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Author Topic: The lure of Vietnam  (Read 1506 times)

kitano

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The lure of Vietnam
« on: October 01, 2019, 03:24:50 AM »
Vietnam is the place at the moment, like China 10 years ago or Korea 15 years ago, they are going from a developing country to a developed country and this makes it a 'hot property' for us 'foreign experts'. They are crying out for engineers and language teachers and so on to help them spend their money. This is going to continue I think as China becomes more imperial and a lot of the foreign businesses are moving down to south Asia
So I moved there two years ago on the advice of a friend who pointed out that I was unhappy in China. I had a 6 month holiday at home, but I will post a mini essay about Vietnam for people who may be thinking of going there. Questions after the lecture lol

Pros
1. Vietnam is incredibly beautiful. I know that China is beautiful also, but I assume that most of us live in cities with at least a million people, and are in that China vibe that it's all just cities. Even if you go to the countryside, it's full of people. Vietnam really is still full of wonders. Even in Hanoi which is a big city, you can go on your motorbike for 30 minutes and it's all trees and rivers. 90 minutes is a ridiculously beautiful mountain range with motherflipping wood fired goat pizza, or the sea
I didn't live in the south, but I think that is the same. It really can't be understated to people who live in China just how much incredible nature Vietnam has. I mean of course you are bored, but on a nice day you are always literally a day trip away from something ridiculously beautiful.
2. Friendliness. Vietnamese people are much more friendly than Chinese. I mean everyone is, but Vietnamese I would stick up for all day. I don't mean that fake friend thing like if you are a tourist and they want to use you for some guangxi, people are still just genuinely interested in foreigners, especially outside of the big cities. If you have been in China for a while then you will know how it works like you are nothing to strangers, but if invited into a family and then you are family and you can come to dinner in pajamas, Vietnamese have that but it's not extreme like China. Even in Hanoi people will just help you out because you look like you need help with your terrible Vietnamese language skills.
3. It's all happening now. I moved to China in 2009 and it was new to Chinese people as well as me at the time. The wild west was over, but it was still a very young country in a way. I was invited to all kinds of weird things  just on the basis of being laowai, it's the same in Vietnam at the moment, it's not crazy, but there is still a novelty that capitalism is working. You can easily wind up meeting a mayor or something

Cons
1) Infrastucture: They have done a good job on the roads thankMarx not me, but if you go off a main road then you are in danger of dirt tracks, likewise the train is a train in the western model not the amazing achievement that is Chinese railway. It's not terrible at all, but coming from China, it's 10 years behind. Because of the climate stuff breaks all of the time. They have done a good job with everything, but it is a thing, like the weather is bad then everything has to stop
2) The pay is lower. It might not look like it, but it's another one, we don't realise how nice we have it here. You can still save up, but you are paid less in Vietnam. it's quite a few dollars per hour when you work it out. I just always had university jobs in China and then did part time, that gig doesn't seem to exist in Vietnam. You can still live well, but it is a paycut
3) Chinese women and food are better.

I would recommend Nam 100% if you want out of China, but as a short term gig.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2019, 05:42:50 AM »
Is it entirely an ESL/EFL market? Do they want any other kinds of teaching.

Like, say.... Business Studies?

*hopeful*

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kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 08:39:08 AM »
Is it entirely an ESL/EFL market? Do they want any other kinds of teaching.

Like, say.... Business Studies?

*hopeful*

Hanoi and Saigon are legit international cities with international schools and universities.
I don't know who a business studies teacher works for but I'd imagine that they have them in those two cities.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2019, 03:57:09 AM »
3) Chinese women and food are better.

Instant win for China on this sentence alone. agagagagag

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aninvisiblehand

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2019, 05:04:16 AM »
Thanks for the write-up.

I have to imagine the work/residence permit situation there has to better than it is in CN, right?

kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2019, 06:25:13 AM »
Thanks for the write-up.

I have to imagine the work/residence permit situation there has to better than it is in CN, right?

Yeah the business visa is super easy. To come into the country you need a degree and language teaching certificate authenticated by your government and then you just send it to an employer and 3 days later you are given a letter which you use at the airport to get the stamp

kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2019, 08:22:51 AM »
Oh a couple of little addendums. There may be more since it's very hard to do it justice in 200 words or whatever I wrote. Coming back to China I keep noticing differences...

