UPC | SJSU‎ > ‎News‎ > ‎

SJSU Study Abroad Opportunity - Exploring Social Change and Social Work in Contemporary Vietnam

posted Jan 24, 2012, 6:54 PM by Urban Planning Coalition SJSU   [ updated Jan 25, 2012, 1:24 AM ]

An SJSU faculty member in Social Work will be teaching a study abroad class of possible interest to some of you. The class is titled "Exploring Social Change and Social Work in Contemporary Vietnam." A flyer is attached, and more information is available at http://www.sjsu.edu/socialwork/vietnam/.




Credits:           3 (students enrolled in SW 285/180)

Time:              July 1 – July 23, 2012

Location:         Hanoi – Hue  – Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)

Faculty:           Huong Nguyen and Tuan Tran (School of Social Work)

Host:               School of Social Work (San Jose State University)

Cost:               About US$2900, not including air ticket (ranges between US$1100 – 1500 depending on how far ahead you buy the ticket)

Syllabus:         Contact the faculty for a copy of the syllabus with detailed activities of each day.

Application deadline: March 1, 2012


In the three decades since the end of the Vietnam War (1975), Vietnam has gone through fundamental political, economic, and social transformations. Specifically, facing high poverty rate in the 1980s, Vietnam decided to abandon a subsidy economy in favor of the market economy and at the same time opened the door to the Western world. Following the normalization of its relationship with the United States (1995) and further integration into the global world, Vietnam enjoyed rapid economic development. Currently the second fastest developing country in the world (after China), Vietnam is an exciting society where traditions and reforms, the newly imported Western values and the old Confucian beliefs, and the older and younger generations constantly negotiate, define and redefine each other. All this, in addition to the breathtaking landscape and friendly people, makes Vietnam an exciting site to observe the daily working of globalization, change, and history. For those who are concerned with social work, Vietnam is an ideal learning site since social work profession and social work education is still in its infancy in the country.

This course, then, aims at introducing students to contemporary Vietnam: its social change, problems, and the situation of social work, all in the context of globalization and in comparison and contrast to the US and other developing countries. Weaving into the study of these foci, the course will also introduce students to the cultural and ecological diversity of Vietnam.



By the end of the trip in Vietnam, the students should:

  • Have better understanding of the history and culture of Vietnam and its people, particularly the embedded values that direct Vietnamese people’s thoughts and behaviors, so that they can develop culturally competent social work practice skills, interventions and evaluations.
  • Have better understanding of the political, economic, and social changes that are taking place in Vietnam and the social problems associated with these changes, so that they can evaluate the effects that such changes and problems have on the lives of marginalized and disenfranchised populations.
  • Have better understanding of the social service system and the status of the social work profession in Vietnam – and connect it with the system in the US; so that they can become more culturally sensitive in working with social work clients.
  • Have better perspective about the impact of globalization, particularly Americanization, in other parts of the world, thus developing a critical thinking about the interconnection between global and national forces on lives of marginalized and disenfranchised populations.
  • Visiting six leading universities in Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City: morning lectures and discussions with Vietnamese faculty and students on social issues and social work.
  • Visiting multiple social service agencies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to witness social work in action in Vietnam and interact with Vietnamese people.
  • One-day tour to Ha Long Bay.
  • One-day tour to the Mekong delta (boarding a canoe running along the river, see the floating market, enjoy tropical fruit gardens, ride horse carriages, etc.)
  • One-day tour to the Cao Dai Temple and the eastern region of the South.
  • In Hanoi: Temple of Literature, museums, night market, water puppet show, Hanoi Opera House, ancient pagodas outside the city, the rural village, and other cultural sites.
  • In Hue: the citadel, tombs of previous kings of Vietnam, listening to traditional folk songs on the Perfume river.
  • One-day tour to Da Nang City and Lang Co Beach.
  • Tour in Ho Chi Minh City: the Independence Palace, Ben Thanh market, China town, etc.
  • Visiting and dinner with Vietnamese families (if possible).

If you think the class is of interest and that you would like to receive credit for it as an elective towards your MUP requirements, please contact our Graduate Advisor, Professor Hilary Nixon. She will work with you to decide whether the department can grant credit towards your degree requirements.

Urban Planning Coalition SJSU,
Jan 24, 2012, 6:55 PM