WHERE TO START CAMPUS INTERNATIONALIZATION FOR VIETNAM?
AMERICAN ABROAD CONFERENCE 2018 – CAMPUS INTERNATIONALIZATION
January 16th, 2018 at the American Center in Ho Chi Minh City
The “American Abroad Conference 2018 – Campus Internationalization” was successfully held on Tuesday January 16th, 2018 at The American Center in Ho Chi Minh City with a joint effort from Student Exchange Vietnam and the U.S Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. The conference was marked by the presence of Consul General Mary Tarnowka and more than 90 delegates who are educational leaders, experienced scholars and experts in international education from local Vietnamese institutions and their counterparts in the U.S.
Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Mathew Hall introducing Consul General Ms. Mary Tanowka for an Opening Remark
Opening Remark by U.S. Consul General, Ms. Mary Tanowka
The conference was a forum for participating institutions from both Vietnam and the U.S to share their experience in developing and implementing experiential learning programs for U.S students in Vietnam, discuss possible actions to tackle challenges in internationalizing campuses and facilitating exchange students to Vietnam.
Eight presentations from Vietnamese and U.S delegates were presented in the conference. In general, the topics mainly covered the following: First, stating the reality of International Relation activities, the tasks at hand and challenges facing most Vietnamese universities, the University of Quy Nhon is one example. Second, discussing the significance of making international education work, its tremendous potentials and the actions taken by institutions in Vietnam to boost campus internationalization. Third, affirming the growing demands for exchange programs around the world and among U.S. students, the roles and benefits of exchange programs like study or intern abroad to Vietnamese and international exchange students. Fourth, introduction of new campus internationalization models such as the micro-campus from the University of Arizona, the practicality and benefits the model brings to students and faculty members from both sides – the main university and the host universities. Last, models of successful exchange programs hosted by both local and international institutions in Vietnam, their take-away lessons on how to tackle existing challenges.
A panel discussion revealed answers for pressing questions about campus internationalization: First, what do Vietnamese institutions and international students gain from campus internationalization? Second, is it costly to internationalize our campuses and if so, would it be worthy? Third, in what ways can Vietnamese institution attract foreign students to Vietnam? Last, what are the first most important steps of starting campus internationalization?
The conference was a cooperative action in the education sector between the U.S Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and Student Exchange Vietnam to boost the number of U.S students to Vietnam for exchange program and push for campus internationalization among Vietnamese institutions.
You can read notes of the topics discussed in the conference and panel discussion below:
Overview of Vietnam’s international education landscape
There are currently 234 Universities and 185 Junior Colleges in Vietnam, within these institutions there are only a total of 142 programs with English curriculum and 189 collaborative programs. The number of outbound students is overwhelmingly higher than those coming in to Vietnam to study (130,000 compared to 7,700 students).
Ms. Mo Nguyen, SE Vietnam Director giving a brief introduction about the American Abroad Conference 2018 and the Agenda for the day.
In comparison with our close neighbor, Thailand is doing more than 800 international and collaborative programs when they only have 145 universities and colleges.
Barriers for Internationalization
The 3 main reasons that could be obstacles for the campus internationalization in Vietnam are:
Limited language proficiency: Many universities’ teachers and students struggle to meet the language requirements for programs where English is officially the main language used in classroom. Universities often have difficulties finding qualified local lecturers who can teach in English and are financially short to hire native lecturers. This makes foreign universities hesitate to send their students for semester exchange to Vietnamese universities. At the same time, local students have to pass a certain level of English before they join their major courses, it is the fact that it is a challenge for students to fully understand the lecture in English.
Lack of government support: there is no official website of Vietnam government for study abroad in Vietnam such as: studyinvietnam.org. The government encourages universities to recruit more foreign students to study in Vietnam by loosen the entry requirement for foreign students, however the guidance and the country’s system from immigration to financial management as well as health and other infrastructure for foreign students to stay and study in Vietnam are not yet well established.
No promotion criterion: Vietnamese universities are rarely seen at international education fairs and conference. Vietnamese universities themselves are not aware of the selling points to their programs or what market they should target, which limits their promotional opportunities.
Difficulties and Future for Partnership with U.S. Insitutions
Roles and challenges faced by the International Relation Office (IRO)
Mr. Tran Minh Truong from Quy Nhon University giving the first presentation of the day on “The Reality of International Relations Department in Provincial-leveled Universities in Vietnam.
