1
2014-2015
STUDENT
EXCHANGE
VIETNAM
VIETNAM PRE-
DEPARTURE GUIDE 2014
2
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
3
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
4
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
5
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
6
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
7
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
8
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
9
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@gm...
10
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
11
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
12
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
13
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
14
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
15
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
16
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
17
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
18
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
19
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
20
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
21
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
22
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
23
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
24
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
25
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
26
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
27
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
28
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
29
A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam
P |(+84) 4 62943322
W|studentexchange.vn
E |se@studentexchange.vn
tovietnamnow@g...
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[Student Exchange Vietnam] Pre-Departure Guide - Life in Vietnam v8

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Welcome to Student Exchange Vietnam! We’ve prepared this guide to assist you with your transition to the new life in Vietnam. Please read it carefully and make sure you complete all the steps in the pre-departure checklist – it will make your transition much smoother. Please contact us (se@studentexchange.vn) with any questions if you cannot find the answer in this guide. Being well prepared for your journey makes life a lot easier. With this in mind, make sure you’ve got everything organised with plenty of time to spare before you leave home.

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Transcript of "[Student Exchange Vietnam] Pre-Departure Guide - Life in Vietnam v8"

  1. 1. 1 2014-2015 STUDENT EXCHANGE VIETNAM VIETNAM PRE- DEPARTURE GUIDE 2014
  2. 2. 2 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam TABLE OF CONTENTS History of Vietnam........................................................................................................... 4 People and Culture of Vietnam ....................................................................................... 5 Geography ...................................................................................................................... 8 Airport Reception............................................................................................................. 8 Orientation....................................................................................................................... 8 Internship Quality Commitment Guidelines ..................................................................... 9 Housing......................................................................................................................... 11 Electricity....................................................................................................................... 13 Transportation............................................................................................................... 14 Banking and Money matter ........................................................................................... 15 Computers and Internet................................................................................................. 17 Phones.......................................................................................................................... 17 Post and Communications ............................................................................................ 18 Cost of living.................................................................................................................. 19 Cultural Adjustment....................................................................................................... 20 Health and Safety.......................................................................................................... 21 Emergency Contact....................................................................................................... 22 Medicine and Vaccinations............................................................................................ 22 Independent Travel ....................................................................................................... 22 Getting there ................................................................................................................. 23 Time zones and Business Hours................................................................................... 24 What to bring:................................................................................................................ 25 Insurance ...................................................................................................................... 28 Additional Resources .................................................................................................... 29
  3. 3. 3 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam VIETNAM PRE-DEPARTURE GUIDE 2014 Xin chào (Hello) Congratulations on your decision to intern in Vietnam with SE Vietnam! We will help you make this an unforgettable experience that will allow you to grow both as an individual and as a business professional. The information provided in this manual should answer many of your questions and help you get prepared for your adventure in Vietnam. Your first step in preparing to go abroad is to keep a positive attitude and an open mind throughout your experience. From going overseas to returning home, you will be making many adjustments. You must remember to be patient with yourself and others as you transition into and out of a new culture. Meeting new people, eating new foods, and exploring a new country are just some of the changes you will face while abroad that can be easily dealt with if you keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Be sure to contact us if you have any further questions and best of luck in your preparation! Sincerely, SE Vietnam staff EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION SE Vietnam 137 Chua Lang street, Dong Da district, Hanoi, Vietnam T: (84-4) 6294 3322 E: se@studentexchange.vn W: www.studentexchange.vn US Embassy Hanoi, Vietnam Embassy of the United States 170 Ngoc Khanh street, Ba Dinh district Hanoi, Vietnam Tel: (84-4) 3850-5000 For Emergency: (84-4) 3850-5000/3850-5105
  4. 4. 4 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam History of Vietnam Conquered by the armies of China's Han dynasty in 111 BC, it was not until 939 AD that the Vietnamese were able to expel the Chinese and begin a southward domination that, by the mid-18th century, had reached the Gulf of Siam. The 17th and 18th centuries were marked by the power struggles between feuding families in the north and south, as they attempted to control the largely ineffectual kings of the Le dynasty. Vietnam finally fell to French colonial rule in 1884, after fierce resistance. Integral to Vietnam's eventual independence was Ho Chi Minh, who was one of many who established the Viet Minh - a broad coalition of anti-French groups. When Japan ousted France from power in March 1945, the Viet Minh began to infiltrate the countryside from their mountain bases in the north. Following Japan's surrender, Viet Minh leaders announced the formation of a Democratic Republic of Vietnam, (DRV) and on September 2, 1945, proclaimed Vietnam's independence. The arrival of Allied forces, however, pushed Vietnam back into the hands of the French. After negotiations between the DRV and the French collapsed in December 1946, the Viet Minh attacked French forces in Hanoi and ignited an eight year war that culminated in the historic French military defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Vietnam was split in two by the 1954 Geneva Accords: the Communist north, and the anti- Communist, US-supported, south. Political and ideological opposition fermented, and again turned into armed struggle, obliging the US and other countries to commit combat troops in 1965. This led to a prolonged and costly war, which at its 1969 peak, saw over half a million US combat troops stationed in South Vietnam. The Paris peace talks, begun in May 1968, eventually led to the US withdrawing troops from June 1969. However, the US continued to provide air and sea support to the South Vietnamese until a peace agreement was signed on January 27, 1973. Tens of thousands of North Vietnamese troops infiltrated the south to join the 160,000 already there at the time of the cease-fire and, at the beginning of 1975, they began a major offensive that led to the fall of Saigon on 30th April 1975. On 25th April 1976, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was renamed the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In 1977, Vietnam became a member of the United Nations.
