Letter to the Vietnamese diplomats working in Europe!

Update: 16:24 | 24/02/2021
We would like to send our greatest gratitude to the diplomats and staffs working at the Vietnam Embassy in Rome, and by extension, those working in European countries for their humane acts.
Letter to the Vietnamese diplomats working in Europe!
Teachers and students at ITACENTRO – Hanoi University.

Hanoi, January 28th, 2021

To the all the staffs working at the Vietnam Embassy in Italy and other Vietnam Embassy throughout Europe,

My heart is still filled with emotions upon writing these words. To many others, it might just be a simple story – but for us whose lives are dedicated to student affairs, the actions taken by diplomatic staffs working abroad harbor much goodwill, help to emphasize our faith in humanity, and our faith in the Government and the Party, and the representatives of Viet Nam in protecting their citizens abroad.

Everything still feels like yesterday to me, although the event took less than a minute to unfold. One of our students in Venice (Italy) who was gravely ill and had to be hospitalized twice now desperately wanted to return home.

The situation was extremely difficult as the allotted slots and registration time for return trips were limited due to the pandemic. I messaged a Consulate staff at the Embassy of Viet Nam - an acquaintance whom I have met and worked with before. I have tremendous respect for her as, despite her age, she has always put her work and her fellow people before herself.

She was in a meeting and could not answer my call but still kept in contact with me through messaging. I tried my best to explain the situation of my student through the few lines of text - which I believed was not enough to express the gravity of the situation.

The answer I received was that… it was difficult.

I felt anxious and worried, as my student was not just physically suffering. We kept messaging for another while… Less than a minute later: “I have resolved everything.” Not a word mentioning the challenges she will have to face in making this decision, no putting up appearances, only a swift sense of professionalism and heartwarming humanity from her concise response. While still in a meeting, all information was verified and processed in a blink of an eye, and the matter was resolved in just that fateful minute.

“When would your husband be able to return? – We will leave ours for those in need. By February.” Still concise, yet extremely humble, an optional sacrifice that she resolved to be a duty. Yes, her husband also has faced difficulties in returning to Viet Nam to fulfil his responsibility as an official and son to his elderly parents, but their fellow citizens are to be prioritized.

Our matter regarding the student does not stop there. Their temporary residence card has expired, and the renewal was scheduled for April. You are therefore not allowed to legally transit at airports in the European Union (EU). Another extremely difficult matter. The response was, “Please don’t worry, the Embassy will send out a diplomatic note.” The information arrived at the Consulate on a Saturday. This means that the Embassy in Rome is working nonstop in these trying times to ensure that the citizens of Viet Nam will always be supported.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, her messages had eased off all the worries in my heart. Also as of recent (on January 27th), another of my student was fortunate enough to have been helped by the Vietnam Embassy in Germany in time to make it for their flight back – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Within the current pandemic situation, as the pandemic is ravaging across Europe, one cannot begin to imagine the rush that diplomatic staffs would have to face and the variety of unfortunate circumstances that accompany them. But no caller was turned down. As those who understand these situations, we are extremely grateful for all responses coming from the consulate staffs.

To go back ten years, one of my students was in an accident and passed away in Italy. We were at an absolute loss on what to do but were fortunate to receive the utmost help from the embassy staffs to help bring back the student’s ash to the grieving family. The staffs silently carried on their work, refusing everything in return but for a thank you.

March 2020, students are panicking and rushing to book the last commercial flights home. Rules and regulations were changing by the hour. A group of 20 students travelled all the way from the South of Italy to Rome to take the flight by TG back home. A rule emerged during check-in that they would not be allowed on board without a health checkup certificate.

A phone call back to the embassy. Ambassador Nguyen Thi Bich Hue immediately sent staffs to the airport. Rules are rules and regulations are regulations, but the presence of the Embassy and the support of 100 Euros each to “temporary get something to eat” meant a lot to the students and greatly assured them.

It later came to our attention that the students never used the 100 Euros but instead gave them to the soldiers working at the quarantine centers. The value of such actions is greater than any teachings or broadcasts… Acts of goodwill will spread without the need for words.

As educators, we again would like to send our greatest gratitude to the diplomatic staffs working in the Vietnam Embassy in Rome and in other European countries, for their humane and meaningful actions. Our students are blessed by their trust and their kindness, and we must appreciate and do the same to others around us. And for that we will promise to strive for our best.

Back in Hanoi, as the spirit of the traditional New Year is ever-present, while everyone is preparing for the end of year and the coming of Tet, in a faraway place, there is no Tet in the Vietnam Embassy. The diplomatic staffs are working around the clock to ensure the safety of their fellow citizens, despite their own circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. From the bottom of my heart, we would like to wish the best to our diplomatic staffs, those doing their best to protect us abroad in these trying times.

We look forward to seeing you again!


On the behalf of the staffs, teachers and students at ITACENTRO – Hanoi University

Dang Thi Phuong Thao

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