How do people in your country usually socialise? Do you like socialising or do you prefer to spend time alone? What do you normally do to socialise? What do you think about working in coffee shops?
Read the conversation below to learn about socialising in Vietnam.
Pay close attention to word combinations. You can also take notes in your notebook.
Kate: How do people in your country socialise?
Liem: In Vietnam, it's really common to invite your colleagues for dinner after work. It's all about getting together to relax. I need to mention, though, that people drink a lot... I would say at least three bottles of beer per person. Usually they drink more until they're drunk. I don't like it because it's really unhealthy. That is the most common way to socialise in Vietnam. With your co-workers, it's always about eating and drinking, but with your friends, you can ask them to have a coffee at the weekend. In Vietnam, it's common to go to a coffee shop, and order a coffee or juice. You can sit there chatting for hours and hours. There are plenty of coffee shops you can choose from or you may have a favourite one. Personally, I don't drink coffee and I tend to stay at home. I would go only if someone invited me. I'm not very active in asking people to hang out, but my girlfriend likes staying in a coffee shop and working there, whereas I don't.
Kate: I was going to ask you if people work in coffee shops as well, because I see this is becoming a trend nowadays and they seem to be the new workplace.
Liem: Yeah, there are a lot of people working in coffee shops, however, I don't feel they're working because for me it isn't a workplace. If someone brings a laptop, put it on a table, order a drink, and stay there, I would think they're surfing Facebook, watching movies or doing something else rather than working. You know, how to work in a coffee shop when a lot of people are talking, moving around and there are a lot of distractions on your laptop?
Kate: And also music... Music playing in the background in the coffee shop.
Liem: And I also think a coffee shop is a place where people show off their latest gear, like their laptops. They usually bring their best laptop, for instance Macbook, and they put it on the table along with their phone. This is what I think when I see them using a Macbook in public.
Kate: Yes, and actually I can't imagine myself taking my laptop, going to a coffee shop and using it there. I mean, to me, this feels really uncomfortable and it's not typical for me.
Liem: Yeah, I could never do it!
Kate: Yes, me neither. And do you know what? I've seen a lot of images of Japanese people who go to coffee shops to study English, and they pile their textbooks on the table, they take pictures of their drinks, food and they study there. I'm not sure if this can help you study anything, though.
Liem: The only thing I think I can do in a coffee shop is brainstorming some ideas. I would choose a garden themed café because that would inspire me. I would never study in a coffee shop, especially studying English, because I can't speak out loud. It's really important to me. I'd rather stay at home and watch movies on TV.
Kate: In English?
Liem: Yes, in English, and turn off the subtitles. In Vietnam, we have garden cafés which are a popular café style. They are usually huge and may accommodate up to 500 people. There are lots of tables and a garden in the middle. I'm looking for an image to show you what it looks like.
Kate: Oh, wow! And this is in Vietnam? Oh, I've never seen this type of coffee shops. I've watched videos with coffee shops in South Korea, but I've never seen anything like that, not even close.
Liem: I think it's really specific to Vietnam. And yeah, it's worth a visit if you go to Vietnam.
Kate: I think there are a lot of coffee shops that I could visit, especially if they all look like that.
Liem: Yeah. But I would say their coffee is terrible. Horrible. They usually charge high prices and what you get tastes like instant coffee, but it's not. And if you order an orange juice, you will get a little bit of orange juice with a lot of water and sugar.
Kate: So they don't give you a normal orange juice and add water instead to make it seem more? That's not very fair.
Liem: Yeah, but you see, they need to spend a lot of money on rent and maintaining the place. So, that's why. Drinks are a little bit expensive, but when you go there, you want to enjoy the refreshing and greenery surroundings, not the drink itself.
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