TEFL and Nha Trang

by Audrey


I have found this web site very very informative, it is down to earth, telling it how it really is.

I have not really found the process for a work visa, can you do this yourself or can it only be done through the school?

My husband and I are looking at doing a TESOL course then coming to Vietnam and hopefully find a school around Nha Trang area to employ us...sounds too easy!

Thanks to any reply.


Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

Thanks for the kind words about the website, Audrey. It's a nice feeling to know when you have helped someone out. It can be overwhelming just to visit Vietnam and even more so to move your life there.

I always appreciated when people helped me out the first time I came to Saigon in 2005.

Here's everything you'll need to know about obtaining a work permit for Vietnam including some application forms.

That page should answer most your questions on everything to do with legally working in Vietnam and also advice for those who don't exactly follow the rules so stringently.

Only the school can sponsor you to get a work permit so you need to get a job first. Most work is still under the table, especially so in Nha Trang. Nha Trang is the holy Grail for teachers struggling in Saigon and wanting some beach life.

So you will not get a full time job with guaranteed hours in Nha Trang. Even if you show up with a Masters Degree, CELTA, TEFL, AND 3 years experience.

You will get the piecemeal junk at first, but you should get work at about 7-12 hours a week. At $12USD an hour it is not much but again, you are showing up without any previous experience in Vietnam.

It is enough to live on. It ain't a bad life and if you are a good teacher, you will get the first full-time posting that opens up.

The Vietnamese are hands on. If it's in front of their face, they will see it and know it's real. And the "Demo Class" is your chance to make or break you!

The demo class is a short 20min class that you conduct as part of the interview process. You might dress poorly and have the face of a hog, yet if you nail the Demo Class, you're in for sure.

My advice: Start with work in Saigon to get some experience under your belt. A TEFL or TESOL will get you a job more easily but if you bore the students to death, it won't make any difference.

If you want to get a TEFL, then read up about them before taking one in Vietnam.

The same course in Vietnam would be worth $2,000 dollars and they often come with a hitch; You must work for them for the duration of your placement.

In other words; low pay and long hours.

Once you get some experience, head up to Nha Trang for a few days and pass around your resume and "Be There" in front of them. It's amazing how you suddenly become real to them once you are taking up the space on the other side of their desks.

Your Goal is Vast but you could end up in Nha Trang teaching English on guaranteed hours (The Key) if you are patient and well-liked by the students and staff.

Good Luck and click the reply button if you have more questions or even some advice for others.

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Jun 11, 2010
Nha Trang
by: Audrey

Thanks Travel-Budget-Asia.com for the great reply, it has given me idea of what to expect regarding getting work. We are booked in for an info session on TESOL in July here in Australia.

I have noticed (as in your post) that if we do the course overseas we would be expected to work for them for so many months. We have been to Vietnam 3 times and are heading off again in Feb 2011 for 4 weeks.

I have decided to do volunteer work during this time to get some experience up and also look around at what may be available.

We would be happy with 12 hours each a week as we also want to give back to the community with volunteer work.



Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

You are awesome to offer your valuable time to a people with less than you. However, many of the staff in the orphanages will ask you for money and ask you often.

Unfortunately, that money never gets to the kids and the needy. I always tell people to give your time but never your money, no matter how well they try to convince you that the money is a better way to help the kids.

It is sad to say but some of the staff do not hold the same desire as you to help the people around them.

A friend of mine paid $50USD a week to a certain (Un-named) orphanage for the use in purchasing diapers, which the staff said were the most needed item. When she went to visit the orphanage 6 months later, all the children were still in the same rags as the last time she had visited.

All the money was gone and not a dime of her money was used for a single diaper.

And about the CELTA. Getting it on your own, in a Western country empowers you to pick and choose where you want to work. Do a CELTA in Vietnam and they will not force you to sign a work contract with them. Not the REAL CELTA boys and girls. It is only those damn TELF courses, run by Vietnamese that get you stuck for 6 months in a contract with them.

The real CELTA program won't ask you to commit to anything. But when it says "issued in Australia", it empowers you.


Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com (Or Just Philip)

Glad a could help. Sometimes just affirmation takes away some of the anxiety. But if you can't get hired then nobody can.

Please check out volunteer opportunities in Cambodia. I do some work here and we could use a soul like yours around. The rewards are far greater than those in Vietnam.

But they are lucky to get you up in Vietnam.

Take care of Yourself,


Jun 11, 2010
Arriving in Vietnam With No Job Prospects
by: Polly

Thanks Travel-Budget-Asia for your interesting reply to Audrey.


Reply from Travel-Budget-Asia.com

That's a lot of questions, Polly. You trying to kill me? I'll go at them one by one.

I have been applying for work in Vietnam in probably most common way - via internet sites and companies who give a guaranteed job on arrival.

It is only this evening that I have read posts suggesting people should just arrive in Vietnam and try to find their own employment.

Vietnamese don't acknowledge you as an actual human prospect for a job until you are standing in front of them with your resume. Your appearance is very important to them.

If they answer an emailed request for employment or even advertise, they are just fishing for someone to work on days no one else will for a pittance of salary.

I have very little money to take with me - about 400 euro or less - can someone advise me if I can live on this whilst looking for work??

Poly. 400 Euros? Please wait until you can scrape together at least 1500 Euros. I'm begging you.

Vietnamese companies pay by the month, not every 2 weeks. Any way you look at it, a full paycheck is a month away.

If you stay at a Guesthouse in Ho Chi Minh City for $6USD a night, (Budget Rooms in Saigon) that would be about $200USD. Then you need to pay the cost of working that whole month.

You will be taking a huge risk flying into Ho Chi Minh City with 400 Euros.

Also, will I be allowed in the country with such a pittance and no return flight?

You should not have any problems. British Citizens are allowed 1 way tickets into Cambodia and Vietnam. If they ask how much money you have just say 400 Euros and my Visa card.

Do I apply for a visa before going or obtain one on arrival at the airport?

Polly, that is covered in the first sentence of the Vietnam Travel page on this site. Please read it.

Is it better for someone like me to go with a company as planned? I do not have teaching experience but have a degree and have just completed a Trinity TESOL.

Go with a company and regret it in 2 months. Get a job once you are there and your life will rock.

I want my boyfriend to come too, he does not have a degree or Tefl Cert. If I secure a job can he stay in Vietnam too or does he need a K2 fiancée visa or even the K3 marriage visa?

The answer is yes, he can stay. Enter the country on a 1 month visa and then head to a travel agent in the Pham Ngu Lao area of Saigon. Purchase a 6 month multiple entry Visa for about $150USD.

Take good care of yourself, Polly.

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