Day 0:

We had an early meet up with the SUTD students at the airport at 7:30am and went into the departure hall. We had a relaxing flight to Noi Bai International Airport. Upon reaching the airport, we were greeted by the intense heat and hot temperature that was not expected. We had a 45 minutes bus ride to our 4 star hotel Hillary Hotel that was filled with interesting views of the countryside and insights into the lives and cultures of the Vietnamese people living there. The hotel itself was well maintained and the room itself was comfortable with a large queen size bed to sleep on for the night.

We had a warm welcome by the VNU students who brought us to a nearby park to sightsee, followed by a delicious Pho meal at a nearby small restaurant. We also visited the nearby supermarket and had asked the VNU students for recommendations on various snacks and drinks they had enjoyed. Interestingly, they had a lot of free samples for snacks and even beer which was a stark contrast to Singapore’s kiasu culture of not giving samples.

We were then given free time and went to a bar called Legend Beer restaurant. There was a great variety of food offered there and their fried rice was exceptionally nice with the rice being crispy. Vietnamese Beer was also a highlight there, with a special taste and smooth texture.

Day 1:

With the official exchange with VNU starting on the aforementioned day, we were giddy with excitement at the opportunity to interact and acquire valuable information from our fellow engineers and aspiring engineers.

The day started off with the introduction of VNU’s staff. Following that, our esteemed Professor Teo Tee Hui gave an introduction about SUTD, our ethos and pedagogy, before we embarked on a tea break where we got our first taste of Vietnamese Coffee. Upon the first waft, we were smitten by the aroma that filled the room. The coffee had a strong taste complimented by a generous topping of condensed milk that blended perfectly, giving us a perfect start to the day.<><><> We had a sharing of past Physics projects by our school’s students to the VNU students to inspire them on possible projects that they can undertake.

We were then received and introduced to the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, with the various students and professor being very friendly with us. We were treated to a nice meal of Bun Cha and talked about our schedule for the future days.

We then had a discussion on hydroponics and split up into two groups to come up with ideas on how to make more people at home or in industries take up hydroponics. We then came back to discuss on the various ideas we came up with. The teacher then brought us around the campus to drink nice Ice lemon tea and we visited the labs of Agriculture Technology where they study the various plants in the nursery. They also had an equipment room with 3d printers and drones. Their drones expert explained to us that drones help them study the various plots of land and the conditions required for the plants to germinate, and how they segment and divide the lands for plant germination. We were then given free time to explore the city

Today we went to Hoan Kiam Lake and had Siamese Duck noodles. We then walked around the lake which was bustling with families which was surprising for a Monday night. There were various ice cream shops and we had nice cream sticks, ranging from green bean to coconut to taro flavours. We walked along the lake, and returned to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Day 2:

Today we visited the agriculture site of Hoa Lac Campus, the new university site of VNU in the year 2026, and was greeted by a well established air-conditioned hut beside a greenhouse.

We were taught how to assemble a hydroponics system there and the many things to look out for, which includes the possible leaking through the pipes when the water is flowing through the system, and how to fix such leakages.

We were also introduced to the nutrients required for the plants to grow well, and how to measure the pH value of the electrical conductivity using sensors. We had to add vinegar to make the solution more acidic as it is deemedmore suitable as nutrients for the system. We were then shown around the greenhouse which contained the plants they had growing there, breaking for lunch there.

Their drones expert also showcased the use of their high class drone, the DJI Mavic. We got the chance to operate it and fly it around the area, with the drones expert showing us their analysis of past drone missions and the results of it. We then walked to a nearby drinks stall to have their famous iced tea. The bus then sent us back to the school and it was free and easy from there.

Day 3:

We prepared our slides for our presentation on Day 4 to share what we had learnt in the 2 days. We were also interviewed by their media team to talk about our experiences in Vietnam and what we enjoyed, represented by our fabulous group leader Aish. Our vietnamese friends then brought us to a nice nearby shop to eat Bún riêu, a clear tomato soup with vermicelli that was superb. They then brought us to a Banh Mi shop where we had Banh Mis weighing like a fully filled 1L water bottle, definitely a must return if we were to go back to Hanoi. We then took a nice photo with the Agriculture technology team staff as a lot of them were heading back to their hometown to celebrate Vietnam’s national day. It was then free and easy from then

Day 4:

We came back to school for our presentation and the closing ceremony with VNU. We shared the various things we learnt which includes whatever happened in the first 2 days. The other groups also shared what they had learnt and it was nice to see the knowledge shared between two different universities and that each side had something to offer with the visit. It was quite emotional as our group member had took the effort to print out photos that we took on Day 3 and put it into frames all in one day to gift to us.

We took a nice closing ceremony photo both as a group and as two universities together, ending off our educational journey at the university. We were then let go for free and easy.

Day 5:

Waking up early, we were all brought on a bus to the famous Thanh Chuong’s Viet Palace, where we got to time-travel to the past of various ethnic groups in Vietnam, commoners as well as nobles. We got to see cultural treasures that were carefully curated to show how people live their daily life and how they worship. We also got to try the cafe’s egg coffee, and it was interesting to see the whisked egg being used as a milk form as compared to the normal coffee we usually drink in Singapore which uses condensed or evaporated milk.

We were then fetched to a popular restaurant with good reviews where we had a nice piping hot beef pho.

We were then brought to the Hanoi National Historical Museum where we got to see the history of Hanoi, which includes the various artefacts left behind by the Mongolians during their invasion. It was fascinating to see intricately designed pots and tombs that were ahead of its time and it makes you wonder how did they do it without the technology we have today, or that people dedicated their lives to perfecting this art. We then took one last photo with some of the VNU students who nicely joined us on the trip despite it being their National Day. We were then let go for free and easy.

Day 6:

Being the last day of the trip, it was sad to check out out of our room with our luggage. Some of us then travelled to Vincom center metropolis for our last meal in Hanoi, and we met back at our hotel. Some VNU students were there and we even got to try their scooters. It was so nice of them to let us try it and made us think of riding our own back in SG. The bus then brought us to the airport where we checked our luggage in and prepared to board the plane. We then took a relaxing flight that had some of the best airplane food Singapore Airlines had to offer, their Singapore Laksa and Chicken Bolognese was excellent. Upon landing our Prof gave us a closing speech and thanked us. It was the end of our 7 day trip and we were returning back to our lives. We cherish the memories we made in Vietnam and the friends we made along the way. We hope to return one day!

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