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Vietnamese parents keen on sending children to boarding schools in US

Vietnamese parents keen on sending children to boarding schools in US

Tuesday, August 08, 2023, 16:26 GMT+7
Vietnamese parents keen on sending children to boarding schools in US
Students in a boarding school in the U.S.. Photo: Getty Images

Many Vietnamese parents are keen on letting their children join boarding schools in the U.S. so that they can enter universities there.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Jerry Vo attended many international schools in Ho Chi Minh City.

In 2020, the pandemic began to hit Asia, so schools shifted to online teaching.

As Vo was not interested in online learning, his parents allowed him to enroll in the Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts. 

She has since then studied and lived at the school. Classes in the morning and afternoon feature sports, as well as outdoor and club activities.

In the evening, she studies by herself in the dorm. She has lived with other students, including those from the U.S. and other countries.

“The biggest difference between boarding schools and others is students’ self-reliance. They proactively arrange their studying and life," Vo said.

“It was hard on the first days. Moreover, communicating completely in English is not easy."

N.M.T., a former student of the University of Colorado, who was a student at a boarding school in Texas since he was in grade nine, said boarding schools in the U.S. pay a lot of attention to students’ achievements.

As a result, the study schedule is hectic, not to mention sporting, artistic, and outdoor activities, as well as projects. 

“One of the primary purposes of these schools is to ensure that their students can enter good universities. Boarding schools in Vietnam often build a reputation by training students for famed universities," T. said.

“Parents sending their children to U.S. boarding schools also expect them to go to good universities."

Boarding schools are suitable for those who have no relatives in the U.S.. Parents in Vietnam can set their mind at rest when their children completely study and live on campus under the supervision of teachers.

However, the cost for attending boarding schools in the U.S. is high.

T. said it cost his family about US$65,000 per year.

The cost for an international student at boarding schools in the U.S. ranges between $60,000 and $90,000 per year, including tuition fees and subsistence expenses.

Asian students going to boarding schools tend to make friends with each other. Many are afraid of communicating with Western students as they find it hard to fall in line with them, besides obstacles in communication, said Quan Tran, a student of Concord Academy in Massachusetts.

Being aware of this issue, most boarding schools have formed organizations to connect international students with native peers.

“I think students should participate in programs, activities, and clubs, or simply talk with other friends,” said Quan.

Bill Hoang from Woodberry Forest School in Virginia said he is a member of the school’s group to support new international students. The group welcomes, instructs, and helps students integrate into their new environment.

The group also helps new students with studying, keeping their rooms clean, and even personal issues.

Hoang said Woodberry Forest School is located in a forest and students have to integrate with each other and find it hard to experience an urban life.

It is necessary to consider the location of boarding schools, Hoang noted, adding that ebullient students will prefer schools in downtown cities, while those keen on quiet places can choose schools far from cities.

Many Vietnamese parents also prefer boarding schools in areas with many Vietnamese people.

According to Vo, her family had earlier contacted an overseas education counseling center to seek a boarding school in the U.S., but she found that these centers often connect to only a few schools, limiting Vietnamese students’ choices.

She advised parents and students to learn about boarding schools from many sources of information and refer to many people before making decisions.

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Thanh Ha - Trong Nhan / Tuoi Tre News

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