Course description

The 3-week Youth & Leadership field course in Vietnam is designed to highlight the crucial role of leadership development in the pursuit of social justice and sustainable development. You will be introduced to the social change model of leadership development and explore key concepts of community leadership. You will learn how to better understand yourself as well as others in order to achieve personal empowerment, and you will work with groups of disadvantaged youth in order to develop leadership qualities.

The first week focuses on skills development through classroom learning, workshops, field visits and general cultural immersion. Among others, you will receive leadership training by field experts and volunteer as guest trainers. The second and third weeks then consist of the practical application and multiplication of your new skills through service-learning activities with local host organizations. Throughout the course, local students from partner universities such as the University of Economics & Finance will join your delegation and contribute to a greatly enriching cross-cultural learning environment.

  • Participate in leadership training workshops by Vietnamese field experts.
  • Volunteer to teach leadership skills to disadvantaged Vietnamese youth.
  • Engage in project-based service-learning work with local host organizations.
  • Interview Vietnamese youth and create stories relating to a pre-determined theme in order to complete your coursework.
  • Explore the ‘Asian Dragon’ through unique excursions and cultural immersion.
  • Create once-in-a-lifetime memories and build lasting friendships.

What’s Included?

  • Tuition
  • Arrival day airport meet and greet
  • Accommodation with breakfast
  • Transportation for all excursions
  • Meals during program activities (typically all lunches and selected dinners)
  • On-site orientation
  • Course-related activity and entrance fees
  • Full-time on-site coordination and support
  • Health insurance

    What Isn’t?

    Not included are the transportation to/from the destination airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, some of the meals, items and services of a personal nature, medical expenses not covered by the insurance provided and other discretionary expenses.

    Academic credits

    Academic credits are available at an additional fee from the U.S. academic school of record.

Enrollment requirements

There are no academic prerequisites. To be eligible to apply for this course, students can be enrolled in any major and minor, including, among others, business, engineering, social sciences, development studies, health sciences, nursing, public health, or any related area. Service-learning tasks will be tailored to the backgrounds and skills of the students. Enrollment is generally reserved for sophomores, juniors and seniors, or by consent of the instructor. Graduate students and professionals are welcome to apply for participation without credits.

Course requirements and student evaluation

  • Course participation and engagement (25%)
  • Weekly reflective journal or blog (10%)
  • Journalistic article (10%)
  • Group presentation (25%)
  • Essay relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (30%)



Thuy Phan, our Vietnamese Country Manager, is also the Instructor of the Youth & Leadership field course. She has a Master’s degree in Gender & Development Studies from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and previously worked as Vice Director of the Center for Social Research and Development in Hue. She also gained experience as a Visiting Lecturer in different parts of Vietnam.


The course gateway is downtown Saigon, the bustling city center of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. The area is known for its maze of little restaurants, cafés and shops. It is also home to a variety of local guesthouses that are ideal for student accommodation. When placed in Ho Chi Minh City, students will be within easy walking distance of many main attractions such as Ben Thanh Market, the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the War Museum. The guesthouses feature 24-hour reception and security, free Wi-Fi and a daily breakfast. Rooms are typically equipped with individual air-conditioning, a fridge, TV, phone, small safety deposit box and en-suite bathroom with shower. Laundry and dry-cleaning services are available for a small fee.

In some cases, projects are located in other parts of Vietnam, particularly in Central Vietnam, including Quang Tri Province, north of Hue. Weekend excursions are arranged to visit attractive historical and cultural sites.