daily life

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Daily Life in Vietnam, Internship Experience, Practical Advice

Sport in Saigon

If you’re looking to get involved in sports during your internship there is plenty you can do. Sport is becoming increasingly popular amongst locals and with some beautiful trail runs available across the Vietnamese countryside – running is the sport that is taking up fans rapidly. Not only that, but with the large foreign community flocking to Vietnam there are lots of other international sports making their mark here through clubs.

Running

At first sight you may think Saigon isn’t so well suited for running, with motorbikes everywhere, quite heavy pollution and not many pavements it does make it a challenge. However, the longer you spend here you start to find some nice quieter spots to get your morning or evening jog in. Some spaces you may enjoy running are: the newly developed area near Sala Stadium, Vinhomes Central Park, Hoa Lu Stadium, along the side of the canals.

Runclub.vn arrange group runs almost every day of the week at different areas in the city. They accommodate all levels and quite frequently are able to get discounts for marathons and trail races across the country. Saigon Hash House Harriers – Hashing exists across the globe and Saigon is no different. Every Sunday this ‘drinking club with a running problem’ head outside of Saigon for a run following a trail of paper or flour before finishing off the evening with a ‘circle’ and ‘on-on’.

Swimming

If you like training in the pool then there are quite a few options across the city, but it is worth checking opening times as some of them can be quite strange and open for 2 hour chunks throughout the day! This blog has a good variety of different pools for training and relaxing around the city.

Yet Kieu Aquatics Centre is a great 50m & 25m lane pool that is kept clean. It is VND 20,000 / VND 25,000 (on weekends) per go and early in the morning is not too busy. The changing rooms aren’t great, so perhaps be best to head home for a proper shower and change afterwards.

Saigon Swim Squad meets once a week for an hour at AIS in Thao Dien and costs VND 150,000 per session – all profits going towards charity. The class is focused on improving technique and fitness for freestyle so you need to be a pretty competent swimmer, but it is nice to train as a group.

Cycling

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Vietnam – but this is one you do have to get up early for to either avoid the traffic or the heat. Some bike shops such as Trisport and RidePlus may be able to rent out bikes for a couple of hours and they do frequently arrange group rides for the weekends. Trisport also arrange group triathlon practices in Sala a couple of times a month.

Clubs

Below is a list of different clubs that get together to train in Saigon. They may stop training during the holidays, or reduce sessions, so it might be worth just checking their Facebook groups or pages for up to date information or dropping them a message. Some have membership fees, some have a training cost per session, but it would be possible to discuss with them something that works for both you and the club, so that you are still contributing to training costs.

The Vietnam Swans – Aussie Rules Football Club for both male and female.
Saigon Geckos – Rugby Union Football Club for both male and female. They also arrange weekly touch rugby sessions.
Saigon Gaels GAA – Gaelic Football Club for both male and female. Their season starts again in August as they prepare for the Asian Gaelic Games.
Saigon Shooters – Mixed netball club that has social netball on a Monday night; they run two friendly leagues throughout the year.
Saigon Women’s Football Club
Saigon Australian Cricket Club

These are just a few, but you can find a lot more on Facebook if you search what you are interested in.

Other sports & gyms
If you are wanting to play some badminton or tennis then it is easy enough to book a court at one of the sport centres. There are also options for climbing, ice skating, yoga around the city, so something for everyone.

Gyms are cropping up across the city – the main chain is California Fitness but this is quite expensive. There are smaller options around the city that can easily be found using Google Maps including some that specialise in cross fit, or martial arts.

Hope this information helps you stay fit in Saigon and keep doing the sports that you enjoy!

Cantonese, How-to Guides, Mandarin Guide

USEFUL STUFF FOR NOOBS

Hi all, Mandy here. I’m the new design and marketing intern at the Zhuhai office and the project manager for Teach by the Beach. A local of the lovely Cape Town (actually the wine-lands just outside the city), I graduated with a Fine Arts degree majoring in sculpture – meaning, after four years in studio my only employable skill was speaking English. Luckily South Koreas’ English teaching market wasn’t yet saturated and I managed to live and work there for two years.
Today living and working abroad is made immeasurably easier with advances in information exposure. Primarily thanks to the instantaneous access afforded by the Internet. Sure, nothing really prepares you for the staring you may garner by being “other”, the enticing and insulting scents of daily life or any of the other possibly different ways of navigating concepts of time (what constitutes “being on time” anyway?) and physical spaces (product placement in shop aisles, cycling in traffic, occasionally dodging dollops of baby excrement on pavements and dish-water from several storeys above) – but these few sources could prove useful for your day-to-day life:

LEARNING MANDARIN/CANTONESE

 

Pop-up Chinese (podcast)

InternChina – Podcast


One of the more entertaining ways of learning Chinese, Pop-up Chinese provides short dialogues with transcripts in Pinyin and characters As well as a guide through the finer details of pronunciation, meaning and often hilarious explanations of contexts by the two hosts – the native Chinese speaker and the second language speaker.

Their podcasts are arranged from absolute beginners to advanced levels – with a few fun categories (such as KTV Wednesdays and Film Fridays) included.

As a regular subscriber (no fee) you get quite a good range of the source material and access to forums for discussion as well as responses to your personal language questions if you email one of the hosts. Paying for a subscription allows more access and quite a bit more in terms of downloadable material.

Also available on site, is the sister-podcast, Pop-up Cantonese. Which could prove somewhat useful for our Zhuhai interns looking for a bit of a language edge or simply to surprize and impress their office staff.

CURRENT EVENTS

Sinica (podcast)

InternChina – Sinica


Sinica is a weekly discussion podcast available on the Pop-up Chinese website. Hosted by Kaiser Guo and Jeremy Goldkorn, the show manages to provide highly insightful topics, guests and recommendations without getting stuffy or boring. Everything from political situations to contemporary pop culture is dissected in a fresh and easy manner that allows even complete outsiders easy engagement in the discussions. Highly recommended for staying on top of current events.

 

ChinaSmack (blog)

InternChina – Chinasmack


Another favourite for current events, ChinaSmack, not only keeps one up to date on the latest Chinese news, but if you are at all interested in the thinking and behaviour of Chinese netizens, this is a quite gem. Netizen reaction to Chinese news stories, behavior and language in discussion forums and the general comment-banter thrown around in such forums, are translated into English. Impress and offend your Chinese friends and co-workers! Amazing!

Raouls’ China Saloon (forum)

This forum site is a quite an effort to apply to as they have some measures in place to make sure only really keen and/or persistent parties join. Once past that wall, it’s really quite a useful go-to source for times you need a quick answer to everything from adjust your TV setting/water heater to accessing inconvenient sites.

The more frequently you post in the forums the higher up you can move (more exclusive forums and posts are made accessible).

InternChina – Raoul’s China Saloon

Hope this has been useful guys!