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Nov 07, 2019 / 10:38

Bringing Polish language back to Vietnam school - inevitable move

Reintroducing the Polish language is necessary in the course of tightened bilateral ties and stronger partnership between Hanoi University and its partners.

Reintroducing the Polish language, which was taught in Vietnam in the 1980s, into university curriculum is necessary in the course of tightened bilateral relations between Vietnam and Poland, according to a Vietnamese rector.

 Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Wojciech Gerwel, Deputy Head of Mission Maciej Duszyński work with HANU Rector Nguyen Van Trao. Photo: HANU

The availability of Polish language in Hanoi University (HANU)’s educational program, in addition, shows the strong cooperation between the university and its partners, Hanoi University’s Rector Nguyen Van Trao said at a meeting with Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Wojciech Gerwel last weekend.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Wojciech Gerwel said bringing back Polish language after decades indicates the enhanced the Vietnam – Poland relationship which has lasted for 70 years.

He believed learning the Polish language will enable learners to grasp more working opportunities in the context that more and more Polish companies are investing in Vietnam thanks to the broader bilateral ties.

Making Polish available in HANU has required efforts from both countries, typically the Polish Embassy in Hanoi and Hanoi University.

 Those who make efforts to bring Polish back to Vietnam's schools. Photo: HANU

The journey began two years ago when HANU and Poland’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education signed a memorandum of intent in attendance of the late Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Polish President Andrzej S. Duda.

In October 2018, HANU and the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) signed an agreement in which the agency would send native teachers to help the university build teaching programs covering elementary (A1, A2) and basic levels (B1).

In April 2019, HANU launched the first Polish course and Polish was officially introduced as the second language to its students since September.

In November, HANU plans to open another Polish course to make this language available to learners in Hanoi. The move aims to create opportunities to study and work in Poland for Vietnamese nationals.

 Many HANU students are interested in Polish. Photo: HANU 

Why Polish?

There’s a generation of Vietnamese people who learnt Polish in the 1980s for studies in Poland under the support of the Polish government.

According to Ho Chi Hung, deputy head of the Vietnam-Poland Friendship Association, there were roughly 10,000 Vietnamese people trained in Poland and those of his generation (their 60s, 70s) spent years in the country which they consider the second homeland.

 Dr. Hoang Thu Oanh, former lecturer of Polish language at HANU. Photo: HANU

Dr. Hoang Thu Oanh, former lecturer in the Polish language and Polish literature at HANU, said Polish is not easy but learners would no longer find it difficult one they learn it. She insisted that the learners would love this language when they achieve proficiency.

The former lecturer said she and her friends were lucky to know about such a beautiful language as they were able to study and do research in Polish. Her love for Polish remains unchanged from the first days she was taught thanks to the support by the government of Poland. She was touched that they had experienced great moments during her course in Poland.

 Dr. Luong Minh Chinh, lecturer at Thuyloi University, obtained doctorate degree at Politechnika Warszawska. Photo: HANU

PhD. Luong Minh Chinh, lecturer at Thuyloi University, who obtained doctorate degree at Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska), said that Polish has opened up a briliant career for him as he can learn everything including his major in Polish. So far, he keeps learning, reading and doing research in this language together with the mother tongue. He inspired students with sharing about the Polish language and people as well as great experiences during his study in the Central European country. “Anytime coming back is like coming home,” he recalled.


Polish is a Slavic language which emerged in the 10th century when the Polish state developed itself. Previously a spoken language only, Polish became a written language with the adoption of the Latin alphabet, brought by Christianity.

The number of Polish speakers hits roughly 55 million around the world. Polish is an official language in Poland. In the UK, Polish has become the third most spoken language after English and Welsh. Polish is also the second most spoken Slavic language after Russian.

There are strong Polish-speaking communities in Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine together with those in Canada, the US, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Belarus and don’t be surprised if you meet Polish speakers in Denmark, Estonia, Serbia or New Zealand.

Polish contains a great number of words borrowed from Latin, Czech, German, Belarusian, and Ukrainian and also some words from Italian, French, and English. Along with the other West Slavic languages, it has a fixed stress accent.

It’s an interesting fact that five Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Polish writers. It shows part of activities to honor this language, according to Dr. Oanh.