Many undergraduate students in Vietnam are taking advantage of summer break to take on part-time jobs in order to learn soft skills, gain professional experience, and earn extra pocket money.
Yen Hoa is an undergraduate student from the north-central province Ha Tinh currently studying in Ho Chi Minh City.
The 20-year-old is spending her summer break working a part-time job in the city, rather than returning to her hometown like other students.
“My hometown is far away so it can be expensive to travel back and forth,” the second-year college student said.
Hoa works from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm each day at a coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City to earn money she can put toward her tuition costs for the upcoming academic year.
But it is not just about the cash.
For Hoa, working in service industry positions, such as waitressing or working as a promo girl, has helped her break out of her shell and hone her communication skills.
Ly Thi Tem, a student at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City is having quite a busy summer in the metropolis.
Tem holds down two jobs – as a warehouse inspector in Tan Binh District and as a handicraft maker – in the city, in addition to an internship in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, 100 kilometers outside the southern city, to which she commutes by the company’s bus daily.
She hopes the money she earns will help alleviate some financial pressure brought on by university fees.
While some college students are looking to earn cash, others are simply looking for experience.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Lan, a third-year student of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, is currently interning at a law firm in District 4 and working part-time as a math and literature tutor.
“I want to earn experience in my future profession so I can have a head start when I begin work,” Lan said, adding that the VND6 million (US$258) monthly income she earns keeps her from bugging her parents about money.
College student Mai Thi My Huyen also said the experience she has had working a part-time job is invaluable, explaining that her major takeaway this summer has been “not everyone is polite and nice."
Admitting that she has been spoiled and overprotected by her parents, Huyen shared that she had little experience interacting with complete strangers until she took on a summer job.
“At first I was not used to being treated impolitely so I was very sad and kept quitting but then I grew stronger and learned how to overcome that challenge,” she said.
“Having a job also taught me the value of money and how to save.”