Each year, the CIBERs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Hawai’i collaboratively lead a Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) program in Southeast Asia. This year, the program returns for the fourth time to Vietnam. The program will begin with background briefings from the U.S. Commercial Service and from economic and legal experts, followed by site visits to a range of organizations. Typical industries for these site visits include manufacturing, agriculture, technology, retail, food processing, education, healthcare, and microfinance. In Ho Chi Minh City, the program will emphasize MNE outsourcing and the rapidly growing SME sector. In Hanoi, it will focus on the transition of state-owned enterprises. For the first time, and in order to enhance the experience of all participants, we are opening the program to a small number of business professionals.
January 4-16, 2014*
*Participants should plan to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City by Saturday, January 4, 2014 (departing the U.S. on Friday, January 3). Registration fee covers hotel costs through the night of January 15, with the option of departing late the night of January 15, or on January 16.
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam
The registration fee is $3,200 USD per participant.
Registration fee includes hotel accommodations based on double occupancy - with the option to upgrade to a single room for a supplemental fee of $875. The registration fee also includes airfare from Ho Chi Minh City to Haiphong, daily ground transportation, daily breakfast, most lunches, site visits, a Mekong River Delta tour, and an overnight excursion on Ha Long Bay. Participants are responsible for round-trip airfare between the U.S. and Vietnam, as well as most dinners, incidentals, and passport and visa fees.
For possible funding, please contact the CIBER in your region.
Business faculty and business professionals with an interest in enhancing their knowledge of Southeast Asia, and of Vietnam in particular.
Application and Notification Deadline
Online applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the final deadline of Friday, September 27, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. CDT. Final decisions will be made and applicants will be notified of their status within two weeks. Space is limited to a maximum of 20 people.
The program begins Sunday morning, January 5. All participants are expected to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City no later than Saturday, January 4. Depending on your routing, this will require departure from the U.S. on or before January 3. If you are using federal funds to pay for your international flight, remember to comply with the Fly America Act, which requires flying on U.S. carriers or on an airline that code-shares with a U.S. carrier. The program will provide airport transfers to the hotel for anyone arriving in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, January 4.
The program officially ends on Wednesday afternoon, January 15, in Hanoi. There are many international flights out of Hanoi/Noi Ba International Airport (HAN), including connections to Tokyo (NRT), Seoul (ICN), Bangkok (BKK), Taipei (TPE), Hong Kong (HKG), Shanghai (SHA) and Singapore (SIN).
Remember that the program begins in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and ends in Hanoi. If you booked a round-trip Ho Chi Minh City international flight, you need to book a one-way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City at the end of the program to catch your international flight back to the U.S. Vietnam Airlines has many flights daily between the two cities.
U.S. citizens must have a Vietnamese visa to enter Vietnam. You will need a passport valid for at least six months following the date of your arrival in Vietnam and at least one blank page in your passport. Please check your passport immediately and apply for a renewal if necessary. You may be denied entry into the country if your passport is not valid for six months beyond your arrival date.
Apply for a TOURIST visa
For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State travel website and the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United States.
There are many visa processing agencies. Two that we have used regularly include Travisa and Washington Passport and Visa Service. You will pay a processing fee for the services, but they are generally quick and reliable. Many people have used myvietnamvisa.com with success. This allows you to apply for a landing visa, which you receive upon arrival.
If you opted for a landing visa, please be sure to bring your letter of authorization for the landing visa, which you will be required to present upon check-in; 2 passport-sized photos; 45 USD/person for stamp fee (this is for a one-month single-entry visa; it’s best to bring exact cash, and make sure USD bills are crisp and clean with no tears and no marks). Upon arrival to SGN airport, follow the signs downstairs to immigration and go to the landing visa counter. Expect a wait of 10-20 minutes.
- Pack lightly with mix and match options. Laundry facilities are available at the hotels.
- Make a copy of the photo page of your passport and bring a copy with you, stored separately from your actual passport. Also leave a copy at home.
- Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.
- Pack Imodium and consider getting something stronger (a prescription from your doctor) in case of serious stomach issues.
- Pack anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer as well as tissues.
- Pack some business cards, a small alarm, small flashlight, camera, batteries, and chargers for electronics.
We will provide airport transfers for everyone arriving into Ho Chi Minh City, from the January 3 arrivals through the last arrival at 1:30 a.m. on January 5. Flight information will be shared with Buffalo Tours, our ground tour operator. After exiting the terminal, look for a sign with your name on it. You may be grouped with other participants arriving around the same time. In the unlikely event that you cannot locate the Buffalo Tours guide, look around for no more than 10 minutes, focusing on the area immediately after exiting customs (where the crowd of people are gathered, with many signs), and then proceed to the official taxi stand located at curbside. Do not accept rides from anyone, no matter how official they appear. A taxi hired at this stand should cost between USD12-15 or VND250K-300K. You are traveling to Majestic Hotel, 1 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, phone (+84)/8/38295517.
