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Typical monthly savings amount for ESL teachers in Vietnam?
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As an ESL teacher in Vietnam, how much do you typically have left over after all of your basic living expenses have been covered (not including payments to student loan debts, etc.)?
$0-300 USD per month
30%
 30%  [ 4 ]
$301-600 USD per month
38%
 38%  [ 5 ]
$601-1,000 USD per month
7%
 7%  [ 1 ]
More than $1,000 USD per month
23%
 23%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 13

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msongdo



Joined: 17 Aug 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:40 pm    Post subject: Typical monthly savings amount for ESL teachers in Vietnam? Reply with quote

I taught in Korea for 6+ years; if I tried, I could save approximately $1,000 USD a month, after all living expenses (I always had a free apartment and could walk to work).

I would like to understand how the potential for saving money in Vietnam compares to my experience in Korea.

What might a typical ESL teacher expect to have as a monthly surplus after paying their living expenses in Vietnam?
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 892

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unlike Korea you are unlikely to find full-time, salaried work that includes housing.

You'll likely land, pass out resume and find piece work at $20/hr.

If you are decent in the classroom you can network that into a full time salaried position with visa and work permit support.

Savings will depend on lifestyle, dead time commuting between jobs, the number of hours you can put together... somewhere between $0 and 1000 for your average TEFL teacher right off the plane.

.
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msongdo



Joined: 17 Aug 2017
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your response.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1249

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most teaching jobs in VN pay by the hour with no salary, no housing, no flights, no nothing, etc...

There may be a few exceptions, but it's certainly not the norm.

So, in busy months a teacher may save $1000 but in slow months you may save $0 or even have to dip into your savings
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kingplaya4



Joined: 09 Dec 2017
Posts: 9
Location: Nha Be

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea is much better in savings potential having worked in both places. Both Koreans and Vietnamese in ESL can be dodgy, so far I prefer the Vietnamese though. The only way I can see staying here long term would be upping my qualifications and getting an international school job which would probably only equal a Korean salary, although I do like the tropical environment, so that might be a tradeoff I'd live with. If you don't like Korean August weather, stay away from the south part of the country, as its like that the majority of the year.
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know only 6 have voted, but I am a little shocked at the numbers. Kind of sad, as I was considering the place, but with a wife and son that is not going to work for me.
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Piscador



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saving money with a wife and child while working as a teacher in Vietnam isn't on the cards, unless your wife is also a qualified EFL teacher. Or, as in my case, a local.

I voted 300-600 per month. My own savings from my salary as a teacher (working in VN) would be at the low end of that range.

If you are qualified and experienced and lucky enough to get one of the few high-end jobs, of course, you'll do much better.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 662

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piscador wrote:
If you are qualified and experienced and lucky enough to get one of the few high-end jobs, of course, you'll do much better.


How much better? What would an experienced teacher with a few years on the ground in Vietnam be able to save?
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Piscador



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are too many variables to give you a firm answer. Basically, it depends on:
    experience
    qualifications
    the school
    time of hiring
    how badly the school needs teachers
    your appearance
    your lifestyle
    and pure dumb luck


If you come up trumps, you should easily save over a thousand/month. I managed it for short periods a few times.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 662

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly expected a larger salary range. Perhaps the sample size of people who responded is currently too low. I'm well aware that a significant percentage of ESL teachers in Vietnam save relatively little BUT conversely there must also be experienced teachers who have settled in, chosen decent locations, established themselves etc etc and are saving more, much more.
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Elicit



Joined: 12 May 2010
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added mine but safe to say I wasn’t one of the few privileged teachers that may or may not exist as mentioned by the previous poster.

Regular full-time contract job with savings of $500 a month. However, I should add that it wasn’t easy to save that money, because had I not been a monk it would have been net savings of zero.
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Mattingly



Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 249

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If people are asking about saving money in VN, do not come here.

I'm not being sarcastic.

If you're looking for a cultural experience and something different you may like it.

If you want to save I would go to another country.

13 years ago things were different.

Today it's a high supply of teachers, part time scattered work, and a rising cost of living compared to wages that are the same as 10+ years ago.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1249

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot of hype regarding Vietnam in the news and social media nowadays, and rightly so, as VN is a bright spot in the ASEAN region in terms of high economic growth.

However, people should realise that it was only 43 years ago today (April 30, 1975) that the war ended. Moreover, it was not until the late 80's/early 90's that the Đổi Mới economic reforms, which started the liberalisation and global integration of VN's economy, were introduced and begun to be implemented.

So, although a lot of progress has been made, the level of development (currently focused on basic infrastructure) and the size of the economy are still quite low and it's fairly unrealistic to expect there to be well-paid cushy jobs in the education sector. The main way to succeed financially is still to maximise your hours, public schools during the day plus evenings and all day during weekends.

The one guy I remember who made 'more, much more' during the period that Mattingly mentions (10 - 15 years ago) was a guy who just focused on pitching training proposals to whatever international corporations had recently arrived. I was told that he made 'a lot of money'. Eventually, he retired (in Thailand, of all places!) using that money to supplement his pension.

Quote:
If you're looking for a cultural experience and something different you may like it.


Yeah, most people I know that are coming to VN now are here to escape stress in their home country or after teaching in less hospitable places. They are NOT concerned about money but want to relax in a small town, either teaching part-time or just retiring on their pension/savings. They can live a simple life with a low cost of living and few hassles.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2229
Location: Dang Cong San Viet Nam Quang Vinh Muon Nam!

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 1:45 am    Post subject: Re: Typical monthly savings amount for ESL teachers in Vietn Reply with quote

msongdo wrote:
I taught in Korea for 6+ years; if I tried, I could save approximately $1,000 USD a month, after all living expenses (I always had a free apartment and could walk to work).

I would like to understand how the potential for saving money in Vietnam compares to my experience in Korea.

What might a typical ESL teacher expect to have as a monthly surplus after paying their living expenses in Vietnam?


Also be aware that what is promised and what is reality are often 2 very different things here in VN. Case in point: Last year I was offered a decent contract for a full-time position outside the major cities of Hanoi & HCMC. Everything seemed good, until you read and understand the contract in Vietnamese (the English contract is useless). And the reality was that all over-time was only payed at the end of the 1 year contract. I think the contract base was 80 hours per month with a minimum of 10 hours per week of over-time up to 15 hours per week of OT. And I tried to get the school to renegotiate it so I am paid at the end of each month for the OT hours worked. They refused, so I refused the job.

No way am I going to trust a Vietnamese school to actually abide by a contract which was already different in Vietnamese from the English version to actually pay me for 500 or more hours of OT at the end of the contract year. As they say, these boots were made for walking... Razz
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SeldomSeen



Joined: 07 Feb 2013
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo

Would you care to name and shame the school to help others avoid the same trap?

How different were the Vietnamese and English contracts? Was the English version blatantly wrong and, if so, did you require the assistance an an independent translator to check it for you?

Your experiences could be useful advice for others.
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