Vietnam's prestigious Hanoi University, which boasts the country's oldest Chinese studies department, held a seminar in Hanoi on Thursday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the department.
Chinese language teachers from Vietnamese and Chinese universities attended the seminar.
"Chinese language education has witnessed remarkable development in Vietnam in the past fifty years, especially in the past two decades as China began to rise in the world," said Nguyen The Su, a retired Chinese language teacher and former head of the Chinese Studies Department of Hanoi University at the seminar.
According to Su, there are now about 600 full-time students studying Chinese in Hanoi University. The university's Chinese Language Center provides training to more than 1,000 students each year.
More importantly, over 95 percent of the Chinese language teachers in Hanoi University hold a master degree, said Su.
"Students graduating from our department have become diplomats, senior army officers, senior translators, journalists, businessmen and other professionals, contributing greatly to the national development and friendly relations between Vietnam and China," said Su.
Nationwide figures showed that more than 40 Vietnamese universities have established Chinese Department, enrolling about 2,000 students each year, said Su.
Besides, over 10,000 Vietnamese students are studying in China on various majors, according to the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam. The number of Vietnamese students in China ranks fourth among all overseas students, after South Korea, Japan and the United States.
Kieu Dang To Linh is a junior student studying at the Chinese Studies Department of Hanoi University. "Compared with a few years ago, there are many more students studying Chinese now," she said.
"More Chinese companies have come to Vietnam in recent years, bringing more opportunities, but the competition is also fiercer to land a job."
Linh is now working part-time for a publishing house to translate books from Chinese to Vietnamese. "It is a good opportunity for me to learn more words and practise Chinese," she said. She hopes to get a scholarship to pursue a master degree in China after graduation.
Professors from Beijing University, Beijing Language and Culture University and some other Chinese universities attended the seminar. They discussed subjects include translation, teaching methods, solutions to difficulties in teaching ancient Chinese words with their Vietnamese counterparts.
The seminar is expected to provide a good chance for teachers of the two countries to exchange ideas and learn from each other, and lift the teaching and research level of Chinese studies in Vietnam, said Liu Dongsheng, culture counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam at the seminar.