One Portuguese guy and two Dutch girls that have just met in September 2011, sharing a room for six weeks, living on a low budget basis in a chaotic and hot (35ºC!) atmosphere, with a lot of uncertainty associated with data collection, Vietnamese culture and time constraints, plus the natural thesis and living abroad stress: challenge accepted!A very good aspect of the Master in Business Administration (Entrepreneurship) at VU University Amsterdam is the possibility and flexibility of performing the thesis within an international context.
With the goal of better understanding the impact of Microfinance, one of the main (theoretically) tools to eradicate/reduce poverty we decided to go to Vietnam. After some research, brainstorm and meetings in the Netherlands we finally arrived to Vietnam.
Our theses were divided into two components: qualitative interviews with Microfinance experts and quantitative questionnaires with both Microfinance receivers and non-Microfinance receivers. After dozens of mails, several rejections to meet, long time waiting toobtain answers and permission from the local/province authorities to perform the field research and some questions constantly present (How to obtain contacts? How to approach people? What are sensitive questions according to Vietnamese culture (i.e. religion)? How to interact in the meetings?), we finally received positive feedback and were able to collect our data: an unforgettable experience next to humble, simple and very friendly people. After all the effort and energy spent there was our “prize”: the opportunity to meet and interact with people that fight everyday for their survival and the “illusion” that we can make the difference, we can create an impact.
We loved the country, the people, the differences: the whole experience. After six weeks, we could not be happier with the results obtained for our thesis, the consolidation of our friendship and the knowledge of a totally different culture (for two of us it was the first time in Asia). What are you waiting for?