There are numerous universities, colleges and other undergraduate schools in Vietnam, most of which are concentrated in major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue or Vinh. These universities provide diverse courses to students to choose from economics, design, arts to biology, sciences and social sciences. Below are something that you should know when you consider studying in a Vietnamese universities.
High concentration in urban area
First of all, as mentioned above, reputable universities in Vietnam are mostly located in metropolitan areas like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, so that if you desire to study undergraduate in Vietnam, be prepared to live in those cities. Students from a suburban area or remote area in another country may feel it overwhelming to relocate to city, with a lot more traffic and people, hence distractions from study. In smaller cities such as Hue and Vinh, there are also choices but they are rather limited. There are plans under way to move these universities outside of the cities’ core into the peripheral areas but as of 2012, all universities are of close proximity to the city centre.
Vietnamese as the dominant language
Most universities in Vietnam give lectures in Vietnamese, so prepare yourself some basic knowledge of Vietnamese to follow the lecture effectively. In fact, unless you want to study Vietnamese on your exchange, there is not much else you can choose if you decide to settle in a domestic university: face the truth that you cannot even read a syllabus!
At the same time, there are still some international universities and Vietnamese undergraduate schools that offer courses in English, and that could be an ideal option for you to consider.
Participation is key
Remember in most of universities in Vietnam, participation mark is one of the most important parts of your courses; hence going to all class is required if you want to improve your overall mark. The truth is that many of Vietnamese students have excluded or failed their semester just because they do not get enough participation mark as the schools require. At the beginning of the seminar or lecture, the instructors usually go over the class list to check off the absent.
Teachers- Students relationships
One more thing to remember is that in Vietnam’s universities and most of education level, relationship with lecturers are extremely important. In traditional domestic universities, students never address their teachers by their first or last name, but simple call them teachers: Thay (male teacher), Co (female teacher) or Giao su (Professor).
Students also respect teachers by presenting some gifts to their instructors and visit their houses on special occasion like Tet Holiday or Vietnam’s Teacher Day (20/11).