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TEFL Jobs in Vietnam

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Do you intend to teach English as a foreign language in Vietnam? This guide will enable you to make the most out of your time and career in Vietnam.
TEFL is teaching English as a Foreign Language. There is a big market for native speakers of English to teach English in Vietnam.

Finding a TEFL Job in Vietnam

Before going to Vietnam, you might prefer the security of having already arranged a job through a jobs website. However, as a free essay writer, we should warn you that many "fixers" make promises of high salaries and benefits to prospective TEFL teachers in Vietnam. They can sound super friendly during the recruiting process, but they won't be at your beck and call after receiving a fee from the school where you are placed. If you do arrange a job before you visit Vietnam, try to make sure that you do it through a reputable agent or company.

Culture Shock in Vietnam

Once you arrive in Vietnam, you can suffer quite a culture shock. The larger cities tend to be crowded, polluted, with motorbikes everywhere. Don't worry, you'll get used to it. Of course, the food and language are very different from what you are used to, and not many people speak English. In the smaller towns and villages, don't be surprised if people stare or point at you, as they are not used to seeing Western folks in these places. Like everything, after the initial feeling of disorientation, you will find your way around and grow used to Vietnamese culture, enjoying their street markets and excellent public transport.

TEFL in Vietnam

Teaching English as a foreign language in Vietnam will usually take place in a private school where children are sent to learn English from a native speaker. In addition, you can also work at language learning centers, where learners consist of mostly university students or working adults.

Read more about The Education System in Vietnam

The classes tend to range in size from anywhere between 2-20 students per class, and you'll have time to prepare courses in the staff room at the school before your first class (if you arrive early enough).

Some schools will have an impressive resource library, while others will have less material to choose from, so it's a good idea to check these matters out before you agree to sign a contract with a school. Often, the private schools will hire you out to businesses or state schools during the day. You may have to get used to long days and plenty of traveling to different schools depending on the number of hours you are required to work.

Try to talk through these issues with the owner or head of staff at the private school you are working at before you agree to sign your contract. Some Vietnamese schools, for example, may ask you to work 35 hours per week. You might think that the hour means the 50 minutes of class and the 10-minute break between each class, whereas they may ask you to teach the whole of the 35 hours in the classroom, which could mean more than 40 classes per week.

Work Permits in Vietnam

For details and information, please refer to our article on How to Get a Work Permit in Vietnam. Some rules of thumb you should remember are that employers are not allowed to take away your passports and personal identification documents under any circumstances, and there should not be a charge to start working at any facilities. Some places might require an upfront fee or deposit from you as they are afraid you might not be committed to working with them, but it's best to avoid any companies that ask for this.

There can be a small fee for the process of applying for a work permit, so it's best if you can discuss with the company if they can cover the expense for you. Some small businesses might not even support you with getting the permit and you might have to face the hassle of applying it yourself, so it's advisable to keep this in mind before signing the contract.

Applying for a work permit and a temporary residence are 2 separate processes in Vietnam. You must have a valid work permit before getting a TRC. Having an experienced Western teacher in Vietnam or a Vietnamese friend to consult with would be ideal amidst the complicated paperwork.

TEFL Schools in Vietnam

Overall the experience of teaching English as a foreign language in Vietnam will largely depend on who hires you and what plans they have for you. Communication can be a problem, so you need to know exactly where you stand before committing to a school, as the contract will legally bind you to that school.

There are a lot of TEFL teachers in Vietnam who love the country and have tremendously enjoyed the experience of both teachings and immersing themselves in a radically different culture. The key to avoiding that nightmare scenario is to do your homework on the school you intend to work in (talk to other TEFL teachers to gain valuable insight) and to prepare yourself for the vastly different culture you are about to enter.

Native TEFL teachers in Vietnam generally enjoy a decent salary as they are paid more than the local ones. Nonetheless, a teacher's income is not so high either. However, thanks to Vietnam's modest cost of living, you are bound to have quite a comfortable living experience, along with the freedom to explore this beautiful country.

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© Written by Kim Pham for i Tour Vietnam

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