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  • Locations: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Program Terms: Fall Semester, Spring Semester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: SIT/World Learning 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall Semester 2020 01-APR-2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: You must submit an application to UVA and your outside program provider. The deadline above is for UVA’s application. The deadline for your outside program application may be earlier. Confirm the outside program’s application deadline on their website.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Class Status: 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Click here for a definition of this term Language Requirement: none Click here for a definition of this term Open to Non-UVa Students: No
Housing: Homestay, Hotel, With program group Language Courses Offered: Yes
Language of Instruction: English Click here for a definition of this term Credit Type: Transfer Credit
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Field Study/ Experiential, Island Click here for a definition of this term Tuition Payments Made To: Program Provider
Click here for a definition of this term Education Abroad Advisor: Leah Hicks Click here for a definition of this term Application Fee: Yes
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Administrative Fee: Yes Click here for a definition of this term Subject Area: Anthropology, Asian Studies, Communications, Cultural Studies, Economics, Global Studies, Independent Study, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Vietnamese, Women, Gender & Sexuality
Program Description:

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Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development

Examine economic and social development in the cultural context of Vietnam, one of Asia's most dynamic and rapidly changing countries

Program Highlights

  • Live and study in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • See Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital with more than 1,000 years of history.
  • Interact regularly with Vietnamese peers.
  • Participate in a service project designed to assist a local community.
  • Examine economic and social development in one of Asia’s most dynamic and rapidly changing countries.
  • Visit indigenous K'ho Hmong, Dao, and Giay communities and learn about their cultures.
  • Trek and bike amid the flower, tea, and coffee farms of the lush central highlands.
  • Choose to conduct independent research or to complete an internship.

Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.

Independent Study

During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you.

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.

Sample 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

SIT internships are hands on and reflective. In addition to completing the internship, you will submit a paper processing your learning experience on the job and analyzing an issue important to the organization you worked with, and/or you will design a socially responsible solution to a problem identified by the organization.

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 internship sites:

  • 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

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
  • The effects of war, development, and tourism on Vietnam's rich but increasingly fragile cultural heritage
  • Changing gender relations and development pressures among K'ho, Hmong, Giay, and Red Dao ethnic minority groups in the Sapa mountains

Money Matters

Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.  

SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:

All educational costs, including educational excursions

  • All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
  • Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
  • Health and accident insurance

Scholarships:

  • SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
  • All scholarships and grants are need-based.
  • Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.  
  • The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program. 
  • Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.

Contact SIT Study Abroad




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SIT VietNamCultCulture and Development

Current Program Information

Observe firsthand the dynamic changes shaping Viet Nam, a country that has emerged from decades of war and isolation to become one of the fastest-growing countries in Asia. As the Vietnamese people seek to integrate with the global community, they face tensions between traditional cultural values and economic development as well as serious social and environmental costs.

Viet Nam's commercial and cultural center, Ho Chi Minh City, is the program base. Field excursions to the wet rice villages of the Mekong Delta, the Cu Chi wartime tunnels, and Ho Chi Minh City's museums complement classwork at the National University. Excursions also take students north to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and the old imperial citadel of Hue to explore the effects of development, war, and tourism on Viet Nam's rich but fragile heritage.