Teach English in Vietnam Without a Degree
Why teach in Vietnam? ‘Why not?’ you might say. In reality, there are many reasons why Vietnam is an excellent choice to start your English teaching career abroad. First of all, Vietnam offers diversity, on so many levels!
Enjoy motorbike rides or long cycling trips (not for the faint-hearted!) across the mountains to take in the views of endless rice fields. Discover your adventurous side while kayaking through the bays or zip-lining across the rivers. Test your fitness level on one of the insanely exciting cave treks.
Although some Vietnamese and Chinese dishes are similar, Vietnamese cuisine revolves around a combination of five flavours that correspond to five tastes in every meal. Traditionally, Vietnamese dishes are fairly healthy, as they often include fresh ingredients and the use of dairy products and oil is limited. The colours, textures, and variety of ingredients make the presentation (and the taste) of each Vietnamese dish a true experience for the senses.
With less than 40% of the Vietnamese population crammed in urban areas, life in the countryside is very peaceful and quiet.. In this country, people’s lives revolve around their native village. When young, they might leave their hometown to study in the big cities, but then most Vietnamese return home to settle down.
Another reason why Vietnam is the ideal destination to start your journey as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) is that it offers a range of job opportunities.
Kindergartens and public primary/secondary schools
Although work hours, pay, and class sizes vary greatly depending on the institution you work for, there are a few common factors. For example, a university degree is needed to work in kindergartens and public schools, as it is a Visa requirement. On the other hand, a TEFL certificate is not necessary, but it is recommended.
In most kindergartens, you’ll have 15-20 children per class, while the class size increases considerably in primary schools and beyond – up to 40 kids! You usually teach just a few hours a day, anytime between early morning and afternoon. This means lots of free time, or you could work for more than one school to make up the hours and get some extra money.
Different types of preparation are required depending on the age of the children you teach. While you are expected to deliver structured lessons in public schools, keep in mind that technology is scarce, so expect traditional ‘chalk and board’ teaching.
Private language centres
This type of institution is the most obvious and popular choice when getting into TEFL for the first time. These private centres are becoming increasingly popular among the locals, especially in the big cities.
Here, English courses are offered after work/school hours to children and adults. As a teacher working at a language centre, you are expected to deliver lessons at unusual hours – usually from the afternoon until late at night, and all day at weekends.
However, here you will enjoy a great work-life balance, with better pay than in public schools. Another advantage of teaching at language centres is the availability of resources, technology, and professional support. You will need to have a university degree to teach here, as well as a TEFL qualification.
With excellent pay, great support, and amazing benefits, the job situation here is highly competitive. You are expected to hold a master’s degree and a TEFL certificate as a minimum and to have a few years teaching experience.
The downside here is that your timetable would be pretty full and there is a lot of work involved. Your lessons are expected to be to the highest standard.
Moving to a faraway country with a very different culture from yours can be daunting. Let’s have a look at the different parts of Vietnam.
Here is where you can find Vietnamese food at its best. With a population of over 8 million, Hanoi is the government capital of the country. Here is where you are likely to find more teaching job opportunities and where you can find a large ex-pat community, should you ever feel homesick. This part of the country offers a better climate with more defined seasons, because of its northern location.
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is bigger than Hanoi – with almost 9 million people. As you can imagine, life can be pretty hectic there and it might feel overwhelming, at times. This is another hotspot for teaching jobs. Compared to the northern region, the south has more of a party vibe, and the locals here are considered to be friendlier.
To sum up
Starting a new career abroad is equally challenging and exciting. Vietnam is a wonderful place to live and teach in, but remember to give yourself your best shot, by getting an accredited TEFL qualification from a reputable provider. To be better prepared, have a look at this collection of teach English in Vietnam ideas!