Vietnamese students overseas struggling with difficulties to manage to keep studying
March 08th, 2011
Vietnamese students in foreign countries are struggling to live and keep studying since everything is getting more expensive. Besides, in the home country of Vietnam, their parents have to tighten their belt due to the depreciation of the dong against the US dollar, Australian dollar, the euro and British pounds.
Cutting down all unnecessary expenses
Le Thi Hong Linh, a student of a tourism – hotel management college in New South Wales in Australia, related that she has been frugal for the past two months. Linh now only spends money on meals, while she tries to cut down expenses on clothes or entertainment services. Since late 2010 everything has been getting more expensive in Australia, especially food prices. Meanwhile, after the severe flood in Queensland in January, room rents have increased by 14 percent.
Ngoc Quynh, a student, who has finished a course to get a master degree in business administration in Melbourne in Australia, said that she wished she could enroll in an program to get MA degree in English. However, as the prices have been increasing continuously, she has to working to earn money to feed her brother who has just arrived in Australia to enter the 10th grade.
Nguyen Ngoc Binh, 24, who is following a MA training course in New Zealand, said that though he has a scholarship, this sum of money is just big enough to pay for tuition. Binh is taking an extra job to earn extra money, but the money is just enough to pay rent. Therefore, his parents still have to send money to him to cover his basic needs. With the prices on the increase, Binh related, most students decide to prepare meals themselves instead of going to restaurants or hotels on parties. Binh also revealed that he only purchases books that are necessary to him and he tries to read the other books in libraries.
Price increases prove to be also a headache to Vietnamese students in the US. It is estimated that a student in the US has to pay 10,000 dollars in total in the 2010-2011 academic year, while non-tuition expenses are about $6,200, an increase of 16 percent in comparison with five years ago.
In the past, a room with the rent of $1000 was shared by two students, while it is now shared by three or four students.
Nguyen Quoc Dai, who is working for a big commercial bank in District 3 in HCM City, related that he has a son studying at a university in California. In 2010, every month he sent 1500 dollar to his son to support his studies. “The sum of 1500 dollar is relatively big for Vietnamese people, but it is just enough for my son to live,” he said.
However, Dai has to send the son $300-400 more a month this year, because everything is getting more expensive in the US.
What to do to live and study?
“You should open a bank account,” said Mai, a woman who has a son studying at Alfred University in New York State.
“If you have 20 million dong in your bank account, you can convert this sum of money into about 1000 dollars. But if you have 20 million dong in cash and you buy dollars in the black market with this 20 million dong, you will not get 1000 dollar,” Mai explained.
In Vietnam, the official exchange rates announced daily by the State Bank of Vietnam and the commercial exchange rates set by commercial banks are always lower than the exchange rates applied on the free market.
Tran Manh Nam, who lives on Tang Bat Ho Street in Hanoi, said that two years ago, when he decided to allow his daughter to study in the US, he prepared a sum of money enough to fund the daughter’s study for four years. However, after two years, the girl had to drop out because of the bad health. Two years ago, the dollar price was 16,000-17,000 dong per dollar, while the price has risen to 22,000 dong per dollar, thus making profit for Nam.
Nam is going to send his second child to the US. “My experience shows that those parents, who have children studying abroad, should store dollars under their pillows,” he said.