I enjoy random conversations to help young Vietnamese practice English

October 11, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
I enjoy random conversations to help young Vietnamese practice English
Two foreigners join Vietnamese fans to root for the Vietnam national team in a match against Thailand in HCMC, January 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Readers said picking up random conversations with foreigners on the street can help young Vietnamese learns build confidence, and help the foreigners understand Vietnam's cultures.

"When you sit on a park bench near Hoan Kiem Lake be prepared to meet students eager to exchange. It happened to us a few times, quite enjoyable, very polite well educated students. Of course we sometimes use our phones to translate or illustrate things and places. Young men and women keep asking ... that's the best way to learn."

"As an American, I was in Vietnam for a month in Feb. with my wife who is a Vietnamese citizen, born and raised visiting family. I totally enjoyed it when people came up to me and started to talk to me. I would yap with them for 10-15-30min or so. The one thing people who are studying English that they will never get in a "social club" or classes is conversational English. It's kinda funny when you do talk to people who think they are English fluent and then when they talk to me, there is ALWAYS a lost look on their face."

"It is a great way to learn English, from the perspective of the students they get to practise, from the tourist view, assuming the students are being friendly/fun and you are not finding it stressful, I don't see what is wrong. I think this should be encouraged a lot. Obviously, if the students ask private questions that a person may not want to answer, then obviously that is a problem but what is wrong with people just being friendly?"

"The private questions (by the Vietnamese) also help foreigners understand the Vietnamese culture and how what Westerners may seem invasive is a normal question here. So [it] helps both parties understand each other's cultures better. Not to mention, gets people out of the house and off the electronic devices."

"It is both appropriate and welcomed. I am more than happy to assist English students of any age, and can attest that the most enjoyable interactions have been with the very young. These youngsters are usually chaperoned by an adult, and I am encouraged by both the politeness of the student, and the level of English proficiency."

"I agree that it's a pain to constantly be the focus of young Vietnamese persons, for the purpose of them learning to speak English. It happens almost every hour, to me, sigh... On the other hand it makes me happy to see how spoken English has become better among the Vietnamese as a whole, during the last 20 years. For comparison: please try to learn to speak Vietnamese, and feel a little bit of humility! Even Thai language was easier for me to learn...️"

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