  5. 5. 5 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam War with Cambodia, isolation, trade embargoes, and devastating natural disasters, all added to Vietnam's difficulties in forging ahead. However, despite the collapse of the former Soviet Union, its major trading partner, economic growth rates still managed to average over 8% per year in the early nineties. Vietnam has now established diplomatic relations with 164 countries, trade relations with over 100 countries, and has attracted foreign investment from more than 50 countries and territories. The tremendous capacity of its people to meet the most desperate challenges, is likely to lead Vietnam to a bright future.. People and Culture of Vietnam Population The Vietnamese population was born through a mix of two major ancient cultures: the Chinese and the Indian. Thus a peculiar trait of Vietnam’s culture was formed. As fas as anthropology is concerned, Vietnam, the Vietnamese people have their origins in the Mongoloid race, believed to be one of the most ancient races and often found in the northern and eastern Asia. At present, there are 54 different ethnic groups inhabiting Vietnam. The Kinh people of Viet represent 80% of the whole population. Many minorities possess its own traditions and language.
  6. 6. 6 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Clothing - Áo dài The most popular and widely-recognized Vietnamese national costume is the Áo dài, which is worn nowadays mostly by women, although men do wear Áo dài on special occasions such as weddings and funerals. Áo dài is similar to the Chinese Qipao, consisting of a long gown with a slit on both sides, worn over silk pants. It is elegant in style and comfortable to wear, and likely derived in the 18th century or in the royal court of Hue. Áo dài is made compulsory in many senior high schools in Vietnam, and some colleges. Some female office workers (e.g. receptionists, secretaries, tour guides) are also required to wear Áo dài. In daily life, the traditional Vietnamese styles are now replaced by Western styles. Traditional clothing is worn instead on special occasions, with the exception of the white Áo dài commonly seen with high school girls in Vietnam. Food etiquette – Chopsticks and rice Every Vietnamese meal follows some basic principles. Rice is a staple, consumed at basically every meal, and it will typically be placed at the end of the table. After rice, the second basic ingredient is vegetables and fruit, followed by meat and seafood, which during previous hard times were quite rare. Today, the standard of living is much higher, so meat takes a more important place. Another element essential to the Vietnamese table: chopsticks. Eat with the thinner end. When you are not actively eating, take care always to prop them across your bowl. To plant them vertically is a sign of misfortune and death because it resembles the incense sticks used for the dead. Younger generations are more flexible with these rules, while in the most traditional families the practice remains firmly taboo. Finally, it is common for the host to serve his guest. Observe that he does not pass food from chopstick to chopstick but instead places it in your bowl.
  7. 7. 7 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam General Etiquette The Vietnamese are a proud race of people and are extremely welcoming and tolerant to foreign visitors. That said, their cultural identity and traditions are complex and the casual visitor will find the following forms of etiquette will evoke respect and admiration from the local inhabitants:  Respect your elders and address the eldest in a group first. Elderly people always have the right of way in Vietnamese society and should be treated with great respect.  When giving or receiving business cards do so by holding it with both hands.  Start with small talk and enquire about their families and personal life before discussing any business matter. The Vietnamese need to know more about you, in a casual way, before they discuss business.  When dining with a Vietnamese family, please wait for head or the eldest to start eating first before you do. Vietnamese often serve you food into your rice bowl. This is an act of hospitality.  Always take your shoes off when entering a Vietnamese home.  Never, ever, show your anger. This causes astute embarrassment to yourself and your Vietnamese friends. Saving face is extremely important in Vietnamese society. If you are not happy with something discuss the issue in a calm and respectful manner. Showing anger or shouting will have the opposite effect to what you wish to achieve and will only reflect poorly upon you.  Despite more modern Vietnamese society, on the whole, is still quite reserved when it comes to showing affection for the opposite sex. Amorous liaisons in public are generally frowned upon and whilst a kiss or a hug with your partner is considered acceptable in the main cities of Hanoi and Saigon it is a social taboo elsewhere. When meeting with Vietnamese of the opposite sex a handshake is considered the standard greeting. A kiss on the cheek is not recommended practice and may cause embarrassment.
