Examine economic and social change in the cultural context of Vietnam, one of Asia’s most dynamic and rapidly changing countries.

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  • Live and study in Ho Chi Minh City. 

    In Ho Chi Minh City, the program’s base, you’ll enjoy thought-provoking discussions at Southern Institute of Social Sciences (SISS) and learn about Vietnam’s economic development and social transformation from speakers including scholars from the Fulbright Program Center. Examine Vietnam’s membership in the World Trade Organization; regional development; and its trade relationship with the US.

  • See Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital with more than 1,000 years of history.

    On the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is the cradle of Vietnamese civilization – 2010 marked the 1,000th anniversary of the city. In Hanoi, you’ll attend classes at Vietnam National University and at the Faculty for International Studies. You will learn alongside Vietnamese students.

  • Interact regularly with Vietnamese peers.

    At the beginning of the program, you will be paired with a local university student who will help you adjust to living in a new culture and show you interesting places in town. Vietnamese students—often members of English-learning clubs—are invited to attend SIT lectures and group discussions, allowing you to discuss issues with your Vietnamese peers and giving the Vietnamese students an opportunity to hear lectures and conduct discussions in English. Vietnamese students will tutor you in Vietnamese language and help you experience and understand Vietnamese culture and social life outside the classroom. You will participate in cultural exchange activities (for instance, teaching each other traditional games, songs, and dances). You will be paired up with a Vietnamese student to interview households in the Mekong Delta and NGOs in Ho Chi Minh City. During the ISP period, you may receive help with translation from your Vietnamese partner.

  • Participate in a service project designed to assist a local community.

    Though they vary, community volunteering projects have included developing a bio-digester; participating in organic farming; helping with sanitary facilities at an elementary school; and installing clean water pipes. Future projects may include working with orphans or AIDS patients or building a library. Projects run from between two days to one week, depending on the particular project and the local context.

  • Examine economic and social development in one of Asia’s most dynamic and rapidly changing countries.

    After decades of war and isolation, Vietnam now boasts one of the strongest economies in Asia. In this context, you will consider emerging critical issues such as sustainable resource management, intense urbanization, changing family and marriage patterns, food systems, and managing integration with global networks and institutions. With the help of outstanding academic and community experts, you’ll examine the interplay of Vietnam’s traditional culture and values and its recent economic, social, and environmental changes and see how global, regional, and local forces are dynamically interacting to shape Vietnam today.

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    Visit indigenous K’ho Lach, Hmong, Red Dao, and Giay communities and learn about their cultures.

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    Trek and bike amid the flower, tea, and coffee farms of the lush central highlands and northern uplands.

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    Choose to conduct independent research or to complete an internship.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development | Economy | Inequality

Development | Economy | Inequality

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Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff

Duong Van Thanh, EdD, Academic Director

Duong ThanThanh earned an MA in public affairs and a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At Vietnam’s Ministry of Education in Hanoi, she developed alternative educational models for rural students, led cross-cultural professional exchanges in Vietnam and the US, and worked with officials on public policy development. Thanh has considerable experience in student affairs in cross-cultural settings, including at the University of Massachusetts. Thanh has been with SIT since 2005. She has also represented World Learning in Vietnam since 2008. She has a strong network of colleagues and contacts throughout the country. She has attended international workshops and presented reports on enriching study abroad programs through community service projects, peer learning, and cross-cultural learning. She presented at the 2014 COTSEAL Conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the 2015 GUAVA Conference at the University of Los Angeles.

Vu Hai Truong, Program Coordinator

Vu Hai TruongTruong is a graduate of Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, where he majored in chemical engineering with a concentration in food technology. He has worked as an interpreter, led and hosted groups for YMCA Vietnam, and participated in conferences and workshops. Truong was vice president of the English-speaking club at Toi Tu Hoc English Center. He joined SIT Study Abroad in 2016.


Tuan Nguyen, Program Assistant

Photo of Tuan NguyenTuan Nguyen graduated from Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, where he majored in communications and computer networks. He has been a core member of several youth campaigns in Vietnam including the Green Summer Campaign, which raises students’ awareness of environmental and other issues. He has also been an active member of the YMCA Association in Saigon, and has served as an adviser for university students at the English Center of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology.


