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Living in your location

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIVING IN VIETNAM

Choosing to intern or study abroad means you are challenged to learn about and adapt to a new living environment. Instead of waking up in your comfy bed back home, you may be somewhat astonished on the first morning abroad realizing you are now in a totally unfamiliar setting while still trying to get over jet lag. Soon after, it will be time to open your mind and get ready to experience new things in Vietnam, including accommodation, transportation, health & safety and social etiquettes.

All you need to know to make your life abroad as comfortable and safe as back home can be found below.


After receiving your confirmation on the program placement, ABROADER will arrange your accommodation based on your program package. An Accommodation Description will be sent to you before your departure for Vietnam. Currently, we provide two housing options for our program participants to choose from: serviced apartment or homestay. Read through the following section to know which one will be the best fit for you
.

ACCOMMODATION TYPE

FacilitiesHomestayServiced Apartment
Private room Yes Subject to program package
Key to room and house Subject to host family Yes
Air conditioner Subject to host family Yes
Fan Yes Subject to apartment
Fridge Share with family Yes
Gas Share with family Yes
Kitchen with utensils Share with family Yes
Wardrobe Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
Tap Water (not drinkable) Yes Yes
Drinking Water Subject to host family Subject to apartment
Water Heater Yes Yes
Desk Yes Yes
Chair Yes Yes
Bathroom Private/ Share with family Yes
Bed set (Pillow, Blanket, Bed linen) Yes Yes
Washing machine Yes Yes
Laundry service No Yes (Additional Fee)
Room cleaning service No Yes

ACCOMMODATION STANDARD

If you prioritize privacy and would rather spend most of your time in a private room, you’d want to consider choosing a studio apartment. A studio apartment is not a separate house, it is a room located within a shared house, however everything you need for daily life is in there.

A studio apartment has the necessary facilities you need and comes with an attached bathroom.

Alternatively, if you prefer more social interactions at home or you like to have more space to cook and the idea of a kitchen inside your bedroom isn’t attractive, you can choose to live in a shared apartment or share your studio apartment with at least one other person. The good thing about staying in a shared (studio) apartment as opposed to a private studio apartment is, even though you might have less privacy, your housemates/roommates will be internationals from all over the world coming to Vietnam for the same reason you do, to study, intern or work. And in no time, you will find yourself being able to meet interesting people, learn from their cultures and possibly a bit of their languages when you’re in Vietnam.

The kitchen with cooking wares is shared between housemates, you might be sharing the bathroom with one housemate.

Lastly, if you want a place you can call ‘a home away from home’ in Vietnam, we offer the option of staying in a homestay. Our homestay hosts are families where at least one member can speak English and express high enthusiasm for hosting an international student for the purpose of cultural exchange. Many of our alumni got along extremely well with their host families. The families live within or not far away from the center area of the cities so you can do both cultural immersion and social activities during your stay. Most of the time, the family will invite you to eat family meals with them when you are at home. Find out about the etiquettes you need to know when homestaying in Vietnam here. The facilities at a host family are more or less the same with that of a studio/shared apartment.

Learning how to cook Vietnamese food and enjoy family meal with host family

ABROADER’s 3 Accommodation Packages

Standard
package

A single studio apartment or a single room in a multi-bedroom shared serviced apartment (one bed per room) or homestay.

Studio
Twin-sharing package

A 2-bed studio apartment or a 2-bed single room in a multi-bedroom shared serviced apartment (two beds per room). Subject to arrangement, 2 beds can be replaced by 1 bunk bed.

Twin-sharing
Economy package *

A shared room with bunk beds in a shared service apartment. It could be 4 or 6 or 8 people per room depending on the room’s size and availability of beds.

Economy package

* For all packages

Laundry: There will be a shared space for you to wash your clothes with a washing machine and an open area to hang the clothes up to dry as there is usually no dryer. Some places (excluding homestay) will offer free laundry service every week while  others require an extra laundry fee (often ranging from US$1/kg depending on the place).

apartment in Vietnam

This is the space for you to wash and hang your clothes to dry.

For twin-sharing package

  • Your roommate could be international students from ABROADER or other clients of the housing provider.

* For economy package

  • Your roommates could be international students from ABROADER or other clients of the housing provider. 

  • It could be 4 or 6 or 8 people per room depending on the room’s size and availability of beds.

ADDITIONAL FEES

You are directly responsible to pay the landlord/host family for any services and fees that are not included in ABROADER’s accommodation package. These additional fees may include some or all of these items: electricity bills (USD $50-150/month per room), laundry service (around USD $1/kg), drinking water, gas, cleaning, linen and any other additional items and services. You will be directly liable to the landlord for any damage to the accommodation arising from any act of yours.

* Electricity payment: 

  • For standard package (excluding homestay): you will pay at the end of the month the amount that you used as shown by the room electricity meter.

