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USF in Vietnam: Society, Energy & Humanity
Dong Hoi, Vietnam; Ha Long, Vietnam; Hanoi, Vietnam; Vinh City, Vietnam (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Eligibility: Please see below for requirements.
Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2016 02/15/2016 ** Rolling Admission 07/11/2016 08/02/2016

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirements:
Program Type:
USF Sponsored
Level of Study:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Open to:
Non-USF Applicants, USF Students Only
Credit Offered:
USF Credit
Program Advisor:
Krissy Loveman
Sponsoring College:
Arts and Sciences, Honors College, USFSP
Program Primary Subject:
Natural and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences Area of Study: Honors College, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Physics, Science, Sociology
Program Description:
Ha Long Bay

USF in Vietnam: Society, Energy & Humanity
July 11 - August 2, 2016


Program Overview

In this dynamic and intensive program students will fulfill 3 to 6 credits in breathtaking and exotic sites in Vietnam. The country, its history, culture and political and economic systems will provide students with an unparalleled opportunity to examine topics such as the relationship of the individual to society, and the use and conservation of energy in developed and developing countries. Students will travel together to government run energy and resource stations both in town and in surrounding rural villages in an effort to study and learn about energy needs, available energy source, how energy is being used, and how they can benefit by adopting renewable energy sources. Students will also travel together to a local youth orphanage sponsored by the Ministry of Health and SOS Village sponsored by SOS International. The program will begin in Hanoi, the capitol of Vietnam located in the Northern part of Vietnam followed by several days in Ha Long Bay, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its beautiful rock formations. Following this, students will live in residences with Vietnamese students at Vinh University in Vinh City, a coastal city south of Hanoi on the Gulf of Tonkin. 

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How to Apply

  • Submitting an application is free!
  • The application can be started, saved, and completed over time.
    The Course Approval Form (a mandatory part of your application) can take several weeks to complete, because you must meet with your major Academic Advisor and course department advisors to get signatures. They are very busy and usually required scheduled appointments, sometimes weeks in advance. Start this process early.
  • This study abroad program has a limited number of spots. Plan ahead by submitting the application early. 
  • You are not financially liable for this program until you click "commit" in your application portal after you have been accepted into the program.

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Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is bordered by China, Laos and Cambodia. While highly influenced by China, Vietnam retains its own distinct culture combining elements of Confucianism, Communist ideology, Hinduism, and French Colonialism. As summarized in the State Department website, "Vietnam is a developing, mainly agrarian country that is moving from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy." It is a fascinating culture and exotic location that will enthrall and amaze participants.

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Host Institution

Vinh University front

USF is partnering with Vinh University. In addition to USF faculty, instruction will be provided by faculty from Vinh.

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Academic Program and Course Information


Students can take 3 or 6 credits. This program is open to undergraduates, graduates, Honors, and Non-Honors students. Honors students will receive honors credits. Prior to the departure to Vietnam, students will be required to participate in a week-long on-line course in the US. Students will also have a full-day of orientation in Tampa prior to the groups' departure to Vietnam.

USF Tampa Student Course Offerings:

ISS 3930: Special Topics: Vietnam in Perspective
PSC 2515: Energy and Humanity
PHY 4936: Physics
PHY 6938: Independent Study
USF Tampa Honors Students Course Offerings:

IDH 3350: Natural Sciences Honors
IDH 4200: Geographical Perspectives: Vietnam in Perspective

USFSP Student Course Offerings:

ISS 3930: Special Topics: Vietnam in Perspective
PSC 2515: Energy and Humanity
PHY 4936: Physics
PHY 6938: Independent Study

Course Evaluation:

At the end of the course students will take a multiple choice test based on the material covered in lectures. They will also prepare a poster presentation of a project jointly with their Vietnamese student partners. Subsequent to returning to US, they will submit a written report describing their study abroad experience.

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Frank and Sarath

  • Frank Biafora, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences & Professor, Sociology, USF St. Petersburg.  Dr. Biafora has lead numerous study abroad programs, and served a Fulbright Scholar in Vietnam. His primary research interests include: Adolescent Development and Comparative Delinquency, Social/Structural Barriers to Student Academic Achievement, Epidemiology of Adolescent Substance Use & Social Science Research Methodology and Statistics.
  • Sarath Witanachchi, Professor of Physics at USF (Tampa). During this period he has taught variety of undergraduate and graduate courses and has been involved in energy related research. In October 2011 he visited several universities Vietnam, including universities in Hanoi, Vinh, and Ho Chin Min, to establish education and research collaborations between USF and these Universities.

Guest lectures will be given by Vinh faculty throughout the program.

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Program Costs

2016 Program Fee for Undergraduates: TBA

Program Fee Includes:
  • Tuition
  • Double/triple or quad accommodation throughout the program
  • Program related transportation in-country
  • In-country airport transfers
  • On-site orientation
  • Program related cultural and academic excursions and entrances
  • Most meals
  • Emergency health and evacuation insurance and 24-hour emergency support
  • On-site USF faculty and staff support
  • Pre-departure and reentry event programming
The study abroad program cost does NOT include:
  • Visa fees
  • Vaccinations 
  • International airfare
  • Optional trip cancellation/travel insurance
Payment Schedule:
  • Upon Program Commitment - $500 deposit
  • 90 days before departure - 25% of program fee is due
  • 60 days before departure - 75% of program fee is due
  • 30 days before departure- 100% of program fee is due
Cancellation policy
  • You are liable for $100 plus non-recoverable program costs if you cancel at least 91 days prior to departure.*
  • You are liable for $300 plus non-recoverable program costs if you cancel 61 to 90 days prior to departure.*
  • You are liable for up to 100% of the program fee if you cancel 60 days or less prior to departure.*
*Education Abroad will assess on a case-by-case basis the non-recoverable costs of the program for which the student is liable.

