Why Teach in Vietnam?
You’ve made the decision that you want to teach abroad somewhere and the possibilities of location are endless, so why choose Vietnam? It’s one of the questions we ask in our interviews as everybody has a reason for wanting to teach here. The majority of answers include previously travelling here and word of mouth through friends/forums. This article explores some of the best reasons why teachers love working in Vietnam and why it is one of the best international teaching hotspots in the world.
Vietnam is still a developing country where the amount of English speaking people are still relatively low in comparison. As a result, there has been a sharp rise of English classes in recent years that develop a need for native speakers to lead the next generation forward and to continue the development in Vietnam. University students and millennials are realizing the importance of learning English to fulfill their own goals of being successful and to further their own career which resultantly is creating the demand for more teachers.
Teachers are not just limited to teaching children or students either; there are a growing number of internationalized companies in Vietnam that use English in their day to day operations. This has created more opportunities in corporate classes as well as tutoring for specific personnel.
The salary prospect
It is very difficult to ignore the potential earnings of those teaching in Vietnam. A full time role here can easily bring between $2000-$3000 per month for native English teachers, with part time/ cover work ranging between $18-25 per hour, which for most, meets or exceeds their homeland wages. A full time role here can be as little as 25 hours a week, with part time roles being an option on top of full time work. The amount of expats has risen five fold since 2004 and for those travelers who look for some short term work before continuing their travels can often find themselves temporarily living here to fund their next adventure.
The price of living
The cost of living in Vietnam compared to the salary prospects is very low. Of course it will vary in price all over Vietnam, but for HCMC you can rent a modern, hotel-like apartment with a swimming pool and amenities from as little as $300 a month. Most expats I have met eat out for every meal as it almost works out cheaper – a Banh Mi can be found for as little as 10,000 dong with some other local Vietnamese dishes starting from 25,000 dong, just over a dollar.
Day-to-day expenditure such as fuel, data for mobile phones and public transport can also be picked up very cheaply in comparison to other countries. Many people are able to save half their paycheck (or more) from teaching whilst still living a comfortable life.
Outside the teaching bubble, Vietnam has so much to offer as a country. From breathtaking landscapes, incredible food and culture, the Vietnamese way of life, there is always something to love about Vietnam for everyone.
The students and the teaching!
There’s a different mentality in Vietnam that I have not seen elsewhere. Children as young as 3 can speak English at the same level as a natively English speaking child. It is taught as a core subject in public school with some international schools only teaching in English. At the other end of the scale, University students can actively be seen trying to make friends with westerners in parks and touristy areas just to practice their English. The outlook of University students in Vietnam compared to those back at home in the UK is astounding; they look forward to classes, raring to improve their English skills, there is a real sense of passion from the students that make teaching out here far more rewarding.
Teachers are able to express their creative ability without feeling the stress of being regulated by OFSTED or similar examining bodies. Whilst TEFL/TESOL/CELTA courses offer guidance and material, teachers are able to experiment with learning techniques to find the best one to suit them and the class they are teaching.
Of course, I am biased towards Vietnam as I really enjoy living here, every day is different. The toughest decision for those who have decided to come teach here is where to teach.