ISA Summer Internships in Vietnam

Image of a woman working with water lilies in Vietnam
Location: Vietnam
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: -Open to All Majors
Program Type: Internship
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Gain in-demand global skills and hands-on experience in your field during this 8-week summer program
  • Build your resume and expand your professional network
  • Internships are conducted in English so there is no language requirement
  • Earn KU credit for your internship
  • Explore Vietnam during weekends
  • Learn about the placement process at ISA Internships Program Overview and available career fields and sample placements here
  • Summer 2023 program dates are June 15 - August 13
  • A significant number of $2,500-$5,000 scholarships are available to participants in this program. See Freeman East Asia Internship Scholarship on KU Study Abroad Scholarships to learn more!

Participation in an international internship allows students to experience the benefits of studying abroad while also gaining real-world professional work experience. Only a small percentage of students study abroad – and even fewer intern abroad - so participation in an internship overseas can give you the professional advantage you need to succeed by giving you in demand global skills.

The University of Kansas (KU) has partnered with ISA, an internship and study abroad program provider, to offer high-quality placements in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The internships, for which you earn academic credit from KU, are unpaid. They are available in a wide-range of fields including architecture and urban planning; business and marketing; education; engineering; environmental and sustainability studies; health; hospitality, events and tourism; information technology and computer science; psychology and social work; research; sciences and math. Other fields are available on a more limited basis so if your field is not listed, please contact ISA directly to discuss your interests 

ISA strives to place students in internships that directly relate to their course of study, thus ensuring the quality and academic relevance.  Placements are based on student skills, interests, and professional goals as well as the project needs and work cycles of internship sponsors. The companies and organizations selected as internship sites are carefully monitored by site visits and student assessment.

Read about the ISA placement process and view the available career fields available in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City's personality is found in its unique dichotomy, as it is the perfect blend of traditional and modern. The city boasts everything from fine dining to street food, upscale hotels to inexpensive guesthouses, and premium shopping centers to the cheapest of markets. Ornate pagodas and temples can often be seen right around the corner from large, modern skyscrapers. The streets are bustling, the people are friendly, and the coffee is strong. Between its rich culture, economic importance, and deep history, studying in Ho Chi Minh City is sure to give you an educational and eye-opening experience abroad that will leave a lasting impact.

Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. With an estimated 97 million inhabitants as of 2019, it is one of the most populous countries in the world. Vietnam shares its land borders with China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west.

The nation has 30 national parks and has long been popular on the backpacking circuit due to its rich culture, history and incredible exchange rate. A U.S. dollar is worth about 23,000 Vietnamese dong. Much of the country is warm and humid throughout the year, though the northern mountainous regions near the town of Sapa can get chilly in the wintertime. Travelers will have much to explore in the country, from lush green forests and high, walkable peaks to clear, scuba-friendly waters. Major Vietnamese cities are compact and bustling, full of life, culture, amazing food and some of the world's most welcoming people.

Americans are treated with extreme hospitality in Vietnam, and with so many English-speaking Vietnamese, the language barrier is quickly eroding. Getting around Vietnam is easy, which is fortunate since there are so many wonderful places to see!

Interning in in Vietnam will provide you with a rare opportunity to explore a unique, historic, exciting, and rapidly-developing country.

In addition to interning, students will take ISA’s Global Internship Course (.pdf), which is taught in an online learning environment alongside the 8-week, full-time internship. Participation in the integrated academic seminar is mandatory for all participants. It is designed to prepare students for leadership in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse workforce. Credit has been pre-approved to transfer to KU in the following ways and will post to each student’s KU transcript after the conclusion of the program.

Please Note: Some academic departments offer departmental internship credit not listed below so students are encouraged to check with their department about credit options.  Past students have received internship credit through ACCT, ADS, EVRN, FMS, HNRS, HSES, SPLH, etc.

