Map 1: Vietnam and SE Asia (Source: Lonely Planet)

94,348,835 (2015)
Total area: 
331,210 sq km
Capital city: 
UNDP Human Development Index (HDI): 
0.66 (116th)
GDP per capita (International $, PPP): $6,100 (2015)
Life expectancy at birth: 73.16 years
Literacy: 94.5%

*Figures from CIA World Factbook.

Lonely Planet has a good summary and list of articles that participants will find useful.

Always check SmartTraveller before traveling to see any travel warnings and pertinent information for your trip.

Articles and books:

This is a very good article that overviews the economic context of Vietnam and makes some useful observations about the Country’s future.

As you travel to Vietnam to volunteer or conduct an internship you naturally should not expect significant dispute in your workplace or with your supervisors.  It is however useful to read some background and academic research on the subject.

This is a historical summary of cultural practices covering the post-war period.  You will notice words, phrases and labels which will seem strange in the 21st Century context. For example, Saigon is today called Hanoi.  Although clearly dated in some aspects, it is a fantastic resource.

This paper details the transition and economic renewal process Vietnam undertook from the 1980s into the 21st Century. It provides useful background to Vietnam’s current political economy.

General Info/history/advice:


Visitors quickly become entranced by the cultural landscape in its entirety – the whole mix of human activities, systems of meaning and symbolic forms within the physical setting of the city. The cultural landscape juxtaposes reminders of the past with the rapid new developments that have been occurring since Vietnam was re-opened to the West under the renovation policies introduced in 1986.’ p1 


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