  8. 8. 8 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Geography Lying on the eastern part of the Indochina peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. China borders it to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East sea to the east and The Gulf of Thailand to the west and south. The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650 km. Its width, stretching from east to west , is 600 km at the widest point in the North, 400 km in the South and 50 km at the narrowest part, in the Centre. The coastline is 3,260 km long and the inland border is 4,510 km. Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Airport Reception We will arrange for a driver to pick you up at the airport on your scheduled arrival date. The driver will be waiting at the exit gate with a sign that has your name on it. If your flight is delayed or you are unable to arrive at the airport at your scheduled time, simply call/text or email our staff to let us know. Please respect the drivers time and go immediately to meet him when you get off the plane. Orientation The orientation is designed to initiate the integration of international students into the cultural and social activities of Vietnam. By giving friendly talks with appealing topics such as Culture Shock, How to work with Vietnamese people, How to survive in Vietnam, etc, we would like to bring the students a brief insight into our culture and tradition. The Orientation’s main content:  Vietnam at a glance  Internship guide  How to survive in Vietnam  How to use public transportation in Vietnam  City tour
  9. 9. 9 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Internship Quality Commitment Guidelines Overview Student Exchange Vietnam provides interns the invaluable experience of working with a company in Vietnam. These internships enhance cultural and business understanding through an exchange of knowledge where the student provides real work assistance while the company provides insight to the business world of Vietnam. We always do our best to fulfill our mission. What is expected of you, the intern?  Treat the internship as you would any job, with respect and professionalism  Approach the experience with an open mind, everything from time to communication to feedback could be different than what you are used to  Work towards real results that are useful to the company  Show up on time to work and meetings  Be able to work independently and in groups  Show initiative  Comply with all arrangements negotiated for the placement and do everything necessary to make the placement a success  Abide by the rules and regulation of the host organization, the agreed-upon schedule, code of conduct and rules of confidentiality  Communicate with the World Internships staff about any problems regarding the placement Our mission Student Exchange Vietnam was established to support students to gain global awareness and local insights from ongoing engagement via Internship, Semester Abroad, Camp and Intensive Training in Vietnam and internationally. We have a strong commitment to offering affordable, flexible and guaranteed-quality exchange programs.
  10. 10. 10 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Qualities of a successful participant  Flexible – this is perhaps the most important quality in Vietnam! In the developing world, you have to "go with the flow" as sometimes things don’t always work out 100% according to plan  Upbeat - you're in an amazing place, enjoy it!  Humanitarian – in order to thrive in this experience it’s important not to focus just on your own self-interest, but rather to learn and grow from the people around you  Stay interested – do as much as you can to learn about Vietnamese culture and language; this is as much a cultural immersion program as it is a professional growth program  Be considerate of others - think about how your actions affect your host family, program staff, and other participants  Stay open minded – be open to trying new things. The food, language, style of dress, cultural norms will undoubtedly be very different from what you are used to, but stay open to new ways of living as these differences are what make the experience so rich!  Keep a journal - writing helps you record your memories and can help you process your feelings and experiences as you go along Logistics  On average, interns will dedicate 30+ hours per week to the internship placement. The schedule is flexible and will be determined in conjunction with the placement supervisor and the company’s needs.  Students must dress in a manner appropriate to the placement, be sure to check with the company and your on-site coordinator for details that may be particular to your placement company.  If you are sick (or for any other inconvenience/setback) and cannot go to work one day, immediately call your company’s supervisor to inform him/her about your absence.
