Pitzer in Vietnam Summer Program

HALONG bay in vietnam. UNESCO World Heritage Site. This view from TiTop island and its most popular view for travel in Halong bay.
Halong Bay, Vietnam as viewed from Ti Top Island

The Pitzer in Vietnam Summer Program is done in collaboration with Hue University. On the program students study Vietnamese language, history, culture, political structures, and environmental issues. Preparation for the program begins in Claremont during the spring semester. Students participate in an introduction to Vietnamese language course. The course is offered virtually in the spring semester to provide students with a foundation for the summer program. The program moves to Hue, Vietnam for six weeks in the early summer, from late May through early July. Through intensive Vietnamese language courses, a seminar on key topics, internships, and family stays, students explore this dynamic country while furthering their Vietnamese language skills and gaining an understanding of the life and culture of Vietnam. A study trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay will provide a comparative perspective in [former] North Vietnam. Click here to learn more about the 2023 summer program.

The gates of the Forbidden City at Hue, Vietnam
The Forbidden City at Hue, Vietnam

Hue (Huế), a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a city in central Vietnam and was the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802-1945.  Located just south of the North Vietnamese border (DMZ) during the US-Vietnam War, the Hue region was a key area in the conflict and underwent significant damage. In recent years, many of its extraordinary historical monuments, including its Imperial (“Forbidden”) City have been extensively restored. Situated on the Perfume River and a few miles from the East Sea, its surrounding mountainous hinterlands are home to a large number of minority communities close to the Laotian border.

Pitzer in Vietnam 2019 Students and Staff
  • Academics
    Course Credits
    Semester Units
    VIET101 PZ Core Course: Modern Vietnam
                         Intensive Vietnamese Language

    • Students who already speak Vietnamese may also enroll in the summer program and have the opportunity to join a large array of content courses taught in Vietnamese at Hue University.
    • Coursework in Southeast Asia area studies is recommended.
    • Students must have a min 2.0 GPA and be in good academic standing to participate
    Grades for this program will be recorded on a Pitzer College transcript and included in the Pitzer GPA. Students are required to participate fully in all program components and are not allowed to withdraw from individual courses. Students must take all courses for a letter grade.
    Program Dates
    Summer: Six weeks in Vietnam from late May to early July

    The Core Course

    Vietnam food vendors
    Vietnamese food vendors

    Modern Vietnam
    The course provides an overview of culture and society in Vietnam.  The course includes lectures by Hue University faculty and specialists from governmental and non-governmental organizations, site visits, and reading and writing assignments that allow students to explore a variety of topics in Vietnam, including but not limited to the legacy of colonialism, war and conflict in Vietnam, health care, minority communities, political structures, women’s issues, and environmental issues. Students complete a capstone research project on a topic of their choice supervised by local experts. This course will satisfy Pitzer’s Social Responsibility Praxis (SRX) requirement. Sample Syllabus

    As part of their core course, all students will participate in an internship of six to eight hours per week for four weeks with a local non-profit organization.  For students with lower levels of Vietnamese, there will be a multitude of possibilities to provide ESL tutoring with local public schools. A final reflective paper on the internship experience is a required part of the course.

    Intensive Language Study
    Intensive Vietnamese is offered at the beginner level through Hue University. With a maximum of six students per teacher, the course employs a highly communicative, interactive curriculum that emphasizes both spoken and written Vietnamese and is closely connected to the  family stay experience, the core course, and other field activities.  Students attend language classes for 12 to 14 hours a week for a total of roughly 60 hours of in-class instruction. Students already fluent in Vietnamese may audit content courses at Hue University or pursue an independent study in Vietnamese on a topic of interest (culture, history, literature, etc.)

  • Student Experience

    Family Stay

    An extended family stay for the duration of the program is an important part of the program, providing a human face to the ideas presented in readings and lectures. Students are encouraged to participate fully in family life. Students will have their own bedroom and only one student is placed in each home to maximize use of Vietnamese.

    Study Trips

    To deepen students’ understanding of topics covered in the core course, they participate in several site visits in or near Hue and one major study trip. Study trips may vary each summer but could include visits to the Imperial City of Hue, The Imperial Tombs, minority communities in the mountains west of Hue, the vibrant commercial center of Danang, the beautiful early modern trading town of Hoi An, and the ancient Champa ruins of My Son, one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia. Half way through the program, students travel north to the booming city of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. In addition, the program visits the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hạ Long Bay, a region of extraordinary beauty.

    Oranges on the street market in Hanoi - Vietnam
    Oranges on the street market in Hanoi – Vietnam
  • Next Steps

    Next Steps

    Interested in the Pitzer in Vietnam Summer program? Great! Learn more by attending an information session  or scheduling a meeting with a study abroad adviser.

    How to Apply

    Application Steps and Deadlines for Pitzer College Students:


    Application Steps for Non-Pitzer Students:


    Before You Go

    After students apply and are accepted into the program, they will participate in a program orientation before leaving for Vietnam. Orientations are required and designed to ensure students get the most out of the study abroad experience. They provide cultural context, health and safety information, and academic guidelines. At orientation, students will receive details specific to the program including program dates, flight arrangements, immunization documents, safety guidelines, and the handbook.

    Typically, Hue University will provide students with the needed paperwork for their entry visa. Students are able to use the documents to secure their visa on arrival at the airport. However, the visa process can change. Students are responsible for researching country specific information and the visa process. Everyone on the program needs a passport. Check the expiration date. If you do not have a passport valid for six months after your planned return from study abroad, then you will need to renew your passport.

    Summer Program Fees

    The 2024 Summer Program fee is $12,000. This amount will cover tuition for two courses, all program activities and study trips, full room and board, and round-trip flight. Financial Aid will be available for Pitzer College students who normally receive financial aid. Students on financial aid should contact that office for details on how their financial aid would be applied to a summer program.