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Vietnamese university students hold unique year-end parties on tight budget

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 20:02 GMT+7
Vietnamese university students hold unique year-end parties on tight budget
A group of students hold a year-end BBQ party in the southern beach city of Vung Tau. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre

For university students in Vietnam, a year-end party is a great opportunity for them to foster their bonds and bid adieu to the old year, but it does not have to cost much or be held at a fancy restaurant.

This particular time of the year can be quite busy for Vietnamese university students, as they have to wrap up their schoolwork and prepare for their upcoming trip back to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

This year’s Tet falls on February 5, while celebration and preparation often take place a week before and after the date.

No matter how frantic the schedule is, these students still manage to participate in a meaningful, memorable, yet very affordable year-end party.

University students enjoy their small party at a park in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: My Linh / Tuoi Tre
University students enjoy their small party at a park in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: My Linh / Tuoi Tre

The venue can be in the comfort of their tenanted homes or at a public place such as a park, while the food is bought, prepared, and cooked by the participants themselves.

“What matters the most is that we enjoy the time together, so the party doesn’t have to be luxurious,” said a student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy.

Linh and her friends’ party took place at a local park and included some of their favorite snacks, namely kimbap, ‘banh trang tron’ (rice paper salad), and pennywort juice.

Following the meal, the students sent a warm goodbye to one another as they will see each other again after the long holiday.

Students cook food during their year-end party at a public space in Ho Chi Minh City.  Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre
Students cook food during their year-end party at a public space in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre

Although finance is usually a challenge for most students, throwing a party, either big or small, is advisable.

“As university students, we can only have four year-end parties with our friends before we graduate, so we have to make them count,” Linh explained.

According to Tran Thi Truc Thi, who is a student at Saigon University, her year-end party only cost VND50,000 (US$2.15) for each person.

Thi and her friends prepared and cooked fish balls, stir-fried instant noodles, and a hotpot, along with soda for the girls and beer for the boys.

“We ate, sang, and told ghost stories until midnight,” she recalled.

A group of students hold a year-end party in the southern beach city of Vung Tau. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre
A group of students hold a year-end party in the southern beach city of Vung Tau. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre

Saving up for a trip

A year-end party does not have to be just a meal as it can sometimes last for several days at a faraway location.

A group of students in Ho Chi Minh City said they had planned for their party in the beach city of Vung Tau, about 95 kilometers southeast of the metropolis, since August.

Each member had to pay VND190,000 ($8.17), and they had to start saving about VND10,000 ($0.43) every week before the trip.

As they would be on a tight budget, the members bought food and veggies at local markets and carried them to their destination, while others brought along a stove and spices.

Food is prepared to be grilled at a party. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre
Food is prepared to be grilled at a party. Photo: Tan Hiep / Tuoi Tre

After reaching Vung Tau, they rushed toward the beach to enjoy the sea, sand, and sun. At sunset, they set up their charcoal stove and held an economical BBQ party.

“We grilled corn, sweet potatoes, chicken legs, and they were all tasty. We had fun together, told our stories. The party could not get any cozier,” said Cao Kham, another member.

The group spent a night in the coastal city and headed back on the following morning.

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