Unforgettable Experience in Vietnam - Cảm ơn (thank you) IEM! Past Review

By (Global Studies, Alliant International University) for

Study Abroad Programs in Vietnam

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
At first Vietnam did not sound like an exciting location to me, but after my friend signed up for the program, I decided to go as well. I gained a world of understanding and have returned home a much stronger, confident and culturally sensitive student!

Review Photos

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Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My experience in Vietnam was superb. The classes took place at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi. I had a variety of courses to choose from and particularly enjoyed the ones on Vietnamese culture, history and economic integration. The faculty was extremely friendly and accommodating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Student Services coordinator was very organized and thorough. From orientation to activities, he was knowledgeable, timely and exceeded our expectations. He was also available for any emergencies 24/7 and took an active part in making sure that we had everything we needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved everything about my host family. The meals were delicious, location very central to the center of the city. My room included: a comfortable bed, desk, chair, bookshelf, closet for clothing. There was also a laundry room in the house. I had Internet and my own key to get in and out. I was included in all family gatherings and outings. My host brother let me use his moped all the time; the coolest local mode of transportation!

* Food:

The homestay program included breakfast and dinner. I ate lunch with my Vietnamese mentor buddy almost every day. I didn't expect Vietnamese food to be so healthy and delicious, and to have a strong French influence. My favorite dishes were a Vietnamese sandwich that comes in a baguette, phở, chả cá, bánh cuốn and cốm.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Organized activities and field trips were the highlight of the program. We had picnics by lakes, went to a number of museums, visited The Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu), site of the oldest university in Vietnam 1010; One Pillar Pagoda (Chùa Một Cột); Flag Tower of Hanoi (Cột cờ Hà Nội). My favorite entertainment included karaoke and clothes shopping.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Vietnam is a very safe country, but beggars and pickpocketing is common. So stay alert at all times, especially when in crowded touristy places. Food is very safe to eat. If you are buying it from a street vendor, make sure that it is well cooked. Don't drink tap water. You can buy bottled water at any supermarket. The IEM USA team and the coordinator in Vietnam were very good with instructions on health and safety. The program fee includes comprehensive HTH Worldwide insurance, which covers all doctor visits if you get sick.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

The Intensive Vietnamese Language course was geared toward helping us acquire basic Vietnamese language skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. After 120 contact hours, I feel this goal was successfully accomplished! Most professors and mentor buddies spoke English. Host family spoke Vietnamese at home. This was great because it complemented my classroom practice.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are interested in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the way to go. You will find everything in this wonderful country - rich history and culture, kind and genuine people, simple way of life yet lots and lots of entertainment.