The biggest challenge that IROs at most Vietnamese universities face is the local administration process. The steps involve seeking approval from the school principal, city level, provincial level and finally respective Consulate or Embassy. For schools that are not located in major cities like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi or Danang, the logistics for long trips to the Consulate or Embassy remains a concern. The time and effort it takes to invite an international to Vietnamese schools hinders the very high potentials of cooperation between Vietnam and U.S. Schools.
Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong, Country Director of Arizona State University Representative Office in Vietnam continues to give an interactive presentation detailing Vietnam Institutions’ Future Partnership with U.S. Institutions.
Vietnam’s Future Partnership with U.S. Institutions
Vietnam’s Joint Academic Program Partnership Models proposed by Arizona State University (ASU) office in Vietnam:
Student Study Abroad
Dual Degree Program
Joint Research Projects
Digital Immersion Learning
The number of partnerships at ASU is very promising and increasing every year, more and more international students are expressing their interest in doing an internship within the study program. What ASU in Vietnam if offering at their campus to boost the number of inbound international students: Government funded study abroad, Innovative STEM curriculum, Distance learning studios.
Adjunct Professor Edwina Rowell, Campbellsville University (CU) came all the way from the U.S. to the Conference to talk about the “Opportunities to Collaborate between Vietnamese and U.S. Institutions”
Suggestions for Vietnam’s future partnerships with US institutions:
- The partnerships will be viewed and reviewed from multiple directions, perspectives, and levels.
- Regardless whatever level it may be, the current state and current capacity should be assessed to generate/adopt the best fit partnership model.
- Vietnam and U.S. institutions proactively reach out Vietnamese Government (MOET, VIED, MOFA), US Government (US Embassy, USAID) and US/VN institutions to promote your institution and foster new partnerships.
U.S. Students Study Abroad Trends and Potential Programs to Offer in Vietnam
Ms. Heilwig Jones – Kaya Responsible Travel Founder and Director (right) and Ms. Kailee Moszynski, Director of World Internships talked about alternative ways that U.S. students can study abroad in Vietnam.
U.S. Students Study Abroad Trends:
- There is more diversity in U.S. students studying abroad
- Non-credit Education abroad is becoming a trend, U.S. students are doing a study abroad program or an internship not for University credit but rather, for real experience and soft skills building.
- There is a change in the duration of exchange programs; short-term programs (lasting for a summer or one month) are becoming more common. Most popular host regions for study abroad are Europe and Latin America, however South East Asia is an emerging and highly potential region.
Challenges of Making Study Abroad works for more students
- Finance: study abroad programs are often costly
- Culture: students are worried they will be away from the comfort of home and live in a difficult culture that is very different from their own
- Curriculum: incompatible curriculums between the two universities make it hard for students to get university credits and this is a big barrier for their graduation
Potential Partnership between the International Institute of Education (IIE) – Generation Study Abroad Movement – an Initiative to boost the number of study abroad students
Generation Study Abroad aims to expand the study abroad trend by increasing the number and diversity of students by helping students be more confident and understand the amazing benefits study abroad can bring them. The goal of the movement is to make study abroad so available across campuses that students think about study abroad when they go to college.
Generation Study Abroad (GSA) is aiming to get more Vietnamese universities on board for this meaningful movement. GSA can give Vietnamese universities access to U.S. students interested in studying abroad and connect Vietnamese Universities to their large network of U.S university partners.
How can Vietnamese Universities join the GSA: draft a personal goals statement for your universities, outline how your institution can achieve those goals and how GSA can help you reach those goals.
Ms. Megan Ames, International Outreach and Recruitment Specialist from the Institute of International Education (IIE) spoke about the increasing trend of U.S. students going abroad and introduced Generation Study Abroad.
Potential Exchange Programs to Offer in Vietnam
- Short or Long term Internship to bridge the gap between learning and career
- Unpaid internship with credit: students look to be in a 8-12 week program to gain inter-cultural communication skills and work on projects as well as observe real work
- Volunteer or Service learning abroad: students seek 2-12 week volunteer programs for deeper cultural immersion, deeper engagement in the culture and work on an initiative started by local people.
- Study-Intern Combination: a study abroad program combined with an internship organized by the host university or a third-party organization. Students can get both credit and experience. The internship should be complimentary to required coursework.
- Faculty-led groups: a study abroad group accompanied by visiting professors, these programs are often very highly organized day-to-day with activities, lessons, reflection and require a knowledgeable host partner.
