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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

Vietnam Regional Area Study

Semester: Fall
Offered: Fall 2020
Estimated Dates: Late August to mid-November
Program Focus: Regional Area Study
Prerequisites: Minimum of 2.75 GPA is highly recommended.                
Housing: Varies throughout program
Fall 2016
Program Leader:

Kabir Heimsath
Visiting Assistant Professor
Ext. 8040

Program Design

Vietnam has entered the 21st century as one of the most politically and economically dynamic countries of Asia.  Through a curriculum that emphasizes the uniquely situated aspect of study abroad, students will have the opportunity to do guided in-depth research into the dramatic changes currently transforming Asia. From the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City to the highlands of Cambodia and Laos, the program seeks to foster a new understanding of global issues through engagement with specific people, places, and problems.

Study focuses on a broad interdisciplinary introduction to the history, language, culture and politics of this Southeast Asian country. During the first and longest component, the program will be located in Ho Chi Minh City where students will complement structured coursework with periodic field assignments. The latter portion of the program will include extended study-excursions to other regional cities, heritage sites, and ethnic minority areas for comparative perspectives on nationalism, identity, and development.


Requirements Fulfilled: This program fulfills the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement and the overseas study requirement for the Asian Studies major. 

Credits: 16 credits (4 courses)


SOAN 200 Qualitative Research Methods (4 credits)                                              

Study covers the philosophical roots of social science research, nature of research materials in the social sciences, and issues involved in their collection and interpretation. Ethical dimensions of research. Ethnographic methods including participant observation, interviewing, careful attention to language. Application of these methods in research projects in the local community. 

IS 240 Modern Vietnamese History (4 credits)

Covers the periods of Vietnamese history from 1802 to the present. Course focuses primarily on the past two centuries of Vietnamese history: the establishment of the country’s  last dynasty, French colonial conquest and domination, the introduction of Marxism-Leninism, the struggle and recovery of independence in 1945, the war of resistance against France (the Indochina War) and the war of resistance against the United States (the Vietnam War).

IS 241 Vietnamese Society Today (4 credits)

Explores contemporary Vietnamese society and culture from both inside and outside perspectives, with an emphasis on the changes since the end of the American War (1975) and the beginning of economic reforms (1986). Classes held in a participatory seminar style, with weekly readings and discussions plus guest speakers and field trips.

IS 242 Development and Globalization in Vietnam: Critical Perspectives (4 credits)

The radical economic growth of Vietnam in recent years entails dramatic transformation of both physical and social landscapes. This course will survey some of the major socio-ecological problems Vietnam is currently facing in both urban and rural contexts. Through lectures and field trips, students will talk with experts on particular issues and experience everyday problems directly. Current strategies and possible solutions to various concerns will also be explored. Topics will include: urbanization / population resettlement, sustainable farming, biodiversity, waste management, air and water pollution, wildlife conservation, and legacies of the war.


2018-2019 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition & Program Fee): $32,334

Tuition: $25,287

Program Fee: $7,047

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to SGN): $1,500 - $2,000

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,275.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding Health Insurance Information & Overseas Programs. 

Program Preparation

Application Process: Applications are due one year before the start of the program. The semester before the program, students who have been accepted will meet regularly for orientation. This orientation is meant to prepare the students for life in Vietnam by exploring literature and culture, and provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the logistical details of the program.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN), where they meet as a group and travel together to the dormitories.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Vietnam.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Vietnam page.