Are Indians Accepted?

by Madhumitha
(Chennai, India)

Your blog is amazing! I really hope soon, I can write about my own adventures!

...I went to Japan recently on a program, and to cut a long story short, I was introduced to the ELT world (I'm Indian, and back home, we have Indians (mostly always) teaching English at Schools/Language Institutes). Some of my ALT friends encouraged me to take up an English Teaching certificate, and I did the CELTA.

Now, the only thing I didn't realise/research on before doing the CELTA was that Indians aren't (at all) in need/demand by many Asian countries esp. China & Korea :( (two countries I'd love to visit and teach in).

Is that true for Vietnam as well?

I never did realise that there'd be this sort of rule where, let me face it, only people from certain countries were allowed to teach English.
I have a university degree, I'm 22, and I'm sure I can always change careers, but I love teaching (been teaching Japanese for 3 years), and I really want to visit different countries and become more cultured.

But, its been 4 months since I completed my CELTA, and not one offer yet :(

I don't want to give up, but I don't want to be foolish in continuing to hope that someone somewhere might accept my application.
What would you suggest I do? (fingers crossed it'll be on a positive note).



Reply from

Let's be honest. Most employers looking for English teachers advertise for employees that come from either the US, England, Australia, or Canada.

That goes double for China and Korea. Chinese and Korean people are conditioned to believe that the ideal English speaker has a pale white face. They also have an abundance of qualified white people looking for work as English Teachers. An English school in either of these countries will always choose a white boy over an Indian man.

It might be unfair, but I understand it. I would prefer to have a Japanese guy teach me the Japanese language than a white guy teach me the Japanese language.

It's just human nature.

You are well educated and have the best qualifications that you could possibly have (Assuming you have a Bachelor's Degree). I bet
you could travel to either Korea or China and change a few minds about their predjudices. But it would be an uphill battle for you to prove that an Indian man could be just as good an English teacher as any white man.

But is it worth your time and effort to do so?

The Vietnamese are less rigid. They will always advance whoever deserves it most. You will have to prove yourself but the best teachers are given the best money and the best working hours and conditions. Popularity rules over the color of your skin. I know this because I have worked with many African-Americans in Vietnam. Dark skin is traditionally unnacceptable in most Asian countries because the local people look down on people with a darker shade of color to their skin.

My boss at Cleverlearn was African-American. That in itself shows that the color of your skin and/or your nationality are not as strict a factor in Vietnam as in China or Korea (And Thailand).

Based on your writing ability, your credentials and your positive outlook, I predict that you will get work in Vietnam quite easily. You will have a harder time than the teachers with white faces but you will get in the door. After that, it is up to you to show how good you are. If the students like you then you will get more hours.

I think you should give Vietnam a try. You should not secure a job by emailing resumes to schools in Vietnam. Vietnamese people just don't respond to online quieries for employment. They need to see you in person before they will take you seriously. Any school that does accept you through online correspondece will more often than not result in an unpleasant experience for you.

If you want this, then you will have to fly there and take your chances. I encourage you to take this risk because after teaching in Vietnam for 7 years, I really believe that you can and will succeed.

Please don't give up your dreams because of sterotypes. You can always overcome these kinds of obstacles if you really love what you do.

Good luck and thank you for your compliment. It means a great deal.


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Oct 13, 2012
Getting a Second Teaching Job
by: Madhumitha

Thank you so much Philip for the positive feedback! I've actually got a job at a language institute in Hanoi, and your reply is very reassuring!

I do however have another question.

My contract is full-time, but I only work for 70 hours per month. Will I be allowed to find other teaching jobs in other institutes to keep busy? What do other in a similar position usually do?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. : I'm female :D


Reply from

70 hours a month is not enough. Every teacher I know has a second job (Except for the few at RMIT). The only concern is the type of visa and work permit you have. If the school you currently work for has sponsored a visa and work permit for you then they will not be happy with you working elsewhere.

The Full Time nature of your contract worries me. Most people I know have a part-time contract.

You would also be breaking the conditions of your work permit and visa. That could (Small Possibility) result in the loss of your Visa and work permit. Please be more clear about the type of visa you have and whether you have a work permit or not.

I am sorry to assume you were a man. Your chances of success are actually increased by the fact you are female. Also, the fact that you have already worked as a teacher in Vietnam will help you in your search for work elsewhere.

Get another job to supplement that measly 70 hours. Everyone I know does the same thing. It will also bode well for you if you ever need to negotiate a higher salary and/or more hours with your current school. "I have a job offer from another school but I would really like to stay here", is the best way to open negotiations. It shows that you are wanted elsewhere and that you might just leave unless they (Your Current School) sweeten the pot. Just be kind about it, never threaten, and always avoid burning your bridges.

You're trying to create a reputation for yourself, after all.


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