Bon Café on Nguyen Cong Tru Street in District 1, HCMC is growing crowded as local youths and foreign expatriates come to the coffee shop every Thursday night for a language exchange event.
At Bon, guests can meet and talk with those from different cultures around the world while sipping a cup of coffee or tea on a Thursday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The café is divided into several corners, with each table having with a national flag representing a foreign language, such as English, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish or Vietnamese. Customers can feel free to sit down at any table for a conservation with people there.
Speaking to The Saigon Times Daily, Phan Binh Tu Anh, a 24-year-old girl who is a member of the event management board, says the activity was launched more than a year ago by a French teacher to create a venue for local and foreign guests to improve their foreign language skills, get a better understanding of foreign cultures, and find new friends.
“As an alumnus of the International University under the Vietnam National University in HCMC, I have grappled with a slew of difficulties in communicating in English and looking for opportunities to practice my spoken English with native speakers. I hope the event would help connect students of foreign languages with foreigners,” Anh says.
Charles, a 28-year-old Frenchman and a frequent guest of the event, says he is filled with joy to partake in the event where he can share stories about his daily life in HCMC with young Vietnamese people and is proud of introducing French culture and lifestyles to other participants.
Due to limited seats, those interested should drop by the café early to secure a seat. Guests pay no entrance fee for the event.
Bon Café is located at 152 Nguyen Cong Tru Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, HCMC.
Charles (L), a 28-year-old Frenchman, talks with young Vietnamese people at a language exchange event last Thursday night
Each table has a national flag representing a foreign language. In this photo, young people are seen at a table with the Union Jack, the national flag of the UK
The event captures the attention of local and foreign guests
Kaoru (C), a 39-year-old Japanese who works in HCMC, says he always comes to the café every Thursday night to enjoy the bustling atmosphere