Hanoi (VNA) - Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreign students in Vietnam are unable to return home or travel as planned but have to stay at the school's dormitory during the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival. Many of whom celebrate Tet in Vietnam for the first time.

To encourage and help the foreign students relieve from homesickness and celebrate the Vietnamese New Year more warmly, universities have organised many activities such as visiting, giving gifts and extending Tet greetings to the students. This is also an opportunity to help them better understand the customs, habits and traditional culture of the Vietnamese New Year.

Dang Huong Giang, Head of the Department of Politics and Student Affairs, Thuy Loi University, said in the past years, most foreign students returned to their home countries or traveled during Tet. This year, due to the impact of the COVID-19, for the first time, nearly 30 foreign students will stay at the dormitory during this period. These are students and PhD fellows from Laos, Cambodia, and Mongolia.

The university has supported these students with food, accommodation and living allowances. It has also organised many activities to help them understand more about Vietnam's Tet traditions.

Foreign students in Vietnam get support to have a happy Tet hinh anh 1Photo: Prof. Le Thanh Son, Vice Rector of the University of Natural Sciences, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, offers lucky money to Lao students. (Photo: VNA)

At the Me Tri Dormitory of the Vietnam National University, Hanoi, international students have the opportunities to participate in many interesting activities to celebrate Tet such as wrapping square glutinous rice cake (banh chung), presenting a five-fruit tray. Because there are no restaurants on Tet holiday, the students are allowed to stay and cook in the dormitory but must ensure fire safety and disease prevention. Leaders of the university and others also visited and offeredTet gifts and lucky money to the students.

The National Economics University has 180 students from Laos and Cambodia staying during Tet this year. Head of the university’s Communication Department Vo Trong Nghia said the school has organised visits and presented gifts and money to support these students.

In 2020, the Hanoi University of Science and Technology has nearly 150 international students from 14 countries, most of whom from Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Palestine, etc. The students studied at 11 training institutes, eight percent of whom are now pursuing post graduate degrees. The number of international students staying during the Lunar New Year this year is more than 100.

Foreign students in Vietnam get support to have a happy Tet hinh anh 2Photo: Foreign students at Hanoi University of Science and Technology at the year-end gathering. (Photo: VNA)

The university held a cozy year-end gathering with these students. This is an opportunity for them to share the joys and difficulties during the academic year with their lecturers and school staff. Extending New Year greetings to the students, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Phong Dien, Vice Rector of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology shared his wish to organise more activities in learning and life "so that they can have new experiences in life in Vietnam, have memorable time at the university”.

Besides visiting, giving gifts, wishing New Year's greetings, helping students better understand the traditional Vietnamese New Year, the leaders of the universities also remind the students what to keep in mind when staying in the dormitory on this occasion, especially restricting travel, not gathering in large numbers, wearing masks when going out, washing hands and disinfecting frequently to prevent COVID-19 pandemic.

Although they cannot return home, the foreign students said this is also an opportunity for them to celebrate the Vietnamese traditional New Year and better understand the culture, customs and habits of Vietnam, which they consider as their second home./.