University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - UCR Summer Abroad Program

2015 Hue, Vietnam

Encountering Vietnam

To all students up for adventure, new cultural experiences, and great food, welcome!

This program takes special advantage of its unique location in Hue, Vietnam to introduce students to Vietnam’s rich history and culture through a course made up of walking lectures, an independent travel documentary project, and international collaborations with Vietnamese students at Hue University.

  • General Program Information

    One of the novelties of the UCR Hue Program is its emphasis on two-way experiential learning. The UCR group is paired with a group of college students from Hue University. Mixed teams of UC and Hue students work together to develop a travel documentary.

    Dr. David Biggs (History) will be leading this program with his wife, Cô Hong Anh, who has a background in adult education and like David has lived in Vietnam for over seven years. She works as the program's Resident Life Coordinator, organizing language tutorials and facilitating student events with local Hue University students. She has extended family living in Hue, and together they rely on an extensive network of family and colleagues in the city to make the program as successful as possible.

    David Biggs, History

    Host Institution:
    Hue University, College of Foreign Languages (HUCFL),
    Hue, Vietnam

    HIST 189 Encountering Vietnam; 5 units
    HIST 190 Special Studies: Travel Documentary Challenge; 3 units

    Arrive by June 21, 2015
    Leave by July 25, 2015
    Note that this is a 5-week Summer Session I course, and students will spend the full 5 weeks in Vietnam.

  • Accommodations in Hue

    Students will be housed in single student rooms in the Thanh Noi Hotel, very close to Hue University.  Check out their website to see pictures of this beautiful hotel, equipped with air conditioning, internet, and daily room service. 

  • Detailed Program Fees

    Please note that Program-Related Fees will be paid to UCR (see payment instructions).  Airfare and most meals are included in the "Estimated Additional Costs" in the bottom half of the table.

    Program Fees

    Program-Related FeesUndergraduates Graduates 
    Non-refundable application fee/deposit $300.00 $300.00
    2nd Deposit $700.00 $700.00
    Course fees – 8 units $2,482.54* $3,050.54*
    Remaining Program Fees – Accommodations, transportation, excursions $1,047.20 $1,047.20
    *Fees subject to Regental action (current estimate includes the 5% projected increase)
    Estimated Additional CostsUndergraduates Graduates 
    Estimated Meal and Personal Costs $500 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Pre-Departure Expenses (Photos, Passports, etc.) $300 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Round-Trip Airfare $1,800 Same as undergraduate
  • Courses & Syllabus

    HIST 189 Encountering Vietnam; 5 units
    HIST 190 Special Studies: Travel Documentary Challenge; 3 units

    Course One:
    (5 units) HIST 189 Encountering Vietnam

    One of the best things about travel study is that you get to experience the things most students only read about! The "lectures" in the main course of the program, History 189 - Encountering Vietnam, are not sit-down lectures. Instead, each lecture involves some preparatory reading, a trip to the place, meetings with people there, and discussion. Unlike campus-based history survey classes, this course is organized around a series of trips to world-famous cultural, historical and natural landmarks. On the afternoon before each trip, students receive an info packet with a mix of popular and scholarly readings or copies of primary historic materials (usually about 30 pages) to prepare for the next day's trip. The next day, usually in the morning, we head out! Some trips are multi-day trips and involve travel to several sites. (All in-country travel is included in the program fee.)

    While the travel is fun, this is still a graded, 5-credit UC course. The graded part involves a weekly reflection essay, due at the end of each weekend. Each week I assign students a prompt, asking them to draw on historical sources (the info packets), knowledge learned during the walking lecture, and especially information gained on your own - from museums, talking with people etc. The same rigorous standards for writing and historical analysis apply as on a UC campus.

    The 5th unit credit for HIST 189 involves a non-graded, participation-only language component. Cô Hong Anh with support from language teachers at Hue University break the group up into groups based on language ability. NO VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE ABILITY IS REQUIRED FOR THE COURSE. Most students participate in the Total Fun, Beginner Class - a class aimed solely at teaching students some useful phrases to try out on their own, around town. Some students, especially Vietnamese heritage students with some speaking ability, organize into a separate course designed to give them more practice with literate Vietnamese (extended vocabulary, basics of Vietnamese writing and reading). Some students with more advanced language can use this instructional time in one-on-one tutorials to examine an area of interest such as literature.

    Course Two:
    (3 units)  HIST 190 Special Studies: Travel Documentary Challenge

    The second course in the program is a Special Studies course. Biefly, the aim is for a group of UC and Hue students to work together in creating a short travel documentary film. No prior film-making experience needed! We'll use basic software that comes with most PCs 'and Mac's, have tutorials, and discuss the projects weekly. The primary intellectual aim is for individuals to integrate methods of research, interviewing - oral history, and storytelling/travel narrative into an entertaining short film. We work step by step on the challenge. Some of those steps include:

    1. Initial Filming of Everyday Life in Hue. Students are sent out to a list of sites to take short video sequences of the site (˜1-2 min.) The next day we show the videos and discuss their content.

    2. Interviewing Vietnamese Partners. UC students ask their partners about their family, their own individual history.

    3. Interviewing UC Partners. Vietnamese students turn the camera on the Americans, asking them similar questions. We screen these two sets of videos and discuss as a group.

    4. Choosing a Group, Choosing a Focus. Students organize into groups and develop a subject for the focus of the documentary. They then have about one week to plan trips, interview people, and study this place.

    5. Week Five: Producing the film. UC and Hue students produce each group's film.

    6. Screening Night: The farewell banquet is followed by a screening of the short films, usually about 4 to 5, 10-minute films.

  • Planned Experiences On-site

    Here's a list of some of the places we go. For more info, follow the links.

    1. The Vietnamese Kingdom! Hue Imperial Palace, Royal Tombs

    2. Asian Religion! Thien Mu Pagoda, Phu Cam Cathedral, Hon Chen, Boat Trip

    3. Antiquity! Hindu Temples at My Son

    4. Rainforest! Bach Ma National Park

    5. VN in the Age of Silk and Exploration! Hoi An Old Town

    6. The World's Largest Cave! Phong Nha Cave

    7. Ancient Roots of War! Hoa Lu

    8. The De-Militarized Zone: Vinh Moc Tunnels, Quang Tri Shrine, Khe Sanh

    9. Hanoi! Ho Chi Minh Memorial, Ancient Quarter, Ancient Palaces

    10. Ha Long Bay! Boat Trip, Island Exploration

  • Pre-departure Orientation

    Check back for information on pre-departure orientation sessions!

    Asia's orientation session: April 14th in HUB 355

  • Read about Past Programs in Vietnam!

    Dr. and Mrs. Biggs (with their daughter) led students on memorable summers in beautiful Hue, Vietnam in 2007 and 2009!  They worked with Hue University, the College of Foreign Languages (HUCFL), and give big thanks to Mr. Huy, the logistics person in the Department of Vietnamese Studies who was largely responsible for organizing the program with HUCFL.  Visit the 2009 blog and the 2007 blog to experience the program.

  • Photos and PDF presentation



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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113