Vietnam has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, emerging from a war-torn economy to one of the world’s fastest-growing nations. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam was one of the few Asian economies to record positive GDP growth in 2021.
Today, Vietnam is thriving with a rapidly expanding middle class. And while it’s not yet as developed as neighbouring Thailand or Malaysia, it’s still an attractive place to live and study.
The cost of living is relatively low, as is university tuition, so it’s an ideal destination for international students on a budget. The food is also amazing – if you love pho and banh mi, you’ll be in heaven!
If you’re looking for an adventurous place to study, Vietnam might just be the right choice.
Why study in Vietnam?
Vietnam is an increasingly popular destination for international students and it’s easy to see why. From the bustling cities to the stunning natural scenery, there’s a lot to love about this Southeast Asian country. From 2016-2022, Vietnam attracted more than 45,000 international students.
4 reasons why you should consider studying in Vietnam
1. Culture and Tradition
Vietnam is a country with a rich culture and long history. From the ancient temples of Hue to Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter, there are endless opportunities to explore Vietnamese culture. International students can expect to learn about traditional Vietnamese customs and festivals, such as Tet, also known as Vietnam Lunar New Year, and experience firsthand the unique flavours of Vietnamese cuisine.
Today, the country is home to a wide variety of different cultures, each with its own unique traditions and rituals. Families in Vietnam typically place a great emphasis on respect for elders and ancestors. In addition, many families have strong ties to their clan or village, which can often be seen in the way they dress and the way they speak. Despite these differences, there is one thing that all Vietnamese people share: a love of food! The country’s cuisine is renowned for its use of fresh ingredients and vibrant flavours, with staples like rice, noodles, herbs and pickled vegetables.
2. Experience a developing country
Studying in Vietnam provides an opportunity to live and learn in a country that is rapidly changing and developing. From cutting-edge technology companies to traditional family-run businesses, there is something for everyone in Vietnam. Students will have the chance to gain valuable work experience through internships or research projects, and also explore new places and try new things outside of the classroom.
The cost of living in Vietnam is cheap compared to other South-East Asian countries. You’ll be able to live and study as a single for between $700- $800 USD per month, which includes renting in the city centre in one of the more expensive cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
4. Stunning scenery and sights
Finally, studying in Vietnam is an experience you’ll never forget. There are so many wonderful places to explore in Vietnam that it can be hard to know where to start. However, there are a few places that should definitely be on your list if you’re an international student wanting to take in the sights.
First, pay a visit to Ho Chi Minh City, the bustling metropolis that is home to 9 million people. There’s plenty to see and do in this vibrant city, from exploring the Old Quarter to visiting the War Remnants Museum. If you’re looking for some natural beauty, make sure to check out Halong Bay, with its stunning limestone islands and crystal-clear waters.
And no trip to Vietnam would be complete without spending some time in Hanoi, the country’s charming capital city. Be prepared for busy streets packed full of motorbikes in the Old Quarter. Crossing the street can be tricky at first but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Just walk at a steady pace without making eye contact, and the motorbikes will ride around you.
Be sure to book a day trip from Hanoi and take in sleepy villages by bamboo boat or mountain bike.
Top Universities in Vietnam
There are many great universities in Vietnam, but which ones are the best? We’ve compiled a list of the top universities in Vietnam based on their positions in the Best Global Universities rankings.
Ton Duc Thang University
Located in Ho Chi Minh City, TDTU is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. It’s also one of the most beautiful, with a lush campus that’s full of green space and flowers. The university offers a wide range of programs, from business and economics to engineering and architecture. And with its strong international reputation, TDTU is an excellent choice for students who want to study in Vietnam.
Duy Tan University
Nestled in the scenic city of Danang, Duy Tan University is a top-ranked institution that is known for its international cooperation with universities around the world. It has 6 beautiful campuses and state-of-the-art facilities. Whether you’re interested in business, engineering, or education, Duy Tan University has an option for just about everyone.
