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Vietnam

 
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k-Portz



Joined: 01 Jan 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Ulaanbaatar

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject: Vietnam Reply with quote

Hello

I’m thinking of moving down to Vietnam come August/September, hoping you guys can provide a heads-up on the situation down there.

I’m British, 30 years old, master’s degree and have four years’ experience teaching English to primary school children at reputable international schools in Honduras and Mongolia.

Without a CELTA/TEFL is it impossible to gain steady, reasonably paid employment in Vietnam? I’m not looking for megabucks, just enough to live comfortably and potentially squirrel away a few hundred dollars a month.

I’d like to keep away from the two major cities if possible; I’m looking for somewhere chill along the coast initially. Most online advertisements seem to be HCMC or HN, I’m guessing I’ll have to do the rounds going door to door to find work initially. Which towns/cities offer the most potential to finding work quickly.

Once I have a job(s), how easy is it to convert a tourist visa to a work/business visa? Would I have to leave the country and come back again?

In anticipation of your advice and suggestions, thank you! Smile
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RustyShackleford



Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 434

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coastal cities are in demand unless you go for someplace smaller like Quy Nhon. HCMC and HN are the way to go for "speedy" employment.

With a Masters, I'd say knock on the doors of international schools (I also have Masters and parlayed my experience to these ends). You'll be working hard, but making more than reasonable pay and probably decent vacation (i.e. ANY vacation at all.

I also recommend you get at least some online TEFL, as you may not be able to get the work permit, which will force you to make visa runs every three months and I am aware that Vietnam is starting to crack down on illegal labor even for white westerners.
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DauntlessinDanang



Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I’m looking for somewhere chill along the coast initially.

Danang is about as chill as it gets, but getting bigger and more crowded every year. A full-time teaching job at one of several international schools gets you the biggest bang for your buck, but gives you a lot less time to chill. A part-time gig at one of the local universities like this one:(https://tnhvietnam.xemzi.com/en/job/show/28828/English-Teacher-at-Dong-A-University), gives you more chill time, but reduces your monthly income to the 20-mil range, which is about average for these parts. A lot of uni teachers here supplement their incomes with a second job in the evenings.
Part-time jobs at local language centers (30-50 or so) are the primary source of employment for most teacher types here. Full-time gigs at the big mills are often reserved as relocation perks for loyal and long-term employees looking to get out of Hanoi and HCMC, but FT jobs at the bigger ESL workshops do pop up from time to time (ILA just opened a new center in town). One super chain for kids with three centers here looks for fresh recruits on a more consistent basis, but offers what could be considered as a lousy full-time contract loaded with unremunerative hours, giving at least the appearance of being mainly designed to make the owners rich while burning out the dancing bears in weekly split shifts between branches, one of which appears to be the equivalent of one of those dreaded chain-school mall stores of Thailand.
Danang contines to be one of the chillest spots for folks of all ages to grab a cool slice of Vietnam's hottest teaching destination, and the time to do so has never been better than now. Teachers who make their way here will always come and and go; these days, more of those making it seem to be sticking around longer, with a few us digging in for the long run.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above post seems fairly accurate, if a little out-dated. The biggest schools seem to be recruiting 2-3 teachers every month. I suppose if you have at least 12 foreign teachers, that works out to needing to replace at least 1 every month.

The city is growing faster than I ever thought possible, and the ESL scene is growing as a result. The 3 biggest centers are still on top, Apollo, ILA, and SuperKids, but the international schools have more competition now. SIS used to be the only show in town, but now APU and Greenshoots are viable options for higher than average salaries.

Bilingual schools like Skyline can offer decent pay if you can put up with the most awful, spoiled students you can imagine. And I think working in the local universities would be an exercise in futility with very little reward.

There's something here for everyone, but the primary market is with kids.
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DauntlessinDanang



Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bilingual schools like Skyline can offer decent pay if you can put up with the most awful, spoiled students you can imagine.

This isn't true. The students at Skyline are basically the same as anywhere else, normal, everyday Vietnamese kids with the usual amounts of lethargy, enthusiasm, affection, and rebellion.
I know about the kids at Skyline because I currently teach there. I've also taught at APU, where teachers can and do work without education degrees or licenses from their home countries.
Calling kids bad names at schools where we don't work is bad form. It's a bit careless and disrespectful. It's also a good example of the gossipy nature of our species.
At Skyline, I've taught grade 6 (ages 10-12) and now teach a small group of 17-year-olds in an Aussie pathways program. Plenty of naughtiness and aloofness to be sure, along with the occasional LES tantrum, but nothing all too awful or spoon-fed.
The truth, by the way, is never démodé.
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fairness you will encounter spoiled brats in most schools in Vietnam that can afford foreign teachers.

Some will be great of course - keen to learn and respectful. Beware the ads that say ALL Vietnamese value education and respect teachers. That just isn't the case any more - if ever it was.

Generally the more expensive and exclusive the school the worse the attitudes of the students and their parents. So I understand how easy it is to generalize about Skyline.

Be ready for some bad attitudes and expect zero support if it gets out of hand. You will be blamed, not the little prince or princess.
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k-Portz



Joined: 01 Jan 2017
Posts: 8
Location: Ulaanbaatar

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info guys, quite helpful.

RustyShackleford wrote:
I also recommend you get at least some online TEFL, as you may not be able to get the work permit


Will any crumby online TEFL be accepted by employers/government? I plan on getting a proper teaching diploma in two or three years, would like to avoid paying hundreds/thousands of dollars on a more 'legitimate' TEFL course.

I’ve looked at the websites of a few of the international school in Vietnam. Many make a point of not accepting unqualified teachers, and list their teachers as possessing numerous university level teaching certifications. International schools wouldn’t lie about their teachers’ credentials, would they?