  • For twin-sharing package: at the end of the month, all the bills will be split between housemates and you will be announced of the payment by a person-in-charge.

  • For economy package: the electricity bill is included in the housing fee. 

ACCOMMODATION LOCATION

ABROADER would do our best to make sure that your accommodation is located less than one hour by car to your Host Organization. In the rare event  that your commute is more than one-hour due to the limitation of resources or safety reasons, you will be informed in advance and provided with clear guidance on how to commute to work. 

HAPPY HOUSING - ESSENTIAL RULES FOR A HARMONIOUS HABITAT

When staying either with local families or in a serviced apartment, you are responsible for your room including the appliances, property and shared space. Besides, you are advised to take your housemates and neighbors seriously and regard them with respect. This is usually returned in kind and makes the area a more pleasant place to live for everyone. In general, you would be asked to comply with:

Cleanliness creates happiness

  • Keep your room and the shared space tidy, take out your trash and put them at designated places.

Green your lifestyle

  • Please NEVER leave the power on, especially the air conditioner while you are away from home. If you need to have them on when you are sleeping, keep the temperature moderate. 

  • Always turn off the lights when not in use.

Respect your roommates/housemates/host family members

  • For homestay: Comply with the family’s curfew time. If you need to stay out late, always notify the host family beforehand. If you need to stay out very late, you might want to stay at another accommodation overnight. Do not take a friend home without asking for permission from the host family first. Click here for our tips when living with a host family in Vietnam.

  • Avoid making noise after 10 PM or having parties without consent from the apartment manager or your host family. Do use headphones when listening to music, or keep the volume low if both you and your housemates/roommates agree to have the speakers on.

Safety and Financial Liability

  • Do not share the house/room key with anyone except for the landlord (for staying in an apartment) and other family members (for homestay). Before leaving the accommodation, make sure all the doors and windows are closed properly. 

  • Take good care of properties as well as appliances and furniture at the accommodation. Charges may occur if you are found to be responsible for damages or loss of housing property.

Communication is the key

  • If conflict arises, open your heart and share with your roommates/housemates/host family members about your feelings. We believe talking through instead of suppressing the problem is the easiest way to get it solved. In case you cannot work things out on your own, please keep in mind that ABROADER is always here to support you.

For photos of past accommodation of our alumni, please click here. Whilst the exact option you like the best may not be available for your program start date, you can always expect a similar standard of accommodation.


Vietnam is the land with millions of motorbikes, almost every person in its major cities own one among various kinds, however, finding a travelling option that doesn’t include barely clinging onto the driver while sitting on the back of a motorbike taxi is really not that difficult. In fact, there are many ways you can get around major cities in Vietnam without using a motorbike which include using taxis, buses, the train and most recently, ride-hailing apps like Grab, Be or GoViet. Below are some basic information on using each of these transportation during your stay in Vietnam.

WITHIN CITY

Car Taxis

Taxis with meters, found in most major cities, are very cheap by international standards and a safe way to travel around at night. Average fares are about 12.000 VND to 15.000 VND per kilometre. To avoid dodgy taxis with go-fast meters which sometimes roam the streets of big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it is recommended that you only travel with reputable or recommended companies.

Taxi companies with excellent reputations are Mai Linh (nationwide) and Vinasun (Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Southern area).

taxi in Vietnam

Buses

As public transportation is getting more popular in Vietnam, many people choose to commute by buses, whether it is for short-distance or long-distance commuting. Using buses is a cheaper alternative to  taxi or train as well. Buses in Vietnam can be divided into 2 main groups, the short-distance buses running from district to district within cities and the long-distance buses that run overnight called the sleeper buses. In some big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Da Nang, the bus is the most economical vehicle to travel within the city. With an average ticket fare of 7,000 VND, you can reach your destination safely while saving your budget and protecting the environment. The bus system is upgraded constantly to bring the best service to passengers. Many apps are created to help you check the bus route and its schedule. Your mission is to make sure to get on and off the right station with the support of the app.

Ride-hailing apps

Ride-hailing apps have become more and more popular in Vietnam’s major cities within the past few years. It is an affordable, secure and convenient way to get you around the cities. There is a wide range of service for you to choose from, from basic motorbike rides and car rides to carpooling and luxury cars. This option is becoming more and more attractive to users as the travelling fees are usually cheaper than traditional taxis. Plus, for those who have a credit card,  you can avoid the hassle of using cash thus allowing for safer travels. The most popular apps are Grab - the Uber of Southeast Asia, Be and GoViet. These apps can be easily downloaded from the App Store or Google Play on your smartphone. If you have Wi-Fi or data, then you can use them as you do at home. Remember that if you pay by card, your card will be charged in Vietnamese Dong, so attach a card that gives you the best international exchange rates. Most drivers will not speak English, so it is important to enter the address correctly when ordering a Grab/Be/GoViet. Our team will teach you how best to use these apps after you arrive in Vietnam; they can be useful for getting home late at night after a social occasion.