Vietnam National University Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City
Located in the heart of the country’s capital city, Vietnam National University has been tasked to “produce highly qualified human resources for the rest of the country” for the industrialisation and modernisation of the rest of the country. Along with its campus in Ho Chi Minh City, these universities operate differently to other institutions in Vietnam in that they report to the prime minister rather than the minister of education.
Hanoi University of Science & Technology
As Vietnam’s leading institution for science and technology, HUST offers a world-class education, with 33% of students performing in the top 1% in Vietnam. But HUST offers more than just academics. The campus has a range of sports facilities with annual competitions for basketball, volleyball and football and nearly 60 clubs students can join, including a club dedicated to supporting international students.
These are just a few of the great universities in Vietnam. Although there are over 100 universities scattered across Vietnam, most of them are clustered around Hanoi and Ho Ch Minh City. You’ll find that tuition is fairly reasonable at between $1000 and $5000 USD per year for international students in most Vietnamese universities.
If you’re planning on heading to Vietnam to study, then you’ll need to obtain a student visa. This process can seem daunting, but it’s actually relatively straightforward.
How to apply for a student visa in Vietnam
You can apply for a Vietnamese student visa online.
1. Gather the required documents.
In order to apply for a student visa, you’ll need to submit a copy of your passport, a recent photo, and an acceptance letter from a Vietnamese university.
2. Log into the Vietnamese e-visa portal.
Once you have all of the required documents, you can begin the application process by logging into the Vietnamese e-visa portal: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/trang-chu-ttdt
3. Complete the application form.
Be sure to fill out all of the required fields on the application form, including your personal information, passport details, and travel plans.
4. Pay the visa fee.
The student visa fee is $50 USD, and can be paid using a credit or debit card.
5. Print out the visa confirmation page.
Once your payment has been processed, you’ll be able to download and print out a confirmation page. This page will serve as your student visa once you arrive in Vietnam.
How to extend your student visa in Vietnam
So, you’re thinking about staying in Vietnam for a little longer to continue your studies? Or maybe you’ve fallen in love with the country and just can’t bear to leave? Whatever the reason, extending your student visa is a relatively simple process. Just follow these steps:
- Go to your local visa office and pick up an extension application form.
- Fill out the form with all the required information, including your existing student visa number and the dates of your intended stay.
- Include a passport-sized photo and any other supporting documents that may be required, such as evidence of financial resources or a letter from your school.
- Submit the completed form and pay the applicable fee. In most cases, you will need to pay an additional fee for each month that you are extending your stay.
- Once your application has been processed, you will receive an updated student visa that allows you to stay in Vietnam for the desired period of time.
How to show respect in Vietnam
As an international student in Vietnam, it’s important to respect the local culture and traditions. One way to do this is to learn some Vietnamese. Even if you don’t become fluent, making an effort to learn some basic phrases will show that you care about the locals and the way they do things.
Vietnamese culture is based around family values, respect for elders, and tradition. It’s important to be aware of cultural differences and to avoid offending anyone.
Dress modestly for sacred sites
When visiting temples or other religious sites, be sure to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering.
Don’t cause others to lose face
As with other Asian cultures, Vietnamese people care about how others perceive them. It’s important not to embarrass locals, especially in public. When bartering, try not to be too aggressive, just walk away if the price is too high and there’s a good chance the vendor will come after you to adjust the price.
Respect people older than you
Age is one of the first questions people will ask you. Vietnamese culture is based on Confucian beliefs, which esteems wisdom that comes with age. So the older you are, the more respect you’ll be given. Older people are generally served first at meals and their advice and opinions are valued.
Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in culture or gain practical experience, Vietnam has something to offer every international student. If you’re on a budget and looking for an adventurous place to study that is politically and economically stable, then Vietnam is worth a second look.
We do our best to provide the most accurate and helpful information, but rules and procedures can change at short notice. Your experience could be different depending on your country of origin and the locality and office you attend. For the most current information check official government sources and speak to a local attorney or immigration professional.
I’m an educator and writer living abroad. I love languages, experiencing different cultures and going on adventures with my family.