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Vietnam newbie. Should I bother coming?

 
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imisssaitama



Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 46
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:34 pm    Post subject: Vietnam newbie. Should I bother coming? Reply with quote

Hi

UK native speaker, 11 years of experience teaching mostly kids and teens. Hoping to make at least subsistence salary all year round avoiding adult classes if possible. Can anyone give me a rough idea as to whether I should come over or not? I'm sure there are many different factors that will determine how life might be for me there, but does it sound like I can get work and can I make enough to survive without working 12 hours a day?

Non-education based BA if that's relevant, most of my experience has been in Japan but I suspect that won't count for much in Vietnam, plus 35 years old, very "European" looking. Will go anywhere but prefer the north.

Thanks!
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
UK native speaker, 11 years of experience teaching mostly kids and teens. Hoping to make at least subsistence salary all year round avoiding adult classes if possible. Can anyone give me a rough idea as to whether I should come over or not?


The kids/teens market is huge in VN. Search for "vietnam teaching jobs" and you'll find many ads. IMO, there's a lot of work available, especially after Tet (lunar new year), which occurs about a month from now.


Quote:
I'm sure there are many different factors that will determine how life might be for me there, but does it sound like I can get work and can I make enough to survive without working 12 hours a day?


Again, yes, you can get work and the cost of living is relatively low in VN, so 12 hours a WEEK is considered as a general minimum of work.
.
Quote:

Non-education based BA if that's relevant, most of my experience has been in Japan but I suspect that won't count for much in Vietnam, plus 35 years old, very "European" looking. Will go anywhere but prefer the north


If your experience is in teaching kids, it will count for plenty. The main thing is if you can handle large groups of kids, more than qualifications, appearance, age, etc.

Ha Noi has its charms if you can take the weather. Schools in Vinh have trouble getting teachers. Although it's on the coast, it's pretty boring. That may appeal to some though. Hai Phong generally seems to have a poor reputation. Anyway, these days you have more options regarding location as schools are opening in smaller cities and the chains are expanding as well.
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imisssaitama



Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 46
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you sigmoid. Boring cities are not a problem for me especially to start out. Having never been to Vietnam pretty much anywhere would be interesting for me. I have many years experience teaching groups of 10 to 15 kids in public schools including kids from bad backgrounds and kids with mental health issues. In Japan I taught classes of 30 of 40 elementary pupils but normally had a Japanese teacher to assist me. What I cannot stand is exam preparation classes for adults. If I can avoid those completely, which I can't in Europe, I'll be happy enough.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Boring cities are not a problem for me especially to start out.


As you probably know, Vietnam is still a developing country, so the problem with smaller cities is not only that they are boring but they are also lacking in western amenities, nice places to eat, things to do, places to shop, other foreigners, etc. In Ha Noi there's at least "a scene" with good Mexican restaurants, loads of bars mixed in with the more traditional side of Vietnam.

Anyway, you can try both. Fly into Ha Noi, have a look, stop by some schools, see what you think.

You should start contacting schools (most have a webiste or FB page) to tell them you're coming and what you want and don't want, but don't agree to anything until you're actually "in country". Don't forget though that Tet is coming up and schools will be CLOSED. This article mentions January 26 to February 1 as the official days:

http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/38038/vietnam-to-enjoy-sevenday-lunar-new-year-holiday

But schools are likely to be closed from maybe Jan 23 to Feb 5, around 2 full weeks.

You'll have local TAs for the kids classes. IELTS test prep is the second biggest market (nobody does TOEFL anymore) but I would say if you're good with the kids, most schools will agree to let you just do kids classes.
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imisssaitama



Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 46
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thanks. So I can get everything sorted in country or do I not need to apply for a visa at the embassy before coming? I presume Vietnam requires you to get at least a tourist visa before arriving, as that was the case when I went to China. Can you get a tourist visa changed to a working visa once you arrive? Plus you mentioned something about the weather in Hanoi. I looked it up and it seems to get as much rainfall as other cities. What is the specific problem with the weather in Hanoi? Thanks for all your help!
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RustyShackleford



Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you will need to apply for a visa either by visiting your embassy or consulate OR using the new e-visa system they're enacting next month.

