VIETNAM in VIET-NAM is a special project of De Anza College, offering an introduction to Vietnam to students of all disciplines, circumstances or ages who would not otherwise be able to receive an on-site, guided, and wide-ranging exposure to Viet Nam and its people. This year is the 10th study-trip De Anza has conducted in Viet Nam over the last decade.

The VN class will spend the first week at De Anza College to prepare, so that students can benefit the most from their subsequent three-week study-trip in Vietnam.  This year, the class will be held on June 27 & 28 from 10 am- 3 pm.  In the evening of June 30th, we’ll board the plane and fly to Ha Noi, arriving on the 2nd of July.  We’ll return to San Francisco on Friday, July 22nd, in the evening. 

Teaching method:  This is a unique course in that the main learning vehicle will be your personal experience with the country, the people, the culture, and the institutions of Vietnam.  We are primarily your guides and your facilitators.  At De Anza, we’ll do some lecturing and discussion in the classroom.  In Vietnam, we’ll have class roundtable discussions for an hour right after breakfast and invite experts in various fields to share their knowledge and experience.  

Materials: We’ve assigned the following books (that can be purchased at the De Anza bookstore or online):

  1. Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai

           –EWRT 1A, ELIT 10, ICS 24

      2. Birds of Paradise Lost, by Andrew Lam

           –ELIT 10, ICS 24, EWRT 2

      3. It’s A Living: Work and Life in Vietnam Today, by Gerard Sasges

           –ELIT 10, ICS 24, EWRT 1A, EWRT 2

       4. Electronic readings posted to WordPress blog by Karen Chow & Kim Nga Huynh                      (with contributions from students)

           –all classes

At the same time, you can also contribute topics of interest to this course as time permits. We’ll entertain questions or requests about specific issues, activities, or contacts, etc… and to the extent possible, we’ll accommodate them into our class discussions.

Expectations: To make the most out of this course, you have to participate in all classes and activities, both in the U.S. and in Viet Nam; and you have to write daily.

You are expected to check your course website regularly.

You are required to keep a journal, with daily entries.  On average, a page a day would do; but don’t stop there if you have more observations, thoughts, queries, etc.  These will be submitted to our Study Abroad Journal Blog.  You are also required to respond to at least 3 other students’ postings during the trip (1 per week).

And of course, you must stay engaged during lectures and discussions, and maintain some flexibility and good humor while we’re “in country.”  Together as a class, we’ll work on collectively coming up with “ground rules of respect and conduct.”

By the end of this summer class, you’ll have gained a working introduction to the culture, geography, history, institutions, economy, arts, people, food, and religions in Vietnam. This knowledge and experience should help you pursue more in-depth studies about Vietnam or about globalization, international relations, or other related fields, in the future.

By the end of the study-trip, you’ll turn in these things:

  1.  Your trip diary, starting July 02 and ending July 22, with six entries, and responses to at least 3 other students’ postings AND
  2. Some homework and assignments (all classes) and 1 short in-class paper (3 pages). Homework includes being responsible (as part of small group) for leading discussions on short articles; assignments include conducting a group interview with a local Vietnamese and doing a short presentation.
  1.  One term paper (10 pages) for EWRT 1A and EWRT 2 classes on the individual topic that you and I will agree to.  EWRT 2 will require additional research, or additional reading.  ELIT 10 and ICS 24 do not require term papers.   

The due dates:

Your two journal entries should be posted once a week to the Study Abroad Journal Blog.

All other items- due date is August 4, emailed or shared via Google docs with instructor.


Overarching Theme: The Vietnamese Millennial Generation and Contemporary Life in Vietnam

Economic development of Vietnam (post 1975 & emphasis on post-1995 U.S. normalization of relations/trade with Vietnam)

Employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for and experiences of under-40 generation in Vietnam (It’s A Living book and interviews with locals)

Arts and Creativity:  What kind of arts are the under 40 generation engaging in/doing, and supporting as consumers/patrons?

  •   Independent Art vs. State-supported Art
  •   Fashion & Beauty
  •   Advertising
  •   Fine Arts
  •   Music
  •   Dance
  •   Theater
  •   Films (Independent and Major Players in Film Industry)
  •   Television (popular shows, programs)
  •   Social Media (popular apps, uses of Social Media)
  •   Performance (live, street)
  •   Literature & Poetry
  •   Tech/Computer generated arts (animation, CIG, etc)

Impact and Influence of Other Cultures & Countries

Attitudes towards Viet Kieus (expatriate Vietnamese who have migrated to and settled in other countries, and perhaps differing attitudes towards those Viet Kieus who fled the 1975 War vs. those who left much later for economic &/or educational reasons)

Western countries/regions such as U.S., Europe (France, Australia, & other places where Viet Kieus have migrated)

Other Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea; Southeast countries export workers to Vietnam; South Asians/Indians have come as small business entrepreneurs to Vietnam)

How other countries’ cultures, tourists, and expatriates impact local Vietnamese attitudes about Vietnam and Vietnamese culture and people, as well as their educational and career goals

–Vietnamese students studying abroad (outside Vietnam)

–Vietnamese women as “mail order brides”

–Cultural imperialism of non-Vietnamese countries

Tourism in Vietnam

Industry issues–Guest lectures from our guide(s) on what it’s like to work in the  industry.  What are the most popular tourist destinations for Vietnamese people and why?  What do  tourists from other countries bring to Vietnam–ideas, views…

Social Issues

Economic Inequality

Gender expectations/norms

Expressions of sexual, gender, and ethnic identities

Dating and Marriage–social expectations

Family Structures and Dynamics

Environmental Issues

Interest in increasing environmental friendliness and “greening”

Activism on environmental issues among the Under-40 generation

Environmental entrepreneurism

Importance of Knowing & Connecting with History, Including War

How important is it for the Under 40 generation to feel very connected to Vietnamese history, especially the US-Vietnam War and the history of what happened during the war?

(Refer to Atlantic Magazine article:

Technological & Scientific Developments