CET Vietnam
95% Rating
(12 Reviews)

CET Vietnam

Looking to experience international development in action? CET Vietnam gives you the chance to roll up your sleeves and conduct service-learning internships at local non-profits and NGOs. Multidisciplinary courses, taught in English, provide background knowledge for hands-on experiences, and challenge you to look for broader applications of the theories you learn. You'll also study Vietnamese language and live with a Vietnamese roommate. The fall and spring programs approach development through multiple lenses including public health and the environment, while the summer program focuses on public health. A Traveling Seminar takes you to Cambodia and the Mekong Delta, where you'll tour, visit, engage, taste, discuss, ride, and travel. All CET Vietnam programs are open to students of all majors and language levels, including heritage learners.

Locations
Asia » Vietnam » Ho Chi Minh City
Asia » Vietnam
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Asian Studies
East Asian Studies
Liberal Arts
Service Learning
Social Sciences
Sociology
Sustainable Development
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Summer
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
GPA Requirement
Application Fee
$0.00
Starting Price
$5,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
CET makes it a point to include as much as possible. The CET program fee covers tuition, housing with a Vietnamese roommate, activities and excursions (including 3 overnight trips), visa fees, medical insurance and course materials/textbooks.

The program fee does not include transportation to/from Vietnam and meals.

Still wondering how to budget for your time abroad? CET offers scholarships, and CET staff is happy to provide advice on keeping discretionary purchases to a minimum (i.e., they can tell you where to get cheap eats).

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    78%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    90%
  • Housing
    92%
  • Safety
    88%

Program Reviews (12)

female selfie in mountains
Samantha
Female

CET Development Studies: An Unforgettable Experience!

10/10

CET Vietnam is a great program if you want to gain hands-on experience and totally immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture. The two best aspects of the program are the local roommates and the excursions. The local roommates and CET staff are such wonderful people and they really care about the students. When I was sick or faced challenges at my internship, my roommate and the CET staff supported me and helped me to figure out a solution.

My roommate, Quỳnh, helped me with my Vietnamese and showed me all of the best food stalls and cool cafes. We talked about everything and hung out together every day. Having a local roommate gave me unparalleled opportunities to learn about Vietnamese culture and explore new things. We discussed the public health and development issues I learned about in class, as well as the international relations issues she learned about in her classes. All in all, we became very close friends and we have stayed in touch using Viber and Facebook.

The language teachers at VLS are all fantastic. I went to Vietnam without having studied Vietnamese before and I was able to order food and have basic conversations by the end of the semester. The small class sizes and effective teaching methods ensure that students can learn Vietnamese at their own pace.

The excursions are very fun and educational. Some of my favorite experiences from the traveling excursions include making banh xeo and banh trang in the Mekong Delta, visiting the floating crocodile farms at Tonle Sap Lake, walking through the night market in Hanoi, visiting the Tinh Truc Gia living community in Hue, and seeing the Phare Circus in Siemp Reap. It was wonderful to learn about so many different regions in Vietnam and observe their distinct cultures. The excursion to Cambodia was also a great opportunity to learn about public health and development issues across Southeast Asia.

I definitely experienced culture shock and struggled with challenges such as the heat, bugs, and food poisoning. However, I knew that I could rely on my roommate and the CET staff so I always felt safe. Furthermore, those challenges enabled me to become a more flexible, open-minded person and to develop strong problem-solving skills. If you are looking for an adventurous, rewarding experience, CET Vietnam is the perfect program for you! I truly appreciate all of the great experiences I had in Vietnam and I will treasure my memories of eating banh mi op la with Quỳnh and teaching English at the May 15 School.

Tips:
1) Wear long pants! Long pants will protect you from mosquitoes and you can buy some inexpensive elephant pants that aren't too hot.
2) Explore "hidden alley gems." Alleys in Vietnam have amazing food stalls and relaxing cafes that are great to study and hang out in. Check out saigoneer.com for more information on Saigon's best restaurants and cafes.
3) Take pictures of menus at local restaurants and study them in order to learn food vocabulary. This will enable you to explore Vietnamese cuisine independently and learn how to say all of your favorite foods in Vietnamese. Be sure to ask your roommate for food recommendations too!
4) Be open-minded! Try as many new things as you can and talk to the people in your host community. It can be very challenging to explore when you can't speak Vietnamese well, but people are very friendly and there are new adventures down every alley.
5) Be respectful! Think critically about your various privileges and how they influence your interactions with others. You are a guest in another country and respect, not entitlement, is the best way to approach another culture.

