Thai man overcomes all barriers to master Vietnamese

Vietnamese is a challenging language for most foreigners, and for a visually-impaired person like Aun Apichit Mingwongtham from Thailand, the challenge was even greater.

Thai man overcomes all barriers to master Vietnamese
Apichit won the first prize of the Vietnam Letter Contest organised by the Cultural Ambassador Club, University of Social Sciences & Humanities - Vietnam National University, Hanoi in May 2019. — Photo courtesy of Aun Apichit Mingwongtham

However, Apichit’s passion for Vietnamese has motivated him to overcome all barriers to master the language.

Now, Apichit teaches both Vietnamese and Thai to hundreds of students in HCM City, in addition to managing a Thai club for anyone interested in the language.

Apichit came across Vietnamese at the age of six when he accidentally heard the strange language on the radio.

“The first time hearing Vietnamese, I became instantly interested and curious. I found its intonation beautiful and started to imitate the voice of the speaker though I did not understand a word at that time,” he recalled.

Thai man overcomes all barriers to master Vietnamese
Apichit (forth from left) is pictured with Vietnamese students in his Thai class. — Photo courtesy of Aun Apichit Mingwongtham

“Later on, Vietnamese and the country became a special, unexplainable obsession to me. It was until I graduated from law school in Thailand that I had the chance to practise simple Vietnamese with friends I made online.”

In October 2006, Apichit travelled to Hanoi with his friends and family. Though the trip lasted only a few days, it left a huge impression on the then second-year student.

“I was very impressed, particularly with the local cuisine. Each dish is a harmonious combination that creates a unique taste that is very Vietnamese,” he said.

“After a while learning Vietnamese unprofessionally, it became a strange magnet to me that I could not resist. I thought that if I continued to learn like that, I could not thoroughly master the language."

In 2013, 29-year-old Apichit, decided to leave his job in Thailand behind to travel to Vietnam to pursue Vietnamese.

The journey to conquer the language was not always smooth for the visually-impaired man in a strange country. In the first days, he had many difficulties in reading books, finding accommodation and transportation.

“I could not read books like a normal person, which was the biggest difficulty. I had to divide the book into different parts and had my friends type the words on a computer which would then be printed into a Braille book,” he recalled.

It was quite expensive to print the Braille books, in addition to his rent and transportation costs, so Apichit ran out of money after a year and a half, which forced him to go back to Thailand.

Thai man overcomes all barriers to master Vietnamese
His online and offline students learning Thai have been up to 500 and about another 10 Thai students attend his Vietnamese class. — Photo courtesy of Aun Apichit Mingwongtham

“I returned to Thailand in August 2014. I really didn’t want to go back while my studies had not yet finished. But the money was gone so I had to go back to work and wait for the next opportunity to go back to Vietnam,” he recalled.

 

Three years later in 2017, the Thai man returned to Vietnam. He then passed the C2 degree, the highest level of evaluating foreigners’ Vietnamese proficiency, which means his Vietnamese is equivalent to a native speaker.

“However, I wanted to acquire a university degree of Vietnamese studies so I decided to apply for the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University-HCM City.

“I simply thought that I had to take a serious path at that time in case I could teach Vietnamese to Thais in the future,” Apichit said.

Apichit’s patience and determination paid off and was an excellent student of the Vietnamese Studies department during two years of study at the university. Currently, he has finished all subjects and is awaiting graduation.

To him, Vietnamese is a beautiful language with melodious rhyme.

“It is like a beautiful girl, who is both interesting and arrogant. However, there is a saying that learners often tell each other: Phong ba bão táp không bằng ngữ pháp Việt Nam, meaning struggling in a natural disaster isn't as hard as learning Vietnamese. It is true that Vietnamese grammar is really diverse,” he admitted.

Apichit said he was quite fortunate to have good Vietnamese friends who supported him from his first days in the strange country, helping him to find a place to live and taking him out to visit many beautiful parts of Vietnam and, of course, practise Vietnamese.

He has launched a Facebook page Tiếng Thái Thiết Thực (Real Thai) to teach Thai to Vietnamese and foreigners, in addition to teaching Vietnamese to Thais both offline and online. His Thai language students have numbered to 500 and another 10 students attend his Vietnamese class, which offers him a decent income.

“He teaches the most practical structures of Thai, making it easy for students like me to understand and feel excited in learning both the theory and practice. He is a very devoted teacher,” said one of his students Tran Thuy Tien.

Apichit also runs a club for Thai enthusiasts in HCM City, makes videos for his YouTube channel Tiếng Thái Thiết Thực and writes books about Thai learning.

“In the future, I want to develop my language classes and YouTube channel with the hope that my lectures will support others on the path of conquering Thai.

“Vietnam has become my second home. I really want to stay in the country as long as I can to be able to enrich my Vietnamese and help other Thai learners access authentic and practical Thai as well,” Apichit said.  VNS

Luong Thu Huong

More and more foreigners have need to learn Vietnamese

More and more foreigners have need to learn Vietnamese

Not only expatriates in Vietnam but also foreign students in all over the world have a need to learn Vietnamese.   

Who are the foreign students following Vietnamese studies?

Who are the foreign students following Vietnamese studies?