  11. 11. 11 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam What is expected of your Internship Supervisor  Provide the intern with meaningful work experience and tasks  Assign the interns tasks and responsibilities to match their knowledge, skills, competencies, and training objectives  Ensure appropriate resources and support is available  Have an open mind and accept that the interns may come with a different work style and way of viewing time, accomplishing tasks, etc.  Provide guidance and support to the intern  Have projects ready for the intern from day one  Share your culture and your way of business with the intern  Incorporate training of the intern on the first day  Appoint a mentor to advise the interns, help them with their integration into the host organization and monitor their training progress  Give the intern an overview of the different aspects of the organization  Provide practical support and facilitate understanding of the culture Housing Please note that although we make every effort to provide your preferred form of housing, we cannot guarantee that all personal preferences are met. We have carefully selected safe and adequate housing for each student; each living arrangement is distinct and special in its own way. Should you have problems or questions about your living arrangements once you arrive, you should speak to us. There is a natural adjustment period to life abroad and making any housing changes during this time is usually premature. Each housing option is different from the other, and different from the housing you are accustomed to back home. The available storage and living spaces may be smaller than you are accustomed to.
  12. 12. 12 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Every housing placement is different with pros and cons. Accommodations will have different bonuses, such as location or room size. Now is the time to open your mind and get ready to experience something different; this attitude is in the spirit of your decision to intern abroad. Due to the amount of time it takes to confirm housing, students may not receive specific housing details until 2 weeks prior to departure. If information is available sooner, we will send it out; however, we ask that interns remain patient. Homestay We provide homestay service at which interns will live with local families that have been carefully screened and selected by our staff. You will have a private room with lock, and you will use the bathroom that the rest of the family uses. You will be provided breakfast and dinner, up to two meals per day, and there will be space for you to store your own food, but you may not be allowed to use the kitchen for your own cooking. Your homestay family is going to truly see you as part of the family, so it might be a good idea to prepare some photos of your life back home to share with your new family when you arrive. The homestay will include:  Sheets, blankets and pillows  Communal living space or kitchen with a table and chairs  Shared bathrooms or private ones which include toilet and bathing area (depending on the host family)  Two meals per day: Breakfast and dinner – Vietnamese cuisine(might be offered) Please remember that you will be living with a Vietnamese family, you must conduct yourself as a responsible adult, and observe certain courtesies such as keeping noise to a minimum, shutting off lights when they are not in use, and keeping up after yourself. Interns must remember they are no longer in their home country and that keeping regular sleeping and waking hours is important so as not to disturb the other people living in your home. Absolute respect for, and consideration of, all who live in your home is expected. Anything less will not be tolerated.
  13. 13. 13 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Rental Apartment The most usual type of accommodation is a room in a rental apartment, sharing facilities. A good way of making friends and avoiding loneliness is to share room with other students. However, for individuals who would like to stay in a private room, a registration should be required and an extra fee from US$150-200 per month will be charged for the accommodation besides the standard fee. It should be noted that you will have to do your own cooking and cleaning. Utility Bills Program fees include the regular usage of utilities (heat, hot water, and electricity) by Vietnamese standards during your stay in Vietnam. However, any abuse of these stated standards will result in additional fees, which will be charged to you. To avoid additional charges, be sure to keep your consumption to a minimum; turn off lights when not in use, and avoid long showers. Electricity Although it’s quite easy to buy adaptors for most cities in Vietnam, it will be more convenient for you to bring at least one from your home country, so that you can charge or use any important devices youneed when you first arrive. It’s also worth considering a small UPS box (Uninterrupted Power Supply device), to avoid Vietnam’s occasional power surges damaging your electronic equipment.  220Volts 50Hertz.  Power Outlet: Mostly 2 pronged plugs. - Flat blade plug - Two round pins - Two parallel flat pin with ground pin  You may want to get a combination voltage converter and plug adapter.  Power outages can occur depending upon the area you are in.
  14. 14. 14 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Transportation Transportation in Vietnam is always a burning and disturbing problem. However, to some extents, it can be a joyful, exciting (and even thrilling) experience. Moreover, using local vehicles will save your money and reduce the cost of transfer. Types of transportation are varied, which are ordered by the distance of destinations: Taxis For medium distance like from the airport to the hotel or for getting around within cities, taxi is a good idea as its flexible time and reasonable cost. However, you need to be well aware of the taxi drivers intentions when it comes to paying. You can negotiate with the driver about the price of the ride, and it is highly advised you research beforehand the length and typical price of your journey as they will try to rip you off. Motorbikes Motorbike is very interesting way to have your own journey of discovering a place. However, Vietnam still ranks high in the list of countries having high rates of accidents. Thus, you should drive carefully; bring driving license and local map with you. However, for the safety of students, we do not encourage this type of transportation. Bicycles Travelling by bicycle can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience Vietnam. Because of its convenience and economization, bicycle is highly recommended for the short distance travel.
