University of Oregon

Business Development in Vang Vieng

Program Overview

With most people in Laos relying on subsistence agriculture, diversifying the economy and encourage entrepreneurship is an important way to alleviate poverty.

However, in Vang Vieng it is challenging to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities that are economically sustainable and socially responsible at the same time. Interns contribute to many different initiatives by bringing new ideas and insights. Interns also have an understanding of consumers outside of Laos, with is very important to expanding business opportunities in the country.

Program Description:

  • Work four (4) to seven (7) hours a day assisting contributing across many different initiatives.
  • One major initiative is helping to refine and implement a business plan to produce organic fruit products, especially jam and liquor.
  • The plan is still in its infancy, so interns are critical to turn it into a reality.
  • Other initiative include:
    • bringing more eco-friendly tourism to Vang Vieng
    • helping train local Lao team members on basic business concepts:
  • marketing and public relations
  • speaking English
  • Using a computer
  • connecting with foreigners


  • Eager to contribute.
  • The flexibility to participate in many different tasks depending on the ever-changing needs of the organization.
  • The creativity and initiative to work independently and in an environment with limited resources.
  • The leadership to understand, connect with and manage Laotian colleagues, many of whom have very limited exposure to foreigners
  • Education and/or professional experience in a relevant field like business, entrepreneurship, finance or marketing.
  • If a student, at least a third year undergraduate in one of these fields.


  • It is each intern's role to fit in with their project and not the other way around. Being able to adapt, adjust and fit in is challenging, but also what makes an international internship so special.

This internship is self-directed. Participants must be able to work independently and contribute wherever the need arises, even if it means being involved in activities you were not expecting to work in.

This service learning internship opportunity is made possible through a partnership with UBELONG, the world's leading social organization for high-impact volunteering and learning opportunities abroad. UBELONG's mission is to bring people together across borders to share their humanity and take action for positive change

Internship Details

Students must intern for a minimum of 30 hours per week, for a total of at least 360 hours for a 12-week internship.  This will earn 12 internship credits.

In addition to 12 internship credits, students will enroll in a 1-4 credit Intercultural Communication online course.  This course is designed to provide ongoing support to students who do internships abroad.  Students will observe, explore and investigate the core cultural values in their host country during the service learning internship, conduct comparison in the differences between their host and home country, and develop critical thinking skills and culture learning strategies. Some of the topics discussed in this course include: attitudes toward time, space, age, gender and authority, different views on self/others, conflict styles and culture shock. 

A weekly assignment for the online course includes: reading assignments, group discussions and/or a weekly journal.  The number of enrolled credits will determine the course workload.  It will begin one week before your internship begins and end one week after completion.

Eligible applicants will be considered automatically for a Freeman Fellowship for up to $6,000 in funding toward internships in East and Southeast Asia.

Housing Description

The Intern House is part of a lively hostel located in the city center near restaurants and shops. Staff is available 24/7 at the house to assist interns with any needs. Interns generally share a room with one to three other interns.

Additional Requirements

Prior to arrival, participants must provide a police background check.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.