We were doing a routine followup with a LanguageCorps teacher in Vietnam the other day, and were shocked and disappointed to hear about her terrible living conditions!
“…The living situation in Vietnam is awful though. I just moved into this horrible apartment, it’s a penthouse on the 24th floor with a great view, a private pool, and a sauna :)”
Man – rough life!
In all seriousness though, this letter is just another example of how far an ESL teacher’s salary can go in Southeast Asia. The cost of living in the region is a big reason why many people plan on spending a year or two teaching English abroad, and never return to their home country. Would you rather work fifty hours a week in order to barely make rent on a tiny apartment in a big city in the states, or work a comfortable schedule and live in a penthouse in Vietnam with skyline view, a pool and a sauna?
I’m not saying that teaching English in Asia is for everyone. It all depends on what you’re looking for out of life. But the point is, wealth is relative. Finding a work/life balance can be tough in modern day Western culture, and in a lot of ways, such balance is easier to achieve in the East.
We usually think about wealth in terms of how much money is coming in. “If I can just get that promotion and that 10% raise, I’ll be totally set!”
But all too often, when you get that 10% raise, your lifestyle and spending grows accordingly, and you’re not set. You’re constantly trying to earn more in order to keep up with your expenditures. It’s a vicious cycle, and that’s how people get stuck on the proverbial hamster wheel.
So flip that equation on its head. If you think about increasing wealth as decreasing expenses, rather than increasing income, you still wind up at the same place. It’s just a different, oftentimes more pleasant way of getting there.
You can read the rest of her letter below!
“Lovely to hear from you! Vietnam is amazing and I am very happy with everything here, I might never leave :). I really enjoyed the course and I loved the trips. I think that it was a great way to prepare to teach, and I felt very well supported in the countries.
Currently I am getting adjusted to life in Vietnam. I started working as a teacher for a language school last week. I love teaching and have been very pleasantly surprised by that discovery. It’s very fulfilling and always different. The living situation in Vietnam is awful though. I just moved into this horrible apartment, it’s a penthouse on the 24th floor with a great view, a private pool, and a sauna 🙂
I am very happy that I chose LanguageCorps and I hope that my experience continues to be amazing.
I hope everything is wonderful with you, and I appreciate you checking in!”
-Cassandra in Vietnam