Teacher Journal: Jens
Jens (from Norway)
Taught in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
My time as an English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City ended mid-July, and I'm still dreaming every day about the wonderful time I had there. It's hard to point exactly to what made me fall in love with this country and the people, but for sure it has something to do with the friendliness and optimism you meet.
When I arrived at the airport, the Corps Advocate was there to welcome me. I stayed in a hotel the first couple of weeks, and discussed what kind of apartment to look for with him. I had no teaching experience. The course was demanding, and I was nervous the first 3 or 4 lessons, but I really enjoyed teaching English and the training made me confident to do it.
The other teachers had various backgrounds, and were aged from 21 to 60. Social relationships with the teachers at school were easy, they really took care of me as a new teacher. So did the Vietnamese staff working there, and I also made friends with Vietnamese people.
Ho Chi Minh City is really great. A lot of positive energy, nice food, and cheap stuff. I rode a bicycle around the city, also to and from school. I felt comfortable all the time. As the Vietnamese like to say themselves: "this is the safest country on earth!" I mostly ate on the streets, and paid about $1.50 for a dinner: fresh meat/fish, vegetables, herbs and rice. I found the food there often a lot better than in the tourist restaurants.
I had a very nice apartment, top floor with a terrace on the roof, 10 minutes from the school. About $130/month + electricity. Taking time and letting my Corps Advocate do some research for me was a good decision. If you are going to work full time (about 25-30 hours a week + preparation), choose the right places to eat and shop, and are able to find a affordable apartment, you should be able to save up, definitely. :-)
About LanguageCorps, I always felt their support and care. Their man in Ho Chi Minh City phoned me every week and asked me if I needed any help, he assisted me when I looked for an apartment, found me a job, renewed the visa, took me out for dinners... Also the people in Boston kept in touch with me all the time by e-mailing me frequently. So I would really like to recommend this experience to others who want to learn something about other people, another culture, and another tradition.
To me, Vietnam with LanguageCorps was the perfect choice.