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Make the Most out of Your Study Abroad in Vietnam

ABROADER March 01, 2023 7 minute read

Take advantage of your study abroad time in Vietnam by immersing yourself in a different culture. Follow us to find out some top tips!

Studying abroad is no doubt a valuable learning experience where you get to be in a whole new culture, speak (or attempt to speak) a different language, try new cuisine, and have a time of your life. However, if you are going through a study abroad program by yourself for the first time, you can find yourself a bit disoriented. You might end up spending too little time outside of the classroom/hotel/apartment and making friends, or vice versa, you can spend too much (which hardly anyone ever does). But don’t worry! We’re here to help you make the most of your time!

Set a Bucket List of Goals for your Study Abroad Trip

The goals do not always have to be big and serious. It can be something like I want to learn more about the history of Vietnam, through field trips like this to the famous ‘Cu Chi Tunnels’ or to museums. 

There’s no argument that to fully appreciate and enjoy your study abroad journey; you must at least have some idea about the outcome you expect to have after the experience. It can be stressful to think of the goals since that means you will have to work to achieve them. However, these goals are helpful when it comes to keeping you on track and making the right decisions whenever it is necessary.

For example, if one of your goals is to be able to have conversations in their language. Then you might want to hang out more with local friends. Or when you go out to eat or shop, choose a local market/eatery where you have to use the local language instead of say, big supermarket/chain restaurants that have bilingual staff.

Be Present and Vocal During Orientation Day

You might not be a people person and might shy away in a big crowd. And mostly had no interest in playing cheesy icebreakers. But really, it does make a difference!

Being active and vocal in orientation will do wonders for your study abroad program.

Orientation does not only provide very useful information to prepare you for your study abroad trip (and therefore you definitely should not miss out on it). It is a great occasion for you to get over your shyness and fears before your study abroad program. It grants the opportunity to make friends. So that you can rely on familiar faces amid a sea of foreigners when you arrive in the country.

However, orientations only work if you put in the effort

Whether it is to listen attentively to the guidelines, dos, and don’t, or be vocal if you have any questions. It is important to know what you are doing in the new country, the taboo or sensitive topics, etiquette, and rules so that you can avoid trouble.

For example, in Vietnam, physical contact like kissing and hugging is considered taboo in public. In some big cities in Vietnam, these are becoming more and more normal. However, it is worth noting this when you are studying or traveling to more rural areas. Or if you are staying at a homestay during your study abroad, you might want to know that it is often polite to come to the host family with a small gift to show respect and appreciation to the host. The gift can be a pack of sweets or a popular souvenir from your home country. Or it can be fruits or flowers that you buy while in Vietnam. However, you should strictly avoid giving handkerchiefs, black-colored items, yellow flowers, or chrysanthemums or wrapping your gifts in black. The color black represents bad luck and yellow flowers or chrysanthemums are meant for dead people.

The more prepared you are about cultural differences and dos and don’ts before arrival, the easier it will be to avoid culture shock, let yourself loose, jump in, and fully embrace the experience.

Build Your Network

Study abroad is an amazing time for you to experience the culture. However, it is also a great opportunity to do some prep work for your future career. You can establish a network of connections with students and professionals from the same field of study. Or you might even get connected to companies that might turn out to be your future employer. And you want to make sure you save their contact information well organized and in place. If you can, try to stay in touch with the even after your study abroad program ends.

Building a professional network during your study abroad is essential.

During your study abroad experience you’ll meet numerous influential professionals and colleagues. Get to know them and save their contact information. Stay in touch after your program ends, too!

Embrace the Local Language

When you are studying abroad in a country whose official language is not English, learning the local language is not only useful for you to navigate around, but it also helps you impress locals and make more friends.

It is absolutely not easy to learn and speak another language. However, the locals will appreciate your efforts to try. You will likely have more positive interactions with strangers in the new country once you can speak the language.  

Impress the locals with your willingness to speak some of their languages

If your program has a language requirement listed, know that you’ll be on your own. And you will have the opportunity to practice speaking in a second language in full force. It is an experience that will look great on your post-study abroad resume.

Write a blog or a journal to keep your memories

One thing people often avoid telling about their study abroad experience is the bad experience that they had like culture shock or an unfortunate event. Certainly, you’re going to have amazing days. But you’ll also have bad days… it’s inevitable. Don’t make the mistake of letting your bad days cloud your good ones. Write, photograph, and record each day in writing help you look back on your study abroad journey in an objective light.

Our interns last summer from the University of Pennsylvania have their own blogs memorizing their wonderful days enjoying their internships in Vietnam. Not only gaining technical skills but also connecting more with people and knowing themselves better. If you also want to earn precious lessons like them in Vietnam, we get your back!

Over 4000 international university students has joined

In-person internships

Why travel abroad? Unfold your myth, meet new people, and explore your career path. Do an internship in Vietnam and bring home your own stories.

Our latest program in the health & medical department


Fulfill the mission of healing the “broken ones” through the rotation of different rehabilitation departments while learning the art of Vietnamese physiotherapy

Our latest program in promoting sustainability

Sustainable Vietnam

Dare to take the challenge of shaping a greener future? Join us in this incredible journey towards sustainability and circular economy effort in Vietnam.

Chronicle your awesome time abroad with friends with pictures.

Think about these tips as you prepare for your time overseas and consider other ways you can leverage your study abroad experience and networking opportunities. You’ll make the most out of your financial investment and will be more likely to see the great amazing results of your efforts throughout your academic and professional career later in life. 

Hope that these small tips can help you leverage your time studying abroad and enjoy every moment in Vietnam!

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