“I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to come from Vietnam and study in England. I had always been ambitious and really wanted to study abroad for a better future. After two years at private school in England I went to Amsterdam. That was eleven years ago.
I became independent and mature here. I couldn’t cook and had to look for a job. Amsterdam offers opportunities and if you are persistent and stick to your guns you will succeed.
I had not problems with culture shock when I arrived here, as I had already been in England for two years. There are differences. Amsterdammers are very to the point, Asians are not. They are softer and warmer and don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so we discuss things a lot. Making friends is different here, too. In Vietnam it’s normal to become friends with your colleagues. Here, everybody is very open and nice, but you respect each other’s personal space and friendships don’t exist.
I love the city. In comparison with Hanoi, Amsterdam is quite small. I love to go everywhere on the bike. In Vietnam is very low on the transportation list: first a bike, then a scooter, then a car. Here the bike is number one, and you don’t bother with a car. I think this is fantastic. I’ve lived in Oost for ten years and have watched the area change. It is now a safe, hip district, a sort of new Pijp.”
449 people in Amsterdam have the Vietnamese nationality.