University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU Hanoi

Introduction to new major: Southeast Asian Studies

Currently, there are two undergraduate courses provided by USSH's Faculty of Oriental Studies: Bachelor of Oriental Studies and Bachelor of Southeast Asian Studies. Each major now has its own code and degree module. Southeast Asian Studies is no longer a subordinate field Oriental Studies, but an independent major and students must apply if they want to enroll in this major after the national university entrance exam.

Regarding Southeast Asia

 “Southeast Asia” was traditionally referred to as “Suvarnabhumi” (Golden Island) or “Suvarnadvipa” (Golden Island) in ancient books and as “Nanyang” by the Chinese, similar to “Nan Yo” by the Japanese. The Arabs called it Zabag, while the Greeks and Romans in the middle of the second century BC called it Chryse (Golden Land). The world had known of Southeast Asian culture at an early time. This is because Southeast Asia has been an important trade link connecting the East and the West. It is not only of geographic importance, encapsulating the East-West trade routes, but  offers a wealth of valuable commodities such as gold, ivory, precious wood, camphor, clove, pepper for inter-regional trade.

Today, Southeast Asia is a dynamic economic region. In addition to wealthy countries such as Singapore, Brunei with high income per capita, Southeast Asia also includes Indonesia as part of the Global Economics Group (G20). Malaysia and Thailand are competitive economies, while the Philippines and Vietnam are among the fastest growing economies in the past few years and supposedly in the coming years (from Bloomberg). With a population of over 650 million and a GDP of over $ 2,600 billion in 2018, the potential for development in Southeast Asia is huge. The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts by 2020, the region will have become the world's fifth-largest economy.

Owning rich historical cultural heritage and increased economic potential, Southeast Asia has become increasingly united and consolidated such as through the formation of the ASEAN Community at the end of 2015. Its importance and attractiveness has promoted the foundation of many Southeast Asian studies and training centers around the world. Accordingly, the bachelor’s program in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi National University has been established. The program will not only help provide capable human resources for Southeast Asia studies, but will significantly contribute to the integration and development of Vietnam within the ASEAN Community.

Training objectives

• The Bachelor’s program in Southeast Asian Studies provides general knowledge of social sciences and humanities and systematic, in-depth, modern and up-to-date understanding of Southeast Asia in terms of its history, culture, economy, politics, international relations, the ASEAN and issues related to Vietnam.

• Graduates are able to use English and a regional language such as Thai, Malay (the national languages ​​in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore), and at the same time acquire the research methods for regional studies and international communication skills.

Foreign languages and professional knowledge

• Fluency in English

• Comprehensive, systematic, and modern knowledge of ASEAN and ASEAN countries

The main "areas of study" include:

  • History, Culture of Southeast Asia and ASEAN countries
  • Economic, social, legal, and political institutions of ASEAN countries
  • Tourism in ASEAN countries
  • ASEAN Media and Press
  • A basic local language (Thai or Indonesian)
  • Additional related subjects such as Introduction to Information Capacity, Practical Writing in Vietnamese, Introduction to International Relations, Introduction to Office Administration, and Journalism.

Job opportunities upon graduation

The Bachelor of Southeast Asian Studies can look for jobs at the following stations:

  • Embassies of ASEAN countries to Vietnam.
  • International organizations (UNDP, UNESCO, ...), foreign representative offices in Vietnam.
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Southeast Asia Department, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Vietnamese Embassies to ASEAN countries, ...).
  • Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Defense.
  • International Cooperation Departments of ministries and agencies in Vietnam.
  • Foreign tourism agencies (especially those of ASEAN countries) and Vietnam.
  • Universities that offer courses in ASEAN, Southeast Asian culture, etc.
  • Research institutes (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of Economics, Institute of World Politics, etc.).
  • Radio, broadcast and news agencies, press offices, etc. related to ASEAN.
  • Transnational enterprises and companies in ASEAN countries.
  • Companies, corporations, conglomerates and businesses of Vietnam.

With plentiful employment opportunities, Southeast Asian Studies will offer more options and career adaptability for students upon graduation.

Author: ussh

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