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Hue University: Restarting student exchange programs with other countries

TTH.VN - After two years of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the exchange of lecturers and students is being resumed by Hue University and other universities, but there are still many barriers that need to be removed.

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Foreign students experiencing culture in Vietnam

Outgoing heading is limited

In mid-May 2022, many students from Pitzer College, America participated in a 6-week student exchange program in the form of a summer course at the International School - Hue University. “Foreign students have the opportunity to learn Vietnamese language and culture, participate in discussions and field trips to experience the monuments, landscapes and people's lives in Hue and Quang TriQuang BinhDa NangQuang Nam and many other provinces and cities. In July 2022, there will also be short-term exchange activities for students from Africa,” shared Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Hoang Khanh Linh, Dean of International School, Hue University.

The short-term course experienced by students of Pitzer University marked the return of a student exchange activity after a 2-year absence when such activities were interrupted due to the pandemic. In fact, since the beginning of the year, there have been many business trips and two-way exchange of lecturers between delegations of officials, lecturers and partners from Vietnam and other countries. With students, however, there are still many limitations, especially in the outgoing heading for Huestudents to experience the learning and practical environment in other countries.

There are many barriers to the above problem. Mr. Pham Anh Huy, Head of Department of Student Affairs, University of Foreign Languages, Hue University, said that exchange activities as well as teaching and learning activities in corporation with units in Japan, Korea, China, etc., had still been conducted online in the past time, which meant that face-to-face student exchange activities had not been resumed as before, due to objective concerns.

Students from Pitzer University (USA) participating in a short course at Hue University

According to Dr. Nguyen Xuan Huy, Deputy Head of the Department of Science, Technology and International Relations of Hue University, one of the major difficulties is the high airfare which greatly affects or even “blocks” the exchange of lecturers and students.

“While the airfare has increased by 2-3 times, the support conditions from projects from Europe are limited under the previous regulations, so there are currently about 20 lecturers and students who are unable to participate in the exchange to study and work abroad,” worriedly said Dr. Huy.

Dr. Do Thi Xuan Dung, Vice President of Hue University, admitted that the above problem is also a concern. The impact of the pandemic and developments in the world situation have affected airline operations. Cheap flights are very few, and airlines have increased fares for some international routes while the budget for officials, lecturers and students to participate in exchange and study activities in the foreign countries is limited.

On the other hand, connecting resources and projects to support learners going abroad to participate in courses and projects is increasingly difficult. The number is small whereas the self-sufficient category is only for those from better-off families. This is also what leaders of Hue University and its member universities are very concerned about.

Flexible solutions

According to Dr. Do Thi Xuan Dung, the exchange of lecturers and students brings a lot of value. Especially for students, exchange programs will help learners get greater opportunities to exchange and study with international friends, broaden their horizons, understand the outside world, and gain new knowledge to apply into their own studies and work practices.

A representative of leaders of Hue University said that it still required solutions to promote deeper international cooperation to develop really effective student and lecturer exchange programs.

Dr. Do Thi Xuan Dung said that Hue University aimed to adopt flexible solutions. In addition to actively strengthening cooperation and looking for projects and sources of support, it is also necessary to be flexible in project packages, paying more attention to those related to improving the capacity of lecturers, students and learners through exchange activities of lecturers and students. Sources of support can be short-term exchange programs which last one semester or involve several credits.

In the context of autonomy, universities enjoy more favorable conditions for connecting implementation partners, signing exchange programs in the direction of sharing and supporting each other. “For example, if a university from Vietnam provides support for 10 foreign students to go on an exchange to Vietnam, a university in foreign countries should do the same thing for a university training unit in Vietnam. Gradually, a community of exchange students from other countries and universities will be formed,” said Dr. Xuan Dung.

One of the areas to focus on for student exchange programs is ASEAN countries. The reason behind this lies not only in the lower costs which may increase number of exchange students, but also in the fact that there are cultural and educational similarities between such nations, which is more suitable for organizing collective activities and experiences and easier to understand each other for the sake of efficiency.

Story & photos: HUU PHUC

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