In the Winter of 2017, we hosted a symposium to gather interest from faculty and students from nearby communities to establish Vietnamese language courses at UC Davis. The event brought together: Linh Khanh Nguyen (Assistant Professor of Viet Nam Studies, Fullerton State University), Bac Tran (Instructor of Vietnamese language at University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University), Danh Nguyen (Vice Principal of Huong Viet Vietnamese Community Saturday School in Oakland, California), Vy Nguyen (Founder of Vingo, a Vietnamese language study program, and alumni from the University of California, Davis), and Michelle Nguyen (Undergraduate Student Representative for Vietnamese Language Movement at UC Davis).
This event was especially important for all UCD students because UC Davis has 42 percent Asian Americans, and Vietnamese are the second largest number within that group. Yet, the campus still does not have Vietnamese language courses. As of early January 2017, Vietnam is still holding an economic growth rate of above 6% while the rest of Asia’s economy slows down. California, as top 10 largest economy in the world, is also the state with the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam; as of 2014, 40% of Vietnamese immigrants reside in California. There are whole communities of “Little Saigons” across the state that have thriving businesses that operate bilingually. Thus, educating our students in Vietnamese language not only sustains multilingualism but also is a skill that can benefit them in their careers locally, nationally, and internationally.
Co-sponsors: Vietnamese Cancer Awareness Research and Education Society, Incorporated (VN CARES, INC.), Vietnamese Student Association, Davis (VSA), Department of Asian American Studies, Vietnamese American Community of Sacramento (VACOS), Student Recruitment and Retention Center/ Southeast Asians Furthering Education (SRRC/ SAFE) and VINGO INC.