Top 20 Foods to Try:
1) Bun cha
2) Banh cuon
3) Hu tieu
4) Banh mi op la
5) Canh chua
6) Banh xeo
7) Bun Thit Nuong
8) Bun bo Hue
9) Bo ne
10) Banh beo
11) Pho dac biet
12) Dau hu sot ca chua
13) Banh pho mai chanh day
14) Sinh to mang cut dau
15) Banh khot
16) Goi cuon
17) Bo bia
18) Mi quang
19) Com tam thit nuong
20) Chuoi boc nep nuong

How can this program be improved?

I wish there were more opportunities to meet local students from nearby universities.

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Thu
Female
20 years old
San Jose, California
Brown University

An interdisciplinary approach to public health

10/10

I initially decided to apply to this program offered by CET Vietnam, because as an undergraduate student planning to eventually become a practicing physician, I find it crucial to broaden my views and examine the social determinants of health. My short 8 weeks in Vietnam allowed me to not only study these factors, but also to fully immerse myself in the beautiful Vietnamese culture.

Culture/people:
Being Vietnamese-American in this program meant that my identity landed me right in the middle of two very different cultures. I was initially worried that I would not fit into either group, but I quickly came to realize I didn’t have to fit into a category. I had incredible support and constantly had the CET staff, my roommate, or my program-mates to discuss with. I learned more about myself with every interaction I had (even if it was just my uber driver!!), and being able to interface with the Vietnamese public was a special opportunity.

Academics/internship:
The summer program consisted of 3 courses: public health and development, service-learning, and Vietnamese language. The language course was very well organized, and I found my Vietnamese improved quickly because of how much I was able to practice and ask questions. The public health course, alongside the internship, moved outside the typical teaching style I was used to. Instead of the typical classroom learning, we always had the chance to attend events or interact with Vietnamese people in order to apply our readings and lectures on an interpersonal level. I greatly appreciated that each student could dive into the material as little or as much as they wanted to.

I am incredibly happy that at the conclusion of the two-month program, I was able to learn more about Vietnam’s development, gain insight about my identity, and make friends I know I will keep for a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?

Though I enjoyed the non-conventional angle this program took on public health, I think other students would enjoy a course with more health-related content or should receive more information so that they have the right expectations going into the program.

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Dylan
Male
21 years old
United States
George Washington University

Vietnam is the place to go.

9/10

When deciding what program to pursue for study abroad, I knew that I was very interested in going to SE Asia, but I just didn't know where. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon the CET program at a study abroad fair and was very intrigued. I have now returned from said program and know that I made the right decision. Vietnam is an absolutely beautiful country and CET helped me see all of that. The program staff took us on several trips throughout the country where we got to learn more history and about haw the Vietnam War has shaped the country. Also, they were very accommodating in offering local activities and excursions to partake in during our time in ho Chi Minh City. Everything about HCMC (with exception of the heat) was amazing. The food is phenomenal and reasonably priced and the guest house accommodations CET provides are close to SO much. I absolutely loved my time in Vietnam and know that you will too should you choose to go with CET. Also, one amazing thing is that they are very generous with refunding for cultural events or trips. So, if you go to a museum or see a show, they will work to try and reimburse you for your ticket or fee to ensure that you can experience as much as possible!

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Nanami
Female
22 years old
Tokyo, Japan
Smith College

It was a risk, but I do not regret it

10/10

Until my study abroad term, I was very involved in a student organisation and starting to get more involved in a Biology lab at my college. I felt guilty for leaving these important people behind for a whole semester, and I was worried about how I would fit back in. I was also concerned about not receiving credit for a semester because I was studying abroad on a leave of absence from my college. But in the end, I have no regrets.

My friends back in college are curious to know about my experience in Vietnam since nobody has recently been on this program. I've gotten more attention from peers, professors, and employers because of my stories from Vietnam. And although my senior year will be tough, the memories and people I met through CET Vietnam are irreplaceable to me and they have helped me understand that I do want to have a career in public health in the future. I genuinely hope to return to Saigon so I can reunite with my roommate and to see other places in Vietnam that I did not get to explore while I was there.

