Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Questions about Vietnam
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Wolf



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 1245
Location: Middle Earth

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:09 am    Post subject: Questions about Vietnam Reply with quote

I posted this on the Vietnam board, but the crickets are chirping. A lot of the posts on that board never get replied to. As "never" is a bit longer than I'd like to wait, I hope I can also put it here without being accused of spam.

I'm a Canadian national (male if it makes a difference) who has lived and taught (EFL, yes) in Asia for the past four years. I spent three years and change in Japan, and the last six months or so in China (rural, developing China.) I have a degree (BA Honours in Enlish Lit), experience teaching at private schools (adults) and universities. I'm going to start a distance learning MA in Applied Lingusitics (TESOL) this fall. No cert yet. Although I have work in China for the next year or so, I'm already trying to plan ahead for my next move.

So here are some questions I'd like you hear your thoughts on:

1a. Do people spit, stare at foreingers, and scream "HELLO," laugh, and run away in Vietnam? If so, how bad? Is it everyone, every day (like China?) a once a week thing (like Japan if you're unlucky?) or somewhere in between? I'm not insulting the Vietnamese people here. Pop over to the Chinese forum and you'll see why I ask.

1b. Basically, how welcome are foreigners in Vietnam? Not welcome enough? Too welcome? Resentful of visible minorites? Would I be able to "feel at home" after a while?

2. I've seen the thread about sending money overseas. Is it possible to convert local currency into US$, Euros, Yen, whatever, pretty easily?

3. I hear that Vietnam has a dual pricing system: one price for locals (the cheap one) and the other for expats (seeing how everyone who teaches EFL is a millionare ). Is this still enforced pretty ruggedly? Any ways around it? Does it make much of a difference in what you might be able to save?

4. I hear (both on this thread and on the official page of one of the larger school chains in Veitnam) that students are prettys sharp - they study hard and ask sharp questions. I aslo know that Vietnam has had a lot of contact with various cultures from the East (the PRC) and the West (France, USA) - and there are many Cantonese, Madarin, French, English and German speaking Vietnamese. Can I assume that the Vietnamese in general (or at least some of them) are open to new, other ideas? Anyone who has worked in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, or the PRC will know why I might ask this. Just wandering.

5. I know that Veitnam is a developing country, shall we say. I live now in one of the least developed areas of China, so that won't be a total shock. But I'm wandering: Would I be a prime target for beggars? Pickpockets? Burglars? Does anyone feel that Vietnam is an unusally dangerous place to live?

6. How is job security over there? In Japan it's virtually non - existant (for EFLers) despite being a G7 nation with laws, unions etc to protect foreign workers, etc. Is it just a given that you change jobs with the seasons, or is it possible to find a full time job you can do and support yourself on (one worth doing) for a while anyway?

7. What about the edutainment vs real teaching scale? Do employers care/consider/reward people actually interested in teaching doing a good job? Or is it "foreign face sells lessons?" Also, is it possible to (EFL) teach at universities in Vietnam, or is it all private companies?

8. Is teaching adults only possible in Vietnam (In South Korea this is very hard to do without wicked split shifts)? Or at least univeristy/high school students at the very youngest? I like kids, mind you. I just don't feel like the right person to try to teach English to kids I cannot communicate with at all.

9. Do employers offer accomodation? More importantly, do they offer private accomodation? If not, is getting set up in a place of your own a hassle - in other words can expats rent on their own?

10. Is health care difficult to find/get? I'm in my 20s and have no health problems, but I'm wandering if many (any) employers offer health care, and if not what expats usually do about that.


I know it sounds like I'm expecting the Moon to be handed to me on a silver platter. Not so. I just want to get as many of my illusions shattered in advance - the easy way! (Don't resent me: I've done it the hard way twice now.)

