When we tell people about our upcoming plans to move to Vietnam to teach English many are curious as to why. WHY do you want to live there? WHY do you want to teach english?
So, we thought it we give you an insight into exactly why we have decided to become English teachers and work 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.
By teaching English abroad we can work and earn money, while living in a different country and immersing in another culture. Because we will be earning money, working abroad will give us a chance to explore a new country and culture in more depth than we would otherwise be able to. Hopefully we will find ourselves with enough time (and money) to sample the cuisine in depth, enjoy the tourist traps but also to get to explore the region more like a local, while hopefully making friends with locals too. This is a much slower form of travel and one we would otherwise only be able to achieve by spending years working hard to save money, quitting our jobs and living off savings. While there is nothing wrong with travelling in this way, saving money in the UK can be a very long and slow process due to high costs of living. The idea of living in a country, getting to explore it in-depth but also being able to save money due to low living costs is what really appealed to us.
As to why we have chosen Vietnam as a destination to begin our TEFL careers, it is the culmination of multiple factors.
During our first whirlwind trip to Thailand we fell in love with the region, with our only regret being that we didn’t have enough time to explore the surrounding countries, so we instantly 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. Comparing this with neighbouring countries, like Thailand, you will find that teaching positions often pay just enough to live and reliable jobs can be hard to come by without having a teaching degree or CELTA qualification (find out more about what a CELTA is here).
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 (queue visit to stay with us??)
WORKING IN VIETNAM
To further sweeten the deal, with some good job hunting TEFL teachers in Vietnam can earn a UK salary, while living in a country much cheaper than the UK. As a result we hope that we will be able to grow savings much quicker than we would be able to at home! Hopefully, by completion of our contracts we will be in a position to travel long-term for a number of months and have a float to help us start the next adventure.
Better yet, in Vietnam full time teaching work is roughly 25 hrs/week, compared to 40 hrs/week. Therefore, we will be earning the same salary for fewer hours a week (i.e. higher hourly pay rate). So, we should have plenty time to enjoy the region and relax during the working week. Another option is to fill our free time with as much (or as little) private tutoring and online tuition as we wish, to build our savings quicker! Even once we’ve finished our teaching contracts and started long term travelling, what’s to say we can’t keep up the tutoring and earning whilst on the road? The opportunities are endless with TEFL teaching.
DO YOU SEE THE APPEAL?
Now try and tell me this doesn’t sound appealing to a young couple, working full time, getting nowhere saving money and lacking the patience to stay in the UK for years to build savings for that big travelling adventure? Add in a recent university graduate without an idea what career they want and a boyfriend looking to change career and here we are! We are lucky that we don’t yet have any ties to the UK, no mortgage or careers to leave behind, only family and friends (and hopefully some will visit). There is literally no better time than the present to take on the adventure of working abroad as English teachers!