Danang seems like it could have potential for initial relocation. Is it worth getting in touch with any of the schools there now for work in August/September or are there so many expats floating around that they've already got a sizable pool in the area to choose from?
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skarper



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 462

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would avoid arriving in Danang and looking for significant amounts of work right away. If you can afford to live for 6 months to a year on a few hours a week then OK - but if you NEED to be making 1-2 thousand USD a month to cover your living costs then you'd do better arriving in Hanoi or HCMC, building up experience and then looking to move.

Some people do land on their feet but far more seem to end up struggling.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

k-Portz wrote:
Thanks for the info guys, quite helpful.

RustyShackleford wrote:
I also recommend you get at least some online TEFL, as you may not be able to get the work permit


Will any crumby online TEFL be accepted by employers/government? I plan on getting a proper teaching diploma in two or three years, would like to avoid paying hundreds/thousands of dollars on a more 'legitimate' TEFL course.


I believe the requirements since January of 2017 are that you need at least a 90 hour certificate.

And no school in Danang seems to care about the name of on your TEFL. The schools which actually require a TEFL will accept any piece of paper you're willing to take to your embassy and say that it is "true and correct".

If you have a CELTA you will probably be preferred over anyone else, but most places seem to put more stock in experience with the target ages.
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BenE



Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 321

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

I believe the requirements since January of 2017 are that you need at least a 90 hour certificate.


Interesting. Have you got a source of this info (a legal directive etc.)
This might be useful to know if it's a Vietnam wide rule.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DauntlessinDanang wrote:

This isn't true. The students at Skyline are basically the same as anywhere else, normal, everyday Vietnamese kids with the usual amounts of lethargy, enthusiasm, affection, and rebellion.
I know about the kids at Skyline because I currently teach there. I've also taught at APU, where teachers can and do work without education degrees or licenses from their home countries.
Calling kids bad names at schools where we don't work is bad form. It's a bit careless and disrespectful. It's also a good example of the gossipy nature of our species.
At Skyline, I've taught grade 6 (ages 10-12) and now teach a small group of 17-year-olds in an Aussie pathways program. Plenty of naughtiness and aloofness to be sure, along with the occasional LES tantrum, but nothing all too awful or spoon-fed.
The truth, by the way, is never démodé.


I've also taught at Skyline, and that's where my comments come from. When I was there, the entire foreign teaching staff was miserable. We were getting paid $25 per hour for our troubles, but everyone treated it like it was a joke. The parents run that school, and through them, the students run the classes. I had 1 class that was fairly decent, but the Vietnamese TA would often break down in tears after a lesson because 1-2 students had absolutely no rules, and would tell her that if she didn't let them do what they wanted they'd tell their parents and get her fired.

There were simply no consequences for any of the students, so lessons usually turned into play-time groups. Then at the end of the course, the whole English department would get called in for meetings asking why these special classes with foreign teachers, which the parents pay crazy sums of money to put their kids in, aren't yielding any results.

That's soul crushing teaching right there. The one thing I took away from that job is that I'd never take a job just because of better than average pay again. That and I'd never, ever send my kids to Skyline.

BenE wrote:

Interesting. Have you got a source of this info (a legal directive etc.)
This might be useful to know if it's a Vietnam wide rule.


I'll have to ask our HR department to send me the information. They just let me know this a few months ago, and I didn't ask for more info.
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DauntlessinDanang



Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That's soul crushing teaching right there.
We were getting paid $25 per hour for our troubles, but everyone treated it like it was a joke.
And I think working in the local universities would be an exercise in futility with very little reward.

I suppose teaching ESL in Danang is about as futile and soul-crushing as you make it. For me, the most rewarding part about teaching here has been the chance to be more of an independent contractor, which means arranging my own schedule and, whenever possible, not having a direct boss or supervisor looking over my shoulder.
The worst part about teaching ESL in Danang, at least for me, has been dealing with foreigners in management positions, men who've gone out of their way to try to crush the life out of me. But no matter where we live and work, there will always be men and women looking to abuse us by taking advantage of what little power they may have over us.
Based on ExpatLuke's statements, perhaps the only schools in Danang worth teaching at—places that aren't soul-crushing or a joke or an exercise in futility—are the hedgehoggy super centers and chain schools. While there's nothing wrong with earning a paycheck this way, some of us making a living here are finding foxier options.
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been in EFL/ESL industry for nearly 10 years now, and working in Vietnam for about half that time. I believe by now I can call things as I see them. It's fine if you don't agree with me, but I believe a newbie who comes here looking for information needs to know your limited views which you've made well known in your 5 posts are not a complete picture.

I'm actually quite close with a number of the foreign managers here in Danang. And the expat community here is small enough that I have the contact information saved in my phone of nearly all of them, including the "top 3" language centers and international school managers. And I can say that your slander of them is not deserved. They are all hardworking people who do a pretty good job of dealing the "mixed bag" of people working under them.

Perhaps your troubles with management come more from your own faults than theirs. And to be perfectly honest, just based on the little information you've shared about yourself, I have a good idea of who you are, so I believe that judgement of you is correct. Like I said the expat community here isn't that large.

I think I'll ask some of these foreign managers to chime in here as well.
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Wayland



Joined: 08 Oct 2013
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really hesitate to get involved in this, but I do feel what ExpatLuke is saying is closer to what is correct. Mr. Dauntless seems to have a second agenda in a few of his posts. I am personal friends with the director of at least one school he's not so subtly mentioned, and I can say for certain that he is off base.

At the risk of dragging some good people's names through the dirt, we should all be a little more careful in what we say. Self examination of oneself is key to healthy growth.
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