Check out the facts and figures on why so many students are heading state-side.
This is my latest English language article, written at the request of VNExpress International. I think it provides a pretty comprehensive update about the current situation for those with a personal and/or professional interest in the status of US-bound Vietnamese students. (It’s an edited and expanded version of an article I wrote last July for University World News.)
Note the caveat in my concluding paragraph. Why? Because only God is perfect. 🙂
While the wave of interest in study in the U.S. will eventually break because of demographic and development-related factors, such as an aging population and an improvement in the quality of the domestic higher education system, demand is likely to continue to gain momentum, barring unforeseen political and economic circumstances. Since no one has a crystal ball, however, medium-term outcomes are anyone’s guess.
Here’s an abridged version of a recent interview I did with Vietcetera, a “consortium of artists, writers, designers, photographers, musicians, technologists, and business people dedicated to a fresh look at an evolving Vietnam. Vietcetera seeks to find the untold human stories of the people that are contributing to a new, modern Vietnam. From design to business to architecture to film. We want to both give a new and youthful take on Vietnam that both local and foreigners can appreciate.”
This is the latest top 10 ranking for Viet Nam and it’s extraordinary like the country itself, in many respects. It was not that many years ago when Vietnamese Facebook accounts numbered in the hundreds of thousands. What is especially striking is the 40% increase in only six months.
In a population of about 96 million, rounded up, suffice it to say that Facebook is about to plateau, if it hasn’t already. Yes, Facebook is the #1 website in Viet Nam, according to SimilarWeb and Facebook Messenger is the #1 chat app in a very crowded and competitive marketplace of chat apps.
Viet Nam is one of the reasons why Facebook earned $8.03 billion in revenue and $1.04 actual EPS in the first quarter of this year with nearly 2 billion users.
In its latest quarterly report, Facebook beat analyst expectations on profitability and on revenue for the ninth straight quarter. Viet Nam is one of the reasons why total revenues were $9.32 billion, a 45% increase over last year’s second quarter. The greatest contributing factor was mobile advertising. (For better and for worse, just over 2 billion people, an estimated 27% of the entire human race, are on Facebook.)
If you want to advertise any product or service in Viet Nam, especially for young people but , increasingly, for their parents, too, you have to use Facebook. This is one reason why Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth, which currently stands at $72.7 billion, making him the planet’s 5th-wealthiest person, will continue to increase.
Here are the introduction and conclusion to my latest (7.7.17) University World News article about the possible impact of political changes in the US, in particular, on young Vietnamese studying overseas. It includes links to recent articles. If these excerpts whet your appetite for more, follow this link to read the article in its entirety.
Vietnam remains a hot country for United States colleges, universities, boarding and day schools interested in international student recruitment. Just as its economy has managed to weather the global storm of the past few years, Vietnamese young people continue to study abroad in large numbers, undeterred by Brexit, the 2016 US presidential election and other cataclysmic, potentially game-changing socio-political events.
In fact, the US is the world’s second-leading host of Vietnamese students – after Japan – with over 30,000 at all levels, mainly in higher education, according to the latest (June 2017) SEVIS by the Numbers quarterly update. However, Japan and the US are an apples and oranges comparison since the latter offers mostly short-term, vocational programmes.
Vietnam displaced Canada as the fifth-leading sending country to the US in March 2017, a position it continues to hold in the latest update.
Vietnam is defying the odds, as it has in so many respects in the recent past and throughout its long, tumultuous and inspirational history.
The articles above show why US institutions should make Vietnam a priority country for international student recruitment and why they should develop or fine-tune an ethical recruitment strategy in what has become a fiercely competitive market, not only among US institutions but with those coming from countries that have recently discovered Vietnam as a potentially promising recruitment market.
While the recruiting wave will eventually break because of demographic and development-related factors, such as aging of the population and an improvement in the quality of the domestic higher education system for example, demand for overseas study will continue to gain momentum for now, barring unforeseen political and economic factors.
Since political and economic liberalization, the advent of a multiparty democratic system, and the lifting of economic sanctions, the country has been opening up to the world in grand fashion.
The above quote is from a 7.7.17 PIE News blog post that I co-authored with Deepak Neopane, the founder of City College Yangon and managing director of Academics International, an educational consulting company based in Yangon.
It was another rewarding and enjoyable NAFSA annual conference with nearly 10,000 attendees. My week was filled with meetings with colleagues from the US and many other countries that have targeted Viet Nam as a priority country. While most are interested in recruiting (more) Vietnamese students, some have other project ideas.
Riding the Wave
I kicked off conference week with a Viet Nam student recruitment seminar entitled Riding the Wave. I first organized this free, unofficial, pre-conference seminar last year in Denver because there were no Viet Nam-related workshops or general sessions offered.
The title is reference to current societal and market conditions, i.e., the interest in overseas study among Vietnamese parents and students that is the result of several factors, including the young median age of the population (30.1), rapid economic development and the concomitant growing ability to pay, and the substandard quality of much of the domestic higher education system, among other reasons.
The wave will break at some point due to demographic factors, improvements in the quality of Vietnamese higher education, and trends that are difficult to predict for those of us who don’t have a crystal ball.
I was joined by Phúc (Théodore) Phan, Co-Founder and Instructional Designer, College Scout (CS), who talked about the exciting and cutting-edge work that CS, a Hanoi-based ed-tech startup, is doing to help prepare students for success.
I wrapped up a very busy week by chairing a general session about how to recruit students in Viet Nam without using an education agent. (Ideally, institutions do both in highly competitive markets like Viet Nam.)
This session was well-attended in spite of the fact that it was scheduled in the last time slot on the final day of the conference. Many more would have attended had they not been on their way home. My only wish is that we had had more time.
NOTE: If you’re interested in obtaining a PDF copy of our presentation, you can download it from the conference site or app until mid-August (must be logged in), or contact me.
Finally, thanks to my distinguished colleagues, Diana Sampson (Shoreline Community College, WA) and Stephanie Sieggreen (Western Kentucky University) for their outstanding contributions. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with both of them.
Call it love, ambition or obsession, but the only thing most Vietnamese care about is a well-educated child.
It’s probably a bit of each. Parents generally want the best for their children and overseas study, especially in the US, which is the world’s second leading host of Vietnamese students, is seen as one means to that end.
Of course, there are other stories waiting to be told, for example, about growing numbers of young Vietnamese returning home after studying and, in many cases, working overseas. Many of them are making significant contributions in their fields, sectors, and to Vietnamese society. There are also the many contributions and accomplishments of those who either choose not, or cannot afford, to study overseas, i.e., the vast majority of Vietnamese.