  15. 15. 15 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Buses In Vietnam, bus is the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation for foreign travellers, since the bus system has been well-developed and covered almost every part of the country. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some major tourism destinations, there is public bus service for people both local and foreigners. Those buses also departure from major terminals before heading to other streets. You can catch bus at bus stops scattering around the cities and buy ticket directly from the conductor. Although the ticket is very cheap (under VND 10000), the service is not very high (you may have to stand if the bus is too crowded, the bus may not have air conditioner, or the conductor cannot speak English). However, local bus is one interesting way to understand more or make friends with local people. Banking and Money matter Currency The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND). Notes are available in paper denominations of 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500, 200 and 100 VND. Throughout the country, American dollars are widely accepted. Credit cards are becoming more popular, especially in the major hotels and restaurants of Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh city. Exchange Rate The exchange rate (August 2012) is approximately AU$ 1 = VND 21,872 and US$ 1 = VND 20,850. Please follow the website to have updated exchange rate www.vietcomebank.com.vn
  16. 16. 16 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Bargaining  Most things you buy on the street or “wet” market must be bargained for. Foreigners will often be charged a higher rate, but considering the difference in income between you and thevendor, it is understandable - life is too short to worry about a few cents! It is expected that you will bargain and you will look like an easy mark if you don’t. However, be good natured about it.  If you can, try bringing along a Vietnamese friend when you go shopping for the first time atany place so that he/she can advise you not only where to buy good quality products but also how to purchase them at a reasonable price. Choice of banks There are many banks in Vietnam, but some are more efficient than others! Vietcombank is recommended as they have many ATM machines throughout big cities. ANZ (Australia New Zealand) Bank has more efficient English speaking customer service, but fewer ATMs. Both banks handle international transfers. ATM machines There are many throughout big cities. They accept transactions for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro, and Cirrus. Only Vietnamese Dong is given from ATMs. You must go into the bank if you require other currency. Credit Cards and Traveller’s Checks Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard) are accepted at upscale restaurants, hotels and travel agencies. There is usually a 3% fee added. Traveller’s checks can be exchanged in big cities but rarely outside the cities. Metric system U.S. Measurement Metric Measurement Metric Measurement U.S. Measurement 1 mile 1.609 kilometers 1 kilometer 0.62 miles 1 foot 0.3048 meters 1 meter 3.28 feet 1 inch 25.4 millimeters 1 millimeter 0.0393 inches 1 gallon 3.785 liters 1 liter 0.2642 gallon 1 pound 0.4536 kilograms 1 kilogram 2.2 pounds Fahrenheit = (Celsius x 1.9) + 32 Celsius = (Fahrenheit – 32)/1.8
  17. 17. 17 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Computers and Internet We encourage all students to bring their laptops with them to Vietnam. Nowadays many houses and restaurants have WiFi or internet access. As a side note, internet in developing countries like Vietnam is much slower than what you may be accustomed to. One program you may want to consider downloading is Skype, a free service that offers an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family back home via online messaging and phone calls. If your family also has Skype, you can make free calls to one another when you are both logged on. Calls from your Skype account to a phone in the US (or elsewhere) are also very affordable and a good way to keep in touch. Phones Long Distance Calls Both local and long distance require the proper area code before dialing the number. Ex: To call USA or Canada from Vietnam: 001 + area code + phone number. Cell phones Before you go abroad, you should look into your different options for cell service abroad. You can call your cell phone provider and ask them about what you may need to do if you wanted to use your phone abroad. Most likely, you will need to unlock your phone and buy a SIM card once you are in the country abroad. However, as you may know, you will be provided with a local calling card since it is already included in our program fee. The only thing you need now is a cell phone which fits your local SIM size. You can buy a cell phone once you are in Vietnam, these phones are relatively inexpensive. Having a cell phone will come in handy while you are in Vietnam makes sure that you can keep in touch with your friends and on-site coordinators.
  18. 18. 18 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Emergency Telephone Numbers (84-4) 113 Police (84-4) 114 Fire (84-4) 115 Health emergency (84-4) 116 Local call assistance (84-4) 1080 Information directory and English service (84-4) 3850-5000 US Embassy in Vietnam Post and Communications Postal service  Express mail service (EMS): takes from 24 to 48 hours for delivery.  International EMS: is exchanged with over 50 countries all over the world. Delivery takes from 2 to 10 days.  Flower telegram: money or presents (goods allowed to be circulated)) attached to a telegram of congratulations or condolences. Telecommunications Local calls are generally free of charge. For public telephones, a phone card can be bought at the post office to make inter-provincial and international calls. Fax services are also available in most post offices.
