From the limestone islands to the forested mountains to the cave systems, Vietnam will allure with its stunning landscapes and keep you there with its adventures. Whether you’re looking to kitesurf on tropical waters or unwind in a soothing spa, you’ll get your doses of adrenaline and relaxation. Your study abroad Vietnam program will provide a global experience in a beautiful country that has one of Asia’s strongest and fastest-growing economies. Known for its stretching coastlines, delectable cuisine, and fascinating, complex history, Vietnam can be the setting for a study abroad experience that will enrich your life both academically and personally.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Vietnam
Bordered by China, Laos, and Cambodia, and a short journey from the rest of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a great base for anyone wanting to do some traveling before, during, or after their study abroad in Vietnam. Within the country, both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are popular city destinations, whereas Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Hue have scenic and cultural attractions.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon, is big, loud, bustling, and international. Downtown is full of sprawling boulevards and gorgeous historic French colonial buildings. Visit the Museum of Vietnamese History, the War Remnants Museum, or the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens. No matter where the hustle and bustle might take you, Ho Chi Minh City will give you a real taste of ultra-modern Vietnam.
Da Nang offers a quieter escape. While it is still a larger coastal city, it is home to a major port, beautiful beaches, and is within 100 kilometers of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Imperial City of Hue, the Old Town of Hoi An, and the My Son ruins. Many of Da Nang’s residents work in agriculture, which provides for a diverse setting of city, mountains, farms, and — of course — magnificent marketplaces.
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam that is situated on the delta of the Red River in the northern region. The city has been ranked as one of the world’s top ten destinations by TripAdvisor in the last couple of years. Here you can sing your heart out at karaoke bars, watch a water puppet show at Thăng Long Water Puppet Theatre, and explore the Old Quarter with its temples and pagodas. You’ll find the majority of study abroad programs in this captivating city.
Popular Subjects to Study in Vietnam
With several acclaimed universities, Vietnam offers a variety of educational opportunities. Many of the country’s larger universities are based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; however, the number of colleges and universities has dramatically increased in recent years, and enrollment is among the highest in the world. Programs of study in Vietnam vary by program and university.
Business. For those looking to gain international business perspectives, Vietnam offers you the chance to visit companies and learn more about working with other cultures. You could even be attending classes on the roofs of Buddhist temples, and you’ll learn about working in a global environment and learn management skills along the way.
Vietnamese. Looking to learn a new language? Vietnam is your chance to take intensive language classes, meet tutors, and practice in a service learning environment. You could even look into student exchange programs. Being able to speak Vietnamese while exploring this mesmerizing country will provide you with the ability to get even more out of your time there.
Asian Studies. Learn about how rapid urbanization, increasing tourism, and economic development affects sustainability in Southeast Asia. You’ll learn more about the traditional culture and values from thought-provoking guest speakers, volunteer projects, independent study programs, or outdoor excursions.
Costs of Studying in Vietnam
While the cost of living in Vietnam is relatively expensive, such as affordable transportation and meals, the program fees will carry a large price tag. Thankfully, most study abroad Vietnam program fees cover the cost of accommodation, a couple meals a day, tuition, health insurance, support, and orientation.
The study abroad program cost depends heavily on the placement and duration. If you’re staying only for a couple of weeks, you can expect it to be around $1000, but if you’re staying for a full semester to earn 15-18 credits, it’s comparable to the cost of tuition with room and board in the United States. Many scholarships are available, such as the David L. Boren scholarships and the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia scholarships, which can cover thousands of dollars. You can view more available scholarships via GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory, and you can reach out to families and friends for support to fundraise through FundMyTravel.
Student Housing in Vietnam
The type of study abroad Vietnam experience you’re looking to have involves your housing options. Depending on your placement and program, you could be staying in an apartment/flat, a student dormitory, a hotel, or a homestay placement.
With a homestay placement, you’ll be living with a Vietnamese host family. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture while you learn more about the traditions and customs on a one-on-one level. You’ll also be able to learn Vietnamese more quickly and fluently and learn how to cook authentic Vietnamese cuisines with the family. A homestay is your best bet for getting the most out of your study abroad experience here.
Student Visas for Vietnam
Before arriving in Vietnam, you’ll need to obtain a student visa. The visa requirements can change often, and the process may take longer than you expect, and you could be charged fees upon arriving. You will also need a passport that is valid up to six months beyond your departure date. The study abroad Vietnam program coordinator usually assist with visa matters, and you can also start with GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to get a head start as well.
Benefits & Challenges
You’re in for a treat when it comes to food here! Known for fresh and flavorful ingredients, Vietnamese cuisine is among the healthiest and tastiest in the world. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, fish, and rice dominate many traditional dishes. Pho (pronounced fuh) is the most famous dish. A unique and interesting characteristic of Vietnamese food is that it traditionally incorporates five taste elements within each meal: spicy (metal), sour (wood), bitter (fire), salty (water) and sweet (Earth).
Vietnamese may prove to be difficult to learn, and like any language, it takes a great deal of practice to become more comfortable with it. While English is one of the most popular languages in Vietnam, you’ll come to find that not everyone speaks it or speaks it fluently. You should consider taking foreign language classes while you’re in Vietnam, which will help you navigate the country more easily (expect congested cities and plentiful traffic holdups) and have more enriching conversations with the locals.
Choose to study abroad in Vietnam, as it’s a prominent and historical piece of the Southeast Asian pie. Delve into Asian history, diverse culture, and steaming noodle bowls topped with basil all at once, all while gaining a unique and prestigious international education.