Adventures in Ho Chi Minh City – Jessica’s story

Two days spent with UEH

Colin and Angela have previously mentioned the days we spent with the students from the University of Economics HCMC, but this is my experience of the last two days.

Before meeting the students on Thursday I was nervous and to tell the truth I thought the two days at the University would be the most boring days on the entire trip, but I was very quickly proven WRONG.

The students from UEH are amazing and the last two days have been the best on the trip so far and I think will be very difficult to beat on the trip. When we left the University myself, Kelly and Aimee decided to join our groups and do the research together, so we left the University and the students got their bikes and very nervously we got on but soon while riding stopped being scary and became a lot of fun. The students decided they wanted to show us the difference between the city center and an area outside the city. They took us to District 12 (which every time is say it reminds me of the hunger games) which was so different to the city center in that the houses where bigger and the streets so much quieter. Jack who was my driver told me that the houses around that area where around $300 000 to buy and only the very rich lived here and I found that really interesting because the houses where not even the size of a small house in Australia and that the rich lived outside the city whereas in Australia the rich generally live in or closer to the city.

We then decided to head to a coffee shop before meeting up with everyone for lunch, so the students took us back into the city center to Highland Coffee which is inside Vincom Shopping Center. We sat and drank coffee (I don’t drink coffee so I had something different) and talked about our lives in Australia.
One thing that I found very interesting talking to them was when I asked if they go out at night to bars and stuff like that with their friends they all straight away said NO WAY that is frowned upon in our families and we are seen as a bad child if we do those things. It was also interesting when we spoke about working and studying; and they we shocked when we said that we work part time jobs while we are studying because they said their parents want them to only focus on studying and nothing else. So after coffee we headed back to the University to have lunch with the rest of the group before heading back out into the city to start our project.

For our project we decided to do a comparison of coffee shops in Vietnam and Australia. The students knew of a coffee shop called Up Café that is an upside down café, so of course we wanted to go there. There is furniture on the roof and even the outside of the building is made to look like it is upside down.

We sat drank coffee, talked and had a great time with some card tricks for added entertainment. Although the main thing we learnt at this coffee shop was not to have coffee and yoghurt. But not only this, the amount of different types of coffee and the different ways of having coffee amazed me like coffee and chocolate ice cream. After here we wanted one more coffee shop and the student know of another coffee shop with a twist to it. The shop was called Cheryl Kitten Café.

This café has cats and kittens in it and people go there to sit and have coffee but also to learn how to take care of their cats and kittens. It’s not set up as a regular café there are not chairs and only a few small tables and the cats just wander around as they please, we decided not to eat at this café just go and look and although interesting I don’t think I would go there simply to have coffee.

The most exciting part of the day was in the afternoon when we decided to go to a karaoke bar. We had so much fun with the students at this bar and no we where not very good singers but we had an amazing time and William even got 100 points TWICE. At this particular bar if you get 100 points you win a prize which was a keyring, so when we where leaving (in the rain) William got his keyrings and asked the guy for one more and gave one each to us which was really sweet.

Friday we presented our research at the University and had an encore performance from William that was really good. After the presentations where over we all decided to go to another coffee shop together called Bobapop and spent some more time talking to the students and just hanging out and we decided that we will go out for dinner for the last time together. The students picked us up from the hotel and took us to a restaurant that had crispy pancakes. This was really interesting because we had never had it before but where really excited to try it. The menu was in Vietnamese so I couldn’t read it but Jack ordered my food but wouldn’t tell me what so I was really nervous before it came out. OMG when it came out it was a huge pancake filled with vegetables, pork and prawns (and maybe some other things but im not sure) and Jack showed me how to eat it, so you get some herbs (we called them leaves and grass) and wrap the pancake in it and dip in the sauce and enjoy, IT WAS AMAZING!!!!
After dinner we decided on one more fun activity to finish the night and two days off on a high. We went to karaoke with the whole group but this time we went to a different place that the students knew and we sang Justin Bieber, One Direction, Taylor Swift just to name a few. We even did a Jager Bomb to end the night.

Thank You UEH we had an amazing two day with you!!!!


So much for Tim's travel rules

Following an incident last year where a certain student purchased a souvenir boat – a boat that size wise was about half way between what many of us would consider a nice model boat and something you would need to register under a flag of convenience.

Unable to post it home ( the post office may have suggested she sail it back – a suggestion at times we wished she had acted on ) we lugged this boat half way around Vietnam….

Anyway the upshot of this was in all pre departure meetings Tim stressed that this year there was to be absolutely, under any circumstances, no correspondence entered into boat buying. With that background have a look at the ladies’ sense of humouring in this email to Tim.

Hi Tim, We just wanted to take a moment to say congratulations on the promotion! It’s about time! And to say thank you for organising such an incredible tour! It has only been 3 full days and we are having the time of our lives. Attached is a quick video we filmed for you 🙂 A big hello from Vietnam! Phoebe, Jess, Kelly, Angela and Aimee

Nice gesture? Hmmmm

Just watch the video (hopefully it will work 😤 )

Micro Research – Making sense of Ho Chi Minh City

Yesterday we watched (nervously ????) as our ‘bikie chicks’ jumped on the back of the scooters and headed off into the wilds of Ho Chi Minh City. Pared up with local UEH students our ladies were charged with the task of carrying out a relevant industry related micro research project of their choosing.

