Public schools & language schools
* One – year contract with the possibility of renewal.
* Approximately 15 - 25 teaching hours per week (depends on position).
* Salary of USD $1,200 – 2,000 (depending on experience & position - N.B. you will paid the equivalent in Vietnamese Dong)
* Bonus - depends on contract
* Accommodation – assistance provided
* Health insurance
* Plus more !!
N.B. Terms and rates are subject to change depending on the contract offered and international exchange rates.
We look forward to helping you have a wonderful teaching experience.
Things You Need to Know
Accommodation is usually arranged for English teachers by the schools/institutions that we deal with. In some cases, schools will have their own housing; in others, a stipend will be given, and in others, teachers will have to find and pay for their own accommodation but be recommended places.
Teachers pay for the utilities, which are not expensive.
Cost of Living
Vietnam is a great place to live and work, and one thing that makes it more wonderful is the cost of living, which gives real value for money, as it is about 50-60% cheaper than that of native English speakers’ home countries. When shopping, expect to barter or bargain unless in a store where the prices are fixed. First of all, ask the price because the real value is somewhere between the price you’ve been quoted and half.
Dos and Don’ts
Vietnamese culture is very complex and very different from the West; however, once settled in, your school will organize a cultural orientation and/or give you a manual to help you have a better understanding of what’s culturally appropriate and inappropriate. Here are some examples:
Respect the culture and traditions.
Dress conservatively and be appropriately dressed when visiting religious sites.
Show respect to anyone who is older than you.
Wait until you shown where to sit, as the oldest person sits first.
Remove your shoes when entering a pagoda/temple, person’s home and in some businesses.
Expect questions about where you come from, how long have you been in Vietnam, do you like our food, etc. – the locals are curious.
Offer articles with both hands.
To someone, extend your arm, palm down, and move your fingers in a scratching motion. Only call someone who has a "lower" status than you.
Males should not shake hands with a Vietnamese female unless she offers first.
Do not take photos of people without asking them beforehand.
Do not touch the head and shoulders or reach over a person’s head to get or pass things.
Do not raise your voice or lose your cool. Loss of face in this regard is extremely difficult to overcome.
Do not point with your foot or use the index finger; use an open hand instead.
When sitting, do not point the bottom of your feet to any person or the family altar. Try to sit cross-legged or tuck your legs underneath you.
Do not display affection in public.
Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or Chrysanthemums as a gift.
Embassies & Consulates – check out our Links page.
Food & Water
Vietnamese cuisine is delectably delicious and at very reasonable prices. No matter what time of the day or night, people are always eating. There’s various styles of restaurants, so you can always find something to whet the appetite . . . but do NOT eat street food.
Western-style supermarkets can also be found in large department stores or elsewhere. These include Big C, Intimex, Co.opmart, Fivimart and Citimart. Convenience stores are contesting with roadside stalls/shops and traditional markets. Co.op food stores, G7 Mart and Shop & Go are considered as convenience stores. Supermarkets have a variety of good quality products, but are a little more expensive. If you want to shop daily for fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat, then go to a fresh food market. Also in street markets, you might have to bargain over the price but as a rule . . . when in Rome, so watch what the locals do and follow suit.
Do not drink tap water, but you can use it for showering and brushing your teeth. Bottled water can be bought everywhere for about 5,000 Dong, which can be used for drinking, cooking or washing fruit and vegetables. Also if you go to someone’s home or eat at a street stall or restaurant and are offered water, don’t worry as the Vietnamese people are aware of hygiene, BUT do NOT have ice with a drink as it is made from tap water. And of course, the major brands of soft drinks can also be found as well as a variety of alcoholic beverages.
There are a number of ways of getting around Vietnam that is cheap when compared to your home country.
Buses are probably the most common form of getting from A to B, as they pretty much go everywhere throughout the country and are quite comfortable.
Metered taxis are cheap and plentiful, especially in the larger centres, but you need to negotiate the price.
Xe Om (za-om) or Motorcycle Taxis are for those adventurous or brave enough and go where other forms of transport don’t go. Fares depend on the distance and have to be negotiated.
Cyclo, a bicycle rickshaw, is an environmentally-friendly way of getting about but is slowly disappearing. Bargaining is a must !!
Trains are slower than buses, but can be a lot more comfortable. There is a total of 4 rail lines: HCMC-Hanoi; Hanoi-Haiphong; Hanoi-Lang Son- Nanning, China, and Hanoi- Lao Cai-Kunming, China.
There are four main ticket classes: hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper, which are divided into air-con and non air-con.
Hard-seat class is simple wooden seats and usually very crowded, but expect plenty of cigarette smoke.
Soft-seat class: are more comfortable than the hard-seat class, but a little hard for sleeping.
for longer or overnight trips: There are 2 kinds of sleeper – Hard and Soft.
Hard sleeper: three tiers of beds (six beds per compartment), with the upper berth cheapest and the lower berth most expensive.
Soft sleeper: has two tiers (four beds per compartment) and all bunks are priced the same.
