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Column: Common Misconceptions


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My home country is Vietnam, which is a Southeast Asian country. Our mother tongue is Vietnamese, but we have to study English when we are young so most Vietnamese can speak English. Vietnamese are very friendly and open-minded, which makes foreign tourists find it enjoyable to travel here. However, in communication, we are not really direct when talking, especially those words which will hurt people, so many Americans may not like it and think we do not want to talk to them, but actually we do. Also, Vietnamese are not often precise at time, so normally many events or meetings are at least 15 minutes later than the time written on the invitation cards.

Vietnamese food is the most significant characteristic here. We have hundreds of dishes with many different flavors. Vietnamese women really enjoy cooking and they can spend hours to cook those dishes for their family. Vietnamese food is pretty healthy, with vegetables and protein cooked with less oil, so not many people in Vietnam are obese. There are various seasonings used in cooking because Vietnamese believe that they make dishes tastier and they can help boost the digestion. So, when traveling abroad, Vietnamese tend to be more sophisticated about choosing food to eat since we find it hard to get used to food with more oil, which contains too many fats.

Affected by traditional Asian culture, Vietnamese are sometimes shy and simple. Normally, we do not open the conversation first and may be a little defensive when talking to new people. However, when we find somebody reliable, we treat them as our family members. Moreover, Vietnamese girls do not always wear make-up with fancy clothes when going out because our country values natural beauty, so do not be surprised that many Vietnamese girls do not know how to wear make-up.

Vietnamese are very easily adaptable and open to new friends from different nationalities. We all find it so precious and unforgettable to be here and have such nice friends and teachers.

This column was submitted as an assignment for an INTO Marshall writing class.

The instructor, Saba Gebrehiwot, can be contacted at [email protected]

“Common Misconceptions” is a weekly column series that gives students, faculty and staff the opportunity to address common misconceptions and misunderstandings of and about their culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identiy.

Columns may be submitted to [email protected]

Submission does not guarantee a feature.

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