Today was the moment of reckoning – a presentation to their peers (absolutely no sign of competitiveness here 😉) and to UEH staff.

So the first group displaying absolute mastery of technology 😡 launched into their topic.


The second group…..


Distracted towards the end of their presentation they strayed off topic into the realms of karaoke…

Now the turn of the last group, a group that had seemed a little concerned early about the quality of what they were about to present ( never sure why).


So how did they go?????

Well…………………………………. There was one very happy Buddha at the back of the room.

Two presentation dealt with comparative design & servicescapes elements related to 5 star hotels ( it would, despite my best efforts, appear that they actual took a great deal out of their facilities design unit) the other group looked at a range of coffee shops ( the range and use of coffee shops here is incredible) one shop an absolute brilliant example of a business operating in the ‘experience economy’

As for the karaoke – one of the UEH students proved he is one talented young man.


So over all a big ✔️ – interesting projects, well handled and very professionally presented ( good effort in 24 hours)

So the stars of the show are this ‘motley lot’


Friday Flash – a little bit of shameless promotion.

The Business School’s eagerly awaited staff newsletter is published each Friday – this week’s lead story is about (🎶 drum role please) the Happy Buddha’s blog.

Colin Sheringham on tour and only a blog away

The Vietnam study tour has begun and Colin Sheringham is taking us with him. This year Colin is giving us the opportunity to explore Vietnam in an exciting blended learning way whilst on tour.

Colin is using a blogging site called WordPress and the Vietnam study tour 2013 now has a blog with daily posts.

The blog can be accessed at the following link

You do not have to be signed up to WordPress to view (it is free to sign up), and a number of people including students family and friends are following the blog. Colin and Tim arranging for the blog to be sent to students in Sport and Hospitality so they too can follow the groups progress.

Initial impressions of the concept of a blog and its useability have been great and they will be looking to incorporate into 200273 Managing Service and Experience in Autumn next year.

Follow along and enjoy the adventures and let Colin know your thoughts.

Happy blogging!

So well done to the lads in the marketing department (it’s Tim 😉)

Note from Friday Flash editor – I hate a slow news week where we are stuck for a front page story 😔

Dinner at KOTO restaurant


Tonight we had the rare privilege to have dinner with Jimmy Pham the founder of the social enterprise KOTO restaurants.

might leave the comments to the ladies on this…. I run out of things to say after inspirational.

check out KOTO’s web site at.   


Angela’s story

Dear Happy Buddha,

Enough with the silly headlines let me tell our readers what the day was really like.

Yours sincerely,


So here is my version 😊

Today we visited Vietnams University of Economics, as we entered the classroom there sat around 20 Vietnamese students staring at us, it was overwhelming yet intriguing at the same time. As we sat down we all introduced ourselves and the nerves subsided. We soon set ourselves up into groups. My group included Throung, Hunh and Phanm. As soon as our adventures began that morning I was welcomed immediately into their city and they assisted me with any questions and believe me most of my questions are quiet out of the ordinary. After visiting hotels such as the majestic, Caravelle and Rex Hotel and analysing the foyers of each hotel I soon learnt how different our lifestyles really are compared to back in Australia.
Many of the hotels had stores such as Gucci, marc Jacobs, Burberry and Givenchy. These stores were very familiar to me where as many of the students; this was there first time stepping into one of these department stores even though they go past them every day.
After the research was done, we then decided to go back to Huans house and finish the presentation. I was thrilled that he invited us back, as I have always found the different living in countries fascinating. After getting off the mopad (which was absolutely fantastic) we parked in the alley, at this point I didn’t know what to think and didn’t know whether or not these were houses. As I soon entered I could see that the houses were very tiny and did not consist of the usual Australian form of a house. It did not have a lounge room and both the brothers shared a room, sleeping on the floor with a layout bed each.
Although I was not used to this type of living, I could see that the students were and like they say ‘if you don’t know something, than it won’t hurt you’ and had a positive outlook on life. This is their lifestyle and way of living. Visiting Huans house has opened so many questions for me, it has gained me an insight of the real country of Vietnam not just the pretty scenery or yummy restaurants but the actual facts of Vietnam and what people feel and believe about their living in Vietnam.

See Buddha, a much better story 😊

"Bikie Chicks"

Read the next tutorial on blogging – apparently you need attention seeking headlines…. So with attention seeking headline done down to the days first activity out to the University of Economics UEH


So after a very quick round of introductions with the UEH students…



It was down to the serious business of going out to explore Ho Chi Minh city and gather information for their micro research projects. Being Ho Chi Minh the only way to explore it properly is by bike 😳

So bike it was






So with a fond fair well they were off


Note to mums all back in one piece with huge smiles