Vietnam is one of those "mystery countires" like Singapore on this board. Eveyone know teaching goes on there, but it's not as easy to get a picture of life there as, say, Korea, China, Taiwan or Japan. Please, if you can help with even one of my questions, respond! PM me! Whatever!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cobra



Joined: 28 Jul 2003
Posts: 436

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realise that it is considered impolite to answer a question with a question but please indulge me this once.

With your credentials have you given any thought to getting a real job? Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
double agent



Joined: 18 Jun 2003
Posts: 152
Location: In the wild wild west

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:39 am    Post subject: Vietnam is AWESOME Reply with quote

Cool

Vietnam is a beautiful secret. It is unlike the other Asia countires
which you mentioned as they have JUST begun to come out
of severe oppression and the Vietnam war...

It is still highly unexplored. But the Vietnamese love
people. I find them kind, and sure some say hello but where
have you taught where they havent !!!


Spitting , well not AT me..i think that is a wierd Asian habit I find
disgusting. I think it is the worse is China. I think, not sure.

Employers, try the BIG companies, or small family run ones. Or expat
run ones. Go to some expat bars when you arrive, or youth hostel
find out where people hang out. I find YOUTH HOSTELS to be the
greatest source of information on all counts.

The people who work there are hooked into what is happening locally
and often have friends who are making a living locally by --guess TEACHING ENGLISH...

i hear Tawain is awesome, but I have no first hand knowledge, just rumours, thru the efl circle. nothing concrete, but It is not Korea which is a no go for everyone I know.

Confused

Accomodation, again go to a GOOD youth hostel, then circulate and
find the WORD on the street about sharing apts. with expats. Usually
ads at bookshops and the local Universities.

GOOD LUCK...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:58 am    Post subject: Re: Vietnam is AWESOME Reply with quote

double agent wrote:

i hear Tawain is awesome, but I have no first hand knowledge, just rumours, thru the efl circle. nothing concrete, but It is not Korea which is a no go for everyone I know.

GOOD LUCK...


Taiwan is probably very similar to Mainland China (although you would make more money in Taiwan). The culture is the same, the food is the same (so I hear), the traffic is just as crazy, and people scream hello at you wherever you go (not so much in bigger cities, though). Korea doesn't seem to have the screaming hello problem or the nutty traffic, but it has loads of other problems (in my view). Cool

Wolf, I've been wanting to ask a lot of the same questions you are asking about Vietnam...only about Japan. Razz I've been lurking on the Japan board for a while now and I think I have most of my questions answered but I might drop you a line one of these days with a few specific Q's since you worked there for a few years. Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
azarashi sushi



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 562
Location: Shinjuku

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cobra ...

What's a real job?

What's a pretend one?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Wolf



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 1245
Location: Middle Earth

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cobra wrote:
I realise that it is considered impolite to answer a question with a question but please indulge me this once.

With your credentials have you given any thought to getting a real job? Laughing


Heh.

An English degree, a handful of years EFLing and a graduate degree in the works for an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Yes, just what "real job" ought I consider, especially given that I like EFL teaching and living in other places? It seems that you know something I don't or I have overlooked something that you haven't. So I'll ask you: What is a "real job?" Do you mean that working in Veitnam is a joke, when compared to places like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the PRC, Singapore, etc? I've looked into all of these places. Are you more confident than I that I could find a decent job/standard of life somewhere like Taiwan or South Korea? Do you know an easier way that I know to return to Japan with a good/at least decent job (at least on my budget)?

Would you care to clarify?

Quote:
It is still highly unexplored. But the Vietnamese love
people. I find them kind, and sure some say hello but where
have you taught where they havent !!!


When I lived in Japan, some people come up and talk to me - often in Japanese - but no hello screaming in 3 years. One reason it floored me so much in China and why it was question #1.

PS Sorry for the curt reply, but "HELLO" yelled at me as some sort of adolecent game is something that I'd rather live without if I could. People saying "hello" to me at normal greeting/conversational distance, or even people coming up and talking to me (once in a while) will leave me nonplussed.