Ride-hailing apps

Bicycles

Traveling by bicycle is a great way to experience Vietnam. Because of its convenience and cheapness, cycling is popular for short distance travel, although caution with road traffic within the city is recommended if you borrow, rent or buy a bike during your stay.

Motorbike/Scooter option

For safety reasons, we do NOT allow our students to ride a motorbike/scooter by him/ herself during their program in Vietnam.

OUTSIDE OF CITY

Sleeper buses

Sleeper buses are for long-distance travels, usually from one city to another. The reason why they are called sleeper buses is because the seats can be reclined to make a small bed. People usually take an overnight sleeper bus to save time while travelling. The downsides of Vietnam sleeper buses are that they are usually packed with people and the bathroom stops along the way are sometimes not in good conditions. When you choose a sleeper bus for travelling, make sure you are choosing a well-known company instead of a smaller, unknown name, bigger companies have better policies for their drivers and customers and this refrains drivers from over-speeding or dangerous driving.

Limousine Service

You might have in mind the image of a luxury Limousine for celebrities. Hold on, this is what  a Limousine in Vietnam looks like.

Limousine service is becoming more and more popular across Vietnam as it’s way more comfortable than the sleeper buses, and speaking of the price, the fare per trip can be considered as affordable given the high level of comfort it gives the passengers. Its biggest selling point is that the drivers will pick you up at almost wherever you are and drop you off at the exact address of your choice. When travelling in a Limousine car, you have your own space on such a relaxing seat with stable wifi and a good bottle of water.

Limousine Service

Train

If you are planning to travel further and through Vietnam, then the train is a more comfortable and safer option. Make sure you are getting your tickets inside the train station or on the state train’s official website. If you are not familiar with the routes and train stations, you can also book train tickets with a trusted tour agency found on TripAdvisor. Never buy tickets from vendors in front of train stations or people offering you ‘great’ train ticket prices. They are often dealers who sell tickets for prices way over than they are worth.

When you book a train ticket in Vietnam, there are a variety of options to choose from, you can choose to sit on a hard or soft chair, or lounge in your own bed. More modern trains even offer private cabins you can spend with your family or friends. The money spent on upgrading your seat/bed according to your preference is money well-spent, especially when you are going on a long trip.

train in Vietnam

Flight

Vietnam has good domestic flight connections, with new routes opening up all the time, and very affordable prices (if you book early). Airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Airways, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways accept bookings on international credit or debit cards.

Airlines in Vietnam
(Source: tintucvietnam.vn)

For more information on how to get around in Vietnam, check out this blogpost.


At ABROADER, we care about your health and safety as much as your family does. We are committed to offering safe and enjoyable programs to make sure that you can have a well-rounded and safe experience. The security of our program locations and of popular student travel destinations is monitored simultaneously with the timely delivery of safety guides and risk warnings based on information from the government and experts in the education abroad community.

Once we start to work with you, you are guided through a program-specific health and safety procedure which begins with pre-departure communications and concludes with a comprehensive on-site orientation held by us and staff from your host organization. You will be given local emergency contact information to ensure reachable and responsive communication during the course of the program. Our staff will also work with you, your parents, host organization and study abroad staff at your home institution (if applicable) to provide the most up-to-date information regarding situations that may arise during your program.

ONSITE ORIENTATION

Health & Safety issues are carefully addressed in the onsite orientation session you will have with us after arriving in Vietnam. During this orientation session, our Program Coordinator would highlight local health and safety issues as well as give further details and tips about transportation and accommodation, guidelines on eating local food and finding safe drinking water, simple Vietnamese phrases you can use, and more. You will also be provided an SOS card in Vietnamese that has your address and emergency contacts including our  local emergency number, your host organization supervisor, and your host family (if applicable). If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, you can show or use this card to get help, and it is important that you keep this card on you at all times. 

24/7 EMERGENCY CONTACT

ABROADER’s 24/7 emergency contact information will be given to you before your departure for your program location so that you can share it with your parents or other close people at home. Our emergency contact person has a wide network of local contacts such as nearby hospitals, police stations, embassies and even your neighbors so as to quickly react to unexpected situations. On the orientation day, you will be reminded of this information again. Whenever in an emergency, you should first (have someone) contact our local staff at: 

  • Hanoi: +84 96 93 88 689 (24/7) or +84 24 62 94 3322 (Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm). 

  • Ho Chi Minh City: +84 975 630 435 (24/7) or +84 28 39 30 6432 (Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm). 

  • If you are placed outside of these two cities you can also call these numbers, but for more immediate situations, you are under the care of your local organization supervisor whose number you should have on you at all times on your SOS card or in your phone.

