Study Abroad Opportunities in Vietnam for US Students

By Elaine Hirsch, Guest Blogger

Vietnam offers a multitude of experiences for U.S. students who want to go off the beaten path.  Most programs range from a few weeks to a semester and involve a variety of fields of academic study.  US students who choose Vietnam as a study abroad destination are members of a rather exclusive club.  Last year, there were fewer than 700 (686 to be exact), according to the Open Doors 2011 international academic mobility report.  Below is a list of some study abroad programs offered in Vietnam:

  • CET Academic Programs offers two programs:  1) Vietnamese Studies & Service-Learning in HCMC (fall and spring semesters); and 2) Vietnam Summer Service in Rural Vietnam.  Both include service learning components. 
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges offers a fall semester program for its students and those from Union College that begins in HCMC and moves to Hanoi, where the group spends most of its time. 
  • Lewis and Clark College’s East Asian Studies program offers location-specific options for its majors. Located in HCMC, its Vietnam program focuses on a broad interdisciplinary introduction to a variety of topics about Vietnam.
  • Loyola University Chicago offers a semester-long program in Vietnam. Students are placed in an internship in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), in addition to taking academic courses such as Vietnamese language, religions of Asia, Vietnamese literature, the culture and politics of Vietnam, and Vietnamese history.
  • SUNY Brockport’s Vietnam Project is the first US study-abroad program of its kind in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. A blend of study and service in Danang provides the opportunity for US students from any college or university and any academic major to study Vietnamese language, culture, history, and politics while providing community service in central Vietnam.
  • The School for International Training’s Vietnam study abroad program offers a social, cultural, and economic overview of the country. A development-focused program, students are urged to conduct field work which explores the challenges of development in specific areas within Vietnam.
  • Westfield State University offers a two-week summer program that takes students to Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Led by Tom Gardner, associate professor of communication, the program has two academic tracks:  1)  examine a particular aspect of the U.S.-Vietnam War and compare Vietnamese accounts of particular episodes in that war or effects of the war with coverage of the same aspects by U.S. mainstream media (e.g., the use of Agent Orange); and 2) examine contemporary Vietnamese mass media and the impact of that media on attitudes and beliefs among Vietnamese college-age youth.

The programs described below are regional in nature.

Eastern Michigan University offers a program called Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand Cultural History Program. This program is offered to both EMU students and students enrolled at other universities. This six-credit program is 24 days in length. Students are involved in both a major cultural tour of historical sites in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia as well as an academic study involving the cultural and history of the Asian countries. Program participants must be enrolled in a religion course along with either a history or political science course, which offers students an interdisciplinary survey of the country.

The University of Miami offers a faculty-led international study program called China & Vietnam – Water Resources: Science, Policy and Law. This course is a three-credit course available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The program is available for students interested in water management issues, including the hydrologic cycle, groundwater, water and ecosystems, water and public health, wetland restoration, etc.  The program gives students the opportunity to learn about water management in countries that do not have a widespread publicly-managed water supply. 

Marist College offers an Asia Summer Abroad Program known as ASAP. This program is a 15-credit program that takes place for 15 weeks in the summer. The ASAP program is open to business majors and minors who wish to receive experience in the international business world. Students will spend time in approximately nine Asian nations, including Vietnam. This program gives students the experience of studying a fast-paced international business environment that can only be obtained by leaving the United States.

For information about other programs, check out these websites:  IIEPASSPORT.ORG and

Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead. She currently writes for an online master’s degree resource.

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