In a recent article from VN Express, two graphs had a rather revealing peek into the rising population of Vietnamese students traveling abroad to study. It’s a strong indicator of not only the emphasis in Vietnamese households on education to ascend in class, but also the rising amount of income that parents and families have to put into their children’s future.
The big question is, what kind of impact will this have on Vietnamese society in the long run? What we’re seeing lately is the beginning of a reverse brain drain. Since there are so many students coming to the USA, there’s an inevitable trickle of students who want to or must come back to Vietnam.
In an event I recently attended in the Valley for Vietnamese people working in tech, I asked the audience (a mix of Vietnamese and Viet Kieu) who would like to return to Vietnam. Half of the audience replied yes. Many believe there are larger opportunities back home and others come home because of family. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that America is losing its appeal as a place to stay as Vietnam rises in potential and quality of life.
But it still comes with its hiccups. Coming back to Vietnam isn’t easy. It’s painful. As more people come back, there are more people with shared experiences and network.
In a decade, no doubt we’ll feel this trickle turn into a waterfall.