For international students who are not familiar with the lifestyle and culture of Vietnam, studying at IU can be daunting experience; that’s why IU offers the Buddy Program, in which new international students will be paired up with current IU students (Buddies) who will provide a helping hand to the newcomers at IU.

A Buddy will be a cultural ambassador representing IU and Vietnam to all incoming international & exchange students. By providing linguistics support, cultural guidance and information about life at IU, Buddy Mentor will have opportunities to develop interpersonal skills, expand networking and experience working across cultures.


IU offers airport pick-up service for new incoming international students.

Step 1: Complete the Airport Pick-Up Request Form (IU Coordinator will send you instructions in details) and send back to us at least 7 working-days before your arrival. A Buddy will pick you up at the airport thanks to their volunteerism.

Step 2: The buddy will help you exchange some VND at the airport for future use, buy SIM Card (if needed) and help you to transfer to your accommodation. You are responsible for the travel expenses from Tan Son Nhat Airport to your residence.

Otherwise, you could also get to your place easily on your own by taking a taxi at the airport.

There are two highly creditable taxi brand names in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Mai Linh Taxi : (+84) 28 3838 3838
  • Vinasun Taxi : (+84) 28 3827 2727

Note: There will be a lot of taxis waiting for customers in front of the international airport’s arrival hall. However, please choose the creditable one, as suggested above, to avoid unfortunate incidents. You could always remember these rules when taking a taxi by yourself:

  • Keep track on the fare watch of the taxi to make sure that they do not cheat
  • Never ask the taxi driver to suggest some places to buy your necessary stuffs
  • Do not buy taxi coupon due to their low creditability.


The official currency in Vietnam is Vietnam Dong; all payments are made in Vietnam Dong. Hence, please make sure you have some money exchanged before leaving the airport. However, do not exchange too much since exchange rate at the airport is not as competitive as at local banks.

Most of our stores and shops prefer cash rather than cards, although some restaurants, shopping malls and taxis do accept cards.

1 USD is approx. 23,000 VND.

The largest denomination is 500,000 VND (Approx. 23 USD) and the smallest is 500 VND.


It is not difficult to buy SIM cards in Vietnam, you could always buy a SIM card at the airport, phone stores or any official retail stores. All types of SIM are available from a single card, just push out the micro or nano size as needed, or ask the sellers for help.

The common price for one SIM Card varies between 80,000 VND and 220,000 VND, which may include 3G/4G internet, mobile credit.

For top-up, you could buy a top-up card provided by the mobile network provider you are using. For example, if you buy Mobifone SIM Card, then you should buy top-up card with the same brand “Mobifone”.

Some reliable mobile network providers in Vietnam are: Mobifone, VinaPhone and Viettel.

If your SIM has not had cellular connection yet, or if you need more information, please ask the seller/your buddy for further supports.


On the day you move in your new house, remember to sign a contract with the landlord, then pay the deposit (if any). Please check the information in the contract carefully (Name, contract expiry date, services included, amount of deposit, etc.)


When moving in any kind of accommodation, you need to hand over your passport to the landlord for the purpose of registering your stay in Vietnam with the local police. Upon the completion of registration, ensure that your passport is returned to you. It is advisable to keep your passport in a safe place, and always carry with you a photocopy of your passport for further use.

In case your passport is stolen or lost, please contact the nearest police station and Embassy or Consulate General ASAP. Follow their instructions for passport replacement. (See the list of Consulate Generals in Ho Chi Minh City in our newest Handbook for International Students)


Our Campuses:

International University – Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City

  • Main Campus: Quarter 6, Linh Trung Ward, Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City
  • City Campus: 234 Pasteur, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
  • L-Building: located in Central Library of Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City

Instruction to reach IU Main Campus can be downloaded here.


We have our own bus routes (No. 52 and 30) running straight from central points in Ho Chi Minh City to the very front door of IU. The travelling time depends on where you take the bus.

Besides the routes No. 52 and 30, the bus routes from city downtown that stop near IU include the followings: 50, 53, 08, 19, and 10.



To save costs and to be environmental friendly, you can take buses for daily commute. Further information on buses and their itineraries can be found via App BUSMAP.

  • Regular Ticket: 6,000 VND/pax
  • Student Ticket: 2,000 VND/pax (Student ID Card is required)


Reliable taxi companies in Ho Chi Minh City:
Mai Linh Taxi: 028 3838 3838 | VinaSun Taxi: 028 3827 2727


Grab | Go-Viet

Be careful: Violent attacks against foreigner have been reported in urban areas, some reports involve tourists being attacked while on a Xe-Om (Motorbike Taxi) or during disputes about being overcharged. Use larger metered taxis to minimize the risk of robbery or overcharging.


Please consider that accidents of any kind are the most common cause of death or injuries, especially when you are not a local. The following are your safety notes:

Do not ride motorbike or scooter in Vietnam’s traffic conditions • Take precautions with all types of travel • Always use safety belts and helmets • Avoid drugs and being cautious with alcohol • Avoid driving at night • Avoid overcrowded vehicles • Avoid high-risk activities • Stay alert with burglary and robbery when being outside or on the street


• Do not try sample street food •  Do not drink tap water or suspicious water source • Only use bottled drinks in bars/clubs.