Learning Vietnamese is on most expats’ to-do list. If it’s on yours, we’ve made it easier to get your Tieng Viet on.
VLS – Vietnamese Language Studies
Founded in 1994 by Dr Vo Xuan Trang, VLS was one of the first Vietnamese language centres in Ho Chi Minh City specialising in teaching Vietnamese language and culture to international students. Their clients come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including graduate students, native language teachers, businesspeople, diplomats, and expatriates from all walks of life.
Originally known as Saigon Vietnamese Language School for Foreigners (SVLSF), the school has trained thousand of students over the past 24 years and built a strong reputation thanks to their continued investment in the quality of teaching, curriculum, and strong commitment to excellence in the classroom.
Specialised Vietnamese language courses include academic training, corporate training and teacher training programmes. Most popular is the VLS Dynamic Participant programme, designed to heighten general Vietnamese proficiency levels and encourage active participation in local culture and communities.
Taught over four levels, the programme prioritises speaking and listening skills at the initial levels and develops reading, essay writing, discussion and presentation skills for the upper two levels. The programme is designed to provide a solid foundation not only in conversational Vietnamese, but also in phonetics, grammar and cultural understanding.
All training programmes and methods are geared towards increased interaction with locals, and focus on strengthening practical language skills while broadening knowledge and connection to Vietnamese culture and community.
4th floor, DMA Building, 45 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1
Faculty of Vietnamese Studies, HCMUSSH
The Faculty of Vietnamese Studies has been providing undergraduate Vietnamese language courses since 2000 and was the first of its kind to meet AUN-QA (ASEAN Universities Network – Quality Assurance) standards in 2012. It is now the go-to facility for foreigners who want to take the Vietnamese citizenship test.
The Vietnamese Cultural Discovery Programme offers participants the opportunity for academic study of Vietnamese, as well as the history and culture of pre-modern and modern Vietnam. No previous Vietnamese language study is required, and students are welcome to substitute up to 40% of the course with organised cultural tours in addition to those already included in the programme.
The faculty’s certification programme is intended for foreigners studying Vietnamese for a specific purpose and accepts new enrolments every two weeks, according to their level and purpose of study. Courses are delivered in different formats, as group classes that develop conversational skills and cultural awareness, and as individual intensive specialised programmes. Most popular among foreigners is the general Vietnamese language programme that offers 12 courses grouped into six levels.
Moving from elementary courses that introduce the Vietnamese alphabet and phonetics, placing emphasis on pronunciation, basic grammatical structures and essential vocab, the programme progresses to intermediate levels where students start building dialogue for conversational purposes. At the advanced levels, students learn to communicate in a wide variety of subject areas, focusing on comprehensive reading and writing.
10-12, Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1
Indochine Vietnamese Language Schoool for Foreigners
Another well-established school with a reputation for excellence, LASSHO was founded in 2000 as one of the first schools providing Vietnamese classes to foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City. Their motto is “Learn the language. Be immersed” and their courses are designed to enable students to become quickly communicative in Vietnamese.
Offering intensive, survival, general and special courses, their curriculum includes topics such as general conversation, business, economics, history, survival Vietnamese and language research, with levels from elementary to the advanced. The survival course, popular among newcomers to Vietnam, is designed for people who live or work here and with limited time to commit to studying the language.
The programme combines classroom tuition with outdoor activities, giving the opportunity to practice basic daily Vietnamese conversations, such as greeting others, dealing with maids and staff, talking to taxi drivers and handling yourself at the market. The general course takes a more detailed look at the language and is spread over seven levels.
In the four elementary levels, students are taught to have simple interactions with native speakers up to being able to produce clear, detailed comments on concrete topics and explain a point of view, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
In the three intermediate to advance levels students focus on fluent and spontaneous interactions to being able to understand television programmes, radio broadcasts, and films, as well as native speakers.
5th Floor, 36 Mac Dinh Chi, District 1
Learn Vietnamese in Saigon
Providing a tutor service, Learn Vietnamese in Saigon offers individual and small groups private Vietnamese lessons with flexible times and locations, meaning they come to you rather than you go to them. The group of tutors have been offering private tuition since 2014 and have taught hundred of busy foreigners at times and locations suited to their schedules.
Adopting an interactive approach to their training, they place emphasis on a fun learning experience, believing that results are achieved faster this way rather than in a traditional classroom setting. The time and location of lessons are flexible, meaning you can have your session at home, in the office or a nearby cafe from 7am to 9pm, Monday to Friday.
Individualised lessons are delivered to meet specific needs and interests, as well as learning styles and purpose for learning Vietnamese. Classes are practical, and focus on authentic language use of everyday conversation, rather than text book language which can be contrived and outdated.
Courses are offered from level 1 beginner, focusing on the fundamentals of Vietnamese grammar and pronunciation, up to level 5 advanced, where specialised language related to professions or specific interests are taught. They also provide online programmes for beginner and intermediate levels, and a regular Vietnamese language club for students who want to practice in an informal, social setting.
23 Ly Chinh Thang, District 3
Learn Vietnamese With Annie
Annie started teaching Vietnamese through her popular YouTube channel before opening her office in 2014 with a group of passionate teachers. Combining both video and podcast lessons, the school offers a blended approach to Vietnamese language learning that provides some of the best materials available for learning Vietnamese, especially the southern dialect.
The relaxed learning environment places emphasis on the communicative approach, believing that language competency is achieved through continued exposure and communication. Vietnamese is not just the subject of the class, it’s the environment of the class, and use of all other languages is kept to an absolute minimum with students speaking Vietnamese from the first day of their course.
For those unsure about immediately enrolling in classes, the website hosts a good selection of video content which is free to registered users and introduce such topics as Vietnamese pronunciation, numbers, grammar and 100 most basic Vietnamese words. The resources found here offer a great introduction to the language and are popular among foreigners visiting Vietnam for a short time or those not ready to make a commitment to regular lessons.
Private one-to-one classes are also offered online with different lesson duration and frequency, great for those with busy schedules and unable to escape the office. Three levels take you from elementary to upper intermediate, with between five and six units per level and each unit taking between 20 and 24 hours.