If I Were US Ambassador to Vietnam…

if i were us amb to vn

Here is my latest piece for CounterPunch.  Think of it as a Viet Nam-related sociopolitical fantasy.  A guy can dream, can’t he? 




“America & Japan reporting big gains in Vietnamese enrolment”

icef monitorA good update on Vietnamese enrollments in Japan and the US from the ICEF Monitor.  I’ve written posts and articles about most of this information with the exception of the recent Japanese update.  The bottom line is that Japan is now the world’s leading host of Vietnamese students, followed by the US, Australia, China, and Singapore.  I conservatively estimate that over 100,000 young Vietnamese are studying in these five (5) countries.

Keep in mind that many of the 38,882 Vietnamese students in Japan are also working off-campus, in addition to studying, which is permitted under Japanese law.  About three-quarters of international students in Japan have part-time jobs.  Students can work up to 28 hours a week and the salary can range from $204-$306 per week.  Below are the conditions:

  1. the part-time work does not affect your studies.
  2. the earned income is meant to supplement your academic cost and necessary expenses and not for saving or for remittance overseas.
  3. the part-time work engaged in is not in adult entertainment businesses.
  4. Within 28 hours a week (up to 8 hours a day during long school holidays).
  5. The part-time work is done while you retain student status in an educational institution.

As of March 2016, according to SEVIS, there were 29,101 Vietnamese students in the US at all levels, but mostly in higher education, a modest increase from 28,883 last November.  Vietnam will likely surpass Canada in the coming year.

Here’s the introduction.

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • The number of Vietnamese students abroad began to expand rapidly around 2006 and shows no sign of cooling off
  • Over the last two years, Japan and the US have seen gains of nearly 50% in their Vietnamese enrolments
  • This continued growth is being fuelled by a hot Vietnamese economy, along with a correspondingly rapid expansion of the country’s middle class, as well as persistent concerns about the quality of higher education within Vietnam

Vietnam currently boasts one of Asia’s strongest economies, with an estimated 6.7% GDP growth in 2015 and an impressive average annual growth rate of 5.5% since 1990. The World Bank, with the Vietnamese government, recently released a report that says Vietnam could become an upper-middle-income country by 2035 – but even now, in 2016, many Vietnamese families are finding themselves with enough spending power to send their children abroad to study.

The number of Vietnamese students abroad is soaring, with Japan and the US in particular claiming a large share of total outbound numbers. This surge, which picked up again most recently in 2013, traces back to around 2006 when the number of Vietnamese students really began to take off.

Follow this link to read the remainder of the article.


International Boarding School Fair in Hanoi

Taping of “Study Abroad Window” TV Show About Boarding Schools

Interest in and the concomitant ability to pay for a boarding school education has been on the rise in recent years in Vietnam.  For parents who can afford it (total annual cost can be as high as $50,000) boarding schools represent a great opportunity for their children to obtain a quality education that will prepare them for admission to some of the top colleges and universities in the US and for life.

This November, for the first time ever, Linden Boarding Schools – in association with Capstone Vietnam, a Hanoi-based human resource development company – is organizing an international boarding school fair in Hanoi. (Disclosure:  I’m managing director of Capstone Vietnam.) 

Fair date: 17 November
Fair time: 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: The Melia Hotel, 3rd Floor Ballroom

The fair gives a select group of parents and their children an opportunity to meet, in person, admissions representatives who are thoroughly familiar with the details of their schools’ curriculum, facilities, arts and athletic programs, as well as the history and overall feel of the campus and its students.

Boarding school representatives from the following states and provinces will be at the fair:  California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia, as well as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

The Hanoi fair is part of a 13-19 November Asia Tour that includes Kazakhstan (Astana), Korea (Seoul), and the Philippines (Manila), in addition to Vietnam.  The trip to Hanoi will include a networking event with prescreened agents. 

A word about the above photo.  This show was taped in June and will be broadcast in early November.  From left to right:  Ha Quyen, the host of HTV’s  popular Study Abroad Window (Cửa Sổ Du Học) program, Dinh Hien Khanh (Jessie), a sophomore at St. Andrew’s School (Delaware, USA),  John Williamson, Owner and Executive Director of Linden Boarding Schools, and Nguyen Do Ha Giang (Jill), an alumna of Verde Valley School (Arizona, USA) and a freshman at Hendrix College in Arkansas.