Upon receiving your emergency call, ABROADER will contact relevant stakeholders as soon as possible, typically your emergency contacts and/or university staff back home. In the event that medical care is required, ABROADER can assist you through insurance protocols.

PERSONAL SECURITY

Vietnam is generally a safe place to be, but as with anywhere else – as a foreigner you need to take extra precautions, especially if the area you are staying in or visiting is a touristy or distant area. For example, always carry your money and phone in an inside pocket, not in your back pocket or the outer pockets of coats or jackets. If you want to leave your coat or jacket anywhere, take your money with you. Avoid carrying a handbag when you are out on the street, carry a cross bag or a backpack instead, have your cross back and backpack within your sight when walking in a crowded area or on buses by wearing them in front of you rather than on your back. Never leave your belongings unattended, even for short periods. Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you – just enough to meet your day-to-day needs. In major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi, there are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw money and convenient stores and supermarkets that accept credit card payment.

Finally, take special care of your passport, tickets and other personal documents. If you are staying at a hotel, you can leave your passport at the receptionist, if you are staying at a studio apartment or a shared room; make sure you have your passport locked away in a safe place.

HEALTH FACILITIES

In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, there are both local and international clinics and hospitals open to foreign visitors for medical consultations and treatments. 

Below is a list of accredited International Clinics and Hospitals in Vietnam. The list is by no means exclusive. These international medical facilities have foreign language-speaking staff and doctors. Make sure to check with your insurance provider and the clinic website to see which clinics are in your insurance coverage network.

Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Family Medical Practice (Languages: English, Japanese and Korean)
    34 Le Duan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | Phone: 028 3822 7848
  • Lotus Clinic (Languages: English, Japanese)
    22 Le Thanh Ton, Dist.1, Ho Chi Minh | Phone: 028 3829 9570
  • FV Hospital (Languages: English, French)
    6 Nguyễn Lương Bằng Tân Phú, Quận 7, TP.HCM, Hồ Chí Minh | Phone: 028 5411 3333

Ha Noi:

  • Vietnam-France Hospital (Languages: English, French and Japanese)
    01 Phuong Mai Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam | Phone: 024 435 741 111
  • Family Medical Practice Hanoi (Languages: English, Japanese and Korean)
    298 Kim Ma Street, Van Phuc Compound, Dinh District, Hanoi | Tel: 024 3843 0748

Da Nang:

  • Family Medical Practice Danang (Languages: English, Japanese and Korean)
    96-98 Nguyen Van Linh Street, Hai Chau District, Danang, Vietnam | Tel: 0236 3582 699

MEDICATION ABROAD

If you are taking regular prescription medications, you should discuss travel plans with your regular doctor, and develop a plan for the duration of the time abroad. It may be difficult or impossible to fill prescriptions at the host location. When possible, you should bring enough medications to last for the duration of the program and always bring a copy of your current prescription as well as contact information for regular doctors.

healthcare in Vietnam

You are encouraged to disclose medical conditions and current prescriptions with ABROADER. Though ABROADER does not require this information in our application procedures, we hope you can start a dialogue with us as soon as possible so that guidance and direction to further resources will be given properly. ABROADER Program Advisors and Coordinators are best equipped to answer questions related to the specific program location. For more information on medications abroad, please visit the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

It is always necessary to maintain a healthy mental well-being, especially when you reside in another country. Since our establishment, ABROADER has researched and worked with medical centers in our different program locations that are capable of providing mental health support to foreign visitors. These centers may not meet up with your expectations compared to the ones back home; however, we endeavour to find ones whose staff have adequate qualifications and language skills to ensure proper communication with you during your treatments.

INDEPENDENT TRAVEL

If you plan to travel independently away from your program site, please be aware that it is mandatory to notify your Program Coordinator at ABROADER of your plan. It is always wise to let us know where you are going, when you will be back, and how we can contact you while you are travelling in case there is an emergency and we need to contact you or vice versa. You may also want to inform your host organization of your plans in case your travel plans are changed due to weather or other reasons. Do keep in mind that your program is your priority and while you may request time off from your host organization; it is not required for your host organization to grant you the time off. Also, please check in with your Program Coordinator once you’ve returned so we know you are safe!

It should be noted that independent travel outside of your host city is undertaken entirely at your own risk. ABROADER cannot be held responsible for anything that might happen to you during independent travel, thus it is vital that you exercise caution and good judgment when travelling independently.

SAFETY TIPS

You should avoid:

  • Staying out after midnight or after a local curfew

  • Being in a high-crime area

  • Staying alone in an isolated area

  • Sleeping in an unlocked room

  • Eating food with unknown origin or without being guided by the local

  • Being on a motorbike without wearing helmet

You should pay attention to:

  • What is advised by ABROADER staff and the local buddies

  • Local law, rules, curfew and warnings

  • The address of your accommodation and emergency contact

  • Other sources of help around you (phones, stores, police, etc.)

