Daria Mishukova (Photo: Courtesy of Daria Mishukova)
  Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnamologist Daria Mishukova started pursuing Vietnamese studies and language in 1995, when she was a freshman majoring in Oriental Studies at Far Eastern University, Russia. Two years later, she took her first step into Vietnam.

Besides academic study, Daria has traveled from the north to the south--and even to remote mountainous areas--meeting local people and learning about their culture.

Over two decades into her love affair with this foreign land, Mishukova has gone from visitor to expert, having authored Vietnam – The Land of Dragons and Fairies, considered one of the top foreign works on the country in print.

“The more exchange and interchange we have with new environments--the more we can select the best from this unique cultural experience--the more enjoyable these months or years will be,” said Daria Mishukova, the 39-year-old Russian who has 22 year experience in Vietnamese studies.

Knowing the language and culture can enrich immensely the experience of living abroad, Daria said.

“Speaking the local language makes the world around brighter, sharper. It is like the focus and other filters in photography. If your approach and attitude is positive, it will bring more light into the picture, and finally you got a perfect image of a contemporary cultural context,” she said.

“Cultural backgrounds form typical patterns of thinking and interpreting the world around us. When we live in a different cultural environment, practised consciousness of different ways of living can bring us huge benefits,” she said.

“When living abroad, it is important to create a balance between being open socially and keeping your own values personally. When swimming in the sea of a different culture, knowing language and customs will help you polish this skill to perfection,” Daria added.

After graduating from Far Eastern University in 1998, Daria Mishukova worked in the university’s Southeast Asia Studies Faculty and later became Deputy Dean of the Faculty.

By March 2007, with her 11-year experience in Vietnamese studies and travel throughout the country, Daria Mishukova released her first book about Vietnam named Vietnam – The Land of Dragons and Fairies, which was translated into Vietnamese by the author herself in 2013.

The book covers almost every aspect of Vietnam – its geographic and climate conditions to traditional customs and historical relic sites, and it is considered to be one of the most interesting books in Russian about Vietnam in recent years.

“The book is neither a guide book nor a research issue by nature. If a reader is curious about what is ‘Vietnam,’ the book gives an understanding of primary values of Vietnamese culture,” said Daria.

The book has been very popular both among professionals in tourism business and travelers.

“This book, written in a nice and exciting style, presents to its readers a better understanding of Vietnam and inspires them to learn more about the diversity of the world cultures,” Dr Ngo Nhu Binh, Director of Vietnamese Language Programme at Harvard University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilisations, wrote.

In a comment on her book, Professor Ha Minh Duc, one of the leading literary critics in Vietnam, said that the book is not only informative, it is also a beautifully-written work of literature.

An online version of in-flight magazines with Daria’s articles and selected texts of Vietnam – The Land of Dragons and Fairies, is now available at www.business-leisure.ru.

Expats and business can also access to interesting cultural content about Vietnam in Russian posted here in the chapter “Interesting”.

Daria Mishukova is currently doing professional consulting on branding and marketing for Vietnamese authorities and businesses. She also has a good business with consulting services of her own. For the last seven years, Daria has been a regular resident of Vietnam, staying here even longer than her home country, Russia.

Besides Vietnam – The Land of Dragons and Fairies, Daria also published many research papers on linguistics and Vietnamese cultures in Vietnamese, Russian and English. The number of copies of her articles published in the above magazines reached more than a million.

For her great contributions to popularising and promoting Vietnam as an attractive destination, Daria has received many awards by organisations in Vietnam and Russia, including the Honorary Medal by Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, six certificates of merit by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Binh Thuan province, tourism agencies in Vietnam and a congratulatory letter from the Consul General of Vietnam in Russia. — VNA