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Ceilidh Bates' Story

Ceilidh Bates in Vietnam in 2023

When I received my acceptance to participate in the Social Entrepreneurship project in Vietnam, I was hesitant to go. The thought of traveling with a group of complete strangers for two weeks filled me with anxiety. However, little did I know that these strangers would quickly become lifelong friends.

Prior to this experience, my knowledge of entrepreneurship in Vietnam was limited. However, during my time there, I had the incredible opportunity to engage with entrepreneurs from various fields. Working alongside Vietnamese students allowed me to hear their unique ideas and perspectives, broadening my understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape in Vietnam.

I am immensely grateful to have been part of such an amazing team during my trip. Our journey was blessed with exceptional staff members and the most incredible group of students. The mutual respect and support among every individual gave a sense of community. I always felt comradery, knowing that there was someone there for me whenever I needed it. Whether I craved some alone time or simply wanted to unwind with a game of cards in someone's room, I knew I had their unwavering support.

As days passed during our two weeks, our bonds with our new friends from Vietnam grew stronger. They welcomed us into their lives, sharing their favorite food, taking us to karaoke, on bike rides, and were always willing to help us navigate the local environment. I will be forever grateful for the hospitality I felt during my stay.
It’s been over a week since I left my new friends in Vietnam, and I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes writing this. It has been an emotional rollercoaster making new friends, only to say farewell after a short 2 weeks with the unknown of when you will reconnect. I am overflowing with gratitude for the shared memories, but there is also a sense of loss in parting ways. The impact the people I met while in Vietnam have had on my life is immeasurable, I don’t think they will every fully comprehend the depth of it.

During my experience I was reminded of the power of human connection. The Social Entrepreneurship project in Vietnam not only deepened my understanding of entrepreneurship but also demonstrated the profound impact that genuine friendships can have on one's life. Although physically distant from my friends in Vietnam, the memories we share and the bonds we formed will forever hold a special place in my heart.

A piece of my heart will always be in Vietnam.