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What's the lowdown on Danang and Nha Trang?

 
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ssuprnova



Joined: 18 Oct 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: What's the lowdown on Danang and Nha Trang? Reply with quote

Chao cac anh chi,

Could someone share their experience of working in Danang or Nha Trang? What are the main schools (aside from ILA) and how are the wages?

The reason I ask is because I spent about three years working in HCMC and then I realized I can't really live in that city anymore. Currently I'm funemployed and chilling in Spain. Really enjoying the cheap, fantastic wine and quality food so far, but from what I can gather this is not a place I'd like to work (the typical wages are around half of what I got in Vietnam).

I also have a standing offer from my school in HCMC but I'd really rather not go back there at all. Danang, on the other hand, struck me as a very livable city; admittedly, I've only visited it twice but the sole fact that it's on the coast is worth a paycut compared to HCMC.

So... Danang teachers, what's the teaching scene like?
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 744

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danang is considered the most attractive place to live in all of Vietnam. So as you might imagine, that means there is quite a large number of teachers looking for work.

Work at the more reputable places is limited, but they won't hire most of the riff-raff that washes in. Meaning the backpackers, non-native teachers, and degree-less teachers aren't competition at these places. If you're qualified with at least your university degree, a TEFL certificate, and can provide a clean criminal background check, you can find work at ILA, Apollo, and Fisher SuperKids. Those 3 places are considered the top 3 in terms of job stability, professionalism, and pay.

If you don't go for one of those options, there are literally scores of small, mom-and-pops style English centers popping up all over the city. The downside is that they won't sponsor work permits and you'll be competing with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who decides they want to stay in Danang for an extended period of time, because these places will literally hire anyone. You'll have to string together hours at 3-4 different schools to be able to survive too. The upside is that work expectations are non-existent other than that you have a pulse.

Pay at the better places will range from $18-$22 per hour depending on the school. SuperKids even offers full-time contracts with benefits for a monthly salary.

Pay at the other places can start as low as $13 and will possibly get up to $18 if you find one of the "nicer" ones.
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DauntlessinDanang



Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Work at the more reputable places is limited, but they won't hire most of the riff-raff that washes in.

Does this mean they'll hire some of the folks regarded as worthless or disreputable?
Truth be told, some of the most prominent and long-established language centers in Da Nang are becoming sad emblems of this sort of ESL elitism. Due to the continued growth of the industry in Vietnam, such overblown language mills are now fully-corporatized chain schools touting super-duper working conditions, over-the-top student satisfaction and success rates, and peerless educational excellence on the one hand, while shrewdly keeping wages and salaries on the same low and in some cases lower end on the other.
In other words, like their Chinese brothers and sisters (which most Vietnamese people actually hate), these profit-seeking enterprises are now mainly in in the business of exploiting foreign teachers for the sake of personal wealth.

Quote:
So... Danang teachers, what's the teaching scene like?

As a teacher-saturated market, the scene could easily be described as more dog-eat-dog than ever. That being said, life as an ESL teacher here is still rife with meaty and fulfilling work and lifestyle options for both lower- and upper-class transients alike.
On a final note, as one of the country's most coveted destinations for foreigners still working, traveling, teaching, and relocating in their lives, Da Nang is a wonderful place for foreigners old and young alike to marry a nice local girl, buy a plot of land, build a house, and settle down for the long haul. With real estate prices skyrocketing, time to invest may be running out, but likeminded riff-raff are still encouraged to apply.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 837

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, quite interesting. I loved this quote, and think it is a great summary of how things are over here.

Quote:
profit-seeking enterprises are now mainly in in the business of exploiting foreign teachers for the sake of personal wealth.


I am amazed at how unsophisticated the customers (students and parents) are, and how they seem to just accept the way things are. I guess acceptance is a big part of life here, but when they are paying 5 bucks an hour to sit in these classes, it would seem they should have some leverage and be able to insist on schools doing a better job. It would not be hard to have substantial improvements without losing a lot of profit, and would benefit the schools and the system in the long run.

Perhaps we can apply that logic to a lot of forms of business these days. Thankfully, most of the traditional businesses one enters are still a huge bargain, compared to the west.

We need to remind ourselves that we cannot buy land though. All land is owned collectively. You can lease land from the government, subject to their regulations and current policies.

Whenever I consider "buying" property here, I always compare the return on investment to what is going on back home. I find that properties here generate less than half the rental income per invested dollar. For my money, that means invest in the west, rent here.

This is not to say that it is impossible to "buy" (or whatever term we should use when we think we are buying a property here) and profit from appreciation. But I would have to know a lot more about this system to feel safe doing so, and I have been here a while and studied it a lot. I am in a location now where apartments are being cranked out at very fast rate. You can drive around and see hundreds of them empty, and still they are building more.

