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It appears that the bloom is temporarily off the red, white, and blue rose for growing numbers of Vietnamese parents and students. For the first time ever, there are almost 15,000 Vietnamese students in Canada, nearly half as many as in the US. Vietnamese students had the highest percentage increase in 2017 at 89%, making Viet Nam the fastest growing market in the country. What steps can Canadian institutions take to build on this success in the immediate future?
I recently had the chance to speak to a group of Canadian colleagues at a well-attended general session at the 2018 CBIE (Canadian Bureau for International Education) annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada about two of my favorite topics, Viet Nam and Vietnamese student recruitment.
The paragraph above in italics is the abstract. As I mentioned, my April 2018 University World News article entitled Vietnamese students look at the US and head north (editor’s title) was the inspiration for this session. The focus was on steps that Canadian institutions can take to build on this tremendous success in the years to come. We had a lively discussion with lots of questions but, unfortunately, too little time to respond to all of them, as is usually the case at these conferences.
Thanks for CBIE for giving us the opportunity to speak to Canadian secondary, college, university and ESL colleagues about this important and timely topic.
Shalom (שלום), MAA
Postscript: At another session I briefly attended, which turned out to be a de facto sponsored one (the reason I left early), based on how many times one presenter mentioned his company and its wonderful products and services, said presenter – in the spirit of Schadenfreude – lobbed the following rhetorical cheap shot at the mostly Canadian audience in the hope of scoring a few brownie points with the home team at the expense of US colleagues: Our neighbors to the South are dying. While dramatic, that is hardly the case. And while the US has seen a decrease in the number of newly enrolled students from abroad and faces many challenges, it remains the world’s leading host of international students. For its part, Viet Nam ranks 5th among all sending countries with 29,788 students in the US at all levels, according to the latest (8-18) SEVIS numbers.
There is never a dull moment in the dynamic Southeast Asian country of Viet Nam, including among its overseas-bound students. While overall interest in study in the US remains strong, there is also ample evidence of a shift to other countries, including Canada.
This was the original title of my latest University World News article. Why? Because overseas study is not a zero-sum game or a black & white issue but rather a complex and technicolor phenomenon with many different forces at work, including push and pull factors.
While it’s true that growing numbers of Vietnamese student are choosing Canada as an overseas study destination for the reasons I mention in the article, the USA remains a top destination, along with Australia and the UK, among the English-speaking countries. The top six (6) leading host countries for Vietnamese students are Japan, the USA, Australia, Canada, China, and the UK.
According to the latest Mapping SEVIS by the Numbers update from last month, there are currently 31,389 Vietnamese students in the US at all levels of the education system. (2.59% of all international students in the US are from Viet Nam.)
Viet Nam remains in 5th place sandwiched between Saudi Arabia, which experienced the sharpest decline among the top 10 sending countries, and Canada, which saw a small increase from May 2017.
Country May 2017 December 2017 China 362,370 382.908 India 206,708 212,288 S. Korea 71,206 68,128 Saudi Arabia 55,810 49,298 Viet Nam 30,279 31,389 Canada 29,536 30,034 Japan 24,837 24,809 Taiwan 22,803 24,110 Brazil 21,768 23,901 Mexico 16,207 16,212
Here are two changes from the end of the 2016/17 academic year to now that likely signal trends:
1) A decrease in the percentage of Vietnamese students enrolled in “language training” from 10.7% to 8.5%.
2) An increase in the percentage of Vietnamese undergraduates enrolled in four-year schools from 29.7% to 31.8%. (To put this in perspective, 90% of all Vietnamese undergrads in the US were enrolled in a community college in 2009/10.)
The top 10 host states remained the same. The only change is that Pennsylvania displaced Florida. Massachusetts, which remained in 4th place, saw the most significant increase.
While there are Vietnamese students in all 50 states, 71%, rounded up, are studying in these 10 states, a statistically insignificant decrease from May 2017. This, of course, means that 29% are in the remaining 40 states and Puerto Rico, which has one (1).
To drill down a bit deeper, 44.45% are in California, Texas, and Washington state. I discuss some of the reasons for this in a September 2017 article I wrote for VNExpress International. (The bluer the state, the more Vietnamese students are studying there.)
Stay tuned for a post in which I analyze this information in light of other trends in what I refer to as the perfect storm of converging factors that include the recent spike in the number of Vietnamese students studying in Canada, increasing competition within and outside of the US, and various sociopolitical factors.
World Education Services has long advocated Vietnam as a viable recruitment market for institutions in North America. Understanding these students’ culture and family backgrounds, as well as the contextual factors that can ‘push’ them from Vietnam and ‘pull’ them toward institutions in other countries, can go a long way toward helping institutions develop an actionable plan for reaching out to and them.
This is a good analysis by WENR with a couple of exceptions:
The United States is, depending on who is reporting, either the number one, two or three destination for outbound students from Vietnam.
There is no doubt about the ranking, if you look at the latest figures from the US and Japanese governments. Japan is the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students, broadly defined, as the article notes, followed by the US. Every time I check the SEVIS figures, based on the latest quarterly update, I also check the latest stats from the Australian government, since the two countries are usually pretty close in Vietnamese enrollment.
A more immediately relevant event is the recent move by Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training to deregulate Vietnamese education agents.
This “deregulation” occurred in the summer of 2016. A new plan has since been approved that is similar to, but different from, the old one. The two main provisions of Decree No. 46/2017/ND-CP, recently issued by the Vietnamese government, are that they are no longer required to deposit 500 million VND (approximately $22,000 at the current exchange rate) and, once again, advisers will be required to take a course and be certified by the education authorities.