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  • Karin Esterhammer describes her life on the alley as the only foreigner. How do you think the neighbors’ attitudes toward her affect her experience in the country?
  • In what ways does being a foreigner in a Communist country restrict or free her actions?
  • How would you feel about being watched by the police, i.e., listening to phone calls, reading your email.
  • What are some of the primary differences between Vietnamese and American family life?
  • Swan acts and thinks more Western than anyone else in the book. How has that change her view of her country?
  • How has Western culture influenced and changed life in Vietnam?
  • What were the factors that caused tension in the neighborhood about her presence?
  • How do these influences change the way Americans are viewed?
  • Does Karin Esterhammer view Vietnam differently at the end of her journey?
  • How have her expectations about success and money been changed or confirmed by living with the poor?
Published inBook ClubTravelwriting

One Comment

  1. Wonderful questions about cultural differences and how to make friends in a strange land.

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