- Time suggestion: programs in January instead of in summer
Why Vietnam is potential as a study abroad destination for U.S. students?
- There is a huge interest in Vietnam among U.S students:
- Every U.S. cities have Vietnamese restaurants
- Vietnam is mentioned in U.S. history textbook
- Vietnam is a destination famous for small-budget travel and living
- Vietnamese population has a relatively good English proficiency; people are friendly and open to speaking English.
Student Exchange at Hanoi University
How to attract international students?
- Pre-departure introduction with local buddies and connect them before the program
- Informative orientation to guide students on how to survive in Vietnam
- Taking classes with local students
- Projects and events with local students
- Involvements inside and outside the classroom with field trips and sport contests with locals
- Post program: build a strong network of alumni
Dr. Hoang Gia Thu, the Dean of Finance Management and Tourism at Hanoi University presented the “Challenges and Key Success Factors for a Student Exchange Program in Vietnam” —
Different models and practices for campus internationalization
Mr. Jogvan Klein, Director of International Office, RMIT University Vietnam gave a presentation on the “Inclusive Mixed-Mode Models of Mobility”, exploring how RMIT responded to the challenges of a wide range of campus locations to create one of Asia Pacific’s largest student mobility programs.
What is RMIT, an institution successful in bringing students to study abroad in Vietnam, doing to attract American students to Vietnam?
- Work with American partners and discuss how to develop products that will be valuable to the market then wholesale to a third party which then sells the packages to students.
- Make sure that students are aware that they are coming to college so they can study abroad.
- Set a KPI or target for the school to have from 7 to 10% of international students on campus.
The University of Arizona’s Global Micro-Campus Network
What is micro-campus?
The UA Global Micro-Campus Network is a network of micro-campuses, or UA-branded spaces on the campuses of partner universities.
Micro-campuses take a UA education to students at partner universities around the globe.
Micro-campuses serve as hubs for other forms of internationalization including study abroad, service-learning and joint faculty research.
A micro-campus is a UA-designated space on the campus of a partner university. The space gives students a sense of place, a sense that they are students at the University of Arizona, wherever they are in the world.
Unmet needs for Micro-Campus Model
- An estimated 400 million people in emerging economies are seeking access to a high quality affordable education
- Demand for higher education exceeds supply in the lower income countries
- Though, approximately one million international students study in the US each year, many millions more lack access to an international education for reasons of cost, geography, and geo-politics
- 60% of international students in US come from just 4 countries
- Students from low income countries are particularly unlikely to be able to study in the U.S.
Ms. Le Thi Minh Tam, Manager of International Education Department, Foreign Trade University Ho Chi Minh City shared the University’s “Experience in Finding, Selecting and Working with Foreign Partners”
How does micro-campus work?
SHARED CAMPUS – The partner university allows use of its physical campus and classrooms, and provides a designated space for the UA.
SHARED STUDENTS – Students maintain their student status at the partner university, while enrolled in for-credit UA courses, offered on location at the partner university.
SHARED TUITION – UA tuition is shared with partner
AFFORDABLE – UA program fees are set near in-state tuition rates to increase access and affordability, and generate scale.
FULL DEGREES – Students earn a UA degree, either as a dual degree with partner university, or a stand alone degree.
UA DIRECTED – Each micro-campus has a locally based UA administrator to oversee program delivery, ensure the provision of student services, enforce UA academic integrity standards, promote joint research, and support UA faculty.
Engaging the Community on and Off the Campus: A Practical Approach to Collaboration and Outreach
Ms. Angelina Delgado, Senior Director – Operations & Finance Baaruch College of Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs shares the examples of how U.S. Universities “Engage the Community on and off the Campus”
Ways to create Campus Engagement:
Alumni Base: utilize even a small number of study abroad alumni to meet with respective students, they will talk about their experience after the program and provide support for students who want to enroll in similar programs
Student Recruitment: find creative and meaningful ways to attract students to practical learning opportunities
Using the University as a Laboratory
No Borders Concept
COIL Concept: Collaborative Online International Learning – an opportunity for our campus or our school to join in with universities and campuses around the world, it allows students to engage with their international counterparts using online resources.
What universities should do to engage community off campus?
Project Based: for example when coming to Vietnam for international recruitment, we will meet with people working in the government and now run training programs (3-5 times/year) executive training programs non-degree for Vietnam officials. This is one way to create opportunities back to the American campus and locally in Vietnam.
Promotes Efficient Use of Resources: using the university as a laboratory can solve the problems for the cities and vice versa in Urban Planning, Transportation or Healthcare
Expands Global Outreach and Further Collaboration
What can we learn from FPT University Internationalization Process?
Create Internationalization’s targets for your University: For example, to build international programs with international standards and curriculum, to set goals to achieve at least 15% of international faculty, to have more campuses overseas so that international students to your University will have a wider ranges of destinations to study at.
Make your Faculty international: recruit international staff not only for Language faculties, find chances for international faculty exchange programs to increase international academic experience; promote the role of foreign faculty in the university’s management, and build the international culture among academic staff so that the Vietnamese staff and the international staff can work harmoniously without conflict.
Make your Programs international: English should be used as the language of instruction in classes (for example one of the requirements for international programs is that students have at least IELTS 6.0). Apply international standards to Curriculum Development, for example ACM for IT and ACBSP for Business programs. Use original text books in English by well-known publishers like, Mc Grawhill, Wiley, Pearson, Training materials, assessments, documents in English.
Strategies for Campus Internationalization is a presentation by Dr. Tran Ngoc Tuan, Vice Rector of FPT University.
How does FPT recruit foreign students here to study for degree?
Do research and on-site visits to choose the most potential markets for promotion
Attract students with special features of program, for example students are guaranteed internship and on the job training at FPT Corporation which opens up opportunities for a career after study in Vietnam and other countries.
Lessons learnt from Campus Internationalization:
- Upgrade workforce to the international standard (for example: upgrade standard by being a learning organization: all managers have to learn at least one online course/ year (MOOC))
- Create the international environment & popularize English in the campus
- Clear KPIs and strong commitment from the highest management level (For example: how many foreign teachers need to be employed/ year; how many international students need to be recruited, etc.)
- Clear structure & role of the international units
- Go along with strong partners to strengthen oversea presence.
Panel discussion with Mr. Vu The Dung, Vice Rector of HCM University of Science and Techonology, Ms. Angelina Delgado, Dr. Nguyen Thi Thanh Phuong, Mr. Jogvan Klein (from left to right)
1. Why campus internationalization?
Internationalization creates diversity and better understanding for people across the world. It forces every one of us to be a better version of ourselves.
Internationalization allows us to learn from each other’s culture.
By participating in campus internationalization, we make our campuses better; we improve ourselves and our community.
Having international students on campus is the best way to help our local students learn about the world right in their country.
2. Is campus internationalization expensive?
Campus internationalization is definitely expensive but it is also very worthy, it is an unavoidable trend and a long-term investment (invests in campus facilities and enhanced curriculum). Take an example from Australia, most Australian universities would not survive without international students, it is the supply and demand rule. Although campus internationalization can be expensive, it can certainly be profitable.
Mr. Jogvan Klein – Director of International Office RMIT University Vietnam
3. How do Vietnamese campuses start and how can we attract students to Vietnam?
“We (HCM University of Science and technology) have been doing it for 4 years. We have gone to many countries and do marketing research beforehand. We also participated in conferences and seminars and to learn about what students are looking for when they come to Vietnam to learn. Currently, thanks to social media and digital marketing we often receive up to 1000 applications for international students for a program during our peak season without having to go anywhere to advertise.”
Mr. Vu The Dung – Vice Rector of HCMC University of Science and Technology
4. What are the attractions for international students to come to Vietnam to study
- A booming entrepreneurial environment
- Cheap tuition
- Reputation of the University
- Internship for students
- The huge and potential developing Vietnam market
- Experience and explore cultures of Vietnam
5. How can Vietnamese institutions find international partners?
- Attending international education fairs, conference
- Visit other countries
- Work with agents
- Propose a plan to your management board and register to be a member of IIE Generation Study Abroad
“For the past 2 years, we have created a network of student ambassador of each country; it works very well as the students stay in Vietnam then come back to their countries to do present their experience studying in Vietnam to their fellow students.”
Mr. Vu The Dung – Vice Rector of HCMC University of Science and Technology
6. Where to start campus internationalization for Vietnamese universities?
+ English taught programs following the world’s standard established is the very first step
+ Keep improving English proficiency of both faculty and students on campus
+ Get international accreditation for the English taught programs
+ Start advertising your program to your current partners; initiate the short exchange programs before discussing about semester long program.
+ Once you get more experience with short-term exchange programs, learn more about the foreign market, start recruiting foreign students to your campus.
For further information about the conference, kindly contact:
For more information, please contact:
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