This week on Living in Vietnam, Australian Hospitality Alumni Network Vietnam would like to take you to Danang for a visit to two of our ‘local’ Aussies: Michael Roberts and Karen Goodwin-Roberts, an Australian couple who has been calling Vietnam home for more than 5 years.
Life in Australia
For 7 years prior to coming to Vietnam in 2016, Michael and Karen operated their own food and beverage business; cafes/restaurants, high end catering, and a Tasmanian only provedore. Before that Karen ran the hospitality and cookery programs for Tasmania’s largest training college, and Michael worked in senior positions in the tourism industry. Karen had also written two cookbooks, both based on Tasmanian produce. This week on Living in Vietnam‘s Chapter, the Australian Hospitality Alumni Network Vietnam has the permission to conduct this exclusive interview with both Michael and Karen to get to know more insights of their exciting journey in Vietnam.
Your favorite things to do?
Food and wine! Michael and Karen both love travelling and experiencing new cultures (especially food).
What do you miss the most about your home in Australia?
Tasmania is about the size of Northern Vietnam but with a population of only 500,000, so living with lots of space around them is one thing. Tasmania also boasts the freshest air in the world, it is a very unpolluted place. There is easy access to amazing products such as meat, seafood, veg, fruit and wine, mostly grown in free range or organic environments. “We do also miss their family and friends very dearly while living abroad”, said Michael.
Living in Vietnam
The couple has spent more than 5 years in Vietnam and mostly in Danang, except for Michael who had stayed in Ho Chi Minh City for one year for work. In the first instance, the couple moved to Danang as it was for an interesting job opportunity, but now they fell in love with the place.
What do you love the most about Vietnam?
Karen: We feel very safe here – more so than in Australia, and we find Vietnamese people to be incredibly kind and thoughtful, which is something that seems to be disappearing in Australia a little. We love the culture of respect in this country. Also the food! (but not so much the wine)!
Any local tips that you would like to share from the local Aussie’s point of view?
Karen: Embrace the culture, because it is truly wonderful. Eat street food, it’s the best in the world.
Michael: Learn basic Vietnamese. It’s a tough language but life will be easier when you know the language.
How Vietnamese are you?
Michael: When we go back to Australia people always ask why we take our shoes off at the door?
How is life different in Vietnam for you compared to Australia?
Karen: There are things like the cost of living, Australia has become an extremely expensive place. Vietnam is much more of a crowded place and the traffic here in Vietnam is much busier too.
Working in Vietnam
Where do you work? We both work at the Pegasus International College, Da Nang as lecturers. We are proud to deliver the Australian qualifications in hospitality, tourism and culinary arts.
How do you find joy in the jobs that you do? The students are our lives. We love their respect and the importance they place on learning.
Let’s get a little more personal
What do you value the most in life?
Karen: Respect and kindness, honesty and empathy.
Have you ever made any life changing decisions?
Michael: We had visited Vietnam a couple of times, but moving here in 2016 was definitely life changing for the better.
Both Karen and Michael are currently active members of the Australian Hospitality Alumni Network in Vietnam. As they are both senior hospitality lectures at the Pegasus International College in Danang, the couple will be willing to share their expertise and advices to all students and alumni who need their support. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to schedule an appointment with them.