Italy’s Universities Choose Vietnamese as Official Linguistics Subject

The University of Naples "L'Orientale" and Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy) choose Vietnamese as its official linguistics subject

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The Vietnamese language will be taught at two universities in Italy – University of Naples “L’Orientale” and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice from next year, according to Pietro P. Masina, Professor of Asian History at University of Naples “L’Orientale” and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of East Asian Studies.

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency’s resident correspondent on the occasion when Vietnam and Italy are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, the professor said that the University of Naples “L’Orientale” will make Vietnamese an official linguistic subject, through which students can conduct in-depth researches on Vietnam by studying Vietnamese for five years, parallel to a curriculum in humanities or political science and international relations.

Italy's Universities Choose Vietnamese as Official Linguistics Subject
Pietro P. Masina, Professor of Asian History at University of Naples “L’Orientale” and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of East Asian Studies. Photo: VNA

Up to now, even in the pilot training courses, the Vietnamese language has received great attention from students, he said, adding that the university also organises community events to introduce Vietnamese culture and civilization in collaboration with the Honorary Consulate of Vietnam in Naples.

For many years, the university has participated in research projects and educational activities with Vietnam. It has a close cooperation relationship with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and universities.

In recent years, the university has increased its research on Southeast Asia in various fields of expertise.

Talking about the two countries’ relationship, Masina affirmed that the friendship between the two peoples has deep roots.

During the war years, many Italian groups and associations actively supported Vietnam’s national liberation struggle by sending aid and publicly showing solidarity. Diplomatic initiatives were launched to end the war, including the participation of politicians from different parties such as the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats.

Over the past 50 years, the bilateral relationship has grown and been deepened, especially in recent decades. The two countries’ economic exchange has increased markedly and scientific and cultural cooperation has also been expanded.

He said Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Italian tourists and many Italian universities are promoting cooperation with Vietnamese partners.

“The cooperation between Italy and Vietnam is expected to develop further,” he said.

In the economic field, the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will facilitate trade and investment activities. The Vietnamese market has become increasingly attractive to the Italian business community as its domestic purchasing power has increased, he said.

The two countries have also actively participated in international forums with priority given to promoting multilateralism and dialogue for international peace and stability, the professor added.

Students who are studying Vietnamese from the Faculty of Asian and Northern African Studies under the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice performed Vietnamese folk songs, water puppet shows and recited the Tale of Kieu during the “Vietnam Soul” event in December 2021. Photo: VNA
Students who are studying Vietnamese from the Faculty of Asian and Northern African Studies under the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice performed Vietnamese folk songs, water puppet shows and recited the Tale of Kieu during the “Vietnam Soul” event in December 2021. Photo: VNA

Meanwhile, Anna Scuccimarra and Vicenzo Angelicchio are students at the Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, which has the most complete Vietnamese language program in Italy. Both shared their love for learning the Vietnamese language to VNA.

Anna and Vicenzo have been learning Vietnamese for a while. The university where they study Vietnamese as a second language is well-known in Italy for providing students with knowledge about Vietnamese history, culture, economy, geopolitics, art, and culture.

The most difficult thing for students is that Vietnamese has many tones, according to Le Thi Bich Huong, a teacher of the Vietnamese language at the university. She has employed music and Vietnamese musical instruments to help the students learn the language more easily.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations. In addition to accomplishments in economics and politics, bilateral cooperation in other fields such as culture, education, and people-to-people exchanges have actively contributed to greater mutual understanding.

Regarding education and training, the two sides have signed and implemented many cooperation projects. The Italian Government has annually provided scholarships to Vietnamese students. Together with the rising number of tourists between the two countries in recent years, people-to-people exchanges have also contributed to enhancing mutual understanding, bringing the two countries closer together, stated the diplomat.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung said that collaboration among localities of the two sides is also growing, with the establishment of partnership between Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc provinces of Vietnam and Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Veneto, Hanoi and Lazio and Roma, and Lam Dong and Como, among others.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Italy will organise more cultural and diplomatic activities to promote people-to-people exchanges and encourage the teaching and study of Vietnamese in the host country.

Hannah Nguyen