Minh
Female
20 years old
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The "I" in Vietnam

8/10

Studying abroad in Vietnam for two and a half months was an inspirational experience for me. Being away from my family and friends, I had to step up to the game and learn to become independent and responsible. This trip opened my eyes and expanded my horizon. I got the chance to be a part of a different culture, to learn new customs, and to experience life from the perspective of a third world country.

How can this program be improved?

In my opinion, there is room for improvement of this program:
- A better internship: I hope that this program will be able to find internships that will allow the students to physically be active and feel like they are helping to the best of their abilities.
- More topics about public health issues that will allow the students to apply their knowledge to the situations they see.

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Emily
Female
23 years old
Louisville
University of Denver

Great times with great people in a great place

9/10

When I began researching study abroad options, I knew I wanted a program in a unique location, opportunities to actually connect with the culture and not just be in an American bubble, and hands-on learning among other things. This program absolutely fulfilled that. Living in Saigon is never dull and there are so many things to do. There is something going on at all times which sometimes made it hard to remember that it was necessary to sleep. It is hot. Like really, really hot. But you do get used to it and I wouldn't let that deter you. The pollution is also pretty bad but you will learn from it.

My favorite part of the program was hands down having a Vietnamese roommate. During my semester, there were 7 American students who were each paired up with a Vietnamese student. The students are all fluent in English, very excited to be friends with you, and eager to bring you to all the best places in the city. My roommate and I loved hanging out at one of the many many cafes in the city, hitting up rooftop bars, riding around on her motorbike, going to art museums, doing homework together…We all became such a close knit group of friends through our crazy adventures and I still talk to my Vietnamese friends all the time through Facebook. We traveled together and even visited the homes of some of the roommates. Showing up at one of our roommate's homes in the middle of the night after taking a long bus ride up to central Vietnam and discovering that her house was a Czech Republic brewery was one of my best memories. I also wound up at Vietnam's first ever Burning Man music festival with some of our roommates and their guitar club... The roommate component of the program really sets you up to have some incredible opportunities.

Food. Oh yummm. So tasty. And so cheap. Like $1 for an entire meal. As a vegetarian, the food scene was sometimes challenging but you can definitely make it work. Street food is a huge part of Vietnamese culture and you will never run out of new things to try. Since there is no kitchen, you will eat out for almost all of your meals-breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are so many options but it can get tiring after a while. There’s a mini fridge in the room you can use for snacks though and there is a 24 hour convenience store right around the corner.

Classes were challenging but not overwhelming. The curriculum is very relevant and you will find yourself making solid connections between what you're talking about in the classroom and what you're seeing on the streets. There is a reasonable amount of reading and assignments and the professor allows you a lot of freedom to focus on what you're most interested in. For example, you could do a photo essay instead of a written essay if you wanted. You also get to go on a lot of fieldtrips and even week long travelling seminars. Instead of sitting in a classroom talking about foreign investment, we would take a bus to a megamall and walk around learning about Japan's role in Vietnam's emerging economy.

The internship component had a lot of promise but unfortunately didn't turn out to be the best for me. My organization had some management issues but other students had great internships. The program staff were very receptive to feedback about our internships and they are always working to improve these.

You will also definitely be able to travel during the semester during breaks and weekends. Some students' parents came to travel with them and others just traveled in small groups. It's easy to travel for cheap here. Think $5/night for a hostel. So nice.

I would absolutely recommend this program to someone looking for an immersive, challenging, exciting abroad experience but you should definitely understand that you will be living, learning, and travelling with a small group which may not be a good fit for someone would prefer a large university environment. I loved this program and had a great time.

Stephanie
Female
23 years old
Denver
University of Denver

Running a 5k in Vietnam

10/10

One of the best aspects of the cet Vietnam program is the service learning. While I was working for vinacapital foundation, I helped plan a giant 5k fundraiser. I got all the other cet students and Vietnamese roommates to join. And we participated in an event with over 5000 other people! My picture ended up in multiple Vietnamese newspaper, making me feel like quite the celebrity; one was captioned in Vietnamese s"even foriegners enjoy the race" :)

How can this program be improved?

