vietnamese immigrants

Vietnamese Immigrants



key (2) proud opportunity
willing give up outperform
tough respect concentrate
vary demand integration
effort decision competitive
PISA priority generation
critical prestige pressure (2)
pursue repress recognition
deny struggle categorize
chance settle in along the way
strict apply (2) convinced
shine overnight break down






Hoang Quang has close ties to his neighborhood. He left Vietnam in the 1980s, and came to Leipzig as a worker, like many others from his country.

Hoang built his life in Germany around his store. He wanted to give his son all the opportunities he never had.

And he believes education is the key.

Hoang Quang: “I have an engineering degree in math and computer sciences. I wanted to continue my career here, but I couldn’t.

I want my son to work in a company or government agency or something…something better.”

Seventeen year old Viet comes by to visit his parents after school. They’re proud of their son: he’s outperforming his German classmates.

He willingly gave up on a possible future in football a few months ago, so he could concentrate on his studies. He plans to study economics.

Viet Quang: “It was a really tough decision. It may sound funny, but I was close to tears. I played competitive sports for five years. And it felt like all that time and effort was for nothing.

But school is more important.

I think I made the right decision.”

For many Vietnamese students here, getting good grades is the number one priority, not just in their own language and culture.

German students on the other hand, receive only average rankings in recent PISA studies.

Olaf Beuchling: “That really surprised a lot of younger Vietnamese. They’re used to a different system in their home country.

They’re also critical of the German system. They believe teachers should demand more respect. And students should realize how important teachers are.

Immigrants from Vietnam have established themselves in communities around the world. But their level of integration varies from country to country.

Ching Lin Pang, Immigration Expert, Leuven University: “They have a different immigration policy in France. In France they have the republican model, so everyone speaks French and you are not seen as an ethnic minority. And maybe the chances are great that you’re interviewing a Vietnamese in France, you’re not an immigrant but a French person. Or you would say I’m a French-Vietnamese.

Whereas in Germany of course, Germany has more of a multicultural model, where people are categorized ethnically.”

The second generation often gets a lot of pressure from their parents. Quynh Tran had a fight to study the subject she wanted: philosophy. Her parents wanted her to pursue a career in science.

Quynh Tran: “My parents are like all Vietnamese people in their generation. They grew up in a politically repressed, poor country. So you can understand why they are worried.”

Vietnamese immigrants here in Germany are fighting for prestige and recognition. That struggle hasn’t always been easy, especially forthose who were denied a chance to succeed.

Hoang Quang couldn’t find a job in his field. Still he settled in and learned the language, making friends along the way.

He’s no longer convinced that he should raise his son in a typically, strict Vietnamese way.

Hoang Quang: “I spoke with my wife. And we realized it wasn’t working. When we applied too much pressure, everything breaks down.

So I talked to my son about it. I told him, ‘now you can party too. And if you need to, you can stay with a friend overnight.’

That’s okay.”

Hoang Quang has succeeded in his biggest mission: giving his son the opportunity to shine. He still believes education is the key to a bright future.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Hoang Quang works as an engineer in Germany. True or false?

2. What is Hoang Quang’s life story?

3. He wants his son to take over the family store. Is this correct or wrong?

4. Which is more important for the son, football or eduction? Was it a tough decision to make?

5. Who performs better in school, Vietnamese-Germans or native Germans?

6. There are some conflicts between parents and children. True or false?

7. Do the parents always “win”?
A. Are you an immigrant? Do you know any immigrants or people who have emigrated?

B. How do immigrants differ from locals in your city?

C. What did your parents tell you?

D. What do or will you tell your children?

E. Education is the key to a bright future. What do you think?

Comments are closed.