I rent a room in a hotel for about 20% of what it would cost back home. I look out my window to a very nice building that is about 5 years old, nice except it never got to the stage of having windows put in. Still they build more.

I will not say it is impossible to profit in real estate here. Even in the west, we often thought that prices could never go down. But that logic was destroyed about a decade ago. I am sure it was not the first time, but maybe for most of us it was. I doubt it will be the last time either.

Some regions in the world are so well manipulated that the normal laws of market forces do not seem to matter much. And if a government owns and controls the land, maybe that can go on forever. I really do not know. I just know I am not going to bet MY grandma's fortune on it. Especially when I can rent at such a low price and keep my investments somewhere that I can halfway understand and trust.
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DauntlessinDanang



Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Especially when I can rent at such a low price and keep my investments somewhere that I can halfway understand and trust.

You make some very good points. Hence, the part about marrying a local girl, especially one you can trust.

I'd guess that most of the men buying land and building houses in their wives' names here are older and either retired or close to it. But I know a few guys in their 30s and 40s with Vietnamese wives who've either bought land in these parts or are looking into it.

Based on what my wife tells me, the law allows for foreigners to lease condominiums and other properties for 50 years (plus a few more years at the end of the lease period) before they or their heirs must sell it back to the natives.

Being able to enjoy life in Vietnam while working and saving enough money to go back home and buy land or property is a very good thing. I guess it depends on what stage of life you're in and where, in the end, you want your home to be.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 837

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In god we trust, all others pay cash. Who said that?

I think it would be quite an eye opener to see the statistics on how many expats end up losing their wives and their investments. The VN have some saying, I should look it up, but I will paraphrase, and this is about their own relationships.

You will know if your husband (or wife) loves you when you die. If he stays with you until the end, he loved you.

Point being, some of these folks will take the long term view on taking advantage of you, not everyone is trying to scam you in the first moment, some of these folks are sophisticated enough to have an actual long term strategy.

And, this is not to disparage these people either, I am very happy here, and with them. I would even go out on a limb and say there are the extremely rare times when you can actually believe in someone (before she proves it at the end of your life). But I would also say, most of the time, we are just flying on instinct, we are not sure how it will all end up. Which is fine, until you put your grandma's fortune on the table.

Oh yeah, a very good VK friend of mine, a man who grew up here, was imprisoned after the war, became successful in the west, and now dedicates his life to trying to help his country, he told me what his people say about a well known VN slogan: Vietnam, land of hidden charms, AND hidden agendas.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1245

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of pushing this thread further off-topic, I would add that the whole obsession with buying land and building a house in places where you can't own land and there is already a surplus of houses for sale seems to be due to it being an integral part of the marriage agreement, rather than a real estate investment. It is a phenomenon that mostly occurs in the more traditional areas throughout SE Asia, and Asia in general.

In an effort to get back on-topic, I would say that HCMC is less liveable than ever. If you're not into Ha Noi, then Da Nang is your obvious next choice. There are more and more language schools opening up nationwide, so other options do exist. However, in many cases these schools are small with few students, not well-managed, or are branches of ILA, AMA, etc.

Expat Luke's description is fairly accurate.

So, basically, if you're at a point in your life where you want some peace and quiet, take the pay-cut but save your sanity and lungs and enjoy a lower cost of living, do a lot of online networking, make some contacts, narrow it down, do some online interviews and/or travel to where you want to live. Domestic flights are cheap, especially with VietJet Air.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 837

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
At the risk of pushing this thread further off-topic, I would add that the whole obsession with buying land and building a house in places where you can't own land and there is already a surplus of houses for sale seems to be due to it being an integral part of the marriage agreement, rather than a real estate investment. It is a phenomenon that mostly occurs in the more traditional areas throughout SE Asia, and Asia in general.


Amen, times 2, plus, plus. I would just add that one should never put money on the table in VN that one expects to get back. If buying a house is the price you think you have to pay, more power to you. And I am not recommending we try to cheat these people. I just believe, if I buy property here, I will never be able to get the value back out of it and transfer that value over to the west. It aint gonna happen. That is her security in life, and she is not going to let it go.

Quote:
HCMC is less liveable than ever


You get far enough on the edges, it is not the same deal at all, but really, I do not even consider these outlying areas to be HCMC, though technically they are. I think they even pushed HCMC all the way out to Cu Chi.

HCMC does have its draws, but I do think the air is worse than we realize, and driving it can be a real pain. Still, in my opinion, it is more livable than HN. It takes a special breed to really want to stay forever in HCMC.
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