Vy and An, Internships

Vy and An are now doing their internships. They are working at the garment factory where VY’s father is now a supervisor. They are in their last year at TDTU, and the internships are part of the program.  An still works at the furniture store as well.

Vy wrote:

I didn’t see your email until now. Sorry for answering late. We are good. Recently I have been quite busy with this internship and An busy with her job so we could not connect to you and Mr.Joe.

Talking about our internship: now we have been there for two weeks. The first week we had no work to do, we just read our books and waited for someone to ask us to help. Hahaha you know what? When someone asked us help them sort their files we were very happy. We just talked to 2 people in HR department who needed us to help.

The second week, we could talk to more people and they were happy to share more of their work with us instead of just a little bit. During the time we work  here we will try to discover what are the good things and bad things. Luckily this Korean company is not bad. Although this company’s union is not as good as I expected, they are still better than some company’s. More details about this company situation we will tell 2 of you later.

LATER: Last friday, An and I went to the charity center with my father, his colleague and the vice general director( VGD) of Thanh Cong Textile and Garment Company. Thanh Cong company is a part of E-Land group (Korea).  This group is one of 10 biggest and most famous groups in Korea. We prepared a meal for the old and poor. Before we came, the doctors from the Thanh Cong clinic checked up and gave free medicine for them. The place where we went is near our company, just 10 minutes by motorbike. There is the center for charities of the Korean company community. Lots of Korean companies like Lotteria, Posco and Orion came there.

An and I were very happy to enjoy this day. Everybody was enthusiastic, from the vice general director to the staff.  They were willing to do everything. I put food into the trays, my father put rice, An helped some people serve the food for the poor. And you know, the VGD and some Korean experts were willing to clean trays and spoons, I felt that they did it with heart. After the meal, the VGD had a speech to say thank you and share his feelings.

My father is very proud of this company. He likes the Korean culture and Korean life style. He told me that he will let me learn about the Korean life style and work hard and participate in these charity days as much as possible because it’s good for me.

Last Saturday, I attended  The Shining Day of Suntory Pepsico VietNam Company, the soft drinks company that has lots of brands: Pepsi, Lipton, 7up, etc.  This is an event for students from many universities in HCM city to find out about the Future Leader program of Pepsico. This is a big company and lots of students want to apply there. But I’m not going to. I admit that this company has many benefits for its staff, good wages, and a good environment. I like the way they run their company. But I do not love their product. Soft drinks are not good for your health. I am really more interested in with the garment company because I think the garment workers have more a more difficult time than the other workers. I want to find a way to help them, improve their life, their knowledge.

Today, An and I helped the union steward prepare gifts for the woman workers. They’re very interested in the gift which is 4 plates with 4 different sizes. The brand is Minh Long – a famous brand of ceramics in Viet Nam. Normally, the worker don’t buy the products of Minh Long because it’s expensive. They just buy some bowls or plates made in China. You know it’s not good for their health if they use it for long time. This gift is worth 150.000 VNĐ.

The 8th of March is coming, I wish you  a great day with your family. Wish you have good health, more than success in your life and always be happy with everything you do.

LATER:  About Pepsico, I know Aquafina and it is the only product of theirs that I like. You know, when I attended the Pepsico event, the attendees were divided into 5 groups, one for each of the 5 Departments in Pepsico: HR, Marketing, Supply Chain, Sales, and Operation. I attended HR and Marketing to listen their story. At HR group, I was  really interested in their job and then when I attended to Marketing group I had flexible feeling. The MC of Marketing asked us which brand of Pepsico we liked most. Lots of people answered Pepsi, 7up, or Sting. Only I answered Aquafina. Then many people stared at me like I was a strange person. I wondered “Do they know the bad reputation of soft drinks?” I think they do, but they still like soft drinks because of the flavor.

You can put my message on your blog. It’s my pleasure. You know my writing skill is not good. If u put my message on your blog, please help me to correct the mistakes. Thank you.



An wrote:

I wish I were there to go camping with your family. It will be amazing experience.

Today, after did my internship form 8 am to 5 pm, Vy and I had dinner at the canteen. It’s really good and provides enough the energy for the workers. I will talk about the company in another email, when I have enough information.

Then we went to the SOS Children’s Villages VN, here is the link:  http://www.sosvietnam.org/Home/tabid/39/language/en-US/Default.aspx . Vy and I go there to teach 3 children, a boy ages 9 grade 4 and two girls ages 7 grade 2. We teach and help them learn Vietnamese language, Math, Science and all the subjects they need help in, of course including English. The boy ‘s name is Thành Nhân – it means “a human, become a good person.” The fingers in his left hand have a problem and they don’t grow. You can see  this in the picture I took. He is really smart. The girl with short hair – her Dad got sick and he can’t take care of her.They live in the Children’s Village like a family. They have a house with the Mom and 9 or 10 brothers and sisters. There are 20 houses in a circle around a yard so it looks like neighborhood.

Vy and I don’t have enough money to donate, we just only have knowledge to teach them so we do.

Vy and SOS kids

H: An took these pictures and emailed them to me. That is Vy in the middle.

BOy human smile

LATER: Vy and I started our internship one week ago. I go on Mon – Wed – Friday and I work at the furniture shop on Tue – Thurs – Sat – Sunday. Everything is different between theory and reality. We are trying to find ways to make the workers have awareness to keep a clean environment at the canteen and help the union prepare gifts for women workers on International Women’s Day.

I am really excited to look forward for tomorrow, because we will go to each factory and see how  the workers do, working conditions, what do they feel, etc.

This is about the work that Vy and I do at SOS children’s villages. We work with them 3 days a week on Mon-Wed-Friday, 2 hours/day, after we do our internship. teaching them is not as easy as we thought it was;  it’s really hard. Each of them has a different character, situation  in life, and history from the way people treated them before. Sometimes, it is stressful to me to think how to change the hostile behavior of these children. They aren’t patient and can’t focus on anything they do. I teach them and then they will forget it. And now, I know how hard you teach and make lessons attractive to a lot of students. Vy and I are try to think what are they need, what is the most suitable way to teach them. We will find some way and will try each of them to find the best way.

And last, about the food at the canteen of company. The company have 2 canteens so EE can chose, so that the canteens have to compete with each other . They have flexible menus every day, and make the food delicious and make it clean to get more EE. Each meal is 15,000 vnd and the ER pays for this. EE eat free (but not students like us). The health office checks the meal every day, and they have suggestion box and a hotline for EE if EE have idea about the meal or the organization of canteen. I think the company has a good idea when they use 2 contractors. The EE can choose the taste they like and the contractor should try to improve and make the meal more delicious to attract EE, so that EE can get more benefit.

Canteen tray

An took this, in the company canteen. This looks exactly like the meals served in the faculty dining room at TDTU, except that they were not on metal trays. 

PS: The soup so easy to cook, they put pork ribs, winter melon, green onions and a little pepper in it. Here is the way to cook that soup: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXck80gQyJw. You can change the fruit if you can not find it like: cabbage, cauliflower, carrot + potato, bitter melon, pumpkin. Hope you have a good meal with this soup.



Speaking of soup:  The canteen in the Kaiser Medical Center in Oakland, where my various doctors are, is now serving pho. The man ladling it out, who spoke Spanish, intended to be  generous when he added a whole tablespoon full of hot peppers. Therefore I have no idea what it tasted like. But I’ll try again some other day.

Pho at Kaiser

Published by helenaworthen

Labor educator, retired from University of Illinois, taught at TDT University in Ho Chi Minh City in the Faculty of Trade Unions and Labor Relations. Co-author with Joe Berry of Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the contingent faculty movement in higher education, forthcoming (August 2021) from Pluto Press.

One thought on “Vy and An, Internships

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: