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Experiencing cross-cultural differences as a Consular Officer

Alumni   Alumni Stories   Experiencing cross-cultural differences as a Consular Officer

Experiencing cross-cultural differences as a Consular Officer

Mr Dam Xuan Minh, our Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management alumni, shares with us what's it like to be working for the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Vietnam.

Can you tell us more about your current role with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Vietnam, and what made you decide to take on this role?

I am working in the Consular section, which deals with Visa applications. I also assist the Ambassador’s Office in doing research, and make economic and politics report from time to time.

I like to connect with my JCU fellows and decided to take on the role. My JCU friends are doing great. It is interesting to see how we were at the university 10 years ago and how we are now. It is good progress and I’d like to see the same progress again for new JCU friends.

If you could highlight one memorable experience in your working experience so far, what would that be?

That would be Ramadan month. During that period, Muslim staff don’t eat and drink when the sun is up, while Non-Muslim staff do. I am non-Muslim and my first Ramadan was interesting as I tried to blend in with the culture, and in the evening I joined their big dinner. However, it was my first time, and may be the last, because the next day I couldn’t do it again as my hands started shaking due to lack of energy.

What are some of the lessons learned or challenges faced in your current role?

Cross-cultural communication should be noted accordingly because we always have local and international visitors. Besides, precision is a must in the Embassy. The job in a government mission to a foreign country requires no mistake, so your attention to details should be brilliant.

How do you feel studying at the Singapore campus of James Cook University has helped you to face the challenges in your current employment? What do you miss the most about your time at JCU?

JCU is a wonderful place that made me understand the importance of cross-cultural communication as I have friends from India, China, Indonesia, Netherland and USA.

I miss the lecturers in Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management (MITHM). They were brilliant. They helped me understand the real business world, and prepare the necessary skills and knowledge for me to step into the next chapter of my life.

What would be your advice for current students?

Most importantly, spend as much time as possible with your lecturers. They will help you a lot. Besides, make more friends.

So what's the next step for you?

Keep up with my work and seek for a PHD scholarship if possible, because I would love to be a lecturer.

Lastly, JCU's strategic intent is ‘Creating a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide through graduates and discoveries that make a difference’. How do you think you have made (or are making) a difference?

I have a decent job that can feed my family, my kids are proud of me, and I am proud of the progress I have made after graduation. That could be a difference.