Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a large, bustling city that has grown rapidly in recent years. While Hanoi reflects Vietnam’s long and tumultuous past in the ancient merchant streets of its unique Old Quarter, the colonial facades of the French Quarter, the monuments and houses of Ho Chi Minh and the relics of the struggle for independence and the “American War”, it has also embraced the open economic policies of doi moi that are transforming Vietnam.
The country is experiencing an exciting period of change and Hanoi is the perfect vantage point to witness these changes. Vietnam is at a crossroads as the country navigates between Communism and open markets, a glorious (and also painful) past and an uncertain future, and increasing inequalities between rich and poor, city and countryside.
About the Program
One of the first semester-long study abroad opportunities in Vietnam, the HWS program in Hanoi enables students to explore an ancient Asian civilization which is undergoing a dramatic process of transition and modernization. Students will begin intensive Vietnamese language instruction through VLS (Vietnamese Language Studies) in Ho Chi Minh City upon their arrival in Vietnam, continuing under the direction of faculty from VLS in Hanoi. An internship or independent study project is required.
Students will take four courses while in Vietnam.
Vietnamese History and Culture (1 credit)
In this course, students learn about Vietnamese history, aspects of Vietnamese culture, and current social, environmental, and political issues. Students write papers based on presentations provided by local university faculty as well as practitioners and specialists from a variety of fields, and excursions organized by CET Academic Programs and Asia Academic Experience, our on-site institutional partners. A translator is provided when necessary.
Vietnamese Language (1 credit)
Students will begin intensive instruction upon their arrival in Ho Chi Minh City and continue under the direction of faculty from VLS while in Hanoi. This course is designed to enhance the student’s ability to understand, speak, read, and write Vietnamese and follows an interactive and communication-oriented approach.
Fall 2017 Director’s Seminar: From Global to Local -Vietnam Transformed (1 credit)
Vietnam has experienced dramatic change over the past 30 years, transforming itself from a relatively poor revolutionary socialist country to one with a vibrant market economy under socialist controls. Economic growth and increased urbanization have led to changes in values and identity, as consumerism and individualism compete with more traditional as well as revolutionary values. At the same time, Vietnam’s position in the world and its international relationships have changed significantly as well.
This course will explore both Vietnam’s evolving global position as well as its internal domestic transformation. In recent years, Vietnam has taken advantage of globalization trends, encouraged foreign investment and trade, and experienced impressive economic growth. China looms large, both as an important economic partner and rival, and as a strategic adversary. Vietnam has built relationships with ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, in part to fuel its economic engine, but also as a political/military balance against its powerful Northern neighbor. With this new international posture and economic success have come changes in Vietnam’s domestic social-economic and political situation. We will analyze the impact of Vietnam’s increased urbanization and growing inequalities, focusing on changes in public policy (schooling, health, housing, investment, job creation), public space, neighborhood development, and political discourse. Issues of free press, speech, and association, as well as minority and indigenous rights, and gender issues will be examined along with the responses of the Vietnamese state to these dramatic international and domestic changes.
Internship/Independent Research project (1 credit)
Students will complete an internship arranged in collaboration with our institutional partner, Asia Academic Experience, or an independent research project overseen by a faculty member on the home campus.
This program is particularly well-suited for students studying Anthropology/Sociology, Asian languages and cultures, English, literature, and media and society, as well as those in the social sciences interested in the challenges facing rapidly developing societies. The opportunity to pursue an internship makes this program accessible to a wide range of students.
The program is open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. Students will participate in a series of orientation sessions during the spring semester preceding the program.
In Ho Chi Minh City students will be housed in double rooms in a guesthouse near the language school they will attend. In Hanoi students will be housed in double rooms in a residence operated by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance. The facility is centrally located near markets and restaurants where students may take meals.
Excursions are an important part of the program because they give students the opportunity to experience different areas of the country. Previous excursions have included visits to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the Mekong Delta, the central highlands, the northern border area, and coastal areas around Hoi An (an old seaport) and Hue (the imperial capital).
There will also be course-related visits to various cultural and historical sites in and around Hanoi including museums, national parks, craft villages and Buddhist pagodas and pilgrimage sites.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, health insurance, housing, and program-related activities and excursions. Note that no HWS board fee will be charged. Students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses throughout the program. We estimate that $1750-$2000 should be sufficient.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, visa, immunizations, books, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1300-$1400 from the East Coast, visa at $100, and books at $200. Immunizations vary but we would estimate $125-$250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1250 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
This program is offered every Fall semester.
All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and will be in October (for Fall programs) and March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
Resources for Smart Travelers
Rick Steve's Packing Tips!