  19. 19. 19 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Cost of living The table below should provide you with some approximate costs for everyday items: Restaurants Avg. Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 2.35 $ Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course 14.08 $ Combo Meal at McDonalds or Similar 3.75 $ Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) 0.94 $ Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) 1.64 $ Cappuccino (regular) 2.09 $ Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) 0.50 $ Water (0.33 liter bottle) 0.33 $ Markets Avg. Milk (regular), (1 liter) 1.39 $ Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 0.78 $ Rice (white), (1kg) 0.75 $ Eggs (12) 1.31 $ Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg) 3.29 $ Apples (1kg) 2.54 $ Oranges (1kg) 1.97 $ Tomato (1kg) 0.70 $ Potato (1kg) 0.77 $ Lettuce (1 head) 0.53 $ Water (1.5 liter bottle) 0.54 $ Transportation Avg. One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 0.23 $ Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 7.04 $ Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) 0.56 $ Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 0.61 $ Gasoline (1 liter) 1.14 $
  20. 20. 20 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Cultural Adjustment Culture Shock occurs as a result of total immersion in a new culture. Newcomers may be anxious because they do not speak the language, know the customs, or understand people’s behavior in daily life. The visitor finds that ―yes may not mean ―yes, that friendliness does not necessarily mean friendship, or that statements that appear to be serious are really intended as jokes. The foreigner may be unsure as to when to shake hands or embrace, when to initiate conversation or how to approach a stranger. The notion of culture shock helps explain feelings of bewilderment and disorientation. When this happens, visitors may want to reject everything about the new environment and may glorify and exaggerate the positive aspects of their own culture. The severity of culture shock depends on visitors’ personalities, language ability, emotional support, and duration of stay. It is also influenced by the extent of the differences, either actual or perceived, between the two cultures. There are recognized periods of adjustment, and although the stages in the cycle do not always occur in the same order and some stages may be skipped, the following pattern is a common one.  Honeymoon Period - Initially many people are fascinated and excited by everything new. The visitor is elated to be in a new culture.  Culture Shock- The individual runs into some problems: Housing, transportation, shopping, and language. Mental fatigue results from continuously straining to comprehend the foreign language. Complaints are the first symptoms.  Initial Adjustment- Everyday activities such as housing and shopping are no longer issues. Although the visitor may not be fluent in the language spoken, basic ideas and feelings in the second language or new dialect can at least be expressed.  Mental Isolation- Individuals have been away from their family and good friends for a long period of time and may feel lonely. Many still feel they cannot express they as well as they can in their native culture. Frustration and sometimes a loss of self-confidence result. Some individuals remain at this stage.  Acceptance and Integration- A routine (i.e. work, business or school) has been established. The visitor has accepted the habits, customs, foods, and characteristics of the people in the new culture. The visitor feels comfortable with friends, the classmates and culture of the country.
  21. 21. 21 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam A similar process occurs when a person returns to their native country, although the stages are usually shorter and less intense. It can be hard to express to family/friends about your experience and pictures/ words can only do your trip so much justice. Some ways to combat stress produced by culture shock are:  Be Patient – It takes time to acclimate to new cultures and find a new routine  Carpe Diem – Seize every opportunity to learn the language or local lingo, participate in cultural and social activities, consider joining local clubs or groups, explore your city and the surrounding areas  Physical Activity – Whether you are an avid runner or prefer calming yoga, exercise is proven to release positive endorphins Health and Safety Health In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, there are some international clinics and hospitals open to foreign visitors for medical consultations and treatments. Personal security Vietnam is generally a safe place to be, but as with anywhere – especially if you’re new to it – it pays to take a few common sense precautions. For example, always carry your money in an inside pocket, not in your back pocket or the outer pockets of coats or jackets. If you want to leave your coat or jacket anywhere, then take your money with you. And if you carry a handbag, keep it by you and don’t leave it unattended, even for short periods. Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you – just enough to meet your day-to-day needs. Avoid leaving luggage, bags or briefcases any where you can’t see them. It’s much safer to carry valuables like cameras, radios and computers with you. Finally, take special care of your passport, tickets and other personal documents.
