© Anvi Hoàng
© Anvi Hoàng

—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —–

Nina Nhung Hoang (no relation to me) and her husband, Glen Tatum, have more than ten years of experience in hosting Vietnamese students at their home. In part 2 of this series, the focus is on details of everyday life the Vietnamese students experience in their home: daily schedule from the time everybody is up to the time they go to bed, their weekend and holiday activities, the kid’s daily or weekly chores to keep their room and the house clean, etc. Among these things, discipline is essential. And Nina and Glen are good with that because both of them used to be teachers. Nina was teaching for ten years in Vietnam before coming to the US and Glen with more than ten years of college teaching experience before changing his job. Glen is responsible for imparting American culture to the kids, and Nina holding down the Vietnamese side. Nina’s motto is to keep the good things from Vietnamese culture and learn the positive things from American culture.

In the end, it boils down to their team work to keep a smooth operation in the household. In Nina’s own words, they “have to agree with each other on everything before we reach a decision that affects the students” and that their “love and strong union are the blessings [they] are fortunate to have to share with the students that make them feel the warm of a home while staying away from their parents.”

That said, both the pleasure and the pain from hosting international students are many. After more than ten years, they continue to do it because of the immeasurable joy from the experience as a whole.

We already heard from Nina, below is some of Glen Tatum’s insight to their story, in his own words.

What is your role in this team work hosting Vietnamese students in your home? 

My role is that of a guardian. Responsible for parenting the student while in my home. I treat each one as my own and give them both the positive attention and the discipline that I would expect from my own children.

What are the pros, and cons if there is any, for you to be an American and native speaker of English in your interaction with those students? 

I encourage English interaction whenever possible. I do not restrict their Vietnamese language, religion, or culture. I do remind them that their parents are spending thousands of dollars to come here to learn English language and customs.

In your experience, what is your number one challenge in hosting Vietnamese students? 

Usually the language barrier. Even if they are English schooled, there is nothing that helps to learn English like speaking with a native speaker. It usually takes four months of being in the US before most can speak clearly or follow conversation. Their studies pick up greatly about Thanksgiving.

What is your advice for Vietnamese students at home who wish to go to the US for school? 

Study, learn vocabulary. Read a dictionary. Watch American TV and movies. Listen to American music for the lyrics.

What would you say to Vietnamese parents who wish to send their children to America for studying? 

It’s a better way to learn English. If the student is not a good student in Vietnam, they won’t be any better here.

Part 3: Sending your kids to the US for school? Stories from the ‘kids’

Part 1: Sending your kids to the US for school? Check out Nina Nhung Hoang’s tips for Vietnamese parents

–> Read the Vietnamese version