Students raise the bar in English proficiency rankings

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Vietnamese university students are taking education into their own hands – organising interactive language groups in parks and cafés around Ho Chi Minh City.

In the wake of Vietnam’s 28th ranking in the EF English Proficiency Index 2013, students from the T8M in English language club couldn’t be more determined to expand their language skills and enhance their career prospects.

Vietnam has taken a dramatic leap in its English speaking proficiency levels, moving from 39th place in 2009 to a current 28th ranking in 2013.

This places Vietnam ahead of countries such as France and Italy, as well as southeast Asian neighbours Thailand and Taiwan.

T8M group organiser Na Lê believes the reason for Vietnam’s success is that “more and more people, especially young people, want to improve their English because it is necessary for work and study. Many search for classes or centres to practice their English, the great thing about this club is it’s free and anybody can be involved.”

“The club is a very interesting space for students to speak freely and easily, improve their English skills and make new friends,” she added.

Members of T8M English Language Club

Members of T8M English Language Club

A fluent English speaker is invited to help with pronunciation, conversation and to discuss a different topic each week, whether it is movie themes, pop culture, travel or politics.

The T8M club is just one of many social English language clubs organised and run by students, with many similar groups being run in coffee shops and parks around Ho Chi Minh City.

“The Vietnamese youth are eager for more knowledge of the English language” said Na Lê, and as English proficiency will only continue to increase, Vietnam is one to watch.

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Georgia Gifford

Georgia Gifford is a fourth year journalism, French and international relations student at UQ. She has a passion for travel, culture and humanitarian issues. Georgia hopes to one day work in investigative journalism or documentary making on human rights, environmental and political issues. UQ in Vietnam will hopefully help her to expand her intercultural knowledge and gain invaluable journalistic skills for the future.

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