Global Politics: Through the Lens of Vietnam
LocationHo Chi Minh City (Saigon), Mekong River Delta, Cai Thia, Danang, Hoi An, Hue, Dong Hoi, Hanoi, and Mai Chau, Vietnam
Global Politics: Through the Lens of Vietnam - is best described via the program’s daily itinerary. Students will participate in a 20 day program that will involve extensive in country travel. Please note this itinerary is subject to change, but will provide participants with an idea of program activities.
Day 1: Arrive Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) airport. After check in to our hotel, free relax & recover after long flights, evening study orientation.
Day 2: Full day Saigon City Tours - highlights of downtown including the Reunification Palace, formerly the South Vietnam’s Independence Palace, until stormed by tanks on April 30, 1975. Preserved in its original state, the original war tanks are on display. Visit the War Remnants Museum featuring a detailed photographic exhibition and vast collection of planes, tanks and weapons. See the Emperor of Jade Pagoda and Notre Dame Cathedral and the 1880s General Post Office & Ben Thanh Market. Afternoon visit to Chinatown with Thien Hau Chinese temple, Chinese medicine street and Binh Tay market. End of the day, visit Fito museum and learn about the way of making traditional medicine.
Day 3: Cuchi – Tayninh: Drive to Cu Chi. Enjoy scenic drive through the countryside as people work on their rice paddies and thatched hut villages scattered along the way. Visit a local village making rice paper, a well known product used to make the delicious spring rolls. Arriving at the tunnels you will have an opportunity to go underground to see the intricate system of tunnels and learn tactics of revolutionary forces. Having finished your adventure war past through the Iron Triangle continue on to Tay Ninh to take part in the colorful noon ceremony of the Caodaism religious ceremony. Back to Saigon in the afternoon. Drop off at hotel.
Day 4: Drive to Mekong Delta. Your first introduction to the countryside of Vietnam and also the rice basket of the country. Arrive Cai Thia, enjoy 1,5 hrs biking tours from Cai Thia to Hoa Loc. The biking tour will take you along the Mekong Delta with fruit covered orchards and meet the friendly people of the Mekong who seldom see foreigners in the area. Then take the boat to cross the river delta and weave through the small canals of Binh Hoa Phuoc Island to discover the lush green scenery and people working on their farm. Enjoy lunch with the local delicacy of fresh water fish at one of the bonsai garden of a local house. After lunch, enjoy a rowing boat trip along the quiet coconut tree landscape of the delta. Opportunity to bike further away from the usual tourist area to see rural life. Visit the fascinating collection of tropical fruit trees and flowers nursery of Mr. Tam Ho. Depending on the day you can see the local boat building, the local production of bricks and earth ware in the area. Return and spend the evening dinner with a host family talk about life in the Delta. Overnight in the Local house you will have a cot and mosquito net and private room (home stay will included a private room with a folding cot and mosquitoes net) flushing toilet in a separate building. Lunch and Dinner included on this day.
Day 5: Awaken by the early morning sound of boats going to market. You will have breakfast prepared by the host family. Take a 2-hour boat trip to cross the main branch of mighty Mekong River toward the colorful Cai Be floating market to experience the hustle and bustle of trading and commerce on these vast waterways. Savor the abundant tropical fruits including rarely seen tropical fruits are grow mainly in this area. Then pick up and drive to Cantho. Afternoon arrive Cantho, after check in, visit the unique Khmer temple and transfer to visit Bang Lang stork preserve to see thousands of storks back on sunset. Then transfer back to your hotel for relax & dinner on your own
Day 6: Cantho – Saigon – Danang: In the morning take a boat trip to Cai Rang floating market – the highlight of Mekong Delta. This sights and the scene of the busy colorful floating market is unique to this area. Weaving through the various boats arrive at the tropical fruit garden (Ba Cong Fruit Garden) well known for some of the most delicious fruits of the country. Savor the season fruits of the area. Afternoon return to Ho Chi Minh and transfer to train station for take night train to Danang on SE6 departs Saigon at 15:45 & arrive Danang at 10:18am on the next day. Overnight on train.
Day 7: Arrive Danang station at 10:18am. Pick up and transfer to meet former JMU student who directors his own company in Vietnam. He will give orientation on doing business in Vietnam from an American perspective. Drive to Hoian. Then free on your own.
