In love with Vietnam

Stella & the love for Vietnamese culture

For a long time, Stella Ciorra has considered Vietnam a part of her life and Hanoi her new home. Because she is in love with Vietnamese culture and heritage, Stella is dedicated to introducing Vietnam to her international friends.


Born in England, Stella has liked art since she was a young girl. In 1995, she came to Vietnam for the first time and was very eager to discover the cultural beauties of the East Asian people. The heritage and scenery in Vietnam attracted her in a very emotional way. Taking her memories of an emerging country that was reaching out for international integration back to the UK, Stella decided to learn Vietnamese. Her teacher was an officer working at the Vietnamese Embassy.

Becoming fluent in Vietnamese gave her an opportunity to understand more about Vietnam. In 2011, she decided to move to Vietnam to work and settle down in Hanoi. She was looking for a social organization where she could meet people of different nationalities to learn more about Vietnamese history and culture.

She encountered Friends of Vietnamese Heritage (FVH) which is a group of expats in love with Vietnamese culture. She first joined as a volunteer and then soon became the Vice President of FVH.

 Stella Ciorra has considered Vietnam a part of her life and Hanoi her new home. 
  Understanding the Vietnamese culture deeply, Stella never thought of herself as a foreigner. 

   Stella loves to read cultural and historical stories about steles at Kim Ngan communal house

to better understand Vietnamese culture. 

  She loves Vietnamese traditional foods.

 Stella talks with Pham Trung Dung, General Director of Lasiesta Hotel,

a hotel specializing in welcoming international guests in Vietnam.

 Stella chats with Cuong, the owner of a jewelry store on Hang Bac street, Hanoi. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP 


 Stella chats with children on Ta Hien street, Hanoi. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP

Established in 1999, FVH has about 1,300 members from many countries. Most of them are working and living in Vietnam. At any given time, FVH has about 500 active members. On a monthly average, FVH holds 8-10 activities in which people discuss and discover Vietnamese history, heritage, culture, and traditions together. Each year, FVH organizes at least 17 tours in Hanoi spoken in English, 16 tours in Japanese, and a few tours in Spanish.

In addition, FVH has other activities such as seminars by Vietnamese cultural gurus, artists, showing Vietnamese films, Vietnamese literacy works and excursions to craft villages giving donations to locals.

With her knowledge and love for Hanoi, Stella is the organizer of many events for FVH. She also plays the role of tour guide introducing people to Hanoi’s streets.


She tells about the Vietnamese traditional tea culture.
 She also plays the role of tour guide introducing people to Hanoi. 
  FVH brings together many foreigners who love Vietnam's heritage culture. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP
  FVH members visit the Vietnam History Museum.

She and partners prepare for a workshop of the Vietnamese craft villages.
Stella and Vietnamese young people with handmade paper products. Photo: Files

Stella and FVH members on a trip in Ha Thai lacquer painting village in Thuong Tin, Hanoi.


Having lived in Hanoi for many years, Stella has worked in the field of media for an international hotel group (Elegance Hospitality Group - EHG). Her work has contributed to her cultural volunteering in Vietnam. Through this job, she has the opportunity to introduce Vietnamese culture and heritage to international tourists.

As a media executive, Stella is responsible for writing articles for internal publications and magazines, including monthly articles associated with specific events such as the Tet holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Since its establishment, FVH has organized a total of about 1,600 events. Stella and her partners wish to continue promoting the values of FVh in uniting the international community to love Vietnam and raising the awareness of traditions and culture to Vietnamese.

Understanding the Vietnamese culture deeply, Stella never thought of herself as a foreigner. Exploring Vietnamese cultural heritage is a passion in her life and a way to love Vietnam even more.


Story: Bich Van Photos: Cong Dat & Files Translated by Hong Hanh

Ando Saeko and Her Love for Vietnamese Lacquer

Ando Saeko and Her Love for Vietnamese Lacquer

Japanese artist Ando Saeko has spent almost 30 years dedicated to the art of lacquer and the traditional lacquer craft of Vietnam. Currently a member of the Hanoi Fine Arts Association, she is known for her contemporary approach to art, combining natural lacquer with Vietnamese techniques.