With a rich history from ruling of Chinese and Khmer settlers to French and Spanish occupation to the rage of Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh is more than just a city with a very rich history. Geographically located in the southern part of the country, Ho Chi Minh is known for its French colonial architecture, cheap hawker food stalls, and warm welcoming people. As the biggest city in a fast developing country in Southeast Asia, it is becoming a more and more popular destination for study abroad in Vietnam.
Study Abroad in Ho Chi Minh
The bustling city of Ho Chi Minh offers various options for international students, from short summer programs to year long intensive opportunities. The city houses many qualified academic institutions with international accreditation and compelling curriculum to meet the needs of international students, the following subjects are just a few of the top subjects of study in Ho Chi Minh:
History & Culture. Studying history and culture in Ho Chi Minh is made more interesting by intricately planned programs created specifically for international students, which often include homestays and cultural activities. Daily interactions with local communities, alongside homestay accommodation, make learning about Vietnamese history and culture even more compelling. There is no better way to truly enjoy learning about a new culture than joining the local people in their own communities.
Vietnamese Language. There are several public and private institutions offering basic language courses and intensive programs for international students who want to learn the Vietnamese language through study abroad in Ho Chi Minh. Most of these courses are made specifically so students can quickly learn, understand, and converse in Vietnamese, which will no doubt be helpful during their time in Ho Chi Minh.
Service Learning. For students interested in learning about the local culture while also giving back through community service projects, there are several institutions that offer service learning programs in Ho Chi Minh. These sustainable projects encourage students to not only learn about the country’s people and history, but also to provide sustainable change and community development through volunteer work. Service learning study abroad programs in Ho Chi Minh often provider a more reflective and challenging environment for curious students seeking a more unique study abroad experience.
Program Basics. Students can choose to study abroad in Ho Chi Minh for as short as four weeks or as long as four months, or even a year. Most study abroad programs in Ho Chi Minh include basic language courses, which help students with speaking Vietnamese and reading comprehension.
Life in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh is a booming metropolis, when it comes to cities in Vietnam. The city life is visible in many ways, and upscale cafés and restaurants are located on almost any corner of any street. There are an array of places for students to spend their free time in, from coffee shops to gyms to markets to shopping centers.
Both local and international students enjoy having their own means of transportation in Ho Chi Minh, although public transportation is affordable and easy to use. Many students find it is convenient to rent or purchase a motorbike, which are the major form of transportation in the city. However, the bus system covers most locations in the city, including downtown area, markets, and shopping centers, for about $1.00 per ride and there are taxis and motorbikes for hire as well.
Costs & Affordability
Study abroad programs in Ho Chi Minh vary in cost based on what is included and how long the program lasts; normally, programs that include accommodation, visa fees, excursions, medical insurance, and textbooks cost between $15,000 and $20,000 for a semester long program, while a summer program may be $5,000 to $10,000. There are a variety of funding opportunities that students can take advantage of for study abroad in Ho Chi Minh, including many scholarships.
Living in Ho Chi Minh is quite cheap compared to most Western cities. An average meal costs between $1 and $3 from basic restaurants, but meals can be up to $10 or $15 in more expensive places. When it comes to housing, apartments vary from $70 for a single to $200 for a double room, but could be much more expensive in higher end apartment buildings.
Accommodation & Visas
Institutions that provider study abroad programs in Ho Chi Minh often arrange housing for international students, or at the very least a list of options. However, students usually get to choose which housing arrangement they would like to have. Students will find that there are a number of accommodation options to choose from within a 10 to 15 minute walk to everything they need in the city. Along with homestays, there are also various types of apartments and guest houses where students can choose to stay. There are also some institutions that provide accommodation on campus in the form of dorms are other student housing, ranging from single bedroom units to shared three to five bedroom apartments, for those with a sociable personality. All on campus apartments are typically fully furnished and well maintained.
International students will need a visa in order to study abroad in Ho Chi Minh. Most institutions will arrange the necessary visa for students prior to arrival. The fee for a student visa is $45 for a three-month single entry and $95 for multiple entry. Students who are studying abroad in Ho Chi Minh for longer durations will need to consult their program provider or university on the best visa arrangement for them.
Benefits & Challenges
The Local People. As a rapidly developing city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh is a foreigner’s haven. Locals are friendly and very open to foreigners, especially international students. Although locals speak limited English, they will still try to help foreigners in any way they can. Learning basic Vietnamese will be very helpful for students studying in Ho Chi Minh.
Weather. Ho Chi Minh has a tropical climate with two seasons: wet and dry. The hottest days are in April and May, while coolest in December to March. In the wet season, May to October, heavy rains are prevalent during the afternoon.