How to Turn Learning Vietnamese into Knowing Vietnamese

Learning a foreign language always poses some challenges, but if your desire to learn Vietnamese is strong enough, you will master it in time. As long as you stick to the language and put sufficient practice in, your Vietnamese skills will grow. If you’re new to the process of learning, or are looking for ways to better the skills you already have, then take a look at this advice and decide which methods are right for you.

immersion—it isn’t that far-fetched

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it here: immersion is the best way to go when it comes to perfecting a new language. Obviously this is not always feasible, and that does by no means mean that knowing Vietnamese isn’t feasible, but oftentimes this option is understood as more out of reach than it actually is. Many people are not aware of the many opportunities to travel around the world through temporary volunteer and job positions.

Teaching ESL abroad is an excellent way for you to become surrounded by Vietnamese language and culture. You don’t have to have a substantial knowledge of Vietnamese to begin with, and as long as you know English and get certified (check out LRNGO’s ESL/EFL blog posts for more information on that), you will find many opportunities to teach and be taught by your surroundings.

There are also organizations that encourage the interaction of cultures through temporary stays in which you work in exchange for room and board. The work varies greatly and often does not exceed 4 hours daily, as the primary function is to bring cultures together. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization that brings willing volunteers to organic farms worldwide to work and learn. Helpx is a similar site but whose work opportunities vary from bed and breakfast help to house sitting.

Hiring a Tutor

It is certainly best to have human help when it comes to language learning. A tutor can give you valuable guidance and insight on the process of learning Vietnamese, as well as form lessons around what you most need to work on. You can find a tutor by checking out local classifieds, language schools, and colleges, or by browsing Craigslist, WyzAnt, or TutorHunt for opportunities to get tutored face to face or online via video chat.

Get a Language Exchange Partner

If you’d like to have the benefits of a tutor without the price tag, do some research on language exchange partners. Of course, sites like LRNGO allow you to connect with language exchange partners near your or anywhere in the world through video chat. You teach them and they teach you, all for free—simple as that!

Step Beyond the Classroom

It’s great to have guidance by tutors or exchange partners, but it really is up to you how much you actually learn by how much outside effort you put into the process. Languages are not just textbook material, they are made alive by their usage in conversation, literature, film, etc. So pick up a book in Vietnamese or watch a film with Vietnamese subtitles (or a Vietnamese film with English subtitles), read local news, and listen to Vietnamese radio stations. Vietnamese101 is a perfect place for finding some of these materials quickly and easily.

So how do you get from learning Vietnamese to knowing it? By putting yourself out there and practicing the language to its fullest degree by living it—whether you do that in Vietnam or at home, surround yourself with opportunities to practice the language naturally and you will find that knowing Vietnamese will sneak up on you.

Photo Credit: enjosmith

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