October 3rd, 2011

"I am English teach"

A couple of years ago I was on a mini bus on Vietnam's Cat Ba Island, a popular tourist spot near Ha Long Bay. I got talking to the woman next to me. "What you do?" 

"I'm a journalist... ah, nha bao," I said. "What about you?"

"I am English teach," she replied.

She taught in a primary school and said this was one of her first times speaking with a foreigner. English is mandatory in primary schools in Vietnam, though people begin learning at different ages in different parts of the country. All students have to learn it, but unless they receive extra tuition—or are exceptionally talented—few can speak it fluently.

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А у нас в целом ситуация лучше, как думаете?