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With over 20 years of experience, the Faculty of Vietnamese Studies (VNS Faculty) of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH, VNU-HCM), founded in 1998, is considered the world’s largest Vietnamese language training unit for international students who come from France, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc. 

According to Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan (Acting Dean of the VNS Faculty), the Faculty has several training programs: Bachelor Program in Vietnamese Studies for foreigners (since 2000), along with joint programs in the form of 2+2 and 3+1 with Chungwoon University, Busan University of Foreign Studies (BUFS), Youngsan University; Bachelor Program in Vietnamese Studies for the Vietnamese (enrollment for the first course in 2021 with 68 students);  Bachelor Program in Vietnamese Studies with Distance Education (enrollment for the first course in 2019); Master Program for both the Vietnamese and foreigners.

Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan - Acting Dean of the VNS Faculty. Source: Screenshot

In particular, the Bachelor Program in Vietnamese Studies for foreigners was the first Undergraduate Training Program of the VNS Faculty to meet the AUN-QA (ASEAN Universities Network – Quality Assurance) standards from 2012. It focuses on Vietnamese language skills, knowledge of the Humanities and Arts, Vietnamese culture, society, history, economy, etc. Therefore, foreign students studying this program will be encouraged to communicate with Vietnamese students through the International Student Exchange Club and the Vietnamese Speaking Club, as well as experience culinary exchange activities.

"The Faculty used to hold a meeting between students of the VNS Faculty and the Faculty of Korean Studies in order to communicate with each other and play some games, such as quizzes on background knowledge of Vietnam. Besides, we also had an occasion to introduce the Korean New Year." Mr. Park Gundo, an alumnus of the VNS Faculty, commented.

Mr. Park Gundo, an alumnus of the VNS Faculty shared in the interview. Source: Screenshot 

In addition, juniors receive internships in craft villages, production facilities, and social - cultural exchange activities both inside and outside the city. Students will have the opportunity to intern in both domestic and international companies during their fourth year.

Regarding career opportunities, foreign graduates will be able to research and teach Vietnamese at universities, colleges, and high schools in their native country or in Vietnam. They can also work as collaborators in charge of translation and interpretation in agencies related to the economic, diplomatic, educational, and media sectors. Besides, they can become tour guides or experts in Vietnamese studies through continuing to study relevant graduate programs in Vietnamese studies, linguistics, etc.

Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan added: "Many students still choose to settle in Vietnam and work in companies after graduation, such as KOTRA Company, KUMHO Company, LG Company, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vietnam, or teach Vietnamese in international training institutes and international high schools, etc."

As for Vietnamese students, they are able to work in educational agencies, research institutions, social organizations, or tourism companies. They can also continue studying in graduate programs with relevant majors to become experts in Vietnamese studies.

From the perspective of an alumnus of the VNS Faculty, Mr. Park Gundo shared: "Thanks to the knowledge, skills, and experiences that I achieved through the learning process at the VNS Faculty, I became familiar with the workplace in Vietnam. Moreover, I am able to communicate with Vietnamese colleagues about several concerning issues in Vietnam as well as share experiences I had in Korea, thereby strengthening our relationships and promoting productivity."

When it comes to enrollment, it will be announced annually on the VNS Faculty's website at and the USSH’s website at At the same time, it is also informed to the Faculty's international partners.

Students graduating from foreign high schools or international high schools in Vietnam who have the Certificate of Vietnamese Language Proficiency with a minimum level of A2 conforming to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) can apply for admission. The USSH will consider the admission once a year in July.  "I want to experience studying abroad after my military discharge. However, I didn’t understand enough Vietnamese to support my family's business expansion in Vietnam, which led me to study Vietnamese Studies with the aim of accumulating knowledge related to Vietnam. Besides, the VNS Faculty of the USSH is famous for the quality of training it provides for international students, especially Koreans, so I tried my best to pass the entrance exam, "- Mr. Park Gundo said.

Regarding the Certificate of Vietnamese Language Proficiency, Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan shared that the Vietnamese Language Proficiency Test was organized from 1998 with 3 levels: A, B, and C. However, since 2017, the test has been changed from 3 levels into 6 levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, including 4 skills: Writing (essay writing on paper), Speaking (face-to-face test with 2 examiners), Listening and Reading (multiple choice tests on computers).The test is organised all year round by the VNS Faculty, with 6 exams in the odd-numbered months (January, March, May, July, September, and November). In addition, the faculty offers one extra exam in April each year to meet the requirements of those applying for admission to the VNS Faculty. Those exams will be officially announced on the website of the Faculty. Besides, the VNS Faculty has collaborated with its partner institutions to organize the Vietnamese Proficiency Test in foreign countries, including the Faculty of Vietnamese Languages of Busan University of Foreign Studies (Korea), SISA Korean Language Academy (Korea), the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taiwan), and Chihlee University of Technology (Taiwan). In March 2020, the Ministry of Education and Training officially assigned USSH and VNU-HCM the responsibility of training, testing, and granting Certificate of Vietnamese Language Proficiency to foreigners.

Learners take the Vietnamese Language Proficiency Test. Source: the VNS Faculty

According to Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan, experienced teachers are considered one of the biggest advantages of the VNS Faculty since most permanent teachers have studied and worked, as well as taught Vietnamese in the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea, etc. As a result, students have an excellent environment for language practice when they can communicate with Vietnamese students, teachers, and locals.

Having said that, the Faculty also encounters many difficulties. Because Vietnamese Studies features interdisciplinary training and its training programs include many fields, students studying this major not only need to have the necessary qualities and skills but also a solid  background knowledge about the country, people, traditions, and culture of Vietnam as well as contemporary Vietnamese society. One of the most difficult challenges for international students is the language and cultural barrier. They need to have a sense of learning and adapting to a new learning environment, especially in a multicultural context.

Furthermore, Dr. Tran Thi Mai Nhan affirmed that the VNS Faculty is going to execute a couple of forthcoming plans during the period from 2021 to 2025 in order to improve the training quality.

She added: “The VNS Faculty will conduct a variety of events for students on a regular basis, such as a Vietnamese Speaking Contest, Vietnamese Speaking Clubs, Writing Contests, or meeting with Vietnamese students for the purpose of strengthening their communication skills. In addition, we are going to update  the course book for international students, as well as provide teaching and learning materials in Vietnamese. In addition, we encourage lecturers to do research and publish their experience in projects for teaching and learning. From 2021 to 2025, the Faculty will provide three training levels (bachelor’s, master's, and doctorate) as well as three training formats (full-time, associate, and distance education), all of which will be maintained and enhanced to provide a consistent education system. Furthermore, we are going to attend an external programme evaluation for  the Bachelor Program of Vietnamese Studies for foreigners according to international quality standards of FIBAA in 2024 with the aim of promoting the quality of training and internationalization of higher education. The Faculty will also implement effectively and optimize in terms of the techniques for Vietnamese programs, as well as training online the methods of teaching Vietnamese as a foreign language.

Diem Trang - Ngoc Han