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It’s no secret that Vietnam’s economy has boomed in recent years. Foreign investment has flooded the economy and tourism has increased dramatically. Because of this big increase in foreign involvement, the demand for TEFL jobs in Vietnam has similarly increased.
It’s easy to find well paying jobs in Ho Chi Minh city (previously Saigon), a burgeoning business center, the port city of Ga Nang and in Hanoi, the cultural capital. English teachers with TEFL qualifications will find it relatively easy to secure a desirable English teaching position in this gorgeous country.
Salaries are quite high here, relative to the cost of living. If you are interested in working outside of the cities, having a more rural and culturally traditional experience, you may find it necessary to take a volunteer position. There are a number of agencies willing to help you find one of these.
Of course, the culture in Vietnam is radically different from those in the West. Provided you bring an intention of being culturally sensitive and of having an open mind, you will find that you will be warmly welcomed and quickly accepted by the local community.
Teachers traditionally engender a tremendous amount of respect in Vietnamese culture. The social order is expressed in the traditional saying, “My king, my teacher, my father”. Most English teachers report that their school students are generally well behaved, courteous and keen to get to know you better. Education has a very high value in the culture, and most students see learning English as an important career step, so motivation levels are high for the most part.
Many jobs in Vietnam are posted on the internet on several different TEFL related web sites. However, most people get their jobs after actually arriving in Vietnam. It’s a very good idea to thoroughly look into the reputation of schools you may be interested in working for.
You can ask questions on TEFL oriented internet forums as well as asking around the ex-pat community for information. It’s not hard to get connected with the community of English teachers, and they are usually very willing to help out. They can not only give you information about the schools, but also let you know who might be currently hiring.
Once you have some interesting looking schools identified, show up in person with your up to date resume and your best professional clothes on. You may, at some point, be asked to present a sample lesson, so be well prepared for that.
Make sure that you ask questions of the employer regarding salary or hourly pay rate, whether you’ll have to travel to your lessons and if you get compensated for this time and reimbursed for expenses, what kind of material resources the school has for lesson planning and teaching materials, what kind of administrative and collegial support you will have, whether a visa will be needed and if the school assists with that, is there a housing allowance, what holidays do you get, etc. Also be sure that the contract you sign will accurately reflect these details. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises after you’ve already agreed to take the job.
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