Delegation Blogpost – Seminar Recap #1
On February 12th, 2024, our Seminar in Switzerland commenced—a much-anticipated week brimming with captivating guest speakers, enlightening workshops, and insightful business visits. Empowering our student delegation, we entrusted them with the task of reflecting on this enriching experience by inviting them to share their perspectives on select program highlights.
With great joy, we are thrilled to present the blog posts crafted by our esteemed student delegation.
Unlocking Insights into Vietnam: Bridging Tradition and Growth
Thanks to Ms. Le Thu Thuy, we received a lot of interesting insights of Vietnam’s unique culture and business landscape. Vietnam, with its rich cultural heritage offers a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. From the bustling street markets which awaken at 5.30am, to its vibrant business landscape, the country presents a dynamic tapestry of resilience, culinary delights, and economic opportunities.
Key Takeaways and Learnings
Cultural Aspects: Vietnam’s biggest cities are the northern capital Hanoi, and the southern city Ho Chi Minh, which was renamed from “Saigon” to the former president’s name in 1976. The Lotus flower, Vietnam’s national symbol, embodies the nation’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges. This spirit is reflected in everyday life and business efforts, highlighting the importance of persistency and adaptability. A fun fact is, that when meeting Vietnamese, they might directly ask for one’s age and marital status, which indicates their open-mindedness.
Economic Landscape: Vietnam’s economy is characterized by its strong manufacturing sector, fueled by domestic demand and diverse export markets, for example of cashew nuts and coffee. Furthermore, strategic investments in infrastructure and free trade agreements contribute to the country’s growth and attractiveness to foreign investors.
Culinary Diversity: Vietnamese cuisine offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures, reflecting the country’s cultural diversity and creativity. Vietnam’s dynamic evolution is reflected from its traditional meals like Banh Mi to beverages that connect to business like Cà Phê Trung, a coffee with egg which is often consumed during business meetings.
Links to Robotics, Digitalization, and Circular Economy
Vietnam’s growing manufacturing sector offers opportunities for the integration of robotics and automation technologies to enhance productivity and efficiency. Simultaneously, the widespread adoption of digital technologies across various industries, ranging from e-commerce to fintech, is revolutionizing Vietnam’s economic landscape. This digital transformation not only promotes innovation but also fuels economic development and fosters enhanced connectivity within the nation. While Vietnam recognizes the importance of sustainability by signing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the country is still in the beginning of working towards sustainability, which stems from its continuously growing economy.
Vietnam’s journey of tradition and growth is marked by resilience, innovation, and cultural richness. From the symbolic significance of the Lotus flower to the vibrant business landscape and culinary diversity, the country offers a compelling narrative of opportunity and exploration. As Vietnam embraces digitalization, sustainability, and regional cooperation, the potential for growth and collaboration is vast. Vietnam’s combination of tradition and progress sets the stage for ongoing success and prosperity globally.
Authors: Janine Gilgen, Luca Meier
The Land of Smiles: Insights into Thailand
The Monday afternoon began with an exciting immersion into Thailand. Thailand is also known as the “land of smiles” and the friendly atmosphere was perfectly embodied by our guest speaker, Dr. Fah Yantarasri, who brought some of Thailand’s vibrant, welcoming spirit into our classroom. She is the President of the Thai Students Association in Switzerland and with her diverse experiences of growing up in Thailand and living in the United States, Japan and Switzerland, she was the perfect guest speaker to bring Thailand closer to us.
We began our exploration by immersing ourselves in the diverse tapestry of Thai culture. One of the outstanding features we discovered was the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Thai people. Tolerance is deeply ingrained in their society and their friendly demeanour is evident in their ever-present smiles. We also observed the importance of hierarchy in Thai society, where respect is highly valued, and conflicts are often approached with diplomacy rather than confrontation. Constructive criticism is handled delicately, with an emphasis on maintaining positivity and harmony in interactions. Overall, our encounter with Thai culture left us with a deep appreciation for its inclusive and uplifting spirit. It was further mentioned that the relationship between the Thai people and their king, currently King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is deeply rooted in respect and reverence. The monarchy holds a special place in Thai society, with the king traditionally seen as a unifying figure and symbol of national identity. Throughout history, Thai monarchs have been highly revered, and their words and actions carry considerable weight in shaping the country’s cultural and political landscape. Tourists visiting Thailand should always show respect for the King and observe local customs and protocols when discussing or interacting with the monarchy.
After learning about the culture we got some information about the relationship between Thailand and Switzerland. Thailand and Switzerland enjoy a strong relationship characterised by trade, cultural exchange and diplomatic cooperation. Switzerland is also a popular destination for Thai students and tourists. Overall, the relationship is characterised by mutual respect and cooperation in various fields.
Link to the Economy
We also took a short dive into Thailand’s economy which is a dynamic mix of manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. With its strategic location in Southeast Asia, Thailand plays a major player in global trade, exporting electronics, automobiles and agricultural products. The tourism sector, with its stunning beaches and cultural attractions, is a major contributor to the country’s GDP and provides employment for millions of Thais. The economy of Thailand has been steadily growing and reached a GDP of 505.09 billion USD in 2021, making it the second largest economy in the ASEAN region.
In conclusion, guided by Dr. Fah Yantarasri’s insightful reflections, our immersion in Thailand’s vibrant culture and dynamic economy left us with a deep appreciation for its warmth, tradition, and global relevance. It also sparked a great deal of excitement to explore this country even more when we are traveling there.
Authors: Natalie Rytz & Milena Zemp