Secondment at VNU, Hà Nội in April-May 2023

16th May, 2023, by Marco Lucio Sarcinella

Within the framework of the EM4FIT project, I recently went on a research exchange to Hanoi, Vietnam, where I stayed for a month at the VNU-UEB. It took me a couple of days to get used to the new environment and figure out how the basic things worked. For instance, I had to learn which ATMs worked best with western bank accounts, how to pay cashless for food and goods, get a local sim card, and use the local transportation system.

I located an apartment on Airbnb, basing my decision on its proximity to the university, and I found the host to be particularly communicative and helpful in resolving any issues that may have arisen. While the apartment was a 40-minute bus ride from the city center, it was within walking distance of the VNU campus. However, I would advise reaching out to the international office of the university to liaise with accommodation providers in advance, ensuring smoother communication and securing a suitable lodging prior to departure. I can assure that the VNU office was
exceptionally helpful in assisting me with this approach.

After few days since my arrival, the university granted me the privilege of using a desk in a shared room with other professors and researchers, thereby facilitating collaboration and exchange of research ideas. Throughout my stay, I encountered a spike in Covid cases, and as a result, many people began working from home. The university, in compliance with local government regulations, enforced mandatory mask-wearing in various settings.

Despite this challenge, I had the opportunity to contact and interview several startup’s CEOs, thanks to the contacts provided by the host university and their partner, the KisStartup business incubator. These interviews were instrumental in my research, aiding me in discerning the key factors influencing the entrepreneurial business process.

During the secondment, as part of the exchange program, I organized and delivered a seminar entitled “Exploring Factors Impacting Entrepreneurial Business: A Case Study of Southern Italy”, using the research company I work for, as a case study. The seminar, provided to a class of entrepreneurial students, discussed some of the factors that the EM4FIT project examines.

In conclusion, my experience was entirely positive. I must emphasize that my research exchange program in Hanoi was both stimulating and enlightening. The challenges of adjusting to a new environment were more than offset by the benefits of interacting with the local research community. The opportunity to exchange ideas with other researchers in the field, combined with the experience of conducting research in a foreign country, proved to be an invaluable experience, both personally and professionally.