Day 8: Early morning, drive to explore the 4th century Cham religious sanctuary of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage site designated in 1999. Once the political and religious capital of the Champa kingdom—who practiced a branch of Indian Hinduism—My Son is an exceptional example of Hindu architecture. Located in a verdant valley protected by mountains, the settlement was abandoned in the 15th century. While a small site, the ruins at My Son are the largest and most intact remaining in Vietnam. Returning to Hoi An, enjoy walking tour around the Ancient town of Hoi An with your guide. Highlights of your walking tour through its charming streets include the Japanese Covered Bridge, the local produce market, Tang Ky House and the Fukhien Association. Then transfer back to your hotel. O/n at the same hotel.
Day 9: Drive to Hue City, visit University of Hue. Lectures on Vietnam Culture. Dinner and socialize with Vietnamese students, and observe cultural ceremony. Overnight in Hue
Day 10: Morning Lectures on Vietnam politics and American-Vietnam relations, Hue City Tour and local orphanage for children. Overnight in Hue.
Day 11: All day visit to visit the former demilitarized zone (DMZ), including Khe Sanh, Hien Luong, and Vinh Moc. Overnight in Hue.
Day 12: Drive to Quang Tri Province to visit Project Renewal and NGO clearing bombs and landmines, and providing victim assistance support. Visit Landmine museum in Dong Ha. Continued drive to Quang Bing Province. Overnight in Dong Hoi, near sea coast.
Day 13: Visit with Association for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities (AEPD) for orientation, lunch with social outreach workers. Afternoon free to spend on beach or in the city. Overnight in Dong Hoi.
Day 14: All day visits to rural areas escorted by social outreach workers and visiting clients who have disabilities. Late Afternoon on your own. Closing cultural dinner with AEPD staff and clients.
Day 15: Go to Dong Hoi train station to take train to Hanoi departs Dong Hoi … arrive Hanoi the next day.
Day 16: Arrive Hanoi station at 4:02am. Pick up and transfer to hotel for early check in & breakfast. Then enjoy Hanoi city tours: 8:00am Pick up at your hotel for full day tour of Hanoi, a blend of the modern with the mystery and charm of past centuries, Hanoi offers an air of elegance and harmony with nature. Today’s sightseeing begins with a visit Ba Dinh Square to see Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the museum to his life and the simple cottage where he lived and worked. Then visit Presidential Palace and One Pillar pagoda or Chua Mot Cot originally built in 1040 A.D. on a pillar constructed of a single large tree trunk. Continue visiting Westlake with Tran Quoc Pagoda.
Then also visit Van Mieu or Temple of Literature, which dates back to 1070 and is dedicated to the cult of Confucius. Stop at the Fine Arts Museum with its ethnographical displays, paintings and famous lacquer ware. Then visit inside the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, which was nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. Visit beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, known as the Lake of the Restored Sword. It is closely linked to the legend of Le Loi the hero, who asked the heavens for help in resisting the advance of the Chinese in 1418 A.D. Take a cyclo ride through the Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a network of narrow alleys and shop houses also known as “The 36 Streets.” This is a wonderful place to watch the local life, and peruse items from fabrics to crafts to exotic medicines.
Day 17: Hanoi – Mai Chau: After breakfast, drive to Maichau. Mai Chau is located in Hoa Binh province, approximately 135 km from Hanoi and 60 km from Hoa Binh. From the top of Cun Mountain, one can admire the superb panorama of Mai Chau surrounded by a green valley and stilt houses. Many minorities, including the Thai ethnic group, live in Mai Chau. Visit the Muong tribe at their village and drive to Mai Chau. Enjoy traditional music, dance of White Thai people and stay overnight at their house on stilts. .
Day 18: Mai Chau – Hanoi: Today, after breakfast, enjoy a 6 hour trek around Mai Chau valley, (everage trek), this trek takes you though the Thai villages around Mai Chau, see daily life and people working in the rice fields. This trek gives you a real feeling of traditional Thai life style in a remote region of Vietnam. Enjoy simple lunch at local house then pick up by bus at Xam Khoe village and transfer back to Hanoi. Arrive Hanoi in the late afternoon to hotel.
Day 19: Hanoi. Morning de-brief of Mai Chau experience and Thai culture. Afternoon on own. Evening group dinner. Overnight in Hanoi
Day 20: Hanoi. Last Day to process paperwork, check out of hotel.
Location DescriptionSee Program Description
DirectorKen Rutherford | firstname.lastname@example.org | Center for International Stabilization and Recovery, and Political Science
Most nights will be spent at hotel, except where noted. 2 overnight train rides, and two homestays (Mekong Delta, and Mau Chai).
Additional Items to Consider
- A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam, Neil Sheehan.
For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):
JMU Short-Term Application Form
- A supplemental essay addressing the following question:
"Why do you want to study abroad in Vietnam? What excites you most about this program?"
Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.00.
For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.
Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.
All dates are tentative and subject to change