Why Vietnam is the Best Destination to Teach English

You might be the kind of person that enjoys the hustle and bustle of a busy city or someone who loves the peace and quiet of idyllic beaches. You might be a fan of adventurous activities or you might love peaceful strolls in the countryside. The truth is that Vietnam can offer any kind of lifestyle you wish for, as it has been described as chaotic, exotic, and vibrant, as well as calm, peaceful, and fascinating. 

Why Vietnam is the Best Destination to Teach English
[image: pexels by arnie chou]

There’s something for anyone in Vietnam. For this reason, it is not surprising that many visitors decide to live there - in 2019 the country registered a population of over 83,000 expats

Are you a food lover?

The fresh ingredients and the unique flavors of Vietnamese dishes will blow your mind! Quite literally, as their cuisine is quite spicy, but it is also considered one of the healthiest in the world. Why? Vietnamese recipes rely on the light and refreshing taste of freshly picked vegetables and herbs. In addition, there are hardly any oil or dairy products used in their food preparation. 

Are you an adrenaline junkie?

If that’s the case, you would certainly enjoy the challenging cave treks, the breathtaking views while riding a motorbike or a bicycle, as a more eco-friendly option.

Why teach English in Vietnam?

Besides the wonderful scenery and the mouthwatering food, Vietnam has many opportunities to offer to teachers of English as a foreign language (TEFL). 

Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, mainly based on tourism and overseas import/export. Traditionally, this country has put a lot of emphasis on education, offering a wide range of opportunities to EFL teachers from abroad. 

Although a lack of teaching experience shouldn’t affect your chances of getting hired, there are some aspects that you should consider. Preferred candidates are those who are native English speakers, hold a bachelor’s degree at a minimum, and have a TEFL qualification. Usually, employers will ask you to provide a national criminal background check.

If you decide to teach in Vietnam, your salary as an English teacher would be quite good, compared to the average pay, and in proportion to your monthly expenses. Just to give you a rough idea, as a newly qualified teacher with no relevant experience, you could be earning around 1,000 US dollars. This would be poor pay in some cities like New York or London, but you could rent a fully furnished, one-bedroom modern apartment in a stunning location for just $400 a month in Hanoi, while the monthly rent of a studio flat in Ho Chi Minh city can be as low as $250. 

If you want to eat out every day, each meal would cost you around 3 US dollars, but you can always save money by buying fresh ingredients and cooking yourself. Traveling around a city like Hanoi, for example,  is quick and inexpensive with motorcycle taxis - remember to write down the address as the drivers often speak very limited English.

Where can you teach?

As an English teacher, you will have a range of options available to you, depending on a few factors. Which age group would you like to teach? What kind of institution would you feel comfortable working in?

Pre-schoolers are a lot of fun to teach. Your teaching method is likely to be singing, storytelling, and playing - does it sound good? Please keep in mind that your kindergarten class could have up to 20 children, as young as 18 months. 

In primary and secondary schools, however, classes can have up to 40 children. Your working day will often consist of just a few hours, allocated at any point between early morning and afternoon. This will give you the opportunity to work for different schools, to increase your earnings. Depending on where you teach, consider that technology might not be as readily available as it is in the schools in your country.

If you decide to live in one of Vietnam’s larger cities, private language schools will offer better options than public ones, in terms of salary and work-life balance. Private centers are better equipped with technology and resources and have a strong professional support system. These courses are popular among the local professionals; therefore, the lessons will be held after their working hours. Expect to work in the afternoon, and late evenings, as well as weekends.

The most sought-after positions are at international schools. Not only do they offer plenty of professional support, but also a great monthly salary and perks. Although you won’t be working weekends or late evenings, your weekly schedule will be very busy.

What will the future hold?

If you decide to leave Vietnam, you could always continue your travels and develop your teaching experiences in its neighbouring countries. Because of its convenient location, from Vietnam you can explore south-east Asia - from the magnificent temples in Cambodia to the glorious beaches in Thailand. Or why not move further afield, to Singapore or even Japan?

On the other hand, if you want to head back to your home country, rest assured that your experience will look great on your CV. Being able to boast international work experience will impress your future employers, regardless of the career path you choose to pursue. Working abroad will demonstrate your ability to adapt and willingness to face new challenges, while teaching will prove your resilience and creativity.

To sum up

If you are planning to teach English abroad, Vietnam is an excellent choice in terms of lifestyle, salary, professional development, and memorable experience. As with any life-changing decision, remember to make a plan. Ensure you have all the requirements needed and do your research before accepting a contract with any employer. Are you ready to pack your bags?

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