Studying Abroad: Vietnam
Some time ago, articles about studying abroad were very popular on the habr, but it so happened that all the articles were mainly about options in the "first world": Europe, America, Japan. However, I think that there are many interesting options in other countries.
In this article I want to talk about one such option, namely, about my experience of studying in Vietnam, as well as give some tips and information for those interested in obtaining higher education in local institutions.
However, the first thing I want to say, of course, is that the training takes place at the University of Australia in English. You do not need to learn Vietnamese.
Before entering the university, I lived for quite a long time in Vietnam (two or three years). I planned to enter the Japanese University after completing language courses in Japan. But it just so happened - they did not give me a visa to Japan, motivating it with the phrase "go to Russia and get a visa there." In the end, I decided to try to look for alternative options, and after considering several options, I settled on the Australian University directly in Vietnam.
I'll start, perhaps, with a description of the university itself. RMIT stands for Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, one of Australia's very serious technical universities, existing since 1887. The university has several campuses in Vietnam, but the largest of them is in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh). Several academic buildings, a hostel, parking lots, open-air sports areas, a huge gym for sports and exams, and so on.
Teaching takes place in English and most of the teachers from English-speaking countries. I want to note separately about the teachers - most of them are really cool guys (almost all with PhD) are masters of their craft, and it's just interesting to talk with them on abstract topics, but there are certainly some, let's say, mediocre personalities, so take the choice of courses and teachers seriously. However, if someone really decides to act, I think I can tell you which courses and which teachers to enroll in.
Entering such a university was a completely new experience for me. Before that, I had not only studied at foreign educational institutions, but also used the English language before that mainly only on the Internet. However, in the end, everything turned out to be quite simple.
Requirement for admission is a school certificate (translated into English) and proof of English proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL). You can also add a diploma of higher education, which will seriously increase your chances. In the case of the certificate, everything is simple - for foreigners the requirements are somewhat lower than for local ones, therefore you will be accepted even if you have a significant part of the “triples”, and if there is any doubt, then add a cover letter about “a great desire to study” a statement will be enough. As for English, everything is a little more complicated - you need to pass a language exam (in my case IELTS) by at least 6.5 points for each item and a total score of at least 7.0. The result is achievable, but still not for everyone. As an alternative, there are language courses right at the university, through which you can get automatic enrollment in an academic program. If you are not sure whether you can pass the language exam or have already failed it, this is a very good alternative. Plus, this will allow you to better get acquainted with the university, all the features of local education and other things. I passed all points to IELTS at 8.0, except for the letter that I passed at 6.0, which was half a point lower than required. As a result, I decided to enter language courses right at the university and after 2 months of training I was automatically enrolled in the academic program. I passed all points to IELTS at 8.0, except for the letter that I passed at 6.0, which was half a point lower than required. As a result, I decided to enter language courses right at the university and after 2 months of training I was automatically enrolled in the academic program. I passed all points to IELTS at 8.0, except for the letter that I passed at 6.0, which was half a point lower than required. As a result, I decided to enter language courses right at the university and after 2 months of training I was automatically enrolled in the academic program.
In this article I will only talk about programming courses, because this is exactly where I entered myself. But besides this, there are many other programs that may well be of interest to you, such as design, business, or others.
So. I went to university. What next? It all started with recording on the first 4 subjects. In principle, you can choose anything from the available (not requiring prerequisites (completing other courses)), but university staff will insist that you take exactly four basic subjects, because they are the lightest and will help you enter university life more comfortably and without serious effort.
Initial courses were as follows: “mathematics for programmers” (a very interesting subject, no matter how strange it sounds, and an excellent teacher), “hardware and platforms”, “introduction to IT” (as far as I know, this subject was removed from the current program) and "introduction to programming." Rather boring courses if you are already involved in programming, but these are the rules. If this is new to you, then the courses are ideal in order to quickly go through all the basic things that are important in our specialty.
It was a little strange, however, that I had to write programs in Assembler 68k on the iron course. It was very interesting to me, but I don’t know how easy it will be for people who have never programmed before, given that this is the very first subject. However, the programs were a kind of addition of two numbers in the processor registers and the like.
What is the price of training? The price is gradually increasing every semester, but at the moment the average cost per item is about $ 1200. Thus, for the semester it turns out about $ 5,000 for 4 subjects, taking into account other expenses. That is, for the year it turns out $ 15,000, not including accommodation. The price is not small, but many times cheaper than in Europe or, say, in Australia itself.
Since we are talking about the cost of training, I think it would be reasonable to mention the cost of living in Vietnam. I rent the so-called “studio apartment”, that is, one large room with a kitchen and a separate bathroom / toilet. It costs me $ 350 a month, including utility bills (which are automatically arranged by the way, no need to go anywhere, which is a big plus). For food and other expenses, another $ 200 a month is spent. I think it’s quite inexpensive.
I also purchased the so-called "motorbike" (according to our moped, or scooter) - a local means of transportation, 95% of the population uses them instead of cars. It costs about $ 10 a month for gasoline, but, taking into account the specifics of Vietnam, having a motorbike will make it much easier for you to live here.
Further. How to get to Vietnam? Fortunately, this is not Europe and you can essentially get a visa to Vietnam simply by paying a fee. No problems or red tape. All this will be almost automatic. Get an invitation through the Internet, buy tickets, fly in, go through immigration (they will paste a visa in your passport) and that’s all. You are legally in Vietnam. In the future, a visa can be extended through the university, free of charge (if you are from Russia) or for a small fee, if you are from other countries.
As in other European-style universities, all assessments are divided into two types: assignments (individual or group assignments) and exams (midterm or final). Assignments usually consist of the task of writing some program or preparing a certain project and usually last several weeks, during which time you should fully prepare the project according to the documentation provided.
For example, one of the assignments in the later courses was about creating a program for restaurant management (products, personnel, cash desk, etc.). Quite a voluminous task, but very interesting. In my case, I chose SQLite, which greatly simplified the task.
As for the exams, there are two types of them, in the middle of the semester, the so-called midterm (but there are very few subjects with midterm) and final exams at the end of the semester (finals). Exams last 02:15, including 15 minutes to familiarize yourself with the assignment. The tasks are quite voluminous and especially for later subjects - very difficult. Everything is completely written. You may be asked to answer, say, 15 questions in theory, write 3 pieces of code and one complete program. And all on paper. It seems to me a little stupid - to expect that everyone will remember the API by heart, and it was especially difficult, for example, for Android, where, in addition to programming, you had to remember the markup, but these are their rules. But in general, I think, if you make efforts, you can pass everything without problems. In any case, so far I have managed to do this.
What can be expected at the end? You will receive a standard RMIT diploma (without mentioning that it was obtained in Vietnam, so you can safely say that you studied in Australia). You will also receive an Undergraduate Degree - Bachelor of Information Technology. After receiving this diploma, you can go directly to the design and after passing a few more courses (about 10) to get a second diploma, since half of the courses are the same between these programs - which is very convenient. The diploma, of course, is quoted in all countries using the Western system of education, which is also a huge plus. And also important - if you decide to try to go to work in Australia, having an Australian diploma you will have a much better chance of finding an option that may work for you.
That's all, actually. If anyone is interested in my story and you decide to try to enter a university in Vietnam - join. I’ll try to help as I can. Plus, I will always be happy to talk with fellow IT people if someone decides to move to Vietnam.