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.