Overview

Journey through Vietnam and see mangrove forests, coastlines, rivers, and cities on this high school summer abroad program focused on the environment.

Program Description

Gain hands-on experience with diverse ecological systems and natural resource preservation through a culturally immersive summer in Vietnam. As you travel from the country’s bustling capital city to mangrove forests, the Central Highland, jungle and coastal areas, and the Mekong Delta, acquire firsthand knowledge of Vietnam’s ecology while discovering the threats, including climate change and development pressures, impacting Vietnam’s natural environments and indigenous communities.

During your excursion to the mangrove forests in Can Gio, canoe down the Dong Nai River and observe monkeys and birds in their natural habitats. Visit the Gibbon primate center, and learn about conservation efforts and challenges at Cat Tien National Park, home to mammals such as Asian elephants, sun bears, gaur, and many smaller species. Receive seminars on climate change and the environment, and visit the floating markets on Mekong River. Explore marine ecology on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc, of significant economic, scientific and environmental value, boasting numerous coral reefs and seagrass beds. Take advantage of ongoing, dynamic experiential learning opportunities—while biking, snorkeling, and trekking.

Through homestays and field visits to cultural and historical sites, you gain critical knowledge of Vietnam’s history and contemporary life. Visit Cu Chi Tunnel, one of the longest underground tunnels from the Vietnam War, and spend time at local NGOs working to advance the quality of life of vulnerable people and communities. Become immersed in the daily lives of two Vietnamese families during homestays in the capital city and Da Lat. Receive instruction in Vietnamese language and cooking, and participate in a community service project, such as building a biogas system or teaching English to children, during the program’s rural stay in Hoa An village. Learn about the indigenous traditions of the Lach ethnic group in the Central Highland, and have seminars on Vietnamese folk music and Zen meditation. The program begins and concludes in Ho Chi Minh City.

Sample Itinerary

Days 1–3
Orientation in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Learn about the history, culture, and environment of Vietnam from experts
  • Visit important sites throughout the city, such as historical monuments and the Reunification Palace
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities
  • Start learning some basic Vietnamese language

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4–5
Outdoor Excursion (Thematic Focus)

Can Gio Mangrove Forest 

  • Learn about mangrove forests and plant trees
  • Visit a crocodile farm and monkey and bird habitats

OR

Ho Tram Beach and Binh Chau Hot Springs

  • Visit a hot spring and mud bath
  • Take a biking tour along the beach

Days 6–11
Urban Homestay in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Become immersed in the daily lives of a Vietnamese family
  • Do activities with your host family and local volunteers
  • Attend Vietnamese language classesVisit sites of historical interest, such as Cu Chi Tunnel, and local NGOs

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family.

Days 12–14
Thematic Focus at Cat Tien National Park

  • Learn about conservation efforts and challenges at Cat Tien National Park
  • Trek through the primary forest to explore the flora and fauna there
  • Visit a gibbon primate center
  • Observe wildlife at night

During this period, you and your group will stay in guest houses.

Days 15–18
Homestay in the Central Highlands

  • Become immersed in the daily lives of a Vietnamese family
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Attend a seminar on Zen meditation
  • Visit sites of interest, such as Prenn Waterfall, Bao Dai Palace, and a silk weaving factory
  • See a gong performance by members of the Lat ethnic group
  • Hike Lang Bian Mountain

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family in Dalat.

Days 19–20
Return to Ho Chi Minh City

  • Visit sites of interest such as Suoi Tien Park and Dam Sen Park

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 21–25
Excursion to Can Tho and Hoa An

  • Participate in a community service project — such as building a house, repairing a road, building a biogas system, or teaching English to children — in Hoa An
  • Meet with Vietnamese youth and participate in cultural exchanges in Hoa An
  • Attend seminars on the environment and climate change and on culture and folk music in Can Tho
  • Visit the floating markets on the Mekong River and a club for orphaned children in Can Tho

During this period, you and your group will stay in an educational institute and a centrally located hotel.

Days 26–28
Excursion to Phu Quoc Island (Thematic Focus)

  • Learn about fishing and fish sauce making at a fishing village
  • Spend time at the beach and go snorkeling and squid fishing in the ocean

During this period, you and your group will stay in a guest house.

Day 29
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay at a nearby hotel.

Day 30
Departure

About The Experiment

The Experiment in International Living is a nonprofit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.

Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.

The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.

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