RUB Bauwesen CompEng

Going Abroad – CompEng Student stayed two months in Vietnam


It all started in 2013. While I stayed at the Minnesota State University in the US for two semesters to study Civil Engineering, a fellow student from Vietnam sparked my interest for her home country. Up until then all I knew about Vietnam was that it is located in Asia and what I learned about the Vietnam War in history books. But apart from that, I knew nothing about it. Therefore, I had already decided to tour Vietnam at some point in my life.

During my second Master’s semester in Computational Engineering I’ve been given the chance to study at the Vietnamese-German-University (VGU) for two months. As for my subjects, I took Fluid-Dynamics and Continuum-Mechanics, each course for three weeks.

After an eleven hours’ flight with Vietnam Airline, a fellow student picked me up at Ho-Chi-Minh-City Airport. I would never had thought that I would find him so quickly. Without a Vietnamese mobile number and without any Vietnamese language skills I thought I would be lost immediately at the airport of a city with 8 million citizens. But the airport was rather small.

At the arrival at 7 a.m. in the morning, the sun was already shining, and the temperature was about 30 degrees. When my fellow student and I took a taxi to my new flat, I could not believe how much was going on the streets outside.

On the weekend, before the courses started, my fellow students from the batch and I got to know each other. Beside me, my class consisted of eleven Vietnamese students. They took me on a city tour and showed me around Ho-Chi-Minh-City. In general, everyone was very helpful.

After the weekend the lectures started. In contrast to the Ruhr-University, the lectures at the VGU are held in block courses. At the beginning, I found it exhausting to concentrate on only one subject for the whole day but I quickly got used to it.

Since there was no university canteen at the VGU, I went out to dinner with my fellow students, which gave me the chance to get to know the typical Vietnamese dishes, such as Phở Bo, Bún bò Nam Bộ Bo or Cơm Gà. The Vietnamese cuisine is different than the typical Asian, which one knows from Germany, but it still is very delicious.

During the weekends, I travelled with the other students to places around Ho Chi Minh City. For example, I visited the National Park "Can Gio Mangrove Forest" and a scene of the Vietnam War where thousands of monkeys live today. I also visited the Floating Markets in the Mekong Delta.

After six weeks full of lectures and two exams, I treated myself with two weeks and travelled independently. At that time, I was driven from the South to the middle of Vietnam in the Da Nang area. Here I was able to marvel at the beautiful landscape on a scooter ride over the Hai-Van Pass.

During the two months in Vietnam, I got to know some of the many sides of the country. Despite the prevailing communism, Vietnam is an impressive country with a lot of potential.


Stefanie Roskosch, Computational Engineering Student, Intake 2017/18

Translated and edited by Sarah Jordan, Student Assistant