For the past five years we have had the pleasure of catching up with Phil Johns, initially in his capacity as President of the Vietnam Swans and more recently as the Executive Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce Vietnam (AusCham). Each year Phil joins the students to give them an insight into what it is like to live and work in Vietnam and after more than 15 years in Vietnam Phil has a wealth of knowledge. Phil spoke of one of AusCham’s current aims to bring together the some 50,000 Vietnamese students who have studied in Australia and then returned to Vietnam to work.
Tonight Phil was accompanied by Billy the captain of the Vietnam Swans, Vietnam’s very own AFL team. Billy was able to talk to the students about the sheer logistics of playing in the East Asian AFL competition and drawing a team from the length of a country. He was also ablate talk to the importance of the Swans in bringing together an expat community. We also learnt that recently the Swans fielded a team made up of Vietnamese players which is a great example of how the sport is growing. They have also recently fielded a women’s team – yep AFL in Asia is a bit bigger than you first might think.
It was also interesting to listen to Billy talk about how he moved from running a niche kite surfing magazine in Australia which saw him working in board shorts and trying to keep the sand out of his laptop to working in Vietnam. A willingness to be open to new opportunities and have a go at doing it yourself have served him well in his online business which reaches over 30 million people a month. In dealing with Asia Billy said it is all about scale, something we do not ave in the Australian market.
We were also privileged to be joined by Duc Minh who was a studnet of the Vietnam mobility experience in 2011 and has since returned to Vietnam to work. Each year Duc joins the students to give them an insight into his experiences and perhaps the best karaoke places as well.