In this Inbound Insight series article, we examine the shifting patterns of Vietnamese students choosing to study abroad and explore the priorities of this student cohort when searching for student accommodation based on data gathered through the Global Student Living Index.

Outbound destinations

UNESCO figures show that in 2021, 137,000 Vietnamese students were studying abroad, with the Asian destinations of Japan (43,275 students), the Republic of Korea (24,928 students) the most popular, followed by the United States (23,155 students), Australia (14,111 students) and Canada (8,943 students).

More recent data from each destination country shows some slight shifts in terms of destination popularity. For example, the latest Study in Japan figures show that there were 36,339 Vietnamese students studying in Japan in 2023 – a 2.8% increase from the number of Vietnamese students studying in Japan in 2022, but lower than the number who were studying in Japan in 2021.  The Republic of Korea hosted 43,361 Vietnamese students in 2023 – an increase of 14% from 2022 when there were 37,940 Vietnamese students in Korea and higher than the number of Vietnamese students hosted in 2021. Similarly, the latest Australian government data shows that between January-March 2024, there were 32,897 Vietnamese students studying in Australia, a 48% increase from January-March 2023 and more than double the number studying in Australia in 2021. The most recent Open Doors data shows that in 2022/23, there were 21,900 Vietnamese students in the United States, a 5.2% increase from the previous year but less than the number of Vietnamese students studying in the US prior to COVID-19.

What’s contributing to this growth?

 In 2024, the population of Vietnam is 99,200 million, with 17% of the population aged 17-25. Vietnam’s population is projected to grow to 107 million by 2050.

The World Bank describes Vietnam as “a development success story” noting that economic trends “have helped propel Vietnam from being one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income economy in one generation.” There is high potential for growth, with 30% of Vietnam’s population projected to be in the middle class by 2026 and more than 50% by 2035.

Vietnam’s economic growth is projected to ‘reach 5.5 per cent in 2024, up from five percent in 2023, driven by increasing global demand and restored domestic consumer confidence. Real GDP growth is expected to strengthen in the next three years, reaching the pre-pandemic average by 2026.’ Analysis undertaken by Oxford Economics for the British Council describes Vietnam, along with Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, as a ‘rising star’ in terms of its potential as an outbound market due to its favourable macro environments and low/moderate risk profile.

Vietnamese families place a high priority on education and lifting their children out of poverty. Furthermore, concerns around the quality of the Vietnamese education system and the increasing importance of tertiary education to find a job increase the attractiveness of sending their children abroad to study.

Search priorities

Global Student Living Index data shows that students from Vietnam have similar priorities to other students. However, there are certain aspects of accommodation that matter more to students from Vietnam than international students in general. Factors that Vietnamese students place a much higher priority on include travel time to their place of study (76% vs 64%), kitchen size and facilities (77% vs 55%), living with like minds (41% vs 27%), flexible contracts (46% vs 35%) and student care and support (43% vs 31%).

Room type and rent

Students from Vietnam are less likely to be living in private halls (76% vs 85%) than other international students and more likely to be in university halls (24% vs 15%). Vietnamese students are also more likely to be living in a private bedroom than international students in general (72% vs 60%), and less likely to be in a studio flat than other international students (23% vs 34%) but more likely than the broader international cohort to have a shared bathroom (20% vs 10%).

Search resources

When it comes to resources used in the accommodation search, Vietnamese students stand out because they are significantly less likely to use social media than the broader international student cohort (15% vs 29%). The top five resources used by Vietnamese students are university websites (64%), general web searching (35%), online student reviews (20%), student-specific listing sites (19%) and recommendations from friends and family (17%). Students from Vietnam are slightly less likely (11%) than other international students (12%) to engage the services of an educational consultant or agent in their accommodation search.


Vietnamese students are most likely to have booked with the university housing or accommodation office (41% vs 34% of all international students) or through an online student accommodation listings site (21% vs 24% of all international students). heir private hall provider (14%). They are slightly less likely to have booked via a consultant or agent than international students in general (6% vs 9%).