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Vietnam is now home to Southeast Asia’s fastest growing middle-class. Do you think that Vietnamese is difficult? Probably yes. But, despite the common perception that Vietnamese is a difficult language, it is actually not hard to learn. First, the Vietnamese alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, which makes it easier for English-speakers to read and write Vietnamese. Second, the grammar is simple - no verb conjugations, tenses are easy and often optional, no gender, virtually no plurals and no articles etc. Moreover, if you are proficient in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai or Lao, you will have a remarkable advantage and it would be exciting to explore how much Vietnamese language is right at the intersection where Northeast and Southeast Asian languages meet. So despite the claim that Vietnamese is hard, in fact, everyone can learn Vietnamese!

Vietnamese is spoken by nearly 100 million people in Vietnam. Furthermore, Vietnamese is the native language of approximately 4 million Vietnamese residing overseas and is the 6th most spoken language in Australia. The language is the gateway into one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing economies and is essential in engaging with the country’s friendly people and exploring its rich and diverse culture. Understanding Vietnamese language and culture is also key to engaging with nearly 300 thousand people of Vietnamese heritage living in Australia and their vibrant communities across Australia.


Vietnamese courses at the ANU are highly interactive and engaging. In addition to comprehension and receptive skills, the classes focus on active language production and practical skills as well as cultural understanding that fosters engagement with the Vietnamese culture and its people.

The first year of the program helps students become confident in conversational Vietnamese, particularly in the most challenging part of learning a tonal language – the pronunciation and the various tones. Year 1 and year 2 cover a wide range of important topics for surviving, thriving and engaging in interpersonal exchanges in a Vietnamese-speaking world such as self-introduction, making friends, shopping, travelling, telling stories, narrating one’s lived experiences etc.

From Year 2 and above, while developing language skills remains the primary focus, understanding cultural elements embedded in the language and furthermore, learning about the culture and society through the language is an integral part of the Vietnamese program.

In the past the Vietnamese language program at the ANU has been an exciting meeting place for an amazing group of students - Australian diplomats and government officials, heritage students, scholars, professionals, investors, and friends from Australia and beyond who simply fall in love with the people and their fascinating culture.

Study options

The Vietnamese program is offered in entirely online mode, therefore providing flexibility and accessibility to not only ANU students but also external students enrolled through Open University Australia. Courses follow the “flipped-classroom” mode where students review lessons, work on the materials and complete assignments on their own before coming to two 1.5-hour real-time online sessions each week. Those sessions are supportive, interactive and often intensive. Class members are given plenty opportunities to speak and engage in proactive language production in both verbal and written forms through various class activities. At the ANU or through the Open University Australia, Vietnamese language can be studied as a minor, a major or as electives within a degree or as individual courses on their own. Vietnamese language can be a perfect complement to degrees in medical science, public health, Asian studies, economics, development studies, political science, environmental studies, international relations or other social sciences and humanities disciplines.

Undergraduate courses Vietnamese 1Vietnamese 2Vietnamese 3Vietnamese 4Vietnamese 5 and Vietnamese 6. See ANU Programs and Courses for study options. See Open Universities Australia for studying Vietnamese 1-6 as subject.

The School of Culture, History and Language places a unique emphasis on in-country experience. For more information on exchange programs and in-country language opportunities, visit the ANU global programs or enquire