An American in Asia: Living Abroad During COVID-19


At any given moment, I hear a rooster cawing outside my window. I also hear constant motorbike honks. This is the soundtrack of Vietnam. I’ve been sitting at this desk in my quaint studio in Hoi An since March 8th and have been in Vietnam since February 24th. Hoi An is a beautiful coastal fishing village, and a UNESCO heritage site, just 10 km from the more known city of Da Nang. In Central Vietnam, the pace is very different and the people seem more free to do as they please. I know we are in the middle of a pandemic, and nearing the end of lockdown here, but in Hoi An, the chaos feels so far away. Except I lost my job and I can’t leave. 

I fell in love with Vietnam when I lived here for five weeks in 2019 with the work travel program I had joined, Remote Year. I have been traveling since it ended in September and had come to Vietnam from Cape Town, to meet my boyfriend. We bought plane tickets and had paid for an apartment here, back in December, when there was just the...