It is an important GEI policy to offer scholarships to outstanding local students and hence enable them to join our international programs. Doan Quang Huy, a business student at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, benefited from this initiative and was able to participate in a recent Social Innovation Lab field course in Vietnam. Here he writes about his experiences:
The opportunity to join the course was an amazing experience for me. We were assigned to work with a Vietnamese IT company and help them find solutions for real business challenges. In the beginning, we benefited from various introductory lectures and received important theoretical background. This helped us to understand the general business environment and the immense opportunities for technology companies in Vietnam. We also studied concepts such as Big Data and learned about the process of design thinking. This theoretical foundation was invaluable for the business challenges that we then went on to solve as a team.
In addition to technical knowledge, the course gave me a precious chance to work hand in hand with great new friends from other countries and enhance my soft skills. Based on honesty, openness and respect, we were quickly getting to know each other and forming nice friendships. Each team member was valued as a critical thinker, and I learned how to persuade them, sell my ideas and also listen to other opinions.
I particularly valued certain character traits that I observed in some of my team members. Students from Turkey, for example, have a very straightforward, persuasive and respectful attitude. We were all made aware that communicating effectively in a multicultural environment is a key to success for future global leaders.
We also had a lot of fun! Various extra-curricular activities aimed at enriching our experience. We exchanged our culture, tried to speak each other’s languages and pointed out differences between typical European, American and Vietnamese behaviors. As a result, we became more understanding and respectful of diversity.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in this course and believe that it opened my eyes in many ways. Most importantly, I have learned to step out of my comfort zone. I am grateful to GEI and my international team members for having given me such a great chance to broaden my horizon, and I will keep many unforgettable memories.