What's it like to live and work in Vietnam?

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Today's interview is with Narsisa, who used to live and teach in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Vietnam sounds like a wonderful country to live and teach in, but sometimes pollution can be an issue in the cities...

1)How long have you been teaching abroad?

I have been teaching abroad for 3 years.

2) What made you decide to move overseas to work?

I was working in London and felt the need to move abroad and be able to travel.

3) How did you find your current job?

I found my current job via the TES website.

4) Why did you choose that location?

After being in Qatar for 2 years, I felt that I wanted to explore and have the experience of living in Southeast Asia.

5) What is it like living there as a single female?

I am enjoying my time in Vietnam. There are a lot of female teachers who live here and enjoy the lifestyle and of course the travelling opportunities during weekends or school holidays.

6) What are its advantages?

Being in Vietnam has a lot of advantages: the salaries and benefits are great, the cost of living very low and you have amazing opportunities to travel, save and live an easy life.

7) Are there any negatives?

The negatives of living in Vietnam is that you are a lot further away from Europe. Other negatives are the level of pollution and the higher prices to get Western products, such as beauty products or food.

8) How did you deal with homesickness?

I have dealt with sickness by visiting my home country once a year and of course by having family and friends over for a long period of time. Also keeping contact is easy with FaceTime and social media.

9) What has been the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience is the friends I made who all have a similar mindset and the travelling I did during my time here.

10) What are the biggest differences with teaching at home?

The salary, the benefits, the weather and the job itself feels easier and more enjoyable.

11) What is normally included in a good teaching package in Vietnam?

High salary, accommodation, school lunch, medical insurance, flights, some money for relocation, and they should also cover the cost of legalising, notarising all the documents and certificates needed to secure your work visa.

12) Is there tax on your salary?

Yes there is tax, but the school deals with this.

13) How did you find your accommodation?

I arrived straight to my flat. Accommodation is provided by the school, where you live for the first year and then you have the option to take the housing allowance and find your own flat. Daily housing cleaning, washing, ironing is also included in the school accommodation.

14) What is the social life like there?

There is a strong social life within the expat community.

15) Any insider tips? E.g. when applying for jobs, renting, living and working there?

A big tip is to find a school in District 2 (in Ho Chi Minh City), which will be easier for anyone who wants to have an expat way of living! Find more information about living in the different districts in Ho Chi Minh City on this site.

My name is Sorcha Coyle and I’ve been teaching in the Gulf (Qatar and Dubai) for the past 9 years. I also run Empowering Expat Teachers, whose mission is to empower future and current expat teachers to lead personally, professionally, and financially rewarding lives. If you haven’t already, join the supportive EET FB group here and follow me on IG @sorchacoyle_eet for lots of research, CV, and cover letter tips! Last but not least, I also provide CV and cover letter support to future and current expat teachers with my range of services in Teach Abroad Academy- check them out here!

Sorcha x 


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