Mission Vietnam dedicated the entire month of November to events that highlighted the benefits of international education and promoted U.S. values of innovation, diversity, and equal access to education.
U.S. Embassy Hanoi held a series of education themed events to celebrate IEW2015, including workshops for over 600 YSEALI aspirants and members of the public on economic issues, entrepreneurship, and business skills. USG alumni and guest speakers offered tips about pitching business plans, fundraising skills, starting a business in STEM fields for women, and social entrepreneurship. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State, Kurt Tong, spoke about world and ASEAN-regional trade and the future of U.S. engagement in the Asia- Pacific region.
EducationUSA held several information sessions to prepare students and parents interested in studying in the U.S. on avoiding common mistakes for international students or cultural differences in the U.S. EducationUSA and the American Center also co-organized a U.S. – Vietnam Joint Programs Fair & Speech Contest in which 130 high school and university students submitted essays. Based on the quality of their essays, twenty contestants were selected to participate in a speaking skills training program. Over 400 people attended the half-day final round at the American Club, where the ten finalists gave five minute presentations on the effects of technology in the next 20 years. The Fulbright team also held a roundtable discussion on tips for interview success that drew over 200 enthusiastic students. Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, a Fulbright scholar Alumni and a leader of the Fulbright University Vietnam project shared her personal experience with the Vietnamese students.
The 2015 Open Doors Report indicated a 12.9% increase over the past year in the number of Vietnamese studying at higher education institutions in America. From 16,579 students in 2014 to 18,722 in 2015, this increase helped Vietnam maintain its position as the top source country in Southeast Asia for attendees of U.S. universities and colleges. Consul General Rena Bitter referenced the report during remarks given at the U.S. Education and Career Orientation held November 17 at the American Center in Ho Chi Minh City, stating that “Education is the best investment any country, or any family, can make, and a natural area for cooperation between the United States and Vietnam.”
CG HCMC used the U.S. Education and Career Orientation as the anchor event of IEW 2015. This full day program provided Vietnamese with the tools to choose the right U.S. schools to meet their individual needs, as well as information about U.S. government exchange programs and scholarship opportunities, resources and services at the Consulate, and the student visa application process through a presentation from Consular officers. Attendees also had an opportunity to hear directly from talent scouts and other hiring professionals about the Vietnamese job market and how to leverage what they learn in the United States upon their return.
The American Center HCMC held numerous other education-themed events throughout November, including a film screening and discussion of Real Women Have Curves, which drove home this year’s theme of “Access for All,” through the story of a young first generation American struggling against family traditions and a lack of financial opportunity to pursue higher education. Other activities included Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on Business Writing and Entrepreneurship, a reading of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” translated into Vietnamese, and presentations from U.S. university representatives on English Teaching Resources and STEM education. The IEW audience was not limited to students, as HCMC-based English Language Fellow Christina Massey conducted a workshop for teachers on Using Digital Tools for Classroom Activities. Visits to the AC HCMC for November’s educational events totaled 1,312 individuals.