I want to thank you for the information and you help, though. I am in need of information, and I appriciate it.

Quote:
Wolf, I've been wanting to ask a lot of the same questions you are asking about Vietnam...only about Japan. I've been lurking on the Japan board for a while now and I think I have most of my questions answered but I might drop you a line one of these days with a few specific Q's since you worked there for a few years.


PM me anytime with specific Qs, and I'll try my best.


Yes, I realize that I have my sights set a too high and will have to come down. I'm only trying to gather info and make the best compromise that I can in the future. Ugh ... I feel an acute case of burnout coming on ....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CyberStylz



Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never taught in Vietnam, but I did just get back from a month trip (April to May 2003) in HCMC. It was the first time I had been to Vietnam and I can truely say that I had a good time and plan to go back for a visit next year. Hopefully, I can give you some insight to some of your questions...from my prospective at least...

Quote:
1a. Do people spit, stare at foreingers, and scream "HELLO," laugh, and run away in Vietnam? If so, how bad? Is it everyone, every day (like China?) a once a week thing (like Japan if you're unlucky?) or somewhere in between? I'm not insulting the Vietnamese people here. Pop over to the Chinese forum and you'll see why I ask.


The people in HCMC are very friendly. You do notice some people staring at you but it nothing too obtrussive. People in Vietnam are hungry and look at you as a way to make money.

Quote:
1b. Basically, how welcome are foreigners in Vietnam? Not welcome enough? Too welcome? Resentful of visible minorites? Would I be able to "feel at home" after a while?


Foreigners are very welcome. If you speak vietnamese, you will fit in even faster. I met several foreigners that were quite comfortable living in Vietnam. Once you make Vietnamese friends, they will stay good friends with you.

Quote:
2. I've seen the thread about sending money overseas. Is it possible to convert local currency into US$, Euros, Yen, whatever, pretty easily?


I didn't have too much experience with this but I would say no. When I left HCMC, I made sure to spend all the local currency I had. I also suggest you take all US $100 Bills into Vietnam. US $100 bills get a higher exchange rate than all other US bills due to their black market value. Make sure the bills are crisp and without creases as some of the exchange shops are really picky about that stuff. I got to a point were I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to exchange some money as some of my bills were in good but not excellent shape...Confused

Quote:
3. I hear that Vietnam has a dual pricing system: one price for locals (the cheap one) and the other for expats (seeing how everyone who teaches EFL is a millionare ). Is this still enforced pretty ruggedly? Any ways around it? Does it make much of a difference in what you might be able to save?


You may get taken a couple times, but if you are street smart and know how to bargain, then you will do fine. Everything is so cheap in Vietnam that if you are charged 2000 dong extra it REALLY doesn't matter. I would sometimes give people extra because I felt so sorry for them. People are very poor and hungry.

Quote:
5. I know that Veitnam is a developing country, shall we say. I live now in one of the least developed areas of China, so that won't be a total shock. But I'm wandering: Would I be a prime target for beggars? Pickpockets? Burglars? Does anyone feel that Vietnam is an unusally dangerous place to live?


Like I said before...as long as you have some street smarts, you will be OK. Don't trust anyone until you really know them. You will get taken if you give someone the opportunity.

Well...thats all that I have for you from my recent experiences there. I hope this provides some insight for you. I'm sure some of the experienced EFL'ers can answer the questions I couldn't.

Good Luck!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Cali



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 15
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wondering how you desided the people were hungery. That is the one thing that I never really saw there. They always find something to eat. Though they can play it very well.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Steiner



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 573
Location: Hunan China

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:14 am    Post subject: Re: Vietnam is AWESOME Reply with quote

Capergirl wrote:
Taiwan is probably very similar to Mainland China (although you would make more money in Taiwan). The culture is the same, the food is the same (so I hear), the traffic is just as crazy, and people scream hello at you wherever you go (not so much in bigger cities, though). Korea doesn't seem to have the screaming hello problem or the nutty traffic, but it has loads of other problems (in my view).


