Advice for Teaching in Saigon

by Mike
(Chaiya, Thailand)

Hi, I am going to Vietnam for a year in order to save money to fund my ongoing world cycling journey.

I have a bachelor's in culinary management and a CELTA, but no formal teaching experience. My goal is to save as much money as possible. I am not going to Saigon to party and enjoy my life, and I'm willing to work for long hours and 7 days a week.

I'm hoping those who live there can give me some guidance or advice as to what to expect when I get to HCMC? Should I look for work at language centers or international schools? What sort of salaries can I expect with credentials but no experience? Should I just come on a visa on arrival and then try to convert it there or should I apply ahead for a visa?

Thanks much, any help with info is greatly appreciated!


Reply from

Hi, Mike.

There are benefit and drawbacks to both language centers and International Schools. Language centers are usually more flexible and allow you to do your thing as long as you are not getting complaints. International schools demand more work go into the planning of your class than the actual class is. They will pay more and your students are more eager to learn but submitting a lesson plan for each class, everyday can become tiresome.

You don't have any formal experience? What? You have a CELTA and that includes in-class practicum. Take that CELTA and wear it proudly because this makes you a teacher in Saigon. Never say you have little or no experience because the CELTA is so well recognized and respected in Vietnam that you will be a star.

Arrive on a 1 month tourist visa. After 20 days get a 6 month single or multiple entry Visa. $110USD for single entry and $160USD and up for a multiple.

Buy the same Visa outside of Vietnam for about $300USD. It is much cheaper once in Vietnam.

Just remember that Vietnam does not hand out visas at any of their borders. You will have to apply for the 1 month tourist visa at home or once you land in Thailand or Cambodia.

Good Luck and don't downplay your great qualifications. When it comes time to negotiate your salary, that CELTA should be worth an extra $400-$500USD a month.

Wave it around like a flag and ride it like a horse. It is worth 200X what you think.


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