Teaching in Asia is a truly rewarding experience where you can really live and breath a culture. In this article, we speak to Charlotte who shares her experience as a teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam. She talks about how she adapted to a new way of life & how she has settled into Vietnamese culture.
“Making a good set of friends was a huge factor in settling into Vietnamese life”
At the moment
I’m teaching English & managing a curriculum for a new school in the city. I love it! I’m learning something new & applying what I’m learning.
Arriving in Vietnam
My first day was memorable to say the least! After my taxi arrived at where I was staying, I opened the door & a motorbike raced past and smashed the door off! A huge crowd of locals built up around me which got me freaked out! Luckily I was saved by my friend, who ushered me through the crowd & into his house. At the start I experienced a culture shock & didn’t like it much to be honest. It was a lot colder than I had expected so it took me time to settle.
At the beginning I found the language and culture a bit difficult. Not only those things but riding a motorcycle was tough too! What helped me the most was learning basic Vietnamese, it helped me adapt to the culture and made life a lot easier. Making a good set of friends was a huge factor in settling into Vietnamese life too as they become more like family. The way animals are treated here was shocking in terms of how they are killed is a bit in your face.
The Best & Worst
I really love my job & the amazing friends I have made from all over the world. The lifestyle here is really fun as I get to eat out in amazing restaurants & I have the freedom to go on holiday to some great places. On the other hand, the pollution here is really bad and it’s something I sometimes struggle with.
For me getting settled, getting a dog & finding a job I love really stand out for me. Also, learning to ride a motorbike & going on bike trips have made living here really memorable.
My plans are to stay here in Hanoi & continue to teach. I am working at a progressive school & I am helping to develop it. There is a stigma in Vietnam towards learning support so the school is working with an interior designer. We are building an innovative learning environment with sensory rooms & it’s something I’m really looking forward to using.
“I’m learning something new & applying what I’m learning.”
Work hard & you’ll get rewarded
Gain a core friendship group
Network – contacts help you to find a good stable job