  • BIOL 490 - Internship & Practical Application (6 credits) Open to students of any major and level. Fulfills KU Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity.
  • LA&S 490 – Internship Exploration (5 credits) Open to students of any major and level.Fulfills KU Core Goal 6.1 Integration and Creativity.
  • GIST 495  (3 credits) + GIST 495 (3 credits) – Global Internship (6 credits total) Open to students of any major and level. 
  • BUS 310 (1 credit) + BUS 400 (5 credits) – Business Internship (6 credits total)  Open to business majors who have completed BUS 210 or equivalent.
  • JMC 507 - Practicum in Journalism (3 credits) Open to journalism majors who have completed either JMC 415 or JMC 560 (or JMC 435) with a grade of 2.0+, and at least eleven hours of journalism with a GPA of 2.5+, both overall and in journalism.
  • PSYC 483 (3 credits) + PSYC 402 (3 credits) – Undergraduate Internship Psychology (6 credits total)  Open to psychology majors and minors.

Intern accommodation will be a comfortable and model apartment in the center of the city. Interns typically have their own rooms in an apartment shared with other interns/international students. The apartment includes a living area, bathroom and equipped kitchen. Interns will receive an apartment description prior to their departure to Ho Chi Minh.

ISA Housing provides the opportunity for interns to experience aspects of the local lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor. The experience of living in another culture will be both educational and rewarding so long as you stay open-minded. There are many differences in culture and lifestyle between life in Vietnam and the U.S. Remember: the key to a positive experience is flexibility!

Your program will start with a multi-day orientation where you will enjoy a city tour and other excursions as well as receive pertinent information about how to be most successful in your internship abroad. Throughout your program, you will have the chance to go on weekend trips, day trips, and optional trips. ISA excursions allow you to explore the timeless, quaint, and historical landscape of the country that you may not have the chance to visit on your own.  The locations below are a sample of included and optional excursions that have run in the past. Please know that these are subject to change.

Hoi An and My Son

Hoi An, famous for the thousands of colorful lanterns that illuminate the streets, was dubbed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The city is loved by many because of its maze of alleyways, friendly people, brightly painted buildings, and amazing food. Near the city stands the My Son sanctuary- a cluster of abandoned Hindu Temples that were constructed between the 4th and 13th centuries.

Mekong Delta

Life in the Mekong Delta is teeming, as over 1,000 animal species have been recorded living in its mangrove forests. Boats full of coconuts and fruit can be seen navigating the river maze, while water buffaloes try to cool off in the water. Buddhist temples and Khmer pagodas decorate the villages, and vendors occupy the beautiful floating markets. Viet Cong bunkers are ready to be explored, as are the nearby islands and white sand beaches.


Hanoi is the proud capital of Vietnam. With a population of over 7,000,000 people, the city is bustling and lively, with more things to see and do than one could ever imagine. Shopping, dining, entertainment, and nightlife make this city a popular destination for travelers. Located about 160 kilometers east of Hanoi is Ha Long Bay. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bay is famous for the thousands of limestone islands that tower out of the teal colored water. Junk boats take visitors to explore the immense and breathtaking pillars, caves, and grottoes.


SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

ISA Internships are available to current students who are 18 years of age or older, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and are proficient in English. Internships can also be arranged in Vietnamese for students who are proficient.

Step 1: Complete KU application by February 15th. Below is a list of the required documents and questionnaires. 

        a.  Statement of Purpose Essay

        b.  GPA Requirement Questionnaire

        c.  Un-official Transcript or Advising Report

        d.  One recommendation - academic and/or professional

        e.  Authorization to Release Student Information

        f.  ISA Academic Plan & Approval Form

        g.  Student Conduct Verification

        h.  Financial Aid Questionnaire

        i.  Passport Information Required Reading

        j.  ISA Application Instructions Required Reading

Step 2: Complete ISA's Vietnam internship application by Feb. 15th. See the ISA Application Instructions in the Required Readings section of your Jayhawks Abroad account for details.