Why do we need ” Cultural immersion” ?

Why do we need ” Cultural immersion” ?

First 10 Days in Vietnam : Mission accomplished



It’s said “ you never know how strong you are,  until being strong is the only choice you have




I am Mohamed , Working for GSK GCC ,  Resident in Saudi Arabia , which makes it needless to say that I am moving from totally different culture than I have now in Hanoi , Vietnam


I came here , like most of PULSE volunteers,  with  unstoppable desire to make profound & sustainable change in our personalities , to the society sector we are going to serve and to GSK by bring fresh experience back to our doors with developed and motivated employees.


The question her is how to make all those profound objectives in only 6 months ?!!!!!

My Humble suggestion :  immerse your self in new culture



Are you a fast learner ?

if you wish to be super fast learner , just make learning is your only way for survival ; drop your self in the deep waters and you will make it to the shore all by yourself !


and for more details we can say :

  • For The Society : Gemba , go and see by yourself what is the problem you are going to address look like , this will not only make you understand better , this will make you feel the huge responsibility on you as your are in powerful position to help !
  • For Your self : get your self in the norms of other culture , just drop your self out of your comfort zone and go with other people norms and culture and try to learn and understand as much as you can
  • For GSK : Contemplate , just imagine how what you learn can be incorporated with GSK ways of working , and share your experience with others as I am doing now ( Senior mentor , Coach , direct manager , PULSE buddy or whoever may be interested in GSK )


( For more details about our Hiking experience you may like to read Chad Morgan’s article , https://gskpulsevolunteers.com/2016/07/20/those-are-not-the-right-shoes/)

( And If You want  see how such experience affected our personalities and team spirit , you may like to read Bob’s article https://gskpulsevolunteers.com/2016/07/20/comrade/)

In my first 10 days in Vietnam : that’s what I gained

  • Gemba : I have seen the working locals in the rice fields over the mountains area  , the poor children who were working and selling stuff to tourists , what I have seen , made me feel the responsibility .we holds for them
  • Understanding of Save The Children Programs and strategic plan
  • Teaming up with Bob and Chad : A long hiking trip with Bob and Chad , with such work hard trails made me feel like I kno, them for very long time , both are resourceful , trustworthy and interesting
  • Teaming up with Sujya  ( arrived from India  3 days later), we both are working for Save The Children , we also have searched high and low with each other for suitble apartment which made us closer
  • Sapa Mountain hiking: made me see the beauty of Vietnamese lands as well as the beauty and depth of their personalities and also their strive for living
  • Learned how to drive a motorbike : which is the main means for transportation in Vietnam
  • Got in my new apartment : in Suitable location new Chad and Bob apartments
  • Exploring Hanoi city to be ready with all available facilities support my 6 months stay ( Embassy , Egyptians assembly , Mosque …etc
  • I understood an interesting business model in SaPa mountains, which actually requires an entire article about it ( we may call it , the unconditional service )

As You may have noticed , I am immersing my self into the new environment , with 2 main equipment , Trust and Respect , Because I am trusting and respecting people , they show me openness & tolerance and support.

And here is the timeline of my activities :

  • Thursday night : arrival to Hanoi
  • Friday morning : Introduction to Save The Children Staff
  • Friday Evening : Traveling to Sa Pa mountains , in north Vietnam by train (8 hours )then Bus ( 1 Hour ) and meeting Bob MacGa rry and Chad Morgan for the first time ( without their help I would not be able to have that fascinating and valuable trip .
  • Saturday Morning : my first hiking ever in hard slippery trail , saw the ethnic minorities with my eyes and how children live and what they work for life ( it’s like a gemba , now I feel the crucial need of Save The Children mission to make those children have better lives .
  • Saturday Evening : We spent the night after 11 kilometer walking in such hard trail in one of the ethnic minority village house , we had wonderful time to get closer to each other and to see the real life in the mountains area
  • Sunday : walking 8 kilometers to the mountain top , and back to our starting point , then the  same way back to bus then the train
  • Monday to Friday : Apartment search & rental and settlement & Getting Save Children branding and programs plans to read & understand and analyze.
  •  Saturday & Sunday : Hiring motorbike and practicing over and over again ( main    method of   transportation in Vietnam )


Thank You for  reading my first article ever , the main skill I used is ( speaking from heart )

Mohamed Tarek








  1. Great post my friend. I feel your joy and engagement in this new environment for all of us. Keep up that can do attitude.

  2. Congratulations on ur new publication
    You have written an excellent article
    Keep going
    I look forward to reading your next article

  3. thank you for speaking from the heart and sharing your reflections. It sounds like you’ve gained so much and had so many experiences in the first 10 days! I look forward to hearing what the next weeks and months have in store for you!

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