1) Vietnamese are really good at coffee. I'm really missing decent coffee in China. In Vietnam every street has a couple of coffee shops that have Vietnamese style coffee which is ridiculously sweet and strong. It's one of those weird things like kimchi in Korea where you find it weird for a month and then by the time you leave you are hooked on it

2) I assumed that the Vietnamese would kind of hate the Americans and maybe the French because of recent history, but it turns out that they really don't care. They are like China an ancient country with history gong back to around 2000BC and pretty much the whole time they have been fighting the Chinese. the war with America is not really a thing that I noticed (although they do have museums about it etc)

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2019, 02:08:08 PM »
This might be a weird question, but...

Do you have a sense of what sophistication exists in the English teaching market? Is it reams of vocabulary and grammar only, like in China. Or are people looking for higher end development too, like say, how to manage sophisticated expression in complex environments?

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aninvisiblehand

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 02:27:17 AM »
Another weird question...

Do the Vietnamese people love spitting as much the Chinese?

kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 03:50:51 AM »
This might be a weird question, but...

Do you have a sense of what sophistication exists in the English teaching market? Is it reams of vocabulary and grammar only, like in China. Or are people looking for higher end development too, like say, how to manage sophisticated expression in complex environments?

That's an interesting one. Their school teaching is very like China and just because the industry's is new there is a lot of very poor teaching. But they don't have the same arrogance/intransigence as you often run into in china.
I worked for quite a few different companies and two of them I worked for had very smart and forward thinking management who really made us collaborate and pushed professional development and a load of mediocre schools which could be mediocre schools anywhere in the world.

I wouldn't say that it's sophisticated, but the sort of built in inflexibility is not to the same degree.

kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 06:22:17 AM »
haha. China isn't so bad as I remember for that, but Vietnamese don't do it, I think it must be unique to China to see hocking on the street as a good thing

Amazingly, the Vietnamese are ruder and more dangerous drivers that the Chinese

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2019, 01:26:10 AM »
Amazingly, the Vietnamese are ruder and more dangerous drivers that the Chinese

How can such a thing be possible? ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah
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kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2019, 04:23:41 AM »
How can such a thing be possible? ahahahahah ahahahahah ahahahahah

Honda Wave. The country runs on motor scooters and yet they are rubbish at driving them lol

piglet

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2019, 10:03:04 AM »
Funny but I just read two blog posts one after the other about why the Vietnamese suck and are unfriendly to foreigners. They both said basically that the Viet are continually trying to scam you while winking at each other behind your back. Something to do with feeling entitled since they were so royally screwed over in the twentieth century. There may be something in this. I was only there for 3 weeks and felt quite comfy and didn't feel I was being milked any more so than in India or other places where you are perceived of as a walking ATM. What do the rest of you think? mmmmmmmmmm
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kitano

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Re: The lure of Vietnam
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2019, 01:01:57 PM »
Funny but I just read two blog posts one after the other about why the Vietnamese suck and are unfriendly to foreigners. They both said basically that the Viet are continually trying to scam you while winking at each other behind your back. Something to do with feeling entitled since they were so royally screwed over in the twentieth century. There may be something in this. I was only there for 3 weeks and felt quite comfy and didn't feel I was being milked any more so than in India or other places where you are perceived of as a walking ATM. What do the rest of you think? mmmmmmmmmm

I think that there is an element of that everywhere. It's definitely quite pronounced in Vietnam because it's such a popular place at the moment so there are plenty of people who just see you coming, and with the amount of backpacker types there is definitely a scamming foreigners industry.
Working in Vietnam is really a mixed bag. I had a couple of bosses who were great and have stayed friends with, and I also did work for people who were complete idiots and some people who were very dodgy.
I think it's just the same thing that you have in China where a lot of people assume that you are rich and that it's ok to steal a bit from rich people.

One thing that I will say in Vietnam's defence is that Hanoi is chock full of people who have heard about Vietnam as some paradise where you can be a 'white monkey' style teacher and live the life of riley, and predictably it goes wrong for them because they have no idea about teaching or how to live and predictably get bitter. It's a challenging place for sure