  22. 22. 22 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Emergency Contact Please ensure you always have our telephone number to call in the event of an emergency. Should you require assistance while at your accommodation, please proceed to the reception desk of your hotel or homestay owner. Each student will be supported by a volunteer / buddy during the stay in Vietnam. Please keep her/his number for daily support anytime. You can also contact us at (+84) 4 62943322 Medicine and Vaccinations Before departing to Vietnam, you should double check with your healthcare provider which immunization shots you may need before arriving, especially if you are staying for a long period of time. It’s usually best to boost up about one month before your intended travel duration. Not all foreigners in Vietnam receive vaccinations before arriving, but it is highly recommended. Highest recommendations are Hepatitis A/B, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Malaria. If you use any type of prescription medication and will be travelling with a supply of these medicines, be sure to obtain a note from your physician, approving the use of the medication. Independent Travel It should be noted that independent travel outside of host city is undertaken entirely at your own risk. Student Exchange Vietnam cannot be held responsible for anything that might happen to you during independent travel, thus it is vital that you exercise caution and good judgment when travelling independently.
  23. 23. 23 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam If you plan to travel independently away from your program site, please be aware that it is mandatory to notify the Student Exchange Vietnam staff of your plans. It is always wise to let them know where you are going, when you will be back, and how they can contact you while you are travelling in case there is an emergency and they need to contact you. You may also want to inform your employer of your plans in case you are delayed due to weather or another reason. Do keep in mind that your internship is your priority and while you may request time off from your employer; your employer is not required to grant you the time off. Also, please check in with our staff once you’ve returned so we know you are safe! Getting there The following information is important to keep in mind prior to your travel and as you prepare for your trip abroad. Passport and visa information Your passport is extremely important. Make sure you keep your passport in a safe place and only carry it with you when necessary so it is not lost or stolen. The passport is the most recognizable form of identification, and you may be required to show it. However, it is not recommended that you carry your passport around daily. If you lose your passport, contact your native Embassy immediately to get a replacement. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a hassle you will want to avoid. When traveling inside or outside of the host city, you should carry a copy of your passport at all times Visa Information We suggest you get your visa upon arrival, it’s easy and convenient to obtain it; just plan on waiting in line for about 30 minutes. Make sure you bring 1 passport photo with you as well. You will fill out the tourist visa form while you are in line and proceed to a long, somewhat slow line. Besides, you shall have to pay for the stamping fee which depends on the type of visa you would like to apply for.
  24. 24. 24 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Vietnam visa-on-arrival service and stamp fees are mentioned below: Cost (USD) Stamping fee Single Entry 1 month $45 3 month $45 Multiple Entry 1 month $65 3 month $95 As you may know, the visa application fee is already included in our total program fee. However, this amount of fee is only automatically applied for the Single Entry visa. For individuals who would like to apply for the Multiple Entry one, an extra fee of US $10 shall be charged for the visa application. Time zones and Business Hours Vietnamese Time Vietnam time is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST), 13 hours ahead of Central Standard Time (CST), etc. If in doubt, you can use www.worldtimezone.com. This is also a good website to give family and friends so that they know when it’s okay to call you. Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +7). Vietnam does not utilize daylight savings time. Business Hours All government offices are open from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm (with a one-hour lunch break) from Monday to Friday. Banks are open from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Shops typically open and close late, normally from 6am to 10pm.
  25. 25. 25 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam What to bring: Being well prepared for your journey makes life a lot easier. With this in mind, make sure you’ve got everything organised with plenty of time to spare before you leave home. Documents required for your journey  Provide the documentation for your Vietnam visa  Organise travel insurance  Make copies of all important documents to bring in your hand luggage: - Letter of offer from the local host institution/organization in Vietnam - Passport - Other formal identification - International driver’s license or driver’s license from your home country Hand Luggage: Make sure you keep the above documents and the following in your hand luggage:  Some warm clothing  Insurance documents  A list of what you are carrying in your luggage in case you have to make an insurance claim  Any prescribed drugs or medicine you are taking, plus a letter from your doctor explaining what they are  An address, telephone number and travel instructions to your final destination Luggage You will have a free baggage allowance, which will be shown on your air ticket; this is usually from 20kg with a restricted weight of 32kg per single item of luggage. You may be charged for excess baggage if you exceed the baggage allowance, so check with the airline before you leave. If you are not sure of your allowance, you should make a list of everything you bring.
