This article examines the language practices of vietnamese students in taiwan in relation to their social connectedness across different contact zones. Data were obtained from interviews with vietnamese students of english-medium programmes in taiwanese universities. Findings suggest that the students, in managing their english and chinese in interactions with people of diverse language backgrounds, shaped their social imaginary of their position in relation to these people. It is observed that proficiency in chinese was significant for them to establish their connectedness with local people and the host society. Implications for better assisting international students in non-anglophone countries are then suggested. 2019, 2019 Informa uk limited, trading as taylor & francis group.