Contact our Program Coordinator for additional resources on health & safety in Vietnam here.


Understanding the core values that Vietnamese people believe in can be a great way for you to adapt to Vietnamese culture. Below is a comprehensive etiquette guide to facilitate your experience in Vietnam!

GENERAL ETIQUETTES

The Vietnamese are proud people and are extremely welcoming and tolerant to foreign visitors. That said, our cultural identity and traditions are complex, and as a casual visitor you will find the following forms of etiquette evoke respect and admiration from the locals:

Social etiquettes in Vietnam

(Source: pinterest.co.uk)

  • Respect the elders and address the eldest in a group first as the Vietnamese culture has a great respect for the elderly. Elderly people always have the right of way in Vietnamese society and should be treated with great respect. In every situation, it is best to give honor and preference to the eldest member of the group. For example, when dining with a Vietnamese family, please wait for the eldest to start eating first before you do. 

  • The Vietnamese people value humility, restraint, and modesty, and avoid being boastful or showing off wealth.

  • Start with small talk and enquire about their families and personal life before discussing any business matter. This is not considered rude in Vietnamese culture. The Vietnamese need to know more about you, in a casual way, before they discuss business. 

  • Overall, most Vietnamese are quite reserved when it comes to showing affection for the opposite sex. Showing affection in public is generally frowned upon and whilst a kiss or a hug with your partner is considered acceptable in major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it is a social taboo elsewhere. When meeting with Vietnamese of the opposite sex, a handshake or a slight bow is considered standard greeting. A kiss on the cheek is not recommended and may cause embarrassment.

  • Refrain from showing your anger in public. This causes astute embarrassment to yourself and your Vietnamese friends. Saving face is extremely important in Vietnam’s society. If you are not happy with something, discuss the issue in a calm and respectful manner. Showing anger will have the opposite effect to what you wish to achieve and will only reflect poorly upon you.

  • Always take your shoes off when entering a Vietnamese home. 

  • Dress conservatively and keep your body covered. 

  • When giving or receiving business cards/gifts, do so by holding it with both hands.

FAMILY

The Vietnamese family consists of the nuclear as well as the extended family. It is not uncommon for three generations to be living together under one roof. Children are expected to be obedient to their mother and father. Almost all turning points in their life are marked with the consultation of parents. Due to such a close bond among family members, it is necessary for family members to gather at the end of the day to enjoy a meal together or to have a reunion at the end of the year.

In Confucian tradition, the father is the head of the family and it is his responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter and make important decisions. Within the same tradition it is believed that after someone dies their spirit lives on. Descendents will "worship" their ancestors to ensure they receive good favour. On the anniversary of a person's death, ceremonies are held in their memory. They are also remembered during certain lunar festivals and their souls are consulted prior to important decisions or occasions such as a birth or a wedding.

HIERARCHY

As with most group-orientated societies, Vietnam people also have hierarchical structures which are very much based upon age and status. This derives from Confucianism’s emphasis of  social order. Everyone is seen as having a distinct place and role within the hierarchical structure, be it the family or the workplace. An obvious example is seen in social situations where the oldest person in a group should be greeted or served first. Within the family, the head would be responsible for making decisions and approving marriages.

FACE

As with many other Asian nations, the concept of face is extremely important to the Vietnamese. Face is a tricky concept to explain but can be roughly described as a person's reputation, dignity, and prestige. In Vietnam, it is important to be aware that you may unintentionally cause a loss of face for someone so you should be aware of your words and actions. Understanding how a face is lost, saved or given is critical. For example at your workplace, complimenting someone for their hospitality or business acumen, especially in front of other people, is considered giving them a face. In contrast, accusing someone of poor performance or reprimanding them publicly will lead to a loss of face. For more information on Vietnamese business etiquette check out this blogpost.

EATING AND DRINKING

Every Vietnamese meal follows some basic principles. Rice is a staple, consumed at basically every meal, and it will typically be placed at the end of the table. The second most basic ingredient is vegetables, followed by meat and seafood, which during previous hard times were quite rare. Today, the standard of living is much higher, so meat takes a more important place.

Vietnam traditional food
(Source: huongnghiepaau.com)

Another element essential to the Vietnamese table: chopsticks. Eat with the thinner end. When you want to rest the chopstick on the bowl, take care to always prop them across your bowl. To plant them vertically in the rice is a sign of misfortune and death because it resembles the incense sticks used for the dead. Younger generations are more flexible with these rules, while in the most traditional families the practice remains firmly a taboo.

Finally, it is common for the host to serve the guest by placing food in your bowl. When eating with the Vietnamese, you should: 

  • Use the shared serving spoon. Don't use your own spoon to pick up from the communal food dish in the middle; Vietnamese find this distasteful.

