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For the full story on cooking courses, check out the Food & Drink chapter.
There are Vietnamese language courses offered in HCMC, Hanoi and elsewhere. To qualify for student-visa status you need to enrol at a bona fide university, as opposed to a private language centre or with a tutor. Lessons usually last for two hours per day, and cost from USS3 (university) to US$10 (private) per hour. It is important to decide on whether to study Vietnamese in Hanoi or HCMC, as the northern and southern dialects are quite different. Many have been dismayed to discover that if they studied in one city they could not communicate dearly in the other. For more details, see under Language Courses in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.