When we first arrived in Hoi An, everything was very new and excited and overwhelming. After the first week or so, we started to find a routine for our days, especially Monday through Friday when we have classes. My roomie and I wake up at around 7am. She usually wakes up a little while before me so she´s done in the bathroom by the time I wake up. We then pack our tote bags; computer, charger, fan, water, money, and a shirt to cover our shoulders when we´re outside the classroom at campus, and head to school.
We all bought bikes at the beginning of our semester, and we ride our bikes everywhere. To school is no exception. It takes about 15-20 minutes to bike to school. On the way we often stop to buy breakfast.
The majority of students buy a banh mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich, which cost 15k to 20k dong (less than a dollar). Many also buy coffee or juices from street vendors. We have all found our go-to for both coffee and banh mi. My go-to even knows my order, so when he sees me, he initially smiles, nods, and starts making my food! Almost makes me feel like a local 🙂
We start school at 8.30am, and we have our classes at a university here in Hoi An. We have different lecturers from week to week, sometimes every two weeks. We usually have lectures until 11am. Sometimes we also have double lectures till about 12pm.
After lectures, we bike back to the area where all the students live to have lunch at Balance Café. This is also our study center – a place we can use for studying after classes. We have lunch at Balance from Monday through Friday, and it is one of the highlights in our day. The lunch is a small buffet with both meat and vegetarian options. And its delicious!
After lunch, we are done with school for the day. Some spend time reading class material and preparing for next day´s lecture. Other people spend time exploring the city and area around it. We are divided into different houses, but we all live in the same area, so we spend time at each other’s houses or at nearby restaurants and cafes. We live close to beautiful rice fields, so many of us bike through there on our way to cafes. Hoi An´s oldtown is a gem, and we love spending time there, enjoying all the narrow streets and small shops. For dinner, we almost always go out or order grab (delivery service). So far, I haven’t heard of anyone of the students that have cooked their own dinner at the student houses.
You can find dinner for as cheap as $1.50, so its affordable, efficient, and fun. We go out for dinner in groups, and it is a great way to get to know the different areas and explore the city´s cuisine. Some delicious and affordable dinner options are Cao Lầu (noodles), Pho (noodle soup), and Bánh Xèo (rice pancake).
During the fall semester, you have to take into account a heavy rainy season. It lasts for a few weeks, usually towards to end of the semester, so I would recommend doing as many activities as possible at the beginning of the semester. Some activities we´ve done is a house-to-house to visit all houses and see where other students live; lantern workshop to make our own Vietnamese lantern; yoga; and game nights. We also have regular soccer, badminton, and volleyball activities. We play soccer and volleyball games against local teams.
Now, we have started a new chapter. For our last few weeks here in Hoi An, we will be writing our group exam. We have been grouped up and chosen a topic that we will write about. My group has gotten far on our project, but it has been a big adjustment in workload compared to the first weeks of only lectures. This research project (exam) is very time consuming as we are conducting interviews to get the information we need to write the paper.
In general, our everyday life here in Hoi An is very nice and calm. There are a lot of different options for food and activities, and our bikes are great for exploring the area. The place is great for students, and we are really enjoying our stay here!