  • Finish your serving. Leaving a significant amount of rice in your bowl is considered wasteful. Don't get more rice than you think you can finish.

  • Go ahead and drink, but not to excess. Some Vietnamese might enjoy alcohol (usually rice wine) with a meal, but hardly ever to excess; habitual drunkenness is frowned upon in society.

Meal time

It is most common for Vietnamese people who live in cities to eat breakfast outside their home on their way to work and to eat lunch with their work colleagues. If you live with a host family, you will have access to the kitchen if you choose to store or prepare any food at home. Locals usually eat lunch at 12pm and dinner at 7pm or earlier, with lunch being the bigger meal of the day. People usually have a lunch break of 1 to 1.5 hours so they can either choose to bring their own food and eat at work or go out to eat at local food stores. People usually eat rice dishes or noodle soups for lunch. A typical meal out would cost from USD $1.5 - USD $5 depending on where and what type of food you eat (fast foods at international/local chain restaurants are typically more expensive than foods at local food stores).

Vegetarians/Vegans

It can be fairly hard for vegetarians, especially vegans to find a standard vegan meal at random food stores on the streets, if you are a vegan and you are strict about what you eat, we recommend you prepare your own food or buy them from convenient stores/supermarkets. There are legitimate vegan restaurants but they are generally more expensive than the standard meal prices. If you are a vegetarian, there are local vegetarian food stores and restaurants but they are rather rare and harder to spot. You can simply just order vegetable dishes from a food store but make sure to have someone who speaks Vietnamese with you because it is rather confusing to vendors that you only want rice and vegetables. It is also worth keeping in mind that the most popular ingredients used for flavoring in Vietnamese food is fish sauce which is made from fish.There are limited ways to make sure your food doesn’t contain fish sauce even if it is vegetarian, especially if the food comes from street food stalls. For a list of vegetarian places in cities across Vietnam, check out this webpage.

Water

Travelers to Vietnam should not drink the tap water unless it has been boiled or purified using iodine tablets (water purifying tablets which you can buy prior to your visit to Vietnam). We recommend that you  bring a reusable water bottle and boil your own at home or just buy bottled water for the duration of your stay, which can be picked up easily and cheaply at local convenience stores.

HOME CUSTOMS AND GIFTS

  • Always take your shoes off when entering a Vietnamese home. If the space is tight, people socialize sitting on the floor rather than on chairs. Guests are often offered green tea, fruits, and cookies. 

  • When you are invited to a Vietnamese party or gathering, it is better to: 1) Bring sweets, cookies, flowers, or fruits. 2) Gifts should be wrapped in colorful paper, not white paper. 3) Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums.

  • When giving gifts, often the giver minimizes the value of the item, even though it may be great. The recipient of a gift is expected to display significant gratitude. Some may be reluctant to accept a gift because of the burden of gratitude. Vietnamese may refuse a gift on the first offer, even if they intend to accept it, so as not to appear greedy.


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Here are REVIEWS from our previous students about their internship/study abroad in Vietnam experience.

Joining this internship in Vietnam with SEND, I made a very important realization that is I can’t do everything on my own. The challenges presented during this internship got me to talk to other people, hear their ideas and craft up a conclusion. I learnt to cooperate with friends instead of struggling with any probem alone and we were able to find a solution to almost any problem that we encountered.

Ryosuke Asai

Education Internship ,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

Words cannot describe how much I gain from this internship. The time here has been productive, meaningful and of course an unforgettable one! When I first came to Ho Chi Minh City for the internship, I was overwhelmed by the culture difference. To the roads packed with motorcycles to the food, everything was different for me. Honestly, I thought it would be very hard for me to adapt to the culture in Vietnam, however, ABROADER provided us with a lot of support! They have local buddies that bought us around Ho Chi Minh City, teach us their culture and are very open and happy going! They even brought us to grocery shopping which we needed desperately! What’s more, they gave me an internship in one of Vietnam’s top IT outsourcing companies! The team was professional, always looking for ways to improve and welcoming! They always try their best that I am doing great! Thank You ABROADER!

Heng Choon Yuan (Gerald)

IT Internship ,Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

The study tour was a fantastic program full of cultural and fun experiences in both Vietnam and Singapore. Before the trip both of these places had been on my travel list, so when the opportunity for this trip came up I couldn't say no and I'm so glad that I did it. The buddies, the people I travelled with and the organisers made the trip even better. Industries in both countries were super helpful and our visits to these factories was one of the highlights. Networking with these companies, the food, cultural exposure, the people and the organisers made it a beautiful way to study our university course!! The most unfamiliar food that I tried was definitely chicken feet! Sugar cane drinks were also unusual but they tasted awesome! Thank you!!!!

