Get professional, intercultural experience as you intern at a Vietnamese nongovernmental organization seeking to create inclusive and sustainable change.

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  • Get a grounding in development politics and practices and the roles of nongovernmental organizations in Vietnam.

    Discover the overarching political, economic, and legal contexts that impact access to and expansion of the network of organizations engaged in social change. Lectures and site visits during the first two weeks of the program will introduce you to development policy and practice and the roles of nongovernmental organizations in Vietnam.

  • Build your résumé through a five-week internship with a community or research organization, sustainable social enterprise, or local or international NGO. 

    You’ll have access to SIT’s extensive networks to find an internship that matches your interests and goals. Choose from organizations working in the areas of community development, ethnic minority rights, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, public health, communications, agriculture, sustainable business, education, and more. Your internship will be academically rigorous, with weekly discussions of issues, curated readings, a journal, and papers reflecting on your experience.

  • Gain professional experience in a supportive environment.

    Develop intercultural skills and practical, real-world knowledge of your field while being supported every step of the way. Before you start your internship, you’ll get an introduction to the broader cultural, social, and political context of Vietnam and to workplace norms and the ethics of interning in another country. As you face new opportunities and challenges, you’ll learn strategies for making the most of your internship, personally, academically, and professionally.

  • Examine case studies that illuminate the prospects and potential methods of promoting sustainable development within Vietnam and beyond.

    You’ll look at topics such as sustainability, green growth economy, human rights and gender roles, and the roles of science and technology within development. You’ll also visit communities in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.

  • Customize the program to fit your goals by focusing on the field you're most interested in.

    This program is open to a wide range of majors, including education, agriculture, health, environment, Asian studies, anthropology, economics, communications, and others. You’ll explore issues that are related to your interests and then be placed in an internship that can advance your career goals.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development | Economy | Inequality

Development | Economy | Inequality

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Key Topics of Study


Key Topics of Study

  • Key social, cultural, political, and economic factors affecting current development policies in Vietnam
  • Strategies for promoting sustainability and green growth economy
  • Vietnamese systems of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and their operations in a variety of socio-cultural contexts
  • Gender roles in terms of social complexities and cultural diversity in the nation
  • Roles of science and technology in strengthening civic responsibilities among individuals and professional communities
  • Challenges faced by nongovernmental organizations in the context of Vietnam
  • Ethics of engaging in an internship in the context of Vietnam




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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.

Vietnam: Civil Society and Social Change – syllabus
(ASIA3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course explores the theoretical link between current development policies, social change, and roles of nongovernmental organizations toward the joined efforts of building a civil society in the Vietnamese social context. It also helps students build key cross-cultural communication skills for understanding development policy, social change, and practice in complex social-cultural and political contexts of Vietnam in general and as an international intern in local nongovernmental organizations in particular. Designed to provide a grounding in development politics and practices in preparation for an internship in a nongovernmental organization, lectures and site visits during the first two weeks of the program introduce development policy and practice and the roles of nongovernmental organizations in Vietnam. The course emphasizes the overarching political, economic, and legal context of Vietnam that impacts access to and the expansion of the network of nongovernmental organizations in local governance and community-level engagement in social change.
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
This seminar takes place in conjunction with a five-week internship with a local community organization, research organization, sustainable social enterprise, or local or international NGO. The aim of an internship is to enable students to gain valuable experience and enhance their skills in an international internship environment. The internship placement and the student’s internship activities, including the Internship Learning Agreement, must be approved by SIT’s academic director. The internship will be approximately 30 hours per week, in addition to regular reflection and assessment meetings held with the academic director or internship coordinator to review the progress of the internship and learning associated with the internship experience.




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

You’ll experience a number of site visits within Ho Chi Minh City including the History Museum, Fine Art Museum, LIN Center for Community Development, and the Union of Science and Technology Associations of Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll also visit communities in the Mekong Delta and examine effective poverty-reduction programs focused on marginalized ethnic groups.

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.




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.

You will have a 10-day homestay in Ho Chi Minh City after three days of orientation. You may choose to continue to stay with homestay families in Ho Chi Minh City during your internship period.




The internship will introduce you to community and nongovernmental organizations in Vietnam. Internship placements will mainly be at organizations in Ho Chi Minh City.

Throughout the five-week internship, you will keep a daily journal about your experiences and will have regular sessions with SIT faculty to reflect on your experiences.

In addition, you will submit a paper in which you describe, assess, and analyze what you learned during your internship. The paper will outline the tasks you completed throughout the internship, professional relationships you developed, and challenges you encountered and how you overcame them.

Internship fields: Community development, ethnic minority rights, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, public health, communications, agriculture, sustainable business, and education.

Sample internships:

  • Leading workshops on micro-credit programs and women’s empowerment at the Center for Community Health and Development
  • Innovating green living, public space improvement, and organic agriculture with the Action Center for City Development
  • Supporting the Research and Training Center for Community Development’s efforts to reduce poverty
  • Conducting market research for the Development and Policies Research Center
  • Supporting rural communities’ adaptation to a changing environment at the Center for Sustainable Rural Development

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.

This program is eligible for a New Horizons Grant, a scholarship for our new programs. Award amounts are $2,500 for semester and $1,500 for summer programs. Students demonstrating need through their submitted scholarship application will be eligible. 


Tuition: $5,080

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers
  • Preparation for the internship
  • All educational excursions, including all related travel costs
  • Internship (including a stipend for accommodation and food)
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period 

Room & Board: $2,276

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes orientation, time in the program base, on all excursions, during the 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
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend to the 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

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.

Contact A Former Student

contact a former student

Speak With An Admissions Counselor

Speak With An Admissions Counselor