Hanoi's weather is interesting in that it actually gets proper cold. I went there in December and, while chilly, found that it wasn't unbearable either.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can you get a tourist visa changed to a working visa once you arrive?


In VN, it's called a "business visa" with the code "DN".

As far as I know, you can't change from DL (tourist) to DN, but when your tourist visa runs out, you can arrange to get the DN, and this usually requires exiting the country.

The important thing to keep in mind regarding visas in VN is that it's all quite nebulous. Prices, requirements, what is and what's not possible, etc. depend on numerous factors such as nationality, location (north being generally more expensive), current visa, employment situation, length of previous stay(s), etc.

So, as they say, your mileage may vary.

If their school/employer isn't taking care of/assisting with the visa, most people rely on agents or fixers for advice. For example, Chi is very popular in HCMC: http://www.chiscafe.com/visas.html

The main thing is that it's relatively easy here, so don't worry about it too much. Shop around, find the best price, get it done. If you're on a full-time contract, your school/employer should take care of it.


Quote:
Yes, you will need to apply for a visa either by visiting your embassy or consulate OR using the new e-visa system they're enacting next month


This info is correct for your initial visa. Contact the nearest VN embassy or consulate. Try to get a 3-month visa. Ask about the business visa although most likely you won't be able to get it (unless maybe you get a letter online??) but maybe you can. Again, with VN, you never know for sure.



Quote:
Hanoi's weather is interesting in that it actually gets proper cold. I went there in December and, while chilly, found that it wasn't unbearable either.


Not sure if I would call it interesting (I'd call it "annoying" Laughing) but, yes, the main factor is that Ha Noi has a winter of sorts, not actually freezing but for example, today it's about 10 degrees cooler than down in the south (27 vs 17 C). Then, with the persistent dampness/humiditity and cloudiness/fog/haze, which are the other major factors, it can be sort of depressing. Whipping around town on a motorbike in the evening can feel especially chilly. Crying or Very sad Some people like it, but the hot and sunny endless summer of the south is preferred by many.


Last edited by sigmoid on Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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RustyShackleford



Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To change The DL you need to leave the country after you get permission for a work permit and wait a week while the VN embassy there changes it to an LD
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 743

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RustyShackleford wrote:

Hanoi's weather is interesting in that it actually gets proper cold. I went there in December and, while chilly, found that it wasn't unbearable either.


Unfortunately, a visit during December doesn't give one a full grasp of the awfulness of Hanoi's weather.

Imagine a period of time where it was both cold and wet for 4 months, houses are not insulated in any way so it's basically like living in a cave with mold growing every where, clothes never fully being dry because Vietnamese haven't discovered the wonders of a clothes dryer, huddled around electric space heaters for warmth because there is no central heating, and never seeing anything but grey, overcast skies for the whole time....

That's the Hanoi experience.
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imisssaitama



Joined: 16 May 2013
Posts: 46
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay. thanks all!
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reblair79



Joined: 15 Jan 2016
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
RustyShackleford wrote:

Hanoi's weather is interesting in that it actually gets proper cold. I went there in December and, while chilly, found that it wasn't unbearable either.


Unfortunately, a visit during December doesn't give one a full grasp of the awfulness of Hanoi's weather.

Imagine a period of time where it was both cold and wet for 4 months, houses are not insulated in any way so it's basically like living in a cave with mold growing every where, clothes never fully being dry because Vietnamese haven't discovered the wonders of a clothes dryer, huddled around electric space heaters for warmth because there is no central heating, and never seeing anything but grey, overcast skies for the whole time....

That's the Hanoi experience.


Oh dear, that sounds grim, much like Scotland which I am escaping. I am happy I have chosen Saigon!
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