Jared Haysman

Electrical Engineering and Computing Study Tour ,University of Newcastle, Australia

I did have a bit of trouble with my original internship, but ABROADER was very supportive and active in ensuring I got the best experience and helped me switch to a different company. My new company became a place where I learned about company life and got to work on independent projects. It was also great to have the local buddies with us, as they went around town and did different activities with us. The local buddies definitely made my experience here more fun and made it easier for me to acclimate to life here. Also, going around Ho Chi Minh City was actually much safer than I had imagined, and people here are usually very friendly to help out foreigners. My time here went by very quickly, and my summer experience of growing, learning, exploring, and lots of eating is definitely one I will remember!

Jamie Kim

Communication Internship ,Princeton University, USA

Everyone from the program coordinator to my local buddy was extremely supportive! The experience would not have been as great as it has been if I was by myself. I felt very satisfied with the service ABROADER Vietnam provided for my Nursing Internship in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh Hopspital of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation. I was clear about the rules and expectations required of me during my placement. My supervisors instructed me and helped me with language translation and clarifications of responsibilities. With their help, I felt I was well equipped for the job I was assigned. I brought my equipment from home to the workplace and it provided great assistance for my work. During the internship in Vietnam, I was glad I was able to learn technical skills from the nurses from the hospital. They have all been very supportive, friendly, patient and open to my help. They trained me with techniques quite different from how it is occasionally done back home. I will definitely recommend this program to my colleagues!

Sandra Gomez Vega

Nursing Internship ,University of Texas Austin, USA

Prior to arriving in Vietnam, I had never had a so-called “life-changing” experience. There is no guidebook on how to achieve one, nor was I able to grasp such a concept, moments so strong as to change the path for your life. That is until I went to Vietnam. There is so much more than meets the eye in the beautiful country of Vietnam. A tourist or temporary visitor may only be granted with picturesque views of rice fields and the women in their hats, the mountains of the north, or a steaming bowl of Pho placed on their plastic red table. And while these experiences are all incredible in their own right, there is so much more to discover, whether it be the story of the people under the hats, the sellers on the streets, or the history of the land that you have the opportunity to travel. ABROADER Vietnam granted me the opportunity to uncover such stories, and an internship with memories that has left me longing to go back since the moment I returned home. Vietnam has become my second home. Granted, I had gotten the opportunity to travel and become accustomed to Vietnam for about four months prior to starting the internship. My University had allowed me to study abroad during which time I adjusted to the food and language, learning about almost every aspect of Vietnam culture. But this was only a preview of what was to come. My time with the internship let me interact with the people, practice my Vietnamese, take trips with my coworkers, and uncover passions for things I didn’t know existed. I have too many incredible stories to be able to write them all throughout this review, and so I’ll pick a few of the mostly little interactions that really meant the most. ABROADER Vietnam set me up in a homestay, perhaps one of the highlights of my journey, and I can say with complete honesty that I felt like part of the family. There was a cook by the name of “Vui”, meaning happy in Vietnamese, and how appropriate as she radiated happiness onto me throughout my entire stay. She did not speak any English, but somehow I was able to coordinate trips to the market, request my favorite food for dinners, and convey to her how much I loved her country. She bought me 21 roses on my 21st birthday, only proving her kindness. The mother of the household, unlike Vui, spoke some English. She often taught me Vietnamese when I had free time, as well as took me to the market, and made me feel extremely welcome when I felt the slightest bit homesick. But as for the internship itself, I was placed in two hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, one directly in the center, and one located more on the outskirts. I’m not going to lie and say that there were no challenges. Originally people were confused to why I was there, I got lost several times, and some days I had no one to teach me, but those were a minuscule few days as most, out of a ten week internship. I made friends with the doctors who taught me about topics from infectious diseases in Vietnam, to the catheder lab, and even more in the surgical urology department.. We frequently went out to eat, where we exchanged stories, and I answered curious questions about my time in Vietnam thus far. Other friends I made were medical students, originally too shy to approach me, but through my time in the hospital gathered up the courage to speak to me. I served to help them practice their English and was happy about it as I know how many opportunities it can open up for them. They invited me for bubble tea, food, and even once to a Vietnamese fruit farm, two hours by train. I was gifted the opportunity to dress up in the MOST attractive brown cloth attire, and proceed to pick and eat as much fruit as humanly possible on perhaps one of the most humid days. While I felt almost at home, eating to my hearts desire, I most certainly looked out of place with the brown pants acting more like a short capri on my long legs. It was days like this that I got to thinking of how grateful I was for the opportunity to stay in Vietnam for a little bit longer. I learned lots about my friends, and one of my favorite aspects of their culture is how open they are to strangers; how they just immediately let them in to their personal lives, and are completely honest. It is something that I miss the most. And lastly, as I don’t want to write a novel here, I have to talk about my experiences with the nurses at the second hospital that I worked in. The first week as usual was slightly stressful with not much sense of direction, but I quickly made friends, and their generosity was incredible. My days consisted of learning from doctors for a few hours, walking from room to room, checking patients vitals, or just practicing Vietnamese. But as soon as I took a break in the nurses “lounge”, I was bombarded with different Vietnamese foods coming my way. Each nurse wanted to share with me a piece of their dish, and talk to me as much as they could. Each morning from there on I would be asked in Vietnamese “Ali an sang chua?”, a phrase meaning “have you eaten breakfast yet?” Per usual I had not, and my answer encouraged them to start making me a coffee, and once again piling different foods in my bowls and encouraging me to eat mysterious shaped foods. My response that the food was delicious, or “ngon”, only encouraged them more. This routine continued until the end of my internship. The goodbyes were not easy, and there were many I had to make. Each attempted goodbye always ended with another attempt by them to try and meet up once more, at which I sullenly had to refuse. There are only a few things I will say to end this review that went much too long. These moments that I experienced were granted to me due to my opportunity to take up an internship with ABROADER, who set me up in the select hospitals, with my host family, and opened the doors for me to make connections. And of course when you take on an internship you have to do your part. You must be open, able to laugh when things don’t go your way, and not let any roadblock deter you. Looking back I know that I have changed. While I couldn’t see it in the moment, the internship boosted my confidence and improved my relationship with failure. It also made my more open with myself and those that I met. I wished my internship could go longer, and perhaps I will find a job in Vietnam one day, so for now all I can do is reminisce through reviews about the most life-changing time I had with my internship and with ABROADER.

