Vietnamese Students’ Transition to International Non-Government Organisations

  • Lan Thi Quynh MaiEmail author
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 51)


In Vietnam the large-scale historical change under the influence of globalisation are discernible in the economic reform (Đổi Mới) in the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market oriented one, and in the disjunction between traditional modes of theoretical focus education and the diversity of knowledge and skills required in a globalised labour market. While the traditional view of university education as training for life-long work within one profession is no longer appropriate, the traditional, profession-focused structure at universities in Vietnam has persisted, challenging the skills and knowledge that young graduates typically developed. International non-government organisations (INGOs), by the nature of their work, need employees to mediate between different structures, resources and models, and to develop new models for specific projects. The challenges of working in an INGO may be intensified, especially in the early stages of employment or career, and this raises questions about how universities and employers can assist new graduates to make the transition from formal education to such a workplace. This inductive, qualitative research explores how young Vietnamese university graduates have strategically acquired and developed the attributes required for this intercultural work environment. This paper presents findings from the interviews with young Vietnamese graduates working at INGOs, conducted in two phases, between December 2010–November 2012. The key findings show that the strategies to apply ‘far transfer’ graduate attributes were essential for meeting work requirements. An approach that draws on three bodies of literature - graduate attributes, intercultural competency, and agency, structure and reflexivity - promises to shed light on the graduates’ experiences.


Graduate attributes Agency Strategies Intercultural competence INGOs Work experience 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vietnam National University Hanoi - Institute for Education Quality Assurance, The University of QueenslandQueenslandAustralia

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