Living Arrangements

In Hanoi and Ha Long, students will be staying in double/triple rooms in a tourist hotel. In Vinh City students will be staying in Vinh University accommodation with Vinh University students. Particularly in Vinh the quality of accommodation will not be equal to US hotel or residence hall standards. Students should be prepared for significantly lower levels of service, electricity, internet access and the like. While accommodations will be good to very good for Vietnamese standards they will be lower than those in the US.

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Who Can Participate?

SW_Hanoi Boat Ride

This program is open to Honors and Non-Honors students of any academic discipline, undergraduates and graduates, and non-USF students. USF in Vietnam is ideal for rising freshmen and sophomores.

Read about the experiences of the 2013 participants!

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How and When to Pay

Please click here for further details regarding payment.

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Getting There

You will be responsible for reserving and purchasing your international transportation to Vietnam. The USF Education Abroad will assist in identifying an itinerary for students who wish to travel with USF faculty to and from Vietnam.

Do NOT purchase an airline ticket until your Program Advisor has instructed you to do so. You must provide the Education Abroad Office with your final flight itinerary.

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Medical Insurance

USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance for the dates of the program. Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage that is valid outside the U.S. If not provided through your domestic health insurance carrier, this can be purchased separately through CISI or through another agency.

Please click here for more detailed information.

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Travel Documentation

U.S. citizens goingto Vietnam on this program must have a passport valid for 6 months beyond the last date travel date (Last Updated: July 2015). U.S. citizens are also required to have a visa to enter Vietnam. For more information, see the Department of State website for Vietnam.

Non-U.S. citizens should check with their own country's consulate regarding visa requirements for Vietnam. Non-US citizens should also check-in with the USF International Services Office to ensure reentry to the US.

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Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding

There are many ways to fund your study abroad experience. It is never too early to research your options, start applying to scholarships, and save your money.

  • USF Education Abroad Administered Scholarships are partial scholarships awarded on a competitive basis to degree-seeking USF students. Please note that these scholarships are never guaranteed, and awards can only help pay for a portion of your total costs. We highly encourage you to apply to many other scholarships.
  • USF has an Office of National Scholarships that helps students find scholarships of all kinds. You can create a profile on their website and let them help you find a scholarship that can be used for study abroad.
  • Florida Pre-Paid and Bright Futures can also be applied towards study abroad. Learn more here.
  • Financial aid can be applied towards study abroad. Please make an appoint with a Financial Aid Advisor to see if you are eligible.
  • If you are an Honors College student, you can inquire about their scholarships opportunities. 
  • Ask your Academic Department if they offer any scholarships for students who study abroad.
  • We have very informative Study Abroad Funding Sessions throughout the year. Please check our calendar of events on a regular basis to find out about future sessions.
  • The USF Federal Credit Union has loans especially for study abroad. Please note that this is a loan for which you must pay back to the Union with interest. 
Bulls in Asia
USF Bulls in Asia:

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Safety & Health

Participant's safety and well-being are paramount to USF. Please click here for detailed country-specific safety and health information given in our Country Study Report.

Because of the added stresses associated with operating in a foreign culture and language, even the safest foreign locations are likely to carry more risk to your safety and health. For this reason it is vital that you learn as much about the places you will be traveling to as possible; the more you are familiar with the host country's geography, culture and language, the safer you will be. All participants will be required to attend a general study abroad orientation as well as program-specific orientations. In addition to these sessions, you should consult the USF Safety website as well as the websites listed below that provide useful information regarding your host country, and preparation for your international travel.

Vietnam is a comparatively safe country with limited crime (low rates of violent crimes, particularly as compared to the US), primarily focusing on pick-pocketing, scams involving gambling and similar non-violent crimes, although cases of violence are increasing. It is a Communist country with penalties for criticisms against the government. Health and medical facilities are not up to Western standards, particularly in more rural areas outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Students should also be aware that the weather will be quite warm (similar to Florida summers) and rainy during July. Unlike Florida, air conditioning is not widely available and will be far less effective than in the US.

Students should visit USF's Travel Clinic to determine recommendations for vaccinations at least 6 weeks prior to the program.

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Special Terms

Students should carefully review the Education Abroad Participant Contract, included in the Education Abroad application process. It describes students' responsibilities with regard to participation, and includes information on insurance, and cancellation and refund policies. Students will be asked to electronically sign this document. To view this document before applying, please click here.

This program will involve intensive interactions with Vietnamese students and the host country culture; participants from USF should be eager to engage in a very different culture and be prepared for different foods, customs, and levels of services.

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Program Photos






Contacts for More Information

Faculty Advisors:

Professor Sarath Witanachchi: 813-974-2789,
Dean Frank Biafora: 727-873-4292,

Administrative Contact:

Krissy Loveman
Education Abroad Office

Krissy welcomes walk-in inquiries on Wednesdays 11:00-3:00 at the Education Abroad Gateway Office (MSC 3301).

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