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16/12/2017 - 08:32

Students to integrate into the world

In 2017, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry (HUAF) introduced a program for students to do their internships abroad, creating opportunities for learners to approach the modern work environment for the first time.

HUAF students doing their internships at an agricultural model in Japan (Photo: HUAF)

A promising new direction

We arrive at HUAF right when students submit a report with pictures of them working in Japan. In her email, Doan Kim Huong, a fourth-year student majoring in food industry, wrote: "The technology facilities here are modern. The factory has relaxing rooms, massage machines for employees. We experience all the confectionery process to make sweets in the factory and are well paid. They give us health insurance, medical examination according to the regulations; accommodation is 2,5km away from the workplace with fully-furnished large room, and we have a bicycle per person to travel at our convenience; in bad weather, there are cars picking us up." That is the regular report of the internship student sent from abroad.

Mr. Tran Vo Van May, Head of Student Affairs Department, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry shared, in this academic year, the university deployed the programs for students to do internship abroad, starting with Japan and Israel. The internship program in Japan has 11 students who had interviews, procedures and training in Japanese from March 2017; and they departed for Japan in September 2017.

The program is based on the tripartite cooperation between the university, Japanese companies, and companies providing the paperwork services with offices in Vietnam and Japan. "When students come to Japan to do their internship, the university manages indirectly through the reports students send and often exchanges information via telephone, social networking, and email. Corporate staff in Japan also participate in management, when problems arise, they directly support students. Prior to the program implementation, the university inspected the company's legal records; drafted the tripartite agreement to ensure student can have all benefits. After the one-year internship at a Japanese company, the student's internship results are recognized by the university," Mr. May said.

The second program is an internship in Israel, which runs from February 2017 to August 2017. The program is based on training cooperation and agricultural practices in Israel between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the Ministry of Agriculture of Israel.

The biggest difference in this program is that in addition to the work experience in the business, students are also introduced to the theories of high-tech agriculture in Israeli universities, institutes and research centers. "There are 54 students of different majors: agronomy, mechanics, food technology, veterinary and animal husbandry, etc. Most of them gave really positive feedback. Similarly in Japan, the average income of intern students in Israel can be from VND 150 to 200 million per year," said Mr. May.

Dr. Nguyen Van Hue, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mechanics and Technology, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, said that the two most obvious advantages are that students can experience the working environment and modern technology abroad, and they are able to develop their specialty. Second, they can have relatively good income while doing their internships. This opens up many prospects for training, quality of the human resources and employment opportunities after graduation.

According to Mr. May, since the launching of the programs, some other training institutes in the country have contacted, learned from about these programs, and highly evaluated this direction.

HUAF students interning at the confectionery factory of Japan (Photo: HUAF)

Research for replication

Bringing students abroad for internships is a good solution and the university is going to replicate this model. The biggest challenge is the student’s budget and their limited competence in foreign languages.

To take part in this program, students have to spend money on visa, flights, foreign language learning, etc. Specifically, the internship program in Japan costs about 50 million VND per year per student, and the internship program in Israel costs about 30 million VND per year per student.

Mr. May said: "The cost varies depending on the services that the company provides. Students pay some fees for the company, the university checks if the fees are legal or not. In fact, the students have great opportunities to study and good income in their internship abroad, but to many students, spending millions of VND right at the beginning is a real hassle."

Another point is that students have limited competence in foreign languages. Before leaving the country, students are trained for  6 months learning a foreign language, but they only acquire basic skills. However,  to obtain knowledge and have good communication in the work environment of the host country, it is crucial to be fluent in a foreign language, including language for specific purposes.

To solve the problem, the university is working on many solutions. The first solution is to find partners who can support  students with part of the cost. For instance, the university has signed a contract with a Danish business that offers students working opportunities in production, animal husbandry in Denmark, and this business will pay part of the visa fees. There are over 50 registered students now, and this program will be further developed in the future. Additionally, the university is getting to know to work with partners from Australia.

The university also provides students with the specific information of student internships abroad. For foreign language difficulties, the university has collaborated with its own foreign language training center to establish programs to help students improve necessary foreign languages.

In addition to university responsibilities, departments also take the initiative and come up with resolutions. Mr. Hue said that in the near future, the faculty will actively seek more partners and share information about student internship programs abroad so that students can know about the essential conditions for early preparation in all aspects.

By Huu Phuc