Prior to exiting the terminal, you may exchange U.S. dollars (USD) for Vietnam Dong (~VND21000/USD) at a money exchange counter. Many exchange vendors will only exchange clean $20 bills and higher; new and unmarked and unfolded $50 and $100 bills are preferred, and $100 bills sometimes have more favorable exchange rates. There are also ATMs in the airport.
For those with morning arrivals, the hotel check-in time is 2PM and there is a possibility that your room may not be ready. You may leave your luggage with the concierge and return at 2PM.
For those with a January 15 afternoon departure, please check out of your room by noon. For those with a late-night January 15 departure from Hanoi, your room will be covered for a late check-out time of 6PM.
While we arranged for your airport transfer in Ho Chi Minh City to ease your transition into Vietnam, departure is handled on your own. The attached flight arrival and departure spreadsheet will help in coordinating shared rides to the airport. The Sofitel Plaza has hotel limousines, but it is more economical (~USD15 taxi versus ~USD50+ hotel arranged) to take the on-call taxis stationed at the hotel. It is recommended you depart the hotel at least 3 hours prior to your flight. Thus, for the many who have international flights departing HAN around 11PM, you will check out by 6PM, then depart for the airport by 8PM, or 7PM to be safe—particularly if it is raining or there is a known traffic jam/accident. Those departing from HAN to SGN may leave the hotel a half hour to an hour later, since domestic departures require less lead-time.
Luggage Weight Limits
We will have one intra-Vietnam flight (HCMC - Haiphong), the cost of which is included in the program registration fee. This intra-country flight will have a luggage weight limit of 44 pounds (20 kg) of checked baggage per person. Please keep this in mind, as you will be personally responsible for any overweight fees charged by the airlines. The current excess baggage weight charge is roughly $1 per pound.
Ho Chi Minh City - Hotel Majestic
Hanoi - Sofitel Plaza
The registration fee includes hotel accommodation based on double occupancy. The single room supplement is $875.
Buffalo Tours is our official vendor for this trip. Buffalo Tours is Vietnam’s leading destination management company, with its own offices and operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. For two decades, it has been offering customized, guided private and group tours, accommodation, transfers, flights, cruises, day trips, and excursions in the region. If you would like assistance booking travel before or after the FDIB program, please contact Buffalo Tours directly.
Deposit and Final Payment Schedule
If you are sponsored by a CIBER, the Wisconsin CIBER will invoice the sponsoring CIBER directly for the entire payment in October 2013.
If you are paying as an individual, the payment schedule is as follows:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
- Balance of $1,600 due
- Single room supplement due – $875
Please submit your registration fee payment in the form of a check payable to the University of Wisconsin-Madison CIBER, mailed to:
Wisconsin School of Business
Financial Management Office
5110G Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
Due to contractual obligations with hotels and tour operators in Vietnam, participants will be subject to a $1,600 fee if the program organizers receive a cancellation request after Monday, December 2, 2013, unless a replacement participant can be identified*. If any participant needs to cancel, please contact Susan Huber Miller at 608-263-7682 or email@example.com.
*Exceptions will be made on an individual basis for emergency situations.
All travelers must have full medical coverage. A well-known company that provides insurance coverage and travel assistance is Cultural Insurance Services International. Select the "Enroll Online" tab to start the enrollment process, or you may start with the "Frequently Asked Questions" link. Your campus risk management office or your employer may be best to advise you on these issues. Medical coverage for one month with CISI is pretty reasonable—about $31—and the application form is simple. Optional but highly recommended coverage is medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance. Many universities carry this insurance for their employees. If this is not part of your standard insurance plan, Medex is a well-known company that provides travelers insurance. There are many insurance providers out there; the above mentioned companies are just a couple of companies with which we are familiar. Feel free to consider other options independent of these.
Consult with your doctor or a travel clinic for recommended vaccinations as soon as possible. If you need a series of shots, you will need to allow adequate time. A good resource is the Centers for Disease Control. Another resource for international travel is the U.S. Department of State’s travel information on Vietnam.
Electrical Outlets and Power
Vietnam utilizes this type of round-pronged plug. We are staying at international four-star hotels that often provide outlets accommodating the U.S. flat-pronged plugs. However, there is a possibility they will not. Thus, to be safe, you should consider bringing a flat-to-round plug adapter, which you can find at a travel store, or possibly Walmart, Target, etc. in the luggage section. Vietnam operates on 220 volts, versus the U.S. 110-120 volts. Most electronics (battery chargers, cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.) can accommodate both voltages; it will be shown on the power adapter, but double check. If not, you will need a 110-120 to 220 volt converter. The hotels should have hair dryers, either in the room or upon request.
