Do local youths only take foreigners as friends with benefits?
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Making friends and learning from people from other cultures is no longer something new in this globalized world. However, some take foreigners as friends with benefits, to brush up their language ability or their image.
Students from the University of Pittsburgh take picture with Vietnamese students Photo: Tuoi Tre
“Some Vietnamese hang out with foreigners just to practice their English or to be seen as ‘cool’,” commented Hong Nhat, who counts several foreigners as close friends.
He said foreigners are sensitive enough to realize the purpose of making friends and may try to avoid those who want to take advantage of the friendship.
“I feel annoyed as they ask me out just to speak English with them or to introduce me to their friends,” said Michael Jones (21).
He said he was thought of as arrogant after refusing many invitations to hang out with Vietnamese friends.
“Vietnamese youths do not have good knowledge on national history and culture. When we talk, we only discuss trivial stories, which leads to boredom,” said Wiliam Brown, an American who has worked in Vietnam for three months.
Meanwhile, Korean Song Jae Hee, a student at the city’s University of Social Science and Humanities, finds Vietnamese bad habits like standing someone up and not saying sorry put off her motivation to become friends with the locals.
Meanwhile, many Vietnamese youths confessed that it is hard to take steps in the friendship and become more than an acquaintance with westerners.
“Although I put a lot of effort into interacting with many foreign friends and colleagues, I can never become their close friends despite my good language ability,” confessed Anh Phuong (24).
She found cultural differences a great border that keeps people of the two cultures apart.
Ngoc Tu, a former student at Stanford (US), found that westerners put importance on individual freedom and privacy.
“They only share information about family, money and love to close friends, while the Vietnamese can discuss these topics with anyone,” she explained.
“Due to this difference, many Vietnamese misunderstand and think that westerners are unfriendly.”
So what are the secrets of making foreign friends and keeping them? Michael advises Vietnamese youngsters to remain themselves when it comes to interacting with foreigners.
“They don’t know it is the Vietnamese traits in their characteristics and appearance that draws us to them the most,” he said.
He recalled meeting a girl with a fake tan and blond hair in skimpy clothes. Trying to look like a westerner, the girl appeared unattractive to him and as a result, he did not dare to get to know her any further.
“It is good to exchange and learn from foreigner friends but we should keep our identity,” said Xuan An, a student at an international school.