They definitely needed some more help. While I was there, there were only two people running the whole operation. While it was great to have such a individualized experience, I could definitely tell Christophe and by were overworked. Both are wonderful, but they could definitely use another professor or program assistant

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Hannah
Female
23 years old
Seattle, WA
University of Washington- Seattle

8 weeks was only enough for a taste

8/10

CET did a great job taking care of us and making sure that we had the right connections/internships and learning experience. However, I found the program too short for all the complex discussion topics that we went into. Each week we would learn about a different public health/development issue and I felt like we only had the time to scrape the surface of these problems. However, besides that, Vietnam is an amazing country-so full of culture and beauty!

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Tho
Female
22 years old
Lawrence, Kansas
University of Kansas

Ticket to childhood

10/10

I was born in Vietnam but I moved to the United States when I was ten. When I studied abroad in Vietnam this summer, it was an amazing journey back to my childhood. In a sense, this program gave me an opportunity to travel back to my homeland while giving me a good reason to return. My favorite memory was riding bicycles in the countryside when we traveled down to the Mekong Delta area. It was exhilarating because I have never ridden a bike on such small roads but also nostalgic because the scenery was so close to home.

How can this program be improved?

More traveling seminars.

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Michelle
Female
24 years old
Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

Summer in Saigon

10/10

This was a life-changing experience for me, as I was able to learn more about my roots as a Vietnamese-American. I enjoyed the courses, especially dealing with public health since it was directly applicable to things I saw in everyday life in Vietnam. My internship with Breast Cancer Network Vietnam also helped me develop my communication and organizational skills and opened my eyes to some of the cultural challenges patients faced. The roommates were hands-down the BEST part of this program. They knew all the good, non-touristy places to eat. Outside of that, they were such great resources for learning Vietnamese and road-tripping throughout Vietnam. They were honestly more than just "CET roommates", but rather lifelong friends. Thank you CET for connecting me with such wonderful people!

How can this program be improved?

The intermediate VLS class should provide more resources for the teacher and students. We were not given any books to learn from.

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Shannon
Female
24 years old
Worcester, MA
Clarke University

Study Abroad in Saigon, Vietnam

10/10

My experience studying abroad in Vietnam was great. I took Vietnamese language classes, classes on Vietnam's development and public health, and had a service learning placement at a local NGO. Both CET staff and Vietnamese language teachers were extremely helpful and nice. I learned a lot both inside and outside of the classroom. What I experienced and observed during daily life in Vietnam was explained by what we discussed in class and vice versa. My service learning placement was a terrific experience, I had the opportunity to interact with Vietnamese staff and volunteers. We exchanged knowledge and I gained professional experience. My day to day life consisted of going to classes, studying with friends, frequenting the nearby alley for lunch, and exploring Saigon's markets and parks. I had the opportunity to experience other places in Vietnam as well, thanks to the traveling seminars and personal traveling during spring break, in which I went on a trekking trip. The food was delicious and inexpensive. I had to buy water and be careful of petty theft, but overall felt very safe in HCMC. A wonderful program and wonderful country that opened me up to so much new knowledge, experiences, and possibilities.

How can this program be improved?

A little bit bigger enrollment. I liked the small program, but a few more students would be beneficial.

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Loan
Female
19 years old
Waterville, Maine
Colby College

My Vietnam Experience

10/10

I would usually have one or two classes a day. Vietnamese language classes were intensive and three hours three days a week. The teachers from VLS were all very friendly and welcoming. The classes taken with CET were also very interesting and really helped me to adjust to the new environment I found myself in. For meals, my friends and I loved to go to the small restaurants in an alleyway nearby CET. The food was always delicious but you do have to be wary of the quality of water. The workload was not too stressful so we had plenty of free time to explore the city. There are many fun small markets and stores to check out. One of the highlights was definitely spring break when my friends and I travelled to Sapa and Ha Long Bay. One difficulty we encountered was theft. When walking on the street, one has to be very careful because someone will probably try to steal your purse or phone. It is important to be aware and cautious.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your CET program! It's always wonderful to hear about your experiences abroad and is invaluable to us as we help new students make the most of their study abroad experience. Please stay in touch! Join our LinkedIn group; follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss any aspect of your experience further. -Shelley Jessee, CET staff

About The Provider

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CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio of semester, summer, and short-term customized programs for college, high

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