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In Vietnam, young urbanites seek polish in etiquette boom

In Vietnam, young urbanites seek polish in etiquette boom

Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 12:05 GMT+7
In Vietnam, young urbanites seek polish in etiquette boom
During the course at A Dong Style Academy, participants will be taught the correct way to walk and how to adjust their body posture to prevent hunching. Photo courtesy of A Dong Style Academy

A wave of etiquette awareness is sweeping through young Vietnamese professionals, fueled by the ambition to excel in competitive work environments.

Based on TikTok Trends data over the past four months in Vietnam, the hashtag 'phong thai' (demeanor) has garnered nearly 95 million views.

Most of the audience is in the 18-24 age group, comprising 55 percent of the total audience.

The second-largest group is viewers aged 25-34, accounting for 34 percent.

Contrary to the past when very few people found these classes enticing, numerous youngsters are currently showing interest and enrolling in these classes which are now a common sight on the Internet as well as many social platforms.

Around 200-300 students register per month for courses of varying durations and specializations, totaling 30,000 students so far, said Nguyen Quynh Trang, founder of A Dong Style Academy, a pioneering body esthetics and image center in Ho Chi Minh City since 2019. Trang has 109,000 followers on her Facebook account.

Most of the participants are female office workers, businesswomen, and housewives, mainly around 18-30 years old.

Responding to their individual needs and budgets, students choose from diverse etiquette courses with varying lengths and depths of content.

Tuition fees range from VND500,000 (US$20.6) to VND157.7 million ($6,491), determined by the specific format and duration of the chosen course.

According to Trang, a class typically accommodates 25-35 attendees.

These courses cover table manners, how to walk gracefully, sit elegantly, pose professionally, reduce body hunching and wrinkles, and make attractive facial expressions from eyes to smiles.

Meanwhile, a Hanoi-based etiquette center established in 2022 called Léna Académie, which specializes in demeanor and etiquette training, attracts roughly 6,000 followers on its Facebook page.

Up to this point, the center has admitted around 100 students, with 10 attendees per month.

Its courses last from one session to three days, with tuition fees ranging from VND800,000 ($33) VND8 million ($329).

The academy has received attendees of different ages and genders, mostly around 25-45 years old, said Luong Thanh Ha, 43, a lecturer at the center.

Léna Académie courses focus primarily on training table manners, handshakes, gait, outfit combinations, and facial expressions.

A lot of young people have changed their views mainly due to the popularity of these courses on social networks.

After two years of interruption due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this trend has started to take off and has become popular, Trang informed.

There are currently around 50 etiquette centers offline in Vietnam, with the majority located in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Many used to think that only the wealthy and aristocratic attended these classes, said Trang from A Dong Style Academy.

What pleases her the most are young women and housewives in their 30s attending these courses because they want to keep up with the modern world. 

At Léna Académie, students are taught how to stand properly during social conversations or when posing for a photo. Photo courtesy of Luong Thanh Ha

At Léna Académie, students are taught how to stand properly during social conversations or when posing for a picture. Photo courtesy of Luong Thanh Ha.

She believes that having talent alone is insufficient in today's era; it is one's character and style that truly leave a lasting impression.

Learning proper demeanor and etiquette can create a professional impression at work, especially for those who are new to the workforce.

The courses include various crucial social aspects such as handshakes, communicating, walking, smiling, talking, posing for the camera, and more, Ha informed.

Many young people enroll in etiquette courses to upgrade themselves, boost their confidence, and become more energetic, said Ha.

What do youth and experts think?

Doan Quang Nghia, 21, a university student in Ho Chi Minh City, said he spent VND4 million ($165) on a three-month course that instructs the learners in communication, pronunciation, and facial expressions.

He studies with a group of friends, so the tuition fee gets lower. 

"Investing in soft skills courses, like etiquette training, offers undeniable benefits, as it empowers me to refine my communication and demeanor to a far greater extent," Nghia said.

"Furthermore, possessing such skills would greatly benefit me in my job.

“A part of me is suffering from FOMO, or 'fear of missing out' in which one worries about not being included in important events or good opportunities, and afraid of falling behind my friends and colleagues due to their progress and skills."

After taking the etiquette course, he smiles more confidently and understands that he does not need to talk constantly, for a bright smile is enough to attract others, Nghia said.

Nguyen Thi Minh Nga, 24, an English teacher in Hanoi, said she is planning on taking an etiquette course by setting aside 5-10 percent of her monthly income to pay for the tuition. 

“Being a timid person who lacks confidence hinders me in teaching and communicating with colleagues. So I suppose attending etiquette classes will help overcome my weaknesses,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Pham Nguyen Minh Anh, a 22-year-old resident of Binh Chanh District, said that many friends had asked her to enroll in a course with them

While Anh initially embarked on this journey solely for the sake of enjoyment, she discovered that the experience also brought her a multitude of valuable benefits through such etiquette training.

“In the past, I didn't pay much attention to my sitting posture, so I just sat instinctively. I didn't expect that my seated stance would greatly affect the person sitting across from me and that I would create a bad image,” said Anh.

"Mastering the art of seating involves occupying only half or a third of the chair's width, instantly creating a slimmer and more elongated silhouette.

"Elevate the grace by positioning your hands comfortably in front of your thighs, a subtle touch that adds elegance, particularly when adorned in a shorter skirt."

Pham Thi Thuy Trang, deputy head of the Department of Sociology under the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, said this fad is a positive indication that young people are highly dynamic and proactive in seeking and selecting information on social networks.

They are also able to register for soft skills courses that are most optimal and suitable for their needs.

This is an investment in a positive self-image, bringing many benefits, particularly when it comes to job applications, Trang remarked.

Beyond a well-crafted résumé spotlighting notable expertise and ethical values, she underscored the importance of obtaining soft skills certificates.

This not only leaves a significant impact on recruiters but also unfolds a myriad of opportunities for the future.

According to Trang, there is a current trend among young people to focus on personalization and self-branding.

With social media granting access to a plethora of options and current trends, it has become increasingly convenient for young individuals to discover courses that align with their preferences at an affordable cost.

It is crucial to recognize that the growing prevalence of privately owned etiquette centers, despite their extensive media coverage, raises the risk of encountering illegitimate establishments.

Therefore, young people should be careful when selecting an institution to study at to avoid scams that could waste both time and money. 

It is recommended that students choose reputable and well-established institutions that charge moderate tuition.

Two great options are the Youth Culture House in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City and the Student Culture House in Thu Duc City, Trang noted.

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Minh Chau / Tuoi Tre News

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