Welcome to the US, Vietnamese students

By Ha Phuong   December 14, 2016 | 02:50 pm GMT+7

The number of Vietnamese students in American schools has risen steadily over the years, topping 30,000 in November.

As of November, Vietnam had sent over 30,000 students to the U.S., ranking sixth among countries with the most students at American educational institutions, according to the latest U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program report.

To put things in perspective, Vietnam has outshined Japan in total enrollment and comes close to Canada; the current number of Vietnamese students in the U.S. has almost doubled that in 2009, when the country first made it to the top ten with some 16,000 students.

Vietnam continued to distance itself from other Southeast Asian peers to be the top source of students in the region for the U.S.

Some Vietnamese parents as well as students interested in studying in the U.S. have raised their concerns over the possible impact of President-elect Donald Trump’s policies on international students.

Trump has said strict policies on immigrants are directed toward illegal immigrants and will not affect students.

Commenting on the outlook of incoming Vietnamese students to the U.S., Mark Ashwill, an American educator who has lived and worked in Vietnam for over a decade, expressed his positive view.

In a letter to Vietnamese students and parents, he also urged them to keep following their dream.

"Study in the U.S. is not for everyone, but if the U.S. is where you want to study, don’t let the result of a presidential election dissuade you from realizing your dream," said Ashwill, managing director of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and HCMC.  

Two-thirds of Vietnamese students in the U.S. study at undergraduate level, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. They seem to be eager to start their career in the field of business and management.

The U.S., followed by Australia and the U.K., is by far the favorite English-speaking destination for Vietnamese students.

Vietnamese students spent nearly $1 billion for studying at U.S. colleges and universities last year, according to latest data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Vietnamese students can be found in all 50 states of the U.S., but nearly half of them are in California, Texas and Washington. California and Texas are popular due to family ties, said Ashwill. Washington draws the students with its unique high school completion program which lets them earn a WA high school diploma and a two-year degree in about two years, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

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