One of the best experiences of my life Past Review

By (Universidad Loyola Andalucia) - abroad from 01/01/2015 to 04/30/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
100% worthwhile. There is a whole world out there that I didn't know existed before this study abroad program.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Loyola Vietnam Program was one of the most formative and memorable experiences of my undergraduate career. I have since returned to Saigon to visit friends I made during the program, and I plan to make the trip many more times in the future. I recommend this immersive program to anyone who wishes to expand their worldview and gain a new perspective on history, culture, and politics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The LUC Vietnam Program administration was very accessible and played a crucial role in guiding us through the various aspects of our time in Vietnam.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved living in the Bach Khoa dorms. Being so close to Vietnamese students our age was immensely helpful and I was able to make a ton of great friends. The dorm is surrounded by all sorts of fantastic street food stands, but there is also a massive grocery/department store (Co-Op Mart) right next door where we were able to buy toiletries, groceries, tupperware, etc.

* Food:

Never had a better culinary experience in my life. You don't know good street food until you've been to Vietnam.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As American students in a structured study abroad program we were undeniably less integrated with local culture than we might have been as exchange students or solo travelers. At the same time, however, there are many activities and experiences I had that I likely would not have if I didn't have the guidance and knowledge from the LUC Vietnam Program staff.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no problem with healthcare, and it was a lot more accessible and affordable than in the United States. I cut my knee open on the bus one day and was able to see a doctor and get stitches at the health center right away.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Saigon. The only thing to look out for is petty theft, but you'll find that in any large city. Just have common sense and remember that your iPhone is worth a lot of money in Vietnam.

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

I wish doing it all over again was actually an option. I'd do it in a heartbeat.


* 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)

Saigon was very very affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? On an average week without trips I spent about $50 at the very most, and that included eating all meals out, coffees, snacks, transportation, and drinking with friends.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to take modes of transportation other than taxis when you can (city bus, xe om or motorbike, walk). Also don't get sucked into the trap of buying a ton of clothing or other goods just because its really cheap. You don't need it.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I was in the intensive Vietnamese class so I learned a lot fairly quickly. You also have to learn at least a little Vietnamese if you want to eat and get around so that's pretty good encouragement.

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? I didn't know any Vietnamese.
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? Just speak it to vendors or people you meet. You have to.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food
  • Friends
  • Travel around SE Asia
* What could be improved?
  • I can't think of anything
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring more clothing.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.