Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, with a population of over 9 million. It is the country's financial hub and a vibrant, cosmopolitan urban center that reflects the profound socio-economic change Vietnam has experienced in recent decades. The country is at a crossroads as it 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. Students will have a unique vantage point to witness these changes, in Ho Chi Minh City and in the various locations they will visit throughout the program.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
About the Program
The Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam program is offered through Hobart and William Smith Colleges' affiliation with the School for International Training (SIT), an organization that has placed US students in rigorous, highly specialized programs throughout the world for decades. HWS students will join other students from colleges throughout the US to share coursework, excursions, and the study of place. A unique feature of the program is an internship and related seminar in which students will be placed with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO. Alternatively, students may pursue an independent study project in lieu of the internship placement.
All students will enroll in the following courses, along with the internship or independent study, for a total of 4 HWS credits:
A detailed description of the courses and the full academic program is available here.
- Ethnicity, Gender, and Social Change
- Economic Reform and Development
- Vietnamese Language
- Research Methods and Ethics
This program is particularly well-suited for students studying anthropology, Asian Studies, gender studies, international relations, and social justice 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 juniors and seniors (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases) in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. Preference in admission will be given to students who have already undertaken one or more courses in Asian Studies.
Students will participate in a four to six-week homestay in Ho Chi Minh City, providing an opportunity to develop language skills and experience daily life in Vietnam. Other accommodations include guesthouses, hostels, and small hotels.
A centerpiece of this program is the opportunity to experience Vietnam's remarkable diversity through program excursions. In addition to sites in and around Ho Chi Minh City, students will visit the Mekong Delta, the Central Highlands, Hue and Hoi An (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites), along with the country's capital, Hanoi, and other sites in the north.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees plus a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, and program-related activities and excursions. Note that no room and board charge is included. Students will pay room and board fees directly to SIT.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, immunizations, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1500-$1800 from the East Coast, books at $100, and visa/immunizations at $300. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1200 above and beyond meal and accommodation 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 our 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 late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early 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.
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