Calling Home from Vietnam
- For emergencies, you may use the US phone of one of the trip leaders to make a direct call home to a U.S. number. This assures that you can be in touch with your family and university if a serious emergency arises.
- If you have a US mobile phone, you can almost certainly use it to call directly from Vietnam to a US phone number. Before the trip, contact your mobile carrier to make sure that your phone is authorized to make calls to the US from Vietnam. These calls are almost always very expensive ($1.99-$3.99/minute depending on your carrier and your plan).
- For routine calls home and within Vietnam, you can obtain a Vietnam SIM card that you can place into an unlocked US mobile phone if the US phone is a GSM phone. Prepaid Vietnam SIM cards can be easily purchased in Vietnam for as little as $10 and it is easy to add money to the SIM card by purchasing a scratch off card. Once you have this SIM card in your phone, you can use your phone to make calls and send/receive texts within Vietnam very inexpensively. You can also use the phone to call back to the US for about 20 cents/minute. You can also use the pre-paid value to obtain data access. While in the major cities, you will often have 3G data access available. If you do not know if your US phone is an unlocked GSM phone, check with your carrier. Most carriers will help you unlock your phone as long as you have been a customer of theirs for a reasonable period of time.
- The least expensive way to call home is to use your own US mobile phone, your iPad, or your computer with either a Skype or TruPhone account, or if you have an iphone, and are calling another iphone, you can use Facetime for free when you are in wifi. If you do not have a Skype or TruPhone account, you can open the account before you leave home. If you place money (as little as $10) in your Skype or TruPhone account, you can place calls using the Skype or TruPhone app. The cost of calling a US phone number with one of these apps is usually about three cents/minute. It is important to note that you will need to be connected to WiFi to do this. Our agreement with both of our hotels provides free WiFi access while in the hotel. Your phone does not have to be unlocked and it does not have to be a GSM phone to do this. This is a simple way to call home as long as you have WiFi. You simply launch the app and dial the US number you want to call.
Some participants will bring an old unlocked GSM phone with them and use that for their "Vietnam phone" by purchasing and placing a Vietnam SIM card in the phone upon arrival in Vietnam. If this is something you want to do but you do not have an old phone, ask your friends. It is often surprising how many people have a spare phone sitting around.
Participants will have complimentary Internet access in their hotel guest rooms as well as in the hotel lobby and other common areas.
The USD to VDN (Vietnamese Dong) rate is roughly 22.250 VDN/USD. You may change money at the airports; usually they will only exchange clean $20 bills and higher. Outside the airport, they are more particular—new, unmarked, and unfolded $50 and $100 bills are preferred, and $100 bills sometimes have better exchange rates. When packing cash for your trip, make sure the bills are new, unmarked, and unfolded. ATMs are prevalent and accept VISA, MasterCard, and other international cards, although the bank and foreign currency fees may make this option less favorable than cash exchanges. Credit cards are readily accepted at most hotels, larger stores, and restaurants, but are recommended to be used only at hotels and high-end department stores. You should call your credit card companies prior to the trip to let them know you will be traveling to Vietnam; otherwise, charges may be declined because they appear suspicious.
Weather and Attire
Weather is expected to be hot and dry (80s to 90s F) with high humidity,in the south, and cool and possibly rainy (60s and low 70s) in the north. A small folding umbrella is recommended. You may check the weather forecast at a site such as CNN for Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Most site visits will require a dress shirt (for office visits) or polo shirt (for factory visits), dress slacks (pants or skirt for women), and dress shoes. You should also bring a suit jacket for the more formal business site visits. As we approach January, we will communicate more specifics about the dress code and packing suggestions.
Other Required Items to Submit, Including Deadlines
Submit your FDIB Additional Information Form by Monday, October 28, 2013.
To complete the FDIB Additional Information Form, you will need the following:
- A passport that is valid six months following the date of your arrival in Vietnam
- Emergency contact information for two people
- Professional bio that will be included in the FDIB Participant Directory
- Headshot photo (professionally taken, if possible—if not, then at least a high resolution/print quality)
Due Friday, November 29, 2013:
- Scanned image of the “photo page” of your passport
- Scanned image of your entry visa
- Scanned image of proof of travel insurance
- Scanned and signed Waiver form
- Flight details (arrival and departure)
- US passport holders are encouraged to register their final travel plans with the US State Department
Please email the first three items in the list above to Susan Huber Miller. If you are unable to scan and email these items, please mail hard copies to Susan at:
Wisconsin School of Business
975 University Avenue, Room 4250
Madison, WI 53706
Any payments must be made payable to the University of Wisconsin-Madison CIBER and mailed to:
Wisconsin School of Business
Financial Management Office
5110G Grainger Hall
975 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
Below is contact information for Grant Kim at Hawaii and Susan Huber Miller at Wisconsin, should you have any questions: