Other languages have always been keys that open doors
and provide new opportunities. It is still true.
However, languages have done more than that. Languages
have brought us together. Language is so integral to
every aspect to our life that understanding it is not
only instantaneous communication but also is accepting
and acting on the reality of our environment.
After nearly 30 years living abroad, most Vietnamese,
in general, have achieved a stable life financially as
well as spiritually in the land far away from home.
However, many school-aged children and young adults in
Vietnamese families are increasingly facing
difficulties in speaking, reading and writing in
Vietnamese. As a result, they often lack the knowledge
in understanding Vietnamese culture, from social
behaviors among fellow Vietnamese to lifestyle in the
family or socialization between relatives. They even
lack the deep understanding of their parent's love,
passion and thinking.
They often face difficulties when socializing with
Vietnamese communities due largely to lack of
Vietnamese language skills. As a result, they tend to
avoid socializing with Vietnamese people and prefer
socializing with American friends instead in most
Many parents have expressed their deep concerns seeing
their children growing up without adequate
understanding of Vietnamese language. In fact, the
children are reluctant to speak Vietnamese because of
the lack of vocabulary, being afraid to be laughed at
when speaking incorrectly, or having few opportunities
to use the language.
On April 4, 2004, the Vietnamese Youth Foundation of
Orange County Chapter began its summer session of
109 applied for class, 84 showed up. Some still sleepy
because of the time change.
Most of the children came with their parents, some
were “forced.” “I don’t really want to learn, I want
to sleep in, but my mom said I have to” said Tommy
Tran, 10 of Anaheim. Others have a different
perspective. “It’s important for me to learn another
language, especially for work” said Trang Nguyen who
works for a Social office, having bilingual skills
might mean being promoted.
But for those who realized the importance of getting
back to their roots, when asked why learn Vietnamese,
Hanh Do replied: “It’s a way of getting closer to my
parents, I want to listen to what I missed when I was
Many of the instructors were former teachers in
Vietnam. Sacrificing their time on Sunday means a lot.
“I’m often afraid of what might happen in the next
generation. 3 hours a week to see these kids, not a
problem.” Said Le Tu of Los Angeles who drives 1 hour
and half each Sunday to teach.
Class will continue each Sunday from 9am – 12pm, with
a 15 minute break at 10:30am. It’s free, open to the
For more information on this class, please contact