A trip to the exotic side of the Eastern world…

Amy Paul has a lot to celebrate. As a member of Bradley University’s Executive MBA Class of May 2014, she was one of 14 students to visit Beijing and Shanghai, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam recently. On this trip, the group visited a number of businesses in Shanghai and presented a business plan to a Beijing subsidiary of Bloomington, Ill.-based Chestnut Health Systems to cap off a long-term project.

Along with touring a factory of Caterpillar’s largest competitors in China, Paul chose to visit a public hospital, where she compared the crowds to that of a shopping mall the day after Thanksgiving. “We should be thankful for the healthcare we have in the U.S,” she says. “There were people lying on the emergency room floor for days just to get admitted to a room.”

But Paul and the rest of her group found plenty of wonder in the sights of China and Vietnam. In China, she was able to cruise the Bund River, and in Vietnam, she visited the rooftop bar at the Rex Hotel. “This is where journalists covering the Vietnam War would go for happy hour after they were done with their stories,” she explains. “As a former TV journalist and the daughter of a Vietnam War veteran, it was really special for me to sit at a place where so many journalists spent their time.”

After nearly two weeks of business visits and cultural sight-seeing, Amy flew her husband, Kevin, to Vietnam, where they focused on finding the beauty in that country. They found it in the Anantara Mui Ne Resort, which offered the relaxation of the warm South China Sea, fresh foods, impeccable service and a staff that “treated them like royalty.” “We were only the second American couple who had visited in several months,” Paul says. “They [the staff] were all so sweet and enjoyed socializing to practice their English.”

In addition to the luxurious resort, she learned a lot about the culture. According to Paul, being open to new experiences is a must—particularly in Beijing, where English is uncommon, and in Vietnam, where she relied on using hand signals.

There were also some unexpected cultural experiences. “There are barely any traffic signals and no traffic laws in Vietnam, which has roads filled with mopeds, some with three or four people on them,” she recalls. “We saw some carrying propane tanks, and even saw one with a pig in a cage!”

When asked if she has any travel tips, Paul had plenty to share, from bringing your own toilet paper to use in public restrooms, to carrying your hotel’s address in Chinese so cab drivers can get you back home safely, to an unexpected one: being camera-ready. “The Chinese are intrigued by anyone with blond hair or who is tall,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many pictures my classmates and I are in on Chinese tourists’ cameras!”

After a trip to the exotic side of the Eastern world, Paul is ready to take on new adventures with her husband. This October, as a graduation gift to herself, the couple will take a trip to Mallorca, an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain. In addition to inline skating around the island, they will enjoy dinners, wine tastings and beach time—and they have their sights on other destinations and experiences as well. A&S