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Jan 22, 2023 / 14:15

Tet enriches love for Vietnam each year: Germany lecturer

Dr. Thomas Guidat, who celebrated five Tets (the Lunar New Year) in Vietnam, said his experience of the traditional Vietnamese holiday is “unforgettable.”

His sharing with The Hanoi Times will help foreign expats understand more about the millennial-long culture in this Southeast Asian country. 

 Dr. Thomas Guidat, a lecturer at Vietnam-German University, spends his five Tet holidays in Vietnam. 

I am glad to celebrate my 5th Tet in Vietnam in 2023. Since my first work mission at the Vietnamese-German University, Tet demonstrates perfectly how my perception of the local culture evolved. My first Tet spent in Vietnam coincided with the writing phase of my doctoral thesis, and I only noticed that my neighbors and the local businesses were closed for a week. At that time, I focused only on my work and did not invest time in making new friends, so I knew little about Vietnamese culture. As a lecturer, I also have difficulties receiving feedback from my students, who seem intimidated.

As related by many former expats, settling in a new country without your family can result in a lonely and depressing time. I am very grateful that Tet has saved me from such a situation. In 2020, I was invited by a friend to celebrate Tet in the city of Long Xuyen in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang. This experience was life-changing as it did not only allow me to understand Vietnamese culture better, but I also experienced a wonderful time of celebration of family love, friendship moments, and gift sharing. Every Tet since then, I have come back to my friend's family in Long Xuyen to celebrate the Lunar new year together.

I believe my story to be an unforgettable experience of the life of a foreigner in Vietnam. This country has a millennial-long culture and tradition which underpin many aspects of society. I especially admire the link between culture and values, as Tet is the expression of family love and care. Beyond being an essential moment to celebrate, Tet makes me fall in love with Vietnam a little more every year.