I used to live in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the biggest city in Vietnam, where I had the chance to interact with all kinds of culture, including cuisine and art from all over the world. So when I was choosing a place to study abroad, aside from purely academic aspects, culture was a big part of my decision. I chose the United States, and Chicago specifically, because it had the school (DePaul University) that offered the program I wanted to continue my studies (Business IT) and it is also a place where I can experience a multicultural environment. Have I mentioned food yet? I love to eat, and where is a better place than Chicago for eating the most around-the-world cuisine?
The way to find the best Vietnamese food in the city is to go to a place where you can’t pronounce the restaurant’s name. That’s where you’ll find authentic foods. The place I normally go for Vietnamese food is Hai Yen at 1055 West Argyle. But, of course, the food I cook is always better than any restaurant you’ll ever find. The problem is that Vietnamese food is kind of delicate; you need to either cook it for at least six hours (pho) or you have to find rare ingredients which you can only find at the Vietnamese markets.
When I moved here I expected to be able to make a lot of friends who have the same passion in technology as well as adventurous spirits; people smart enough to enjoy the arts but nerdy enough to work in technology. I haven’t been disappointed. As the third-biggest city in the US, Chicago has a lot of talented people from everywhere coming to work here. And though the city is working on it, I still see it more as a cultural and business destination than one for IT, specifically.
I would love to stay here as I’m getting used to the American lifestyle and living standard which will make it difficult for me to go back to Vietnam and adapt again. And my mom has always said that it won’t be easy to find a job there now as many college graduate students with good GPAs are struggling to find field-related jobs. Additionally, I’m really happy with the position I have right now where I have the chance to work and have fun with my colleagues from all over the world in a global environment. Most of them are German and Indian, but there are many other countries as well. I still remember the first day I came to work: there were two groups of people speaking German and Hindi on either side of me. Even though I didn’t understand a single word, I found it really fascinating and awesome.
When I first moved to the US, I lived in a suburb of Green Bay and as my cousin told me: “The only place to hang out in winter is Walmart.” That’s why after living there for eight months, I made the decision to move to Chicago and I haven’t regretted that decision for a moment. (Anh Bien)