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From Culture Shock to Lockdown: Local Girl goes Travelling

Author: Rosie G Published: 14th July 2020 15:36

You've heard of the phrase 'culture shock' - but what does it actually mean?

From my personal experience, culture shock is a process- physically, mentally, and emotionally, when travelling or living in a culture that is completely different from one's own. 

 Now, for those in the Petersfield area, we are used to the quiet, market town life So you think we'd be able to handle living in the countryside abroad, right?

 Wrong. At least, for me anyway!

My family and I have lived in Petersfield for nearly twenty years. Back in the summer of 2019, I decided to uproot my life for some fresh experienes, and made my way to Vietnam- where I worked as an English teacher before the Covid-19 outbeak.  

 I've travelled a few times before this. Thailand, Hungry, Slovenia, Spain...

But the Vietnamese countryside was a whole different story.


You name an illness, I probably had it.

The week I arrived, it was almost as if I was allergic to everything. I went down with a runny nose, sore throat, traveller's stomach. I had to take a few days off sick (needless to say, my boss wasn't impressed to start with)

 One night in December, I was teaching one of my evening classes, when my chest felt really tight, as though I was having a panic or asthma attack. My teaching assistant had to run to the pharmacy for me...the next day, I was fine. 

Or at least- I thought I was.

In January of this year, we all went travelling over the Asian TET holidays.  I had been so anxious I wasn't going to make it, as I'd possibly had an ear infection (so my GP suggests) - violent vomiting, and dizziness ever since- luckily, I made it in one piece to Ho Chi Minh. 


Coincidence has it, I was in Ho Chi Minh airport, catching my flight to Da Nang (a sea-side city along the central coast of the country)  - on the SAME DAY as the first case of THE coronavirus entered Vietnam- a guy from Wuhan who had flown in to meet his son (so claims the BBC.) 

Have I had the virus or not? 

Who knows. 

I had a cough the entire time I had been abroad- my housemate informed me of another weird respiratory illness that was going around, even before the Covid outbreak. 

My boss seemed to be the kind of person who could 'predict' things. She was a lovely woman, and supported my return home due to my health. "I think you should go home now instead of later" she had said to me on the phone back in February.

I returned home, exactly a week before lockdown was announced in the UK.

I'm now safely back in Petersfield- however, Vietnam was amazing and, in my opinion, probably one of the safest countries, in terms of dealing with Covid. 

Do I have any regrets on recent events? 

Absolutely not-  travel when you can.

Just not during a global pandemic! 


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