Teaching in Vietnam

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Teaching in Vietnam

I'm Isabelle, a 23-year-old Film Production graduate from Leeds. I realised shortly after my degree that I didn't want to work in the film industry and found myself in career limbo.

I have now been living in a beautiful and mind-blowing city for 5 months.

Eventually, I got a part-time job as a receptionist in London, something that I had never imagined myself doing and didn't really thrill me in practise either. Most of my spare time was spent searching for a more fulfilling career, and generally being disappointed. In short, life felt monotonous and unchallenging with no way out. 

I decided I needed to make a drastic change before I settled for satisfactory. My initial thought was to move abroad and, as with all ‘ridiculous’ ideas, I began searching the web with my fingers crossed. As it happened, it didn't seem like a ridiculous idea at all. I kept coming back to teaching English as a foreign language and it just sounded perfect. Apparently, I could live abroad, in almost any country and there was likely to be a well-paying, enjoyable job waiting for me. It sounded too good to be true but I decided to take the risk.

Within a month, my partner and I had quit our jobs, enrolled on a 120-hour TEFL course with The TEFL Academy and booked flights to Thailand. It was terrifying but also completely invigorating. I had never left Europe, let alone lived in another country and I’d never taught anything in my life. Yet, I finally felt like I was in control of my future.

We did a two day course with a fantastic, experienced TEFL teacher in October 2014. She challenged us, had fun with with us and showed us things from a different perspective. The lessons were nothing like the traditional, boring lessons I remembered from high school. In fact, they were incredibly fun. We realised every topic could be taught with the use of games, videos or songs. We learnt that there were lots of different learning style and we could cater our lessons towards these. Furthermore, there were lots of different teaching styles and we could adapt our lessons to what worked best for us.

In January 2015, we hopped on a plane to Bangkok and spent the next three months travelling around Southeast Asia. We treated it a little bit like country scouting, imagining whether we could live in each place. In all honesty, we scarcely believed we’d find anywhere that we could imagine living but as soon as we got to Vietnam, we knew we had to stay.

I have now been living in the beautiful, chaotic and mind-blowing city of Hanoi for five months. I spend my evenings playing English language games with children from two to twelve who are keen, energetic and hilarious. Most of my students give themselves ‘English names’ which are usually something along the lines of Spiderman, Peter Pan or Messi. We spend hours playing anything from charades to bullseye as well as making up new games.

I spend my days exploring the city by motorbike and drinking Vietnamese yoghurt coffee. I am friends with people from all over the world who are new to the country too, as well as wonderful locals who help me discover the language and culture. As with any big transition, it wasn’t all easy but it was worth it. I'd much rather have the challenge of teaching Barbie pronunciation and Spiderman grammar than being bored at a desk in England.

I have now been living in a beautiful and mind-blowing city for 5 months.

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