Alison Burelbach

Medical Internship ,Loyola University Chicago, USA

It was extremely helpful to have ABROADER when I arrived to Vietnam. I didn’t have to worry about how to get from the airport to the house or how to get a local sim card. Also ABROADER staff (Tung and Ngan) were periodically checking on me to make sure everything was ok. Mo and Claire were kind enough to arrange a city tour when I visited Saigon. However, the most important thing was that ABROADER Vietnam introduced me to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation.

Martin Duran

Social Work Internship ,Ecuador

In general, I am satisfied with the Internship Service provided by ABROADER before I came to Vietnam. My host family placement exceeded my expectations. My host mother and father were all very friendly and helpful; they really made me feel at home. My local buddy Linh, even though she lived 2 hours away, she still made efforts in taking me on day-trips that catered to my interest in Vietnamese Cuisine. I contacted ABROADER for the Culinary Internship in Vietnam on my own and and given the amount of money and time I will be investing, it was extremely important for me to feel that I can trust ABROADER Vietnam. My host for the internship was Ngon Villa Restaurant. The host company staffs were very friendly and welcoming, one chef at the restaurant was in charge of my internship. However, due to perhaps unforeseeable needs in the company, my supervisor was not able to spend more than a day with me. ABROADER Vietnam found an excellent opportunity for internship in Vietnam for me; however, the host company was not able to fully deliver the experience I was looking for.

Jinhua Zhang

Culinary Internship ,City College of San Francisco, USA

Before, I didn’t really like my personality as I was a timid girl and afraid to speak up for myself. I am also a perfectionist and would like to spend as much time for preparation as possible before I do something. However, the internship in Vietnam changed that for me. Through interacting with my students and fellow interns I opened up a lot and become more outgoing. In my work, after going through some troubles with cultural difference, I realize one thing for myself that is: Preparation is not always good and if you don’t prepare you are given the chance to do things more freely and more out of the box, so next time even if you’re asked to do something when you’re not prepared “Just Do It"

Nana Mihara

Education Internship ,Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan

The people at ABROADER helped me transition into moving to Hanoi and beginning my internship. They helped me find a homestay at this place called Bui Xuyen Viet Travel Coffee, which is a small coffee shop that is all about travel. I really love my home stay. The people are some of the kindest I have met in Vietnam and extremely helpful in helping me navigate through the city and experience a local perspective of life in Hanoi. As for my internship, the staff has been very supportive and encouraging. They have helped challenge me and encourage me at the same time to contribute in any way I can to the company. After only a few days there, I could tell that I would really like my co-workers. They are a young, energetic, and sarcastic bunch who truly care about the company. It definitely feels like a team at the office. I know that I can talk to them about any questions I may have, and they are patient in letting me learn along the way. The experience that I have so far at ABROADER has been helpful in get a better idea of what I want to pursue after I go back home to the U.S., and my experiences overall in Vietnam that were very much made possible by ABROADER are experiences that are invaluable and that I will cherish for a lifetime. Vietnam is a beautiful country, with its breathtaking nature and tropical beaches, there is no doubt about it. But what really makes Vietnam feel like home and a place that I have become fond of is the people, the friends that I have made along the journey.

Nancy Vazquez

Marketing Intern ,University of California, San Diego, USA