Since 2022, Vietnam Foundation (VNF) has been running an English Practice Program for high school students from disadvantaged background. The purpose is to assist them with further studies (e.g. in university) and to enhance their employability in the future.
Each Sunday night, small groups of students have an opportunity to speak and hear English with volunteers who are fluent English speakers. This is done online in blocks of four weeks each. The most recent block of study has just concluded on Sunday 08 October 2023.
Additionally, around June-July each year, there is a three-day Summer Camp where the students are fully immersed in English practice with fluent English speakers. The first VNF English Summer Camp was held in June 2023 in Hue, Central Vietnam. It was a huge success.
Has the VNF English program made any difference to the students? Absolutely. Here are some comments by the students themselves.
Today is the last lesson of the project … You have brought me very useful and exciting experiences, it has trained me in new skills … and made me a lot more confident. During the lessons, everyone shared their own interests, stories and future dreams … that they had never been able to express before. Once again, thank you so much, chị Virani and anh Ryan!,From Hoàng, a student from Quang Tri, Central Vietnam
Dear Chị Virani and anh Ryan!
Thank you very much to our tutors, Virani and Ryan! You are very friendly and patient with us. We had great time with you and we learnt so much. You are like brother and sister to me. You sacrifice your weekend to help us learn English better. Thanks very much and I think I am very lucky to meet both of you!From Giang, a student from Quang Tri, Central Vietnam
The volunteers have all been briefed by Rhys Williams, Leader of the VNF English Program, on the teaching approach. Many are based in Australia and some in Vietnam. It’s heartening to see many second-generation Vietnamese born in Australia volunteering through the Vietnamese Students Association. Feedback from Ryan, one of the volunteers, reads:
The overall feedback was positive as everyone enjoyed themselves and it was a very wholesome environment. The students … were all fantastic and talented individuals, we would love to work with them and more students in the future.
And from Maika, another volunteer:
Over time the students gain confidence and performance goes up quickly. This gives me untold satisfaction as a tutor.
VNF gratefully acknowledges the sacrifice made by the volunteers on Sunday evenings, without which the English Program cannot run.