In today’s fast-paced and increasingly globalized world, it is imperative to develop awareness and leadership skills for global citizenship. This course is designed to give students a first-hand perspective into the field of international development, and critically analyze its effectiveness in the context of globalization in a post-conflict environment. On our visit to Vietnam, we will examine the connections between urban and rural communities that are essential to maintain local livelihoods and ecosystems by utilizing an asset-based community development methodology.

Students will have the opportunity to take a more in-depth look at governmental and nongovernmental organizations, as well as important social and environmental issues in Vietnam through the eyes of engaged local leaders and youth. By the end of the course, students will have a variety of practical skills that will be valuable in their future research and careers, as well as understand how grassroots community development can aid in creating more sustainable, long-lasting solutions to the challenges we face around the world.     


  • Develop professional skills in community-based research, development & project management
  • Learn about Vietnamese & Southeast Asian culture, history, and religion through the eyes of local students
  • Spend 3 weeks in central Vietnam working with local stakeholders, including government officials, NGOs and local university students
  • Visit communities that you would not have access to as a tourist, and get an inside persepctive into local development initiatives
  • Travel to: Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as surrounding areas in the Quang Nam Province
  • 6 credits through Western Washington University


August 1 - August 27

$4,599per student

  • 6 credits through Western Washington University
  • Daily living expenses (food, lodging)
  • In-country transportation
  • Admissions (temples, parks, etc.)
  • Trip to islands of the coast of central Vietnam and other excursions
  • Travel Health Insurance
  • Airfare
  • Visa
  • Immunizations/personal medical expenses
  • Independent travel


This program was developed in partnership with a multitude of local partners, and requires students to work directly with local university students, NGOs and government officials. Some partners include: Da Nang University of Education, International Exchange Club, Ho Chi Minh City National University of Social Sciences, Cu Lao Cham Marine Protected Area, Da Nang Institute for Socioeconomic Development (DISED), Let’s Do it Vietnam, GreenViet, Center for Social Research & Development, and Tam Ky People’s Committee (City Government). Unlike other programs, we do not just sit in a classroom and listen to presentations by these organizations. We work together in the field and explore different communities, while building the necessary skills for community-based research and development.


The core component of this course involves working in a small, multi-cultural team with Vietnamese university students to co-develop a project idea with the local community. Participants will learn about different tools they can use to work with and gather information from residents at each place we visit. As a result, students will develop skills in community-mapping, stakeholder analysis, story-telling, interviewing, and project management.

Fieldwork ends with a homestay where students will put everything they have learned into action. Each team will work with the local community to develop a project idea. Teams will then present their ideas to local community members and government officials.

This hands-on experience is reflective of processes used by professionals every day. But it requires students to be humble, listen to the community, and realize we are not the experts.

Ready to join us?