  26. 26. 26 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Clothing and other items You should have enough warm clothing for your flight and subsequent journey. It is probably cheaper and easier to buy warm winter clothing in Vietnam, rather than in your home country. It is worth bringing items of your national dress to wear at social events, and photographs of family and home may be of interest to new friends who would like to learn about other cultures. It is useful to bring some passport-sized photographs of yourself. Electronics You can bring your hair dryer, electric shaver, etc. however PLEASE note that voltage in Vietnam is 220V, so your appliance must have a switch from 110 to 220. Please take a look at this website as it will be very helpful in what adapter to purchase: http://www.travelproducts.com/electricity_guide.htm Identification tags You will receive your address in Vietnam a week or two before you leave. That is the address that you should write on your luggage tags. You can put our office phone number on there too: 84-4 6294 3322 Valuables Neither the program nor the airline company will be responsible for anything stolen from your suitcase. For safety reasons, we recommend you not pack any valuable items in your checked luggage. If you must, please inform the airline employees in case you need to fill out any additional forms prior to check-in.
  27. 27. 27 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Suggested Items to Bring:  Bring at least one outfit for formal settings (women: a nice longer skirt and shirt or conservative dress; men: nice shirt and pants and dress shoes)  Comfortable walking shoes/hiking boots (make sure they are broken in before your trip).  Sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen  Small umbrella (essential during the monsoon between June and September)  Small duffel or travel bag for weekend or day trips  Towel  Sealable plastic bags (for damp clothes, soap, food, shampoo, and other liquids)  Small flashlight (it will come in handy!) and batteries  Converters/adaptors for electronics  Insect repellent with DEET  Vitamins  Anti-bacterial wet wipes  Prescription drugs (with the prescription note from the doctor)  Over the counter drugs (bring a supply for anything that might come up—pain reliever/fever reducer, Immodium, laxative, cold medicine, eye drops, etc.)  Protein bars – specifically if you are on a vegetarian diet  Pictures of your friends and family from home to share with your host family. You may also want to bring a small gift for the family such as a book about your home region, local candies or food. Lost luggage If your luggage does not arrive with you in Vietnam, remember to fill out a ―Luggage claims form before leaving the baggage claim area. The best address to leave is the one where you will be living and the phone number to put is our office phone number 84-4 6294 3322. Please bring with you:  Two photocopies of the first page of your passport (the page with your photo on it plus the page opposite)  One photocopy of your return plane ticket if you have it
  28. 28. 28 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Don’t Bring Food, pets, unnecessary clothing, electrical goods that need a converter (unless you have a converter and adapter for them), live plants, more than $6000 USD cash (travelers or bankers checks are okay. The golden rule about packing is to lay out everything you want to bring, and then take half. If you forget something or feel that you should have brought something, have someone from home mail it to you. You can also find just about whatever you need in Vietnam. Remember that you’re responsible for carrying all of your own luggage, so if you can’t manage it on your own it’s a sure sign you’ve packed too much. Also, it's very important to remember to check with your airline(s) to find out about luggage limits (how many suitcases/carry-ons, weight limits) for domestic and international flights. If you are flying with more than one airline, check with all of them as regulations vary between airlines. Don't assume you are under the limit, as airlines charge a hefty fee for overweight luggage and/or too many bags. Insurance You should always take out travel insurance covering your journey to Vietnam. This should cover delays, medical emergencies and the cost of replacing any belongings if they are lost on your journey. If you are coming to Vietnam for less than six months you should also take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of your stay. We hope that you found this guide useful. If you have any additional questions do not hesitate to contact us, we’ll be happy to answer them. We can’t wait to see you in Vietnam!
  29. 29. 29 A |137, Chua Lang Str., Hanoi, Vietnam P |(+84) 4 62943322 W|studentexchange.vn E |se@studentexchange.vn tovietnamnow@gmail.com Student Exchange Vietnam Additional Resources Books  Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit (2003) by Nguyen Van Huy  To Asia with Love: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam (2004) by Kim Fay  Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion (1996) by John Balaban, Nguyen Qui Duc Web-based resources  The U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheet for Vietnam http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/vietnam.html  US Embassy in Vietnam http://vietnam.usembassy.gov/  Ministry of culture sports and tourism Vietnam http://english.cinet.vn/Default.aspx  Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/clinician/none/vietnam DON’T WORRY! WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU OUT!  Ms. Linh Marketing Manager linhp@studentexchange.vn Skype:linh.mp.pham “Start your journey!” WE ARE RELIABLE Ms. Mo Director se@studentexchange.vn Skype: se_vietnam “Let us help you!” WE ARE SEVIETNAM Ms. Tra Program Assistant traNH@studentexchange.vn Skype: nguyenhuongtra1992 “Just be with us!” WE ARE CARING Ms. Ha Program Assistant hant@studentexchange.vn Skype: yj1792_forever “Vietnam awaits you!” WE ARE FUN

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