Bed linen is provided for both kinds.
Tickets can be purchased on the day or in advance, or online.
Air: There are a number of airlines that operate regular domestic flights throughout the country. Advance booking is necessary during the high season and public holidays.
Important Phone Numbers
Search & Rescue: 112
Mobile phone numbers follow the format 01yy xxx-xxxx or 08y xxx-xxxx or 09y xxx-xxxx. The next 2 or 3 digits (1yy or 8y or 9y) specify the mobile phone operator. Some mobile phone operators have been given more than one operator code. There is a number of mobile phone service providers.
Fixed landline phone numbers follow the format Area Code + Phone Number. The area codes depend on the province and/or city.
To dial a number within the same province or city, only the phone number needs to be dialed.
From another area in Vietnam, dial the area code before the number – e.g. to call Hanoi 4-1234567.
When dialing from a different province/city, follow the format 0 + Area Code + Phone Number. At the moment, area codes may have from 1 to 3 digits, while phone numbers from 5 to 8 digits.
You should arrange health insurance for yourself, as schools generally do not offer this. There are Western-style private hospitals with English-speaking staff available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Bringing prescription medication into Vietnam: Can you carry prescription medication into Vietnam? Yes, but only if they’ve been prescribed by your doctor, carried in their original, labeled vials, and accompanied by their prescriptions. Carry with you a letter signed by your doctor that explains the reason why you need a particular medication. Anti-drug laws are very stringent in Vietnam, and penalties for possession of illicit drugs are harsh. Don’t risk being stopped in customs, as it’s not worth it.
Money & Banking
The official name for the Vietnamese currency is Dong that is issued by the State Bank of Vietnam. It is fixed with the US dollar. Other currencies may possibly be exchanged (£, AUS$, THB) Paper notes are in 10,000-, 20,000- and 50,000-, 100,000-, 200,000- and 500,000 denominations.
If wanting to exchange US $, make sure they are in pristine condition with no folds or rips. 100's and 50's will get the best exchange rate so use lower denominations for paying hotels and restaurants- again condition is important. Also make sure they are the latest issue, as older bills will not be accepted.
To open a bank account in Vietnam, you will need to submit your passport with Vietnamese visa stamp and application form. Major banks are the Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), one of the best in the country; ANZ Bank; Techcombank, and Vietcombank that has the most extensive network of branches and ATM machines.
In rural areas and smaller towns ATMs can be difficult to find, so you should carry enough cash when travelling to places that are off the beaten track.
Credit cards are only accepted at large hotels and retail outlets, so you should carry cash for most situations.
Office hours for banks are generally from 08:00 to 11:30 hours, and from 13:00 to 16:00 hours Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, banks are open from 08:00 to 11:30 hours. There are a few large international banks that will open on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, but all banks are closed on public holidays.
You know Vietnam is a tropical country and probably think what do I need to bring with me. The following is a list of some things. All of these items can be found here, but you may have your preferences. And of course, if there’s anything you’re still not sure about, send us an e-mail and we’ll let you know.
So as clothes are cheap, there’s no need to pack too much, but if you want to bring anything make sure it’s comfortable to wear. The best thing is cotton, as you will get hot, and light cotton is the best thing that you can wear in heat. Although it is hot, you will still want to bring your jeans and in the cooler season you will be happy to have a sweater and/or a jacket if travelling in the North.
But in general when dressing, use common sense and remember that Vietnam is a more conservative country than your home country. Teachers are held in high regard, so dress like a professional.
Best to bring your own rather than buy for sake of simplicity. Also make sure you have the correct conversion equipment for Vietnam. The Power Voltage is 220 V, and electrical sockets accept either flat-pin or round-pin plugs. So you can obtain an international conversion kit relatively inexpensively at an electronics store in your home country.
If you are on any prescribed medication, including birth control, it’s best to bring it with you along with letters from your doctor and other documents supporting what the medication is and why it is needed. You’ll be able to get pain relievers or cold medicine, but if you prefer a specific brand, you should bring that, too.
Most things are available in Vietnam. However, if you prefer a specific brands i.e., certain types of toothpaste, make up, hair products, etc., then bring them with you.
Photocopy of Important Documents
If your passport or photo ID gets lost or stolen, it will help to have photocopies to show at your Embassy.
Teaching Materials & Documents
If you have any resources you consider essential to your classroom i.e. story books, craft supplies, stickers, incentive charts, etc., schools welcome their use as they want students to become more familiar with the English language and Western culture.
All foreign teachers who come to work in Vietnam are required to enter the country with a Business visa. Once the school/institution has confirmed that they will employ you, they will send you the required documents to obtain the visa. As for the processing time, this will depend on where you are applying for the visa, so it is recommended that you contact the embassy/consulate and ask them about this. Alternatively, if you are lucky, the school might get you to get the visa on arrival at the airport. This is a very easy process whereby you complete an application form, give 2 passport photos on white background, and the fee (at present it is USD $50).