Laotian students attending a university in Vietnam have had the chance to learn gratis in what are known as informal personalized classes organized by local students.
Freshmen from Laos, who are supposed to spend a year learning Vietnamese prior to their selection of a specialism at Quy Nhon University in Binh Dinh Province, tend to be unconfident and disposed to retreat to their shell, hence their conceivable incompetence in the acquisition of the language.
Vietnamese-language classes have thus been run to help such students, Nguyen Khac Khanh, a student at the university, said, adding that they have been ongoing for seven months.
There are two Vietnamese night classes on campus, each held once weekly, not in the school's usual classroom, but at its dormitory hall, which has sufficient space to provide a large seating capacity.
In addition to a Vietnamese textbook as the primary learning material, Laotian learners receive enthusiastic face-to-face guidance from the native tutors, who number 150 when the two classes are combined.
Class assistance may include showing the foreign students proper manual pencil movements for beautiful handwriting, correcting their pronunciation and giving a clap or smile as an encouragement.
The hall, in this fashion, is constantly reverberating with sounds of excitement, even in the absence of teachers.
But the learning activity extends beyond the class confines to take place in outdoor games, social gatherings for meals, and daily student-to-student interactions.
Also noteworthy are the efforts by the host school volunteers to conflate practical situations with the coursebook to produce a tailor-made program.
The outcome is justifiably gratifying, with the learners brimming with interest in the classroom and exhibiting rapid integration with the local Vietnamese-speaking environment, according to Nguyen Van Sanh, leader of the university's volunteer group.
Many of them are able to buy food by themselves, bargain at the market, and participate in school activities with confidence.
Eanan Seng Boun Xou, a Laotian freshman, says he can now speak and write simple Vietnamese after three weeks of joining the classes.