OK, I've got to give my view on this. Let me preface it by saying I only lived in Taiwan for three months.

1. Yes, the culture is still Chinese, but it's not the same. The Taiwanese didn't have the cultural revolution, so a lot more of the traditional Chinese culture has been left intact. For example, you have to be more mindful of traditional taboos, like making sure to give and receive everything with two hands. Documents have to have a name chop to be legal. There are temples everywhere, and they are active places of worship. Traditional weddings and funerals are still observed. In addition to the survival of traditional culture, living in a democracy gives the people a different outlook on life. The culture is basically the same, yes. But it is very different, too.

2. Because the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan from all over China, there are all types of food there. I like the food in Hunan better, though.

3. The traffic is just as crazy, yes. But add in tens of thousands of scooters on the roads and sidewalks.

4. People certainly do NOT scream hello at you wherever you go. It was quite a shock to come to the Mainland after Taiwan. In three months, we never once had anyone scream hello at us. Maybe if you go to a tiny little town in the hills, I don't know. We had maybe two kids (preschool) point at us and say--not scream, say--"Waiguoren." Every once in a while a mother sitting next to us on a bus would try to get her child to say hello to us, but they usually wouldn't. Adults were polite. They even tried to be discreet when staring at us.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steiner Smile

I should tell you that my comments above are based mainly on reading the China forums and talking with EFL teachers who have taught in mainland China and then comparing the information I've read/heard with what I experienced in Taiwan. There do seem to be a lot of similarities. That doesn't mean it will be exactly the same experience, but I doubt that it would be all that different. I could be wrong and I will certainly take the word of someone who has taught in both places over my own silly notions. Wink

As for the screaming hellos, I did get a lot of that. I lived in a "small town" of 120,000 called Yuanlin. It is about 30 minutes from Taichung, 15 from Changhua. I didn't find that they did it very much in Taichung when I visited, but in my town I was subjected to a lot of screaming hellos, especially in the beginning. They simply were not used to seeing white folks in their town, put simply. As time went on and the locals got more used to seeing the same foreigners in their area, the hellos died down quite a bit. So I suppose it depends on (a) your area; and (b) how long you've lived there. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Steiner



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Posts: 573
Location: Hunan China

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gotcha, Capergirl. I wasn't in little towns too much, and I guess the ones I was in saw enough foriegn faces to be jaded already. Or perhaps they were revolted by my appearance and didn't want to do anything that might cause them to look at my face longer.

My wife and I have talked a lot about how different it is living in China from living in Taiwan. Of course, we lived in Taipei and now we're in rural China, but even Taipei was so different from Hong Kong or Beijing or Changsha. But yeah, those cities are all a lot more alike than, say, Taipei and Seoul or Taipei and Osaka or Taipei and London.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wolf



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 1245
Location: Middle Earth

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in response to my question on Vietnam I'd like to thank Steiner, Capegirl et al on their information regarding Taiwan. Wink

Seriously, it could turn out to be helpful as I'm not decided where to go next. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
khmerhit



Joined: 31 May 2003
Posts: 1874
Location: Reverse Culture Shock Unit

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make it hanoi, wolf Cool
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CyberStylz



Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cali - I guess I didn't mean hungry in a literal sense. Well, for some people...yes. They were hungry in a sense that it seemed to be everyones everyday task to go out and find money for food.

Vietnam was the first place I've been outside of the US. Relative to other countries, they may be doing well, but I don't have enough experience to compare with other countries. I was just trying to relay the feeling I experienced being in HCMC.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Capergirl



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 1232
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolf wrote:
Well, in response to my question on Vietnam I'd like to thank Steiner, Capegirl et al on their information regarding Taiwan. Wink

Seriously, it could turn out to be helpful as I'm not decided where to go next. Very Happy


Shocked I guess we went a little OT on ya there, Wolf. Sowwy. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC