VietnamTravel Tips & InfoPopular Second Languages in Vietnam

Popular Second Languages in Vietnam

Although there has not been any official second language in Vietnam yet, the government is now aiming at English. It has plans to make it a compulsory course for all students, while many schools are now also teaching French, Chinese, and Japanese as a foreign language. They are all the popular second languages in Vietnam, as more and more parents have realized the essential role of being fluent in a foreign language in their children’s future.

English Is the Most Widely Taught

English has gained popularity worldwide, and Vietnam is no exception. Due to globalization, many international firms and tourists have considered Vietnam a potential destination. Therefore, English has inevitably become a tool to satisfy increasing needs.

In big cities in Vietnam like Hanoi, or Ho Chi Minh City, it is normal for many kids to take English classes after compulsory school study time. However, in some rural areas, many students struggle with the opposite situation, primarily because of the lack of teachers. English also plays a key role in tertiary education. Many universities require their students to achieve specific English certificates to qualify for graduation. As reported by the Ministry of Education and Training Vietnam (published on Vietnamnet newspaper), English is taught in all the provinces and municipalities of Vietnam, taught in 60% of primary schools and 100% of secondary schools, registering 99% of students with a foreign language subject in their curriculum.

Traveling to Vietnam would be much more enjoyable for foreigners who can speak English. Street vendors in many places can use broken English, which would be good enough for you to understand. In the downtown districts of Ho Chi Minh such as District 1, District 3, when confused, ask for help from a student or a young person, there are high chances that they could give you proper support.

Other Popular Second Languages in Vietnam

(with figures recorded from primary and secondary schools in Vietnam, reported by Vietnamnet newspaper)


The popularity of the French could be a consequence of the colonization period. Among the second languages in Vietnam, French is the second most common, registering about 40,000 students.


The opportunity for Japanese-speaking jobs is said to be one of the reasons that this language entered the list of popular second languages in Vietnam. The culture of the cherry blossom country is also appealing to young people—registered 25,000 students.


China has a strong influence on Vietnamese culture and language. The Chinese Vietnamese community is a major ethnic group among the 54 Vietnamese ethnicities. More and more people are keen on studying this language, with similar reasons for Japanese: familiar culture and job opportunities. More than 40 schools all over Vietnam teach it as the first foreign language for their students.


German is a hard language to learn, but it has gained popularity recently. It has been taught in three large cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang.


Although Russian is becoming less popular than several decades ago (for Vietnamese born in the ’60s and 70s, it was the primary second language taught in schools), it is still being taught in 10 provinces of Vietnam with over 1000 students.


The number of Korean expats in Vietnam has increased, which means that Vietnamese people need to work with more Korean colleagues. Because of that, together with the effects of the Hallyu wave, Korea has gained popularity in recent years.

Summary of Popular Second Languages in Vietnam

English, French, Japanese, and Chinese are several second languages widely spoken in Vietnam. However, the percentage of people who know how to use English, both inarticulately and fluently, is quite dominant compared to the rest.

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