A worthwhile adventure... Past Review

By (Loyola University Chicago) - abroad from 01/06/2015 to 04/24/2015 with

Loyola University Chicago: Ho Chi Minh City - Study Abroad Vietnam Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The first two obvious things for me are the Vietnamese culture and language, but more importantly it gave me time to reflect on myself. So yes, it was worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

All classes except for the language learning classes were one day for two hours or more. The courses were not difficult compared to course I've taken back in the states, but the biggest take away was the amount of discussion possible. Specifically, the SOCL and PLSC course I took offered the most room for open dialogues and debates. I usually didn't get that same experience back in the U.S.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

While there are always way to improve with administrative operations, I really enjoyed the staff because of the interpersonal relationships I was able to have with them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was honestly perfect for me. It wasn't exactly a home stay, but the dorm experience with Vietnamese students was just right. Having people my age to connect with and learning about the culture of Viet Nam too.

* Food:

I must I ate too much, but it was worth it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really enjoyed having our dorm partners and befriending other students from the dormitory, as well as my partners because the age similarity allowed me to connect and understand part of the Vietnamese culture better than I hoped for. However, I feel that I did not learn as much as I could have for multiple reasons, including the style of some of excursions which felt for tourist like rather than emersion like. Though the best immersion experience I had was when I was able to stay with my OU partner and his family for the Tet holiday.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There was definitely good health care available. However, I don't believe I completely understood the workings of the traveler's health insurance. I spoke with a friend who went to Beijing for the same semester and was charged considerably less out of pocket for similar visits I had. So make sure you understand what the full working of the insurance before you set out on your travels. But of course always avoid getting sick in the first place. Most illness you get are things you can prevent with vaccines and medications who can get back in the states. Oh! And if you end up buying medication from some of the local pharmacies anywhere in Viet Nam trust your get if whether or not you should take those meds. I got swimmers ear and I went to a pharmacy that gave me several medicines that could have actually made my issue worse than it was.

* Safety:

To be honest safety is a concern anywhere you go from Chicago, to New York, or even a suburb no place is ever going to be 100% percent safe. But I'll say that I felt relatively more safe in Ho Chi Minh City than in Chicago. If you decide to go out late or decide to do some independent traveling use the same methods or being safe and responsible that you would back in your hometown, or wherever you call home.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I believe that you can manage even less on a $50 budget very comfortably. It was possible to use even less per week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 25 to 50 dollars a week, this includes only food, taxi's, and buses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Honestly commit to how much you want to spend each week. Things in Viet Nam are very cheap and so it may be temping to spend past what you want to spend for a day.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2 years of French
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Definitely take advantage of the fact that you will live in a dorm full of Vietnamese speaking student. So practice with them if you really want to hone in on your speaking skills.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Friends
  • Food
  • Travel
* What could be improved?
  • Academics
  • Program excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it is okay to lighten up and not be so serious all the time

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.