Why do we teach English in Vietnam?

Why do we teach English in Vietnam

When we were preparing to move to Vietnam and filling people in on our plans we used to get a lot of questions asking why? Why do you want to live there? Why do you want to teach English? So, we thought we would give you an insight into exactly why we teach English in Vietnam.

Why teaching English?

Teaching English has been widely portrayed as a means of travelling for “free”. While this is not true, a little research into teaching English and the opportunities it presented was enough to convince us that it would not disappoint our desire to see more of the world. And it has certainly delivered, allowing us to visit 5 different countries over the past year (7 if you were to include our trip back to the UK).

Teaching English also offered us the opportunity to change career paths, learn new skills and move to a job where we have fun at work. The kids we teach are great (98% of the time) and they are so fun to spend time getting to know. The drive of students in foreign countries to improve their English is really incredible.

There were two main draws to teaching as a way to travel more. First of all being able to live and work in another country is an amazing opportunity to immerse in that countries culture and travel from a more local stance. It also means you get a more in depth experience by learning the language, making friends and living daily life. But secondly, teaching abroad offers the opportunity for us to travel to exotic places during our holidays yet also save money by working full time. As our ultimate goal is to be able to do a mini world tour (which anyone who’s planned or done will know costs a LOT), teaching English provided us the perfect balance between being able to travel to new places and save for our big adventure.

Everyday scenes in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Why Vietnam?

Multiple factors contributed to our final decision to pick Vietnam as a destination for our first teaching and living aboard experience. During our first whirlwind trip to Thailand we fell in love with the region, our only regret being that we didn’t have enough time to explore the surrounding countries. So before we even looked at the possible jobs on offer, we knew that SE Asia was where we wanted to base ourselves in our new careers as teachers.

We were first attracted to Vietnam after exploring the TEFL job markets of different SE Asian countries. Vietnam still has a relatively low English level despite its development and economic growth. As a result there is high demand for English teachers, with jobs paying good salaries and providing many benefits like contract competition bonuses, healthcare, housing allowances and free Vietnamese lessons. Compare this with neighbouring countries like Thailand, you will find that teaching positions often pay just enough to live (unless you live in the back and beyond), and reliable jobs can be hard to come by without having a teaching degree or CELTA qualification.

Don’t understand what I’m talking about regarding TEFLs/CELTAs? Check out our Beginners Guide to Picking a TEFL Course.

While this is the technical reasoning for picking Vietnam as a base country, we are yet to speak to someone who has visited Vietnam without loving it, raving to us about how beautiful the country is, how friendly the people are, how amazing the food is and how they are dying to return (come visit us!). And now we are here, we couldn’t agree more!

As to why we ended up teaching in Ho Chi Minh City? Well, that was mostly down to the weather. When given the option of year round sun in the South (HCMC) VS 4 seasons and smog in the North (Hanoi) – it was pretty clear who the winner would be.

Related Post: The Pros and Cons of Living in Ho Chi Minh City

Why do we teach English in Vietnam so the adventure begins travel blog living in Asia Saigon hoi an couple

Why teach English in Vietnam?

To further sweeten the deal, with some good job hunting you can teach English in Vietnam earning a very comfortable salary. All while living in a country much cheaper than in the West. As a result we have been able to grow our savings much quicker than we would have in the UK! Hopefully by the end of our contracts we will be in a position to experience some travel long-term and still have a float to kick-start the next adventure.

Better yet, most who teach English in Vietnam work roughly a 25 hrs/week job, compared to 40 hrs/week at home. We are lucky to only work 18 hours a week, yet we are earning the same salary as we were at home for fewer hours a week (equating to a higher hourly pay rate). So by working in Vietnam, we have plenty time to enjoy the city and relax during the working week. Alternatively you can fill your working week with additional side jobs or private tutoring, of which there are plenty on offer.

Do you see why it appeals to teach English in Vietnam?

Now, try and tell me this doesn’t sound appealing to a young couple with a dream to see the world, working full time but getting nowhere saving money in the UK. Add in a recent university graduate without a set career path and a boyfriend looking to change career and here we are! We are lucky that we don’t yet have any monetary ties to the Scotland, no mortgage or careers to leave behind. If you are in a similar situation, then there is literally no better time than the present to take on an new adventure and teach English in Vietnam!


Do you see the appeal of teaching in Vietnam? Have you ever wanted to teach English in Vietnam?

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4 Comment

  1. Sam says: Reply

    Loved this article, I’m currently working my way through SE Asia and also looking at teaching in Vietnam when the money runs out! Would be torn between HCMC and Hanoi I think :/

    Anyhow, keep up the good work, really like the blog 🙂

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Hey, thats really exciting. If you can afford to I would visit both first. We didn’t have time before starting work but it turns out we made the correct choice for us! Maybe do some apartment hunting and looking at the different areas online (+ annual weather) and create a little list! Glad you’ve found it of use 🙂

  2. Eddie says: Reply

    Really interesting article, thanks for sharing, as a soon to be ex-science teacher in the UK, I’d be interested to hear what opportunities there are for Science teaching or if TEFL is still the best bet?

    1. francesFR says: Reply

      Hey Eddie, there definitely are opportunities for science teaching! As a biology graduate I was actually approached about tutoring science privately. So there are part time options for this if you wanted to do it alongside TEFL. As a fully qualified teacher though you might be better trying to get a position in an International School (it would be a similar situation to teaching at home, so more hours but higher pay and better paid holidays). I actually have a post coming out in a few weeks with more details from a friend who teachers at international schools. It’ll have tips on where to find these types of jobs! Good luck on the hunt!

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