Key faculty for this program include:

Bui Tran Phuong, PhD

Bui Tran PhuongPhuong holds a bachelor’s in history from Paris I University (1972), a master’s from Paris VII University (1994), a master’s in business administration from United Business Institutes (Belgium, 2003), and in 2008 received her doctorate from Lyon 2 University in Lyon, France. Phuong has taught at Marie Curie High School in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho University, Pedagogy University of Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoa Sen University. She has been head of the French Department, head of the Office Management Department, and vice president of International Affairs.

During her tenure as president of Hoa Sen University, Phuong helped the university become a sustainable institution and grow from occupational training school to university. She gathered educators from diverse backgrounds, many of whom are also entrepreneurs, foreign professors, Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese), and graduates of overseas institutions. She has researched contemporary and cultural history and the history of Vietnamese women. Phuong is a core faculty member for SIT Study Abroad and has lectured on gender and social change and led discussions between SIT and local university students.

Pham Quoc Loc, PhD

Loc was vice president of Hoa Sen University and was previously dean of Culture, Languages, and Tourism. He earned his PhD in comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (2011). His research includes translation theories and issues of gender in cultural and postcolonial studies. He has taught international literatures, the Vietnam War in film and literature, and translation theories. He translated Judith Butler’s Frames of War (Verso, 2009) and Edwin Gentzler’s Translation and Identity in the Americas (2009). His article “Western Others and Other Westerns” appeared in Re-Engendering Translation, edited by Christopher Larkosh (St. Jerome, 2011).

Nguyen Luu Bao Doan, PhD

Doan received his doctorate in urban and regional planning and design from the University of Maryland and a master’s in public affairs from Indiana University and is full-time lecturer in the Department of Economic Development at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City. Doan teaches and researches land use policies, urban economics, and innovation for inclusive development. He has published in Urban Studies, Environment and Planning B: Planning and DesignEconomic Development Quarterly, and Vietnamese Journal of Urbanism. He is developing a phone app providing accessibility maps for people with disabilities.

Duong Ngoc Dung, PhD

Duong NguynDung holds a PhD in religious studies from Boston University (2001); an MBA from UBI, Brussels (2008); and a master’s in East Asian history from Harvard University (1995), where he received a Harvard-Yenching Institute scholarship. He holds a graduate diploma in education from Canberra University in Australia and a BA in English Literature from University of Ho Chi Minh City. Since 2008, Dung has been a professor of business management and a professor of international relations. From 2001 to 2007, he served as professor of Asian religions and Oriental studies (USSH, National University, Ho Chi Minh City). He was also appointed head of the East Asian Studies Department (2001–2004) and head of the Indian Studies Department (2004–2007) at the University of Ho Chi Minh City.

Le Thanh Sang, PhD

Le Thanh Sang, SIT faculty memberSang is associate professor and general director of the Southern Institute of Social Sciences at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. He is a member of the advisory committee for the Vietnam population health study of the Social Sciences Research Council of America. His research interests are demography, social inequality, gender, and environment impacts. Sang has focused on urbanization, migration, social structures, and policies and their effects on inequality in occupational status, income, and accessibility to education and healthcare. Since 2008, Sang has studied climate change and sustainable development.

Dana R. H. Doan, MA

Dana advises the LIN Center on strategy and fundraising and is a board member for Working with Others, a grant scheme of Saigon Children’s Charity. She worked with the US-Vietnam Trade Council and Education Forum and was a member of the AmCham–United Way Vietnam Allocation Committee. She worked with the Metro Chicago Information Center and was a development volunteer in Honduras. She evaluated grants for the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion and was a board member at AIESEC. Dana received a master’s in public policy (focus on international economic development) from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School and a bachelor’s in history and Spanish from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Nguyen Van Sanh, PhD

Sanh received a PhD in rural development at the University of Arkansas. He is the director of Can Tho University’s Mekong Delta Development Research Institute, which works to improve the quality of rural life in the Mekong Delta. He focuses on climate change and sustain­able farming systems. He is a committee member for the International Master in Rural Development program. Sanh has advised the Mekong River Commission, the World Bank, and the Environment Defense Fund (on using Vietnamese rice farming to reduce the greenhouse effect), and the Southern Steering Committee. He is a lecturer for SIT and a guest speaker for the Central Economic Committee.

Key Topics of Study


Key Topics of Study

  • Pressing issues caused by rapid urbanization related to the Doi Moi “Renovation” economic reform
  • Challenges of sustainable development and current strategies for new rural development in the Mekong Delta and Da Lat Central Highlands and different livelihood models in each region
  • Balancing efforts between economic development, job creation, and environmental protection and natural resource management in Phong Nha’ Caves and Ha Long Bay
  • The effects of war, development, and tourism on Vietnam’s rich but increasingly fragile cultural heritage in Hoi An and Hue, UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Changing gender relations and development pressures among K’ho Lach, Hmong, Giay, and Red Dao ethnic minority groups in the Sapa mountains 
  • Small, medium, and start-up businesses and foreign development investment efficiency
  • Social issues caused by rapid economic development trends, such as social stigmas surrounding drug users and people living with AIDS/HIV




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The program explores Vietnam’s history and cultural heritage while closely examining the country’s more recent economic, social, and environmental transformations. Through SIT’s extensive in-country networks, students gain exposure to the perspectives of both Vietnamese and international scholars and learn from academic, professional, and community experts. Students gain experience conducting field observations and interviews and learn to analyze primary sources as well as secondary literature. During both classroom and field components, students are encouraged to take initiative in and responsibility for their own learning, reflect on and debate key issues, and integrate hands-on learning with an understanding of theoretical approaches. Study of the Vietnamese language provides a deeper connection with the culture and facilitates interaction with homestay families and local experts during fieldwork.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Ethnicity, Gender, and Social Change – syllabus
(ASIA3010 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course explores the repercussions of the processes of social change in Vietnam with a special focus on specific groups such as women and ethnic minorities. Students are asked to analyze gender relations and ethnic minority perspectives from a comparative standpoint, in relation to both regional and global social and political change. Students look at the governance of ethnic minority affairs, the development problems faced by minority peoples, and the challenge of maintaining Vietnamese people's diverse traditions throughout the process of nation-building. The course enables students to identify agents of change and their role in shaping sustainable social change.
Economic Reform and Development – syllabus
(ASIA3020 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
The course examines Vietnam's development agenda and ethics and equity issues within the context of the country's growing market economy and consumer class. Rapid economic development has come with sociopolitical changes and environmental costs. Students examine in detail the major turning point in Vietnam's development, the Doi Moi "Renovation" economic reforms launched in 1986, and the rapid growth in trade and investment since that time. Excursions to both rural and urban areas in Vietnam, including the Mekong Delta, Central Vietnam, Hanoi, and Sapa, provide students with a variety of unique environments in which they can investigate the nuances of development. In spring, students examine new development efforts at Phong Nha National Park. In fall, students examine the tradeoffs between coal mining in Hon Gai areas and conservation efforts at Ha Long Bay.
Beginning Vietnamese – syllabus
(VIET1003-1503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Intermediate Vietnamese – syllabus
(VIET2003-2503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Advanced Vietnamese – syllabus
(VIET3003-3503 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes.
Field Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
The course provides an introduction to the Independent Study Project and Internship and Seminar, and provides the foundational skills for conducting research in Vietnam. Topics include cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; identifying appropriate research methodologies; field study and internship ethics and the World Learning / SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a work journal.

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following two courses:

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
Conducted in Ho Chi Minh City or in another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: gender roles in Vietnamese society; the impact of migration on urban life; colonial architecture; heritage site management and conservation; the business environment and entrepreneurship in Vietnam; craft villages in transition; microcredit projects; poverty reduction and hunger eradication; Vietnamese culture viewed through the media, literature, or popular music; memory and the French and American wars; fortune tellers, magic, and mysticism in a modern socialist society.


Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
This seminar consists of a four-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, business, or international NGO. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable experience and to enhance their skills in an international environment. Students will complete an internship and participate in a weekly seminar in which they process their learning experience (typically online), write progress reports, and prepare a final paper and presentation. A focus will be on linking internship learning with the program’s critical global issue focus and overall program theme.




Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Educational excursions immerse you in the culture and local realities of Vietnamese communities. The itinerary changes each semester, but always includes visits to temples and monasteries, nature reserves, local markets, orphanages, schools, and factories. Immediately preceding the Independent Study Project (ISP) / internship period, the excursions expose you to myriad possibilities and contacts for your ISP or internship.

Day Trips and Historical and Cultural Field Visits from Ho Chi Minh City

student groupIn Ho Chi Minh City, the program includes excursions that complement and enhance classroom study and field activities. Excursions may include:

  • An introduction to Buddhism by a monk at Van Hanh Institute
  • Visits to the War Remnant Museum and the Cu Chi tunnels to look at the Vietnam War from multiple perspectives
  • A day trip to Can Gio mangrove forest on the coastline of Ho Chi Minh City, which may include tree planting
  • A day trip to Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 to see the new Phu My Hung residential development, an example of new international influences
  • A two-day trip to Cat Tien national park, where you can observe rich flora and fauna systems and learn about the park’s conservation efforts

Mekong Delta 

PagodaExamine traditional rural practices and sustainable development efforts by attending workshops facilitated by lecturers at Can Tho University and the Mekong Delta Rice Institute. Learn about rice farming, agricultural diversification, organic farming, husbandry, biogas, Mekong Delta water resources, the impact of climate change, and microfinance programs. You’ll see how Delta residents are working to reduce poverty and build farming systems, and you’ll be part of a community volunteering project, which might focus on organic farming or on installing a bio-digester. In the peaceful coconut palm forests and green pomelos garden in Ben Tre province you’ll learn about local efforts to diversify their cultivated vegetation with an aim toward sustainability.

You may also witness conservation efforts to protect the Cajuput mangrove forest in Tra Su, a habitat for water birds (primarily storks), bats, and rare species, where restoration efforts have been underway since 1983 and have extended the forest by 700 hectares. You’ll also conduct village case studies with the help of local volunteers and see newly revived local festivals and the resurgence of popular religion in Chau Doc, the Vietnam-Cambodia border area.

See photos of the Mekong Delta excursion.

Da Lat Central Highlands

Lecture about Da LatDa Lat’s altitude (1,500–2,000 meters) and fertile landscape make it one of Vietnam’s main agricultural areas. Through workshops with experts, you’ll learn about poverty reduction strategies in the Central Highlands, like crop diversification, organic farming, and high-tech farming of flowers and other cash crops, plus improved market access.

You’ll also explore the French architectural legacies untouched by the Vietnam conflict, enjoy the city atmosphere, and learn about the unique culture of the K’ho Lach ethnic group, who have promoted ethnic and cultural tourism as a development strategy. Learning in Da Lat will help you understand the new “cultural entrepreneurship” trend. Da Lat is also home to some of the best mountain biking and hiking in Vietnam.

Da Nang and the Ancient Cities of Hue and Hoi An and the Phong Nha Caves System

In Hue, Vietnam’s last imperial city, you’ll visit the Forbidden Citadel, see tombs, and learn about Hue culture and the last feudal dynasty. In Hoi An, you’ll see efforts to preserve hundreds of old houses and intangible cultural spaces. You’ll also visit My Son sanctuary, a center of Hinduism for the Cham Kingdom that dominated central and southern Vietnam from the fourth to the thirteenth centuries, and learn about Cham architecture and music. Hoi An, My Son, and Hue are all recognized as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites.

In the fall semester, you may get to see Cu Lao Cham, an island marine park in Hoi An, where you’ll learn about plans for sustainable development in the area that seek to preserve the environment while also enhancing income generation opportunities for the local residents. You can also snorkel at a nearby coral reef. You’ll also visit Da Nang, the fastest developing city in central Vietnam.

In the spring semester, you’ll visit the Phong Nha National Park in Central Vietnam. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago. Riddled with hundreds of cave systems — many of extraordinary scale and length — and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha is a speleologist’s dream.

The North: Hanoi and Sapa 

HanoiLocated on the banks of the Red River, 1,000-year-old Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital, its center of government, and the cradle of Vietnamese civilization. Here, you’ll visit Van Mieu temple, the first and oldest university in Vietnam; the Presidential Palace; and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. You’ll also see the newly excavated Imperial City of Thang Long, built in the eleventh century, when Vietnam gained independence from Chinese occupation.

You’ll also meet historians and members of the Vietnamese National Assembly; discuss the preservation of cultural heritage sites with government officials and residents; and observe international and local NGOs — including Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, UNICEF, and UNDP — in action.

In Sapa, in Vietnam’s northern highlands, you’ll experience indigenous cultures and local music, dress, embroidery, and other crafts. You’ll learn about the Hmong, Dao, and Giay ethnic groups in nearby villages. You may witness the work of a Red Dao shaman or indigo dyeing by Hmong women and meet local students. 

Program in a minute-ish

Program in a minute-ish

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My semester in Vietnam allowed me to witness firsthand the process of international development. 

My semester in Vietnam allowed me to witness firsthand the process of international development. After years of learning theories and case studies at my home institution, it was a wonderful opportunity to see the reality of development which is unbelievably complex. The program also provided me with a rare chance to do independent research as an undergraduate. The ISP portion not only taught me valuable skills regarding research but greatly enhanced my cultural immersion.

Gabrielle Short, University of Vermont

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The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.

Ho Chi Minh City

homestay familyFor four weeks, you’ll live with a middle-class family in Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant cosmopolitan city representing the rapid modernization of Vietnam. Many host families have multiple generations under one roof, and typically, the host family has at least one university student about your age. The homestay gives you an excellent opportunity to practice language skills, learn about Vietnamese families, be immersed in a new culture, and participate in discussions about Vietnamese life. You may help your family with daily chores and take part in family activities, including family visits, weddings, and outdoor picnics. When possible, you’ll be placed with a family that shares professions and interests related to yours.

Other accommodations during the program include guest houses, hostels, or small hotels.

Independent Study Project


Independent Study Project

In preparation for your Independent Study Project (ISP), you’ll be paired with a Vietnamese student to interview households in the Mekong Delta and NGOs in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnamese students tutor SIT students on the Vietnamese language and help them understand culture and social life outside the classroom. Both groups participate in cultural exchange activities, like teaching each other games, songs, and dances. During the ISP period, you’ll get translation help from your Vietnamese partner. This supports learning and aligns with the program’s philosophy that learning is not just about attaining knowledge, but experiencing life.

In the final month of the program, you’ll work on your ISP, doing original research on a topic of particular interest to you. You’ll choose an ISP advisor from among the outstanding researchers and professionals affiliated with the program.

Sample ISP topics:

  • Gender roles and sexuality in Vietnamese society
  • Food culture and organic farming
  • Healthcare and inequality
  • Colonial architecture
  • Heritage site management and conservation
  • Entrepreneurship and business development in Vietnam
  • Memory and the French and American wars
  • Aquaculture: shrimp and catfish farming
  • Issues of HIV/AIDS and public health
  • Music and performance arts
  • Fortune tellers, magic, and mysticism in a modern socialist society

You will be encouraged to continue studying some aspect of your ISP after the program—ISPs have been starting points for senior theses, grant proposals, graduate-level research, and fellowships.

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

Group at Buddhist temple view images full screen




If you choose to do an internship during the last four weeks of this program, you will be placed with a Vietnamese organization where you will gain real work experience related to the program’s theme and develop professional skills you can use in your career.

SIT academic internships are hands-on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, weekly seminar sessions, and progress reports, you will submit and present a paper reflecting on your experience and relating it to the program’s themes.

SIT Vietnam offers a wide variety of internship opportunities through its network of long-term contacts with government agencies and nongovernment and private organizations that work in various fields including geopolitics, civil society, environmental and natural sciences, and humanities.

Sample internships:

  • Supporting training workshops, micro-credit programs, and women’s empowerment at the Center for Community Health and Development in Hanoi
  • Doing innovative work with green living, public space development and restoration, and organic agriculture with the Action Center for City Development in Hoi An
  • Assisting ongoing projects on mental health, micro-nutrients and nutrition, policy advocacy, and social work at the Research and Training Center for Community Development in Hanoi
  • Providing support services to local nonprofits, international nongovernmental organizations seeking Vietnamese partners, and individual volunteers and philanthropists who are committed to building strong communities at LIN Center in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Participating in projects to improve local livelihoods at the East Meets West Center in Da Nang
  • Helping teachers and students with art projects in schools in Hue

Career Paths


Career Paths

Alumni of this program are currently:

  • working in NGOs in Washington, DC; New York City; Los Angeles; and elsewhere.
  • studying in graduate programs in law, medicine, business, and other fields.
  • volunteering with the Peace Corps, Volunteers in Asia, and other organizations.
  • returning to Vietnam to start up new businesses with local entrepreneurs.
  • conducting research on Fulbright scholarships in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Students describe the SIT Study Abroad Vietnam program

Students describe the SIT Study Abroad Vietnam program




This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT’s Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.


