Teaching in HCMC With Girlfriend & Daughter

by Ryan
(Cincinnati, USA)

Apologies in advance for the length, but I want to communicate my specific situation for an optimal response.

I'm 37 and hold a bachelor's degree in film making and a master's in library science (an odd combination, I know). My focus in library school was on teaching university students to use the library effectively, and at my current library job I regularly give classes on using computers, the library, and various topics.

My girlfriend has a bachelor's in business but she's been working as a pre-K teacher on and off for several years. Neither of us has a TEFL or any experience teaching English, but after reading your tips (go in person, look sharp, rock the first impression/demo), I'm confident we can land some kind of job teaching in Vietnam.

Depending on how things go, we might end up staying long-term.

We would be bringing my girlfriend's 14-year-old daughter with us, and how long we stay would depend on her reaction to living in Vietnam. She's a typical suburban American kid, but she loves the idea of visiting Asia, and I'd say she's more tolerant of new people and experiences than the average girl her age.

One of my friends from grad school is from HCMC (and she's back there now), so I'm confident she and her husband will be helpful in helping us get around the city to apply for jobs.

I've also been to Thailand and India, so I know roughly what to expect in the culture. I guess my question is, how do I put my best foot forward, in terms of moving to HCMC as a family, as opposed to the usual "single, no kids" person doing the teaching gig?


Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

This has taken a lot of thought. You and your wife are going to easily find work but you are bringing a wildcard along for the ride.

That being the 14 year old.

I have the opinion that she will dislike her new home.

You could do this move quite easily based on what you've told me about yourselves. But is Vietnam the place you imagine it to be? I fear that you don't have any idea if you use India and Thailand as comparative examples.

India and Thailand are very different places to Vietnam. The differences will astonish you the moment you cross the border. Thailand and India are countries with massive cultural appeal.

The culture of Ho Chi Minh City is to make money. There is so little to do for a 14 year old that it has me worried. She will have the most difficulty adjusting to life in Vietnam and will most likely declare the city as one she does not want to live in.

I am not always correct, though. You could love it in Vietnam (Directions for that below).

I would love to see you visit Saigon with the family for a month before "Moving to Ho Chi Minh City as a Family".

I know that was not your question. I apologize for all the assumptions I have made but there is nothing better than having a look at the city before you fully commit to the move.

But that was not your question. I apologize for adding what is just an opinion.

If you are going to move to Vietnam then...

The most powerful influence on the quality of life in Saigon is determined by where you live.

If you were to rent a 2 bedroom Condo in Phu Me Hung (District 7) and spend most of your time working for nearby RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), then I can see you enjoying your stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

District 7 (Phu Me Hung) was built to accommodate foreign workers and is occupied mostly by Koreans and Singaporeans. It is a very quiet, peaceful and well-guarded part of the city.

It's modeled after the typical small suburban town in the mid-west of America.

The best hospital is the Franco-Vietnamese Hospital in District 7. There is also a nice 8 hole golf course; a beauty, hair and makeup salon for women and some of the best and most expensive restaurants (Thai, Korean, Italian) in the City.

District 7 is also the cleanest and least polluted part of the city. You feel like you are entering a different City than the one you'll see on the drive from the airport.

I enjoyed living there with my wife and my dogs.

If you were to rent a house in Go Vap District and work at a K12 Public school nearby then I would tell you to please consider somewhere else.

Your life would become the spectacle and talk of the neighborhood and your electric bill will rise monthly as each of your neighbors slowly plugs into your electrical and Internet services.

I can't stress enough how greatly the place you choose to live, work and spend your free time will impact your life.

Work will be an easy find for both of you. Your wife should be applying to the top universities and international Private schools. If she is a licensed Teacher in any Western Country then she is going to be spending her time touring which school she wants to work in and listening to offers (As long as her resume is good and she doesn't present it after a 3 day drinking binge!)

Some people do. You'd be surprised.

You won't equal her value without actual teaching experience but please lie. I see you have taught many times "Teaching University Students to Use The Library Effectively" and that is experience teaching.

Since you use the English language you must also have come across an Asian International student. You had to teach in English to Asian students.

If I thought you were a drunken Bum or stupid then I would never tell you to do this. In your case, I would. It is not a lie but a play on words. I was a food technician when I was 17.

The schools will use every little blemish you expose to lower the rate of pay they will offer you (Andamount of hours)

I still think the best and most effective way is to print out 7 resumes, jump on the back of a motorcycle taxi in your best shirt, tie and slacks, and stop at every school you pass by.

There are hundreds of them if you get chance to read through some of the other comments posted. Drop a resume but always hand it to a manager or someone with pull.

If you can't do that then make an impression on the staff. Tell 1 stupid joke ( I always try to pronounce "Sihn Jao. Guai Ohm?). It means hello, how are you. It always makes people laugh and you'll 'stick' in their minds.

They'll remember you and get your resume to the right person for you. Do it again the next day until 'hunting' becomes 'interviewing'.

If it were my choice I would start the very first film school ever in Ho Chi Minh City. I would start small with private Photography groups and offer photography lessons and video work.

I just wish I could talk you into a vacation of the region before you commit. And remember...

Never sign with a school that wants you on school grounds for 40 hours a week unless you are on hourly pay. Most schools are happy to let you go home as long as you are 10 minutes early to class and have adequately prepared.

The longer you wait the better the offers become. Don't jump on the first job you are offered.

I hope you do well.

P.S. Please write back and let others (And Me) know how you made out. So few people ever write back after they ask me for advice. I would love to know how they were all doing.


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