“Vietnam always in my heart”

Despite having faced some initial difficulties since he first set foot in Vietnam, young Frenchman Stanislas Deffrennes now considers the S-shaped country an indispensable part of his life.

Working as a volunteer in the country, Deffrennes, known as Stan, says he has learnt Vietnamese to talk to local people and always takes part in helping disadvantaged students at school.

Stan (centre) and his students in Hue
Stan (centre) and his students in Hue

Through many trips to different countries in Asia, including Japan and Thailand, he was attracted to Vietnam by its land and people imbued with patriotism and optimism.

“I am very curious about the Vietnamese people’s long-protracted struggle against foreign aggression,” he says.

Stan and Vietnamese friends

His exploration started from the imperial city of Hue in central Vietnam where he stayed for more than three months, teaching English and French to children in Huong Ho commune, organising fun games for children and giving a helping hand to farmers. “Hue people are poor, but very friendly,” he says.

Stan in Hue traditional costume

Stan is very impressed by the traditional food in Hue which, he says, is typically served in a unique way. “I often find food shops in the market or on the pavement where a large group of locals are gathering. I like to eat where I can see the flow of traffic along the road and Vietnamese young women walking gracefully in their Ao Dai (traditional long dresses),” he says with a happy smile.

The fond memories of Hue and other places of interest in Vietnam are unforgettable. And he wishes to come back and stay longer next time.