There’s a huge interest among Vietnamese Americans in Southern California to keep the language and culture alive among their American born children and grandchildren. But doing that isn’t so easy.
California State University Fullerton will soon be launching a program designed to help.
Starting next year, the university will offer classes for a bachelor’s degree in Vietnamese language and culture, as well as training teachers in Vietnamese as a foreign language.
Cal State Fullerton education professor Natalie Tran said most of the teachers teaching Vietnamese as a second language now aren’t credentialed – because it doesn’t exist.
Garden Grove Schools Superintendent Gabriela Mafi said her district now offers Vietnamese at five of her seven high schools – and demand is growing.
According to the last census 183,766 Vietnamese live in Orange County, many around Garden Grove and Westminster. That’s more than a third of California’s 500,000 Vietnamese.
The population was established nearly 40 years ago, by thousands of refugees escaping the 1975 communist victory in the Vietnam War. Second and third generation immigrants have struggled to keep up with spoken and written Vietnamese despite their parents’ efforts.