Vietnam’s students graduate in US, return home

VietNamNet Bridge – The number of Vietnamese students in the US who return to Vietnam to find jobs has increased, according to a Vietnamese overseas students’ organization.

Mr Pham Anh Khoa

The information has been provided by Pham Anh Khoa, graduate of Bates University and co-founder of VietAbroader, now Director of Yola Institute.

According to Khoa, in 1998-2008, some 50,000 Vietnamese students arrived in the US to study. Their numbers went up sharply to 12,823, or 46.2 percent, in the 2008-2009 school year. Vietnamese students at US universities increased by 72.1 percent.

The figure puts Vietnam as seventh in the world for the number of students studying in the US and makes Vietnam the country with the highest growth of students studying in America.

Khoa said that the number of students returning to Vietnam after graduation has also been increasing. Seven years ago, only a few Vietnamese students returned to their homeland after graduation, some 20 percent of total students. However, the proportion has risen to 40 percent in 2008-2009.

He said that there are several reasons for this. The US economic recession has badly affected employment in the US. Many companies cannot employ foreigners.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s economy has been growing very well, which means better conditions and more job opportunities for university graduates. A lot of students have found satisfactory positions and salaries at home.

When asked to comment about the draft document on overseas student management, Khoa noted that some requirements are rigid and unreasonable, including the one on forcing students to return to Vietnam within three years after graduation and also the requirement to pay tax.

Khoa added that he has learned about China’s regulations on overseas student management. He recalled that, in the 1970s, a lot of Chinese students left to study overseas. The Government of China encouraged students to return after graduation, but it did not set up any regulations to force them. Students can still contribute to building up the country even when they work overseas.

“The world we are living in is different from that of 5-10 years ago,” he remarked. “It may happen that a student in Vietnam will make less of a contribution to the country than a Vietnamese student working in the US.”

Khoa also thinks that it is not feasible for the Ministry of Education and Training to require regular reports from students on their studies, especially when there are 100,000 Vietnamese students studying all over the world.

VietNamNet/Dan Tri (4.1.10)

Original Interview in Vietnamese:  Du học sinh ở Mỹ về nước làm việc ngày một đông (31.12.09)

Note:  The Ministry has revised its draft policy.  State-funded students will not be required to pay income tax during their time abroad and will be permitted to work for more than three years in certain cases.  Self-financing students, the overwhelming majority of Vietnamese studying in the US and around the world, will not be subject to any of these proposed requirements.  In addition, the return rate figures that Mr. Khoa mentioned are not based on any survey research but rather are his own guesstimates.

4 thoughts on “Vietnam’s students graduate in US, return home

  1. I’m a vietnamese and i think that the vietnamese government should make stricter rules for those coming to the us to study. some, i’ve been told, do not benefit from us education because when they come here, their english is very limited. so their education then becomes a burden upon themselves and the teachers that have to try to teach them.

  2. The admission requirements are the responsibility of the admitting colleges and universities not the Vietnamese government. Even those schools that have “open admission” (i.e., community colleges, some four-year schools) require a certain level of English proficiency. Students are tested upon arrival and either begun taking regular academic classes, are placed into the appropriate ESL classes, or take a combination of the two.


  3. i have graduated from university in California last year, so i came back to Vietnam to look for a job. but it is very difficult to find a well paid and full benefit career because i don’t know the VAS- Vietnamese accounting standard (Also my major is business administration with concentrated in accounting). i have interviewed for several accountant positions, but the hiring manager said that i don’t have experiences on VAS, so i can’t work on my major.

    sometimes, i wonder is it a right choice for oversea students to return to their home country to work and live. for me, i am very regret to study in America because it wastes time and money to study there. if i have a choice again, i will study in viet nam or Singapore.

    how about you? what is your opinions?

    • Overseas study always involves some kind of cost/benefit analysis. What did you think of the quality of your US graduate program? What did it prepare you for (i.e., knowledge, skills, experience, network)? What were the benefits for you – academic, cultural, personal, professional? Why can’t you learn about VAS, which will increase your chances of getting the kind of job that you want?


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