During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class five to six days per week for six to eight hours per day. You will have breaks between classes. Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments, oral presentations/exams, group assignments, and in-class quizzes/exams. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Program Center

The program office is accessible by a set of exterior stairs. There are two interior elevators to the floors with program spaces. Interior pathways/hallways and doorways can be less than 32 in. (82 cm.) wide. There is not currently a wheelchair-accessible restroom on the floors with program spaces. The program has a small library space that is open during the day but does not have a separate computer space or student lounge. Please note that the SIT program center is scheduled to move to new location in August 2017. Please check back for updated information.


The program includes day excursions to historical and cultural sites including temples and monasteries, nature reserves, local markets, orphanages, schools, and factories. The program also includes multi-day excursions throughout different regions of Vietnam including the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands. Volunteer opportunities may include helping a community with a farming project. Program excursions vary each semester to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.


There are two homestays on this program: a four-week homestay with a university student of the same age and gender in Ho Chi Minh City and a homestay during the excursion to Da Lat with another student on the program. Other accommodations during the program include guesthouses, hostels, educational institutions, or small hotels. When you first arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, you will share a hotel room with another student. For the accommodation during the Mekong Delta Excursion, you will stay in a basic dormitory at Can Tho University.

The program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing you in your homestays. These placements are made based, first, on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. If you have questions about homestay accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Dietary Needs

In Ho Chi Minh City, breakfast often consists of pho, a noodle soup usually made with beef or chicken. Lunch will typically consist of rice with meat or fish, plus a side vegetable dish and soup. Bread, more specifically the baguette (bahn mi), or sandwiches with pâté and other fillings are also common quick meals. Vietnamese dinners are often more elaborate, including several shared meat and vegetable dishes, usually accompanied by rice and soup. Milk and dairy products are rarely used in cooking; however, yogurt is available and often used in blended fruit drinks.

SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.


In Ho Chi Minh City, you will typically be a 30- to 60-minute bus or taxi ride from your homestay, classes, and/or placement sites. Although taxi car services are available, the primary mode of transportation in Ho Chi Minh City is moto-taxis. While there are paved sidewalks in much of the city, it is not uncommon for there to be moto-taxis parked on the sidewalks.

Walking, buses, trains, bicycles, taxis, and boats are used for program excursions. Public transportation options generally lack wheelchair lifts and ramps. There is often heavy traffic in Vietnam. It is important to be careful when moving in traffic, walking, or crossing the street.

If you have questions about alternate transportation, including accessible moto-taxis, you are encouraged to contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu.


Most of the places where you will stay in Vietnam will offer internet services, and many places have wireless internet available. In addition, there are some up-market coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh City with wireless internet access. There will be times during the semester, particularly when on excursion, when you will not have internet access. You are expected to bring your own laptop and other academic technology (e.g., recording device) to Vietnam.

Health Resources

Vietnam has a variety of medical services, including international clinics and national hospitals. You will be given contact information for recommended clinics and hospitals during orientation. Mental health services are not as widely available, though there are counselor and psychiatrist services available in the case of an emergency.

Once admitted, you are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the summary of benefits for student health insurance.

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

To request disability-related accommodations once admitted, you should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.

Additional Support Resources

MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.

Cost and Scholarships


Cost and Scholarships

SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students. 

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.


Tuition: Not yet available.

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students in:
    • Vietnamese life and culture
    • Social transformation
  • Field Methods and Ethics course on research methods and Human Subjects Review
  • Intensive language instruction in Vietnamese
  • All educational excursions to locations such as Mekong Delta, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi, and Sapa, including all related travel costs
  • Independent Study Project or internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: Not yet available.

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Ho Chi Minh City), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project or internship, and during the final evaluation period. Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • The homestay (four weeks in Ho Chi Minh City)
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

Airfare to Program Site

Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: $ 90

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: $ 50

International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.

In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.

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