During Monday, January 30 – Wednesday, February 1, 2023 Dean and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Associate Professor Suradech Chotiudompant and Assistant Professor Nirada Chitrakara, respectively, visited leading universities in Vietnam. The purpose was to form connections, promote international programs, and discuss possible collaborations with institutions that offer classes in the humanities. General collaborations include students/faculty exchange and joint research/seminars/conferences.
The visit on Monday January 30, 2023 started with Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi (USSH), the oldest institution in the field of humanities in Vietnam. The University was established as an educational institution for Vietnamese royalties. At present, USSH offers classes in social science, literature, and oriental studies, in which Thai studies are included. USSH also offers a short program (1-month or more) in Vietnamese studies to international students. In addition to the discussion, this visit reconnected the two institutions because an MoU that had been previously signed between Chulalongkorn University and VNU Hanoi already expired. At USSH, the delegates from the Faculty of Arts were welcomed by Rector Hoang Anh Tuan, Vice Rector Dang Thi Thu Huong, and Dr. Pham Hoang Hung, Director of International Cooperation Office, together with staff from the international affairs office and the Thai language program, who were interpreters for the visit.
On the same day, the Faculty of Arts representatives visited Hanoi University (HANU). The University previously had a Faculty level MoU with the Spanish section. Through this visit, they are looking forward to more collaborations, especially in the field of Thai language, now the second major subject for students due to the lack of Thai language instructors. 60 students are registering for Thai classes at the moment. HANU is looking forward to offering Thai language classes as major subjects if they have more instructors. At HANU, the representatives from the Faculty of Arts were welcomed by Nguyen Thi Nhai, Deputy Director of International Office, Hanoi University and Thi Huong Giang, Deputy Director of the Thai Studies Center.
On Tuesday, January 31, the Dean and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts visited Vietnam National University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh (VNU Ho Chi Minh). VNU Ho Chi Minh has had its Thai Studies Program for 30 years. The University has close ties with Thai government organizations, such as the Royal Thai Consulate, TICA, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Due to the demand for Thai language classes, the University supports exchange programs and graduate studies in Thailand. They are also interested in an internship program for international students. The collaborations, especially in Thai language and Thai studies, are promising as all VNU Hanoi graduates with Thai proficiency are hired after graduation. Previously, an exchange MoU at the university level has been signed between Chula and VNU Ho Chi Minh. At the VNU Ho Chi Minh, the Dean and the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts were welcomed by the Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Dr. Ho Minh Quang, Deputy Head, Office of External Relations and Research Affairs Nguyen Vo Dan Thanh, and Dr. Le Tran Mac Khai from Thai Studies, who was also the interpreter for the meeting.
Later, on the same day, the Dean and the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts visited Ton Duc Thang University (TDTU) in Ho Cho Minh. The TDTU is a new university which was established 35 years ago and named after an important figure in Vietnam politics. TDTU’s strength is in its facilities for students, its close connection to the Vietnam Finland International School, and classes that cater to the labor force in Vietnam. At TDTU, the delegates from the Faculty of Arts were welcomed by Nguyen Thanh Phuong, Vice Dean of Foreign Languages, Nguyen van Thanh from TDTU’s international cooperation, and the staff at the Program in Society and Humanities.
The last day of the trip, February 1, 2023, the Dean and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts visited University of Foreign Language Studies (UFLS) in Danang. The University offers classes in foreign languages such as Thai, English, Russian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. Like VNU Ho Chi Minh, UFLS also has collaborations with the Royal Thai Embassy and the Royal Thai Consulate. The University also has an international program in ASEAN studies. With regards to collaborations with the Faculty of Arts, in addition to the general collaborations, UFLS is interested in an internship program for international students. They are also looking forward to signing an MoU with the Faculty of Arts in this coming April or May. At UFLS, the representatives from the Faculty of Arts were welcomed by the Rector, Professor Tran Huu Phuc, Dr. Nguyen Huu Anh Vuong, Department of Research and International Collaboration, and Dr. Nguyen Huu Binh, Head of Department of Academic Affairs. The interpreter for the meeting was Ajarn Binh, a representative from the Program in Thai Studies.
The trip to Vietnam concludes the Dean’s mission in connecting and reconnecting with universities in ASEAN. All the meetings were productive and the plans for collaborations are promising, especially in Thai studies. Thai language is among the top foreign languages learned by Vietnamese students. Thailand is also among the preferred destinations by the Vietnamese. Like all other ASEAN countries, Thailand and Vietnam are very similar when it comes to culture. The people in both countries are also closely connected which is a positive sign that numerous collaborations will materialize.