Published 1st August 2019
Asia is and always has been a TEFL hotspot. Thailand, China, South Korea – they have been favourites with TEFL teachers for many years. But now another Asian country is making its mark as a top TEFL destination: Vietnam. With an abundance of history, culture, beautiful landscapes and breathtaking scenery, Vietnam has a lot to offer as a destination to visit and live in. Even better, there are plenty of TEFL jobs to choose from.
However, even if you’ve made the decision to teach English as a Foreign Language in Vietnam, you still need to narrow that decision down even more to decide on which city. There are a few cities in Vietnam which are good locations for TEFL teachers, which one you choose will depend on which suits your style.
On the whole, even though there are a few TEFL positions available in remote areas, it is easier to find jobs in the bigger cities. In these cities you are likely to find a job in a private language school, or (if you’re more qualified or experienced) a school or university.
The capital city is an obvious choice. The second largest city in Vietnam, Hanoi is the laidback choice. It’s a big and busy city which boasts skyscrapers and tall apartment buildings, but also lakes, parks and a well-preserved historical Old Quarter. In other words, Hanoi has something to offer everyone, but it is a more relaxed choice than its metropolitan brother Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh
Down in the South, Ho Chi Minh is Vietnam’s biggest city and the city with the highest demand for TEFL teachers. With a significant French influence, Ho Chi Minh is the bustling economic hub of the country. It is also home to many expats so if you are looking for a vibrant nightlife with other foreigners, Ho Chi Minh is for you.
While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are both big cities and obvious choices for TEFL teachers, they are quite different. It seems that you are either a North (Hanoi) or a South (Ho Chi Minh) person so make sure you figure out which camp you belong in before you decide which to live in.
On the other hand, if you like the idea of living in a city but you’d rather avoid the extreme hustle and bustle of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, we have two other options for you which are a bit more relaxed.
Moving away from big cities, Da Nang is a gorgeous beach town in central Vietnam, famed for its sandy beaches and history as a French port. Da Nang is a popular base from which to explore the Ban Na Hills, home to the Marble Mountains – five limestone outcrops hiding pagodas and caves with Buddhist shrines. Da Nang should be the choice for those who prefer a less touristy destination.
If you’re looking for more history, then Hue should be your choice. The national capital from 1802 to 1945 and situated on the Perfume River, Hue is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam, but it boasts UNESCO World Heritage city status. The TEFL market is still growing in Hue but there are certainly jobs to be had. If you’d enjoy living in a historic, cultural and laidback city, then come to Hue.
No matter where you decide to be, there are a few things you can be certain of when living in Vietnam:
- Your schedule will be flexible and changeable at a moment’s notice. Expect to be working odd hours (evenings and weekends) if you’re working at a language school.
- Your students will have a casual relationship with punctuality.
- The weather can be extreme so you need to be prepared for intense heat and crazy rain.
- The traffic is crazy so it may take a while to get used to crossing the street, and many months before you feel confident enough to own a scooter.
- You’ll be spoilt for choice for food – be it pho, banh mi, noodles or springrolls, Vietnamese food is out of this world if you eat at a restaurant or on the street.
- You will travel. Weekends, holidays, whenever you have a spare moment you can hop on some local transport and make your way to a gorgeous beach, a crazy jungle, a mountain or a historic city.
- You’ll have the time of your life.