The demand for studying Vietnamese language and Vietnamese culture has been increasing as the country plays an increasingly important role in Asia Pacific and the world.

 
 

Other News

.
Qatar invites Vietnam’s U16 side for friendly match in October
Qatar invites Vietnam’s U16 side for friendly match in October
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  01/08/2020 

The Qatar Football Association has sent an invitation to the Vietnamese U16 team to play a friendly match in Doha in October ahead of the AFC U16 Championship 2020’s final round.

Provinces asked to mobilise funding for UNESCO-recognised Vi Giam singing
Provinces asked to mobilise funding for UNESCO-recognised Vi Giam singing
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces to balance their annual budgets and mobilise funding from other sources to implement projects on protection and promotion of Vi Giam folk singing between 2021 – 2025.

AFF proposes postponing AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 to 2021
AFF proposes postponing AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 to 2021
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF)’s Emergency Committee has proposed postponing the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup until mid-April 2021 during a virtual meeting chaired by AFF President Khiev Sameth on July 30.

Vietnam Film Festival may be held online
Vietnam Film Festival may be held online
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

Filmmakers and experts told a conference in Hanoi yesterday that organising the Vietnam Film Festival online and building a "cinematic city" would help boost the festival's brand.

Fashion icon teams up with UNESCO, VNAT to promote tourism
Fashion icon teams up with UNESCO, VNAT to promote tourism
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

Supermodel Jessica Minh Anh will promote Vietnamese tourism by presenting the country as a friendly and safe destination through reality shows to be produced from now to next year.

Free English classes for Vietnamese community in Singapore amid pandemic
Free English classes for Vietnamese community in Singapore amid pandemic
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

Tina Yuan (whose Vietnamese name is Nguyen Thi Thuong) is a Chinese-Vietnamese teacher living in Singapore. She majored in mass communication in Singapore and the Chinese language at Donghua University, Shanghai.

Ao Dai long dress to be promoted during 2020 Hue Festival
Ao Dai long dress to be promoted during 2020 Hue Festival
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  31/07/2020 

A day in honor of Ao Dai, Vietnam’s traditional long dress, will be a highlight of the Hue Festival, scheduled to open in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue in September.

Vietnam senior and U22 national teams to gather on August 10
Vietnam senior and U22 national teams to gather on August 10
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

The Vietnamese national men’s senior football team will be joined by the national U22 side as both teams take part in a training camp from August 10 to August 16

Pop singer fined for spreading false news on Covid-19
Pop singer fined for spreading false news on Covid-19
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

Pop singer Hoa Minzy has just been fined VND7.5 million (USD326) for spreading false news about Covid-19 on Facebook.

Hanoi DJ suspended over performance outfit
Hanoi DJ suspended over performance outfit
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

A female DJ in Hanoi has just been suspended for her offensive dress-up during a show at a local bar.

Tokyo 2020: Olympics and Paralympics may have 'limited spectators'
Tokyo 2020: Olympics and Paralympics may have 'limited spectators'
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

The Olympics and Paralympics could be held in front of “a limited number of spectators” because of Covid-19, says Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto.

FIFA to offer US$1.5 million aid to Vietnam football
FIFA to offer US$1.5 million aid to Vietnam football
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) has announced it will offer a US$1.5 million bailout package to each of its national football federations throughout Southeast Asia (SEA),

Miss Vietnam contestants stun fans with swimsuit photoshoot
Miss Vietnam contestants stun fans with swimsuit photoshoot
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

A range of contestants competing in Miss Vietnam 2020 have wowed fans by putting their wonderful figures on display in a swimsuit photoshoot.

Exhibition features young artistic talents
Exhibition features young artistic talents
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  30/07/2020 

Artworks by Vietnamese artists aged from 18 to 35 are on display at an exhibition at the Vietnam Culture Arts Exhibition Centre located at No 2 Hoa Lu Street, Hanoi.

Kids call for protection of wildlife
Kids call for protection of wildlife
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  29/07/2020 

Paintings, photos and posters created by children aged 6-14 are on display at an exhibition calling on people to protect wildlife.

VPF rejects calls to scrap V.League 1 season
VPF rejects calls to scrap V.League 1 season
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  29/07/2020 

The head honcho of domestic football has come out against calls to cancel the season amid the return of community coronavirus transmission in Vietnam.

Jazz pianist holds concerts to launch solo career
Jazz pianist holds concerts to launch solo career
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  28/07/2020 

Ten years after his debut concerts after graduating in Sweden and returning to Vietnam, jazz pianist Tuan Nam will perform in Hanoi and HCM City next month.

War veteran photographer captures world with one hand
War veteran photographer captures world with one hand
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  28/07/2020 

Snapping a beautiful photo requires the photographer capture the moment with sharp eyes and quick hands. 

Exhibition by female sculptor opens in Hanoi
Exhibition by female sculptor opens in Hanoi
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  28/07/2020 

Artist Lap Phuong is displaying sculptures at her first solo exhibition entitled Âm Dương (Yin and Yang). 

Showbiz shows signs of revival after virus crisis
Showbiz shows signs of revival after virus crisis
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTSicon  28/07/2020 

The Vietnamese art scene has shown encouraging signs of revival after being devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic as the country moves into a 'new normal'.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN