Lingo Connector aims to address the needs of two distinct groups; learners of English language and international travelers. English learners will benefit through gaining opportunities to practice using communicative English, while international travelers will derive the benefits of unique and culturally authentic travel experiences facilitated by local insight.
Lingo Connector is a purely volunteer community formed to encourage understanding of Vietnamese culture and people and to promote cross-cultural friendship.
While many Vietnamese learners have had significant prior exposure to English through formal classroom studies, they lack the opportunities to use this knowledge to communicate with foreigners in an authentic context. Consequently, they often suffer from insufficient confidence when communicating with foreigners. This is empirically evident in oral communication, and confirmed by studies such as sociological research conducted by LN English in 2015, which found that around 90% of Vietnamese students are unable to speak basic English.
Many foreign travelers visit Vietnam seeking a culturally authentic experience. However, they often find the reality of traveling in Vietnam challenging. This is due to a wide range of factors including communication difficulties. Consequently, many limit their experience to traveling on organized tours and spend their time in areas where they feel comfortable. In both cases, travelers often congregate in large numbers where Vietnamese people interact with travelers on a daily basis. Although this serves a purpose, it often doesn’t fulfil the initial objectives set by many.
Many international travellers also seek local events/festivals, but the events/festivals are often written in Vietnamese. Therefore, not many travellers could enjoy authentic Vietnamese social activities.
Further, a great number of travellers hunt a job for their living and travelling in Vietnam, but it is difficult to find job information if they come to Vietnam for the first time.
Vietnam has around 15 million pupils at secondary and high schools, over 2.7 million university and college students and millions of workers who have the need to improve their English-speaking abilities. The appetite for learning English in Vietnam is huge, with the government investing heavily in English programs and countless private educational institutions offering English courses. However, due to practical and legal considerations, we will market Lingo Connector only to learners over the age of 18 years. Such learners include those taking IELTS/TOEFL/GMAT examinations, students from Vietnamese universities, students from international universities based in Vietnam and those studying for conversational or vocational reasons.
In addition to connecting Vietnamese English learners with foreign travelers, it will be possible for English learners to use Lingo Connector to connect to each other. Lingo Connector can therefore be viewed as a platform for nurturing and maintaining a community of people who share a common purpose.
Vietnam received approximately fifteen million foreign visitors in 2018. Of these, roughly three million were from native English speaking countries or countries where English is spoken widely. It is not realistic to speculate how many speakers of English there were among the remainder; however, English speaking foreign travellers will benefit from free practical help and insights, courtesy of the Vietnamese guides they connect with. We anticipate that some guides may also wish to present areas of Vietnam which are less well-renowned, thus facilitating a culturally authentic experience. In detail, there are following benefits for foreign travelers
We are implementing this project because we believe that Lingo Connector can offer mutually beneficial services for both Vietnamese English learners and travellers.
The primary motivations to implement this project are:
(i) to positively contribute to the efficacy of existing efforts made by the Vietnamese government, universities, private educational institutions and language learners, through providing opportunities which are unavailable through existing channels. We envisage that, through this approach, learners will gain a greater degree of confidence and ability when using English, and that this will be of direct benefit to them in their studies, workplace or travels.
(ii) to provide foreign travelers with an enriched experience of their travels in Vietnam.
(iii) to provide them with the opportunities to stay with locals and locals will show travelers around for free for cultural exchange
(iv) to join events/clubs and get to know local festivals and enjoy with locals
(v) to find different types of job in Vietnam
While our main concerns are offering services to Vietnamese English learners and foreign travelers in Vietnam, we foresee a positive impact for the Vietnamese tourism industry and the wider Vietnamese economy.