Is Teaching in Vietnam Truly this Easy?

by Richard (26)
(Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Hi, have just been reading your website and I must say I am amazed with how simple it all sounds.

Currently I'm working in Chiang Mai as a teacher, but thinking of moving somewhere else, Chiang Mai gets a bit dull after a year and a bit!

So, my question, hit Ho Chi Minh City, hand in some resumes, interview, demo, job?

Sounds too good to be true, but if so, I'll be heading there very soon!

Thanks for the website!




Reply from

No problem, Richard. Please remember that old saying about not knowing what you have until it's gone thing. I came this way after Thailand and regret it.

That doesn't mean that you will. I will also say that as of today October 13th / 2011, the Vietnam 'stuff your pockets' heyday of teaching English is over.

Schools that paid $15USD/Hour have started hiring at $10USD/Hour as of late.

Their salaries started very high because they couldn't attract the teachers, say 5 years ago. Now they think that they live in some kind of paradise so are bringing their salaries into line with those of Thailand and Cambodia.

If you move to Ho Chi Minh City from Chiang Mai, Thailand without first coming for a visit, you are nuts. That is just my opinion so means little.

I just want you to come out here and spend some time before riding off into the Vietnamese Sunset. That goes double if you are bringing a girlfriend along.

Thai women are not treated well and ajust poorly to Vietnam. I shouldn't say stuff like that because everyone can beat the odds at any time.

I have just seen it too often. Thai people love their country and Vietnam is a poor substitute.

Take a good look around you, M8. You'll know if it is time to go. I am just asking you to consider coming for a visit first.



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Oct 15, 2011
Ten Years Teaching English in Vietnam
by: Anonymous

The comments posted are extremely favorable of teaching in Vietnam. I have been here over 10 years and have taught in many schools, colleges, and have done corporate training.

Firstly, as mentioned, you need a minimum of a bachelor (not one bought off the internet as they are now being checked-I check everyone at my college) and a TEFL, TESOL or equivalent. You will also need a work permit which can be a nightmare in itself.

Example of this; USA-local criminal background check, your state criminal clearance, national clearance, degree from your university authenticated by a local notary where the college is,(on university letterhead), stamp or seal of university, then sent to the secretary of the state where the degree was granted, then to Washington for authentication, then back to you, then back to the Vietnam Embassy in Washington and then to you, then to your Vietnamese employer who will obtain your work permit. Of course, this all involves fees every bit of the way, and the Vietnamese Embassy requires return envelopes and postage. Then, your TEFL, TESOL must also be authenticated by the issuing body applying a seal in from of a notary where it was issued, and then sent (some countries taken by hand) to the state and sealed and then authenticated by US Dept of State and then the Vietnamese Embassy and then back to you.

This can take up to 2 years and you are not legal to work one day in Vietnam without it. The local governments are cracking down on this everyday and often come to the schools to check the books on this. You can be thrown out of the country working without a permit and fined also.

Jobs here are tight now students are going overeass and enrollment is down all over. Further more, the exchange rate has made Viet Nam-not such a good deal anymore. Houseing went up 200% since 2005, and food has also doubled in the last 3 years. Everything is always more for a foreigner, and everyone is out to cheat you. In my ten years here, I have met maybe 6 people whom I would consider honest.

The schools will take up to 30% of your wages in taxes, but never issue you a receipt and never pay the taxes. Insurance here is almost unaffordable to expats, and you have to weld everything to the wall in order to keep it from being stolen-and then....

The jobs in the countryside pay little (15 Oct 2011) and the classrooms are usually unfit for teaching with noise, no air conditioning and so on. Ten years ago-yes a good deal in Viet Nam-today-no!

Don't be fooled by thinking you can save $1,000 a month anymore here. Then, think about the cost of a ticket out of here once a year if you don?t want to go insane!

Lastly, if you are not a professional-don't come here and become another worthless backpacker drunk-we have enough of them who work for nothing just go buy beer and drugs, and make the rest of us look bad, and so on.

Reply from

Fewer than 20% of workers teaching English in Vietnam currently have work papers.

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