Compliance team. It took me a visit at their office and some emails exchanged to finally finalise the list of all the necessary documents and get to know how and when to prepare them. It involved lots of work, but people there were all really friendly and supportive which made it less of a hassle. Thank you very much Joe, Rita and Matt for all the help and advises!
When I said I was going back to Viet Nam for a month starting from the 26th of June, my manager thought it would be a great opportunity for me to attend some events there as well. Thus, just as simple as that, my July became a combination of visa work, various marketing activities and some sort of summer holiday. What to complain?
I spent my first two weeks in Viet Nam to complete the visa application and finish the new International Welcome Booking Form and relevant e-communications. It was a bit weird at first, consider the time difference and stuff, but then I realised I quite like the idea of working from home.
I then took the flight to Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday 10th of July to meet Hoa, university’s Development Advisor in Viet Nam, and Jane, Regional Manager for South East Asia who just got there over a day ago. The Monday schedule got us traveling around the city to visit some of the university’s agent representatives which were Dong Thinh Edu & Travel, ISC UKEAS and IDP. It was actually my first time going to the agent offices like these not as a student but as a university’s representative, so it was such a great chance to learn more about this ‘business relationship’. Later that day we went to a really nice coffee shop where we held the Pre-Departure Event. We decided to do it in a rather informal way, but still with presentation and projector stuff, and the atmosphere was really great. I felt quite good too, as I got to share my (hopefully) useful experience of living and studying at University of Gloucestershire and UK as a whole.
We also held the same event, but in Hanoi three days later, which went really well. We all became friends on social media and I’m sure it’s not going to stop there as we are seeing each other again this September. And since I’m going to be one of the Buddy Interns, there is a high chance they might be in the group of my assigned buddies.
I also got to attend the Vietint Education Fair in Hanoi with Hoa and Jane. And since I’ve already got some experience of doing this last January, I found it much easier and more enjoyable. I talked to many more parents this time, and it helped a lot in terms of getting to know more about the market so we can adjust our marketing activities accordingly.
As Jane took the flight to Malaysia for the Pre-Departure event there, Hoa and I had a short meeting at Noble Solutions office to discuss about the currently signed social media campaign to help raise university’s brand awareness and interest in Viet Nam. It was really useful to me since I got to understand social media marketing more in depth and listen to valuable tips to better use these powerful platforms.
We also spent some time to sit down and discuss about our Viet Nam blog in detail. We have actually talked about that for months and finally got the time to plan it out together. All the basic settings were done and we’re now trying to build up the content, hopefully the site would be a useful source of information for students in Viet Nam in the future.
All these work made my time in Viet Nam so much more enjoyable, considering the variety of marketing activities I got to attend and valuable experience I gained. This work trip allowed me to learn much more about Viet Nam and the university’s marketing strategy for this particular market. It also helped to score me some job opportunities in Ho Chi Minh City which I couldn’t ask for more.