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Life in Hanoi
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has a unique vibe and unique charm. French, vine covered, colonial architecture hang over tiny ancient temples squeezed between striking Soviet era buildings. Dozens of tree lined lakes provide the focal points for the city. Despite being the capital city, it manages to maintain a big village vibe and it’s very common to bump into friends on the streets.
Teachers are split between two different working styles in Hanoi, some work traditional full time teacher jobs for about $18-24 per hour. For these positions you will need a working visa and a work permit. The other teachers work a combination of different higher paying part time jobs ($20-30 p/h) and tend to just work in the evenings and weekends. The second option might sound a bit daunting at first, but it is very common practice here and many teachers prefer the freedom it grants them to dictate their own schedules.
N.B. Recent changes to visa law mean that Teacher’s Friend – Vietnam recommend that all teachers try to get the full working visa.
Life in Ho Chi Minh city
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the biggest city in the country and is Vietnam’s answer to a modern metropolis. What it lacks in traditional charm it makes up for it with modern architecture, late night parties and a more Westernized atmosphere. Both of Vietnam’s two major cities are becoming more modern, but you can be sure that Ho Chi Minh City is currently in the lead. There is plenty of culture still to be found between the sky-scrapers though. If you’re not a fan of cold weather, Ho Chi Minh doesn’t have the same chilly winter that Hanoi does, so you can expect a year-round tan.
Teachers in Ho Chi Minh City can opt for the same two working styles as Hanoi, although it is more common to have a full time job as there is more competition for teaching positions.
Life in Smaller Cities and the Countryside
Despite their many charms, Hanoi and Saigon can be pretty chaotic. Some people prefer to opt for one of Hanoi’s smaller cities and towns dotted across the country. Of course, they all have their own individual advantages and disadvantages. You can be sure that there will be fewer Western people around, and for some people this escape can be very appealing. You are sure to have a truly unique, if quieter experience if you choose for this option.
Teacher’s tend to work full time positions and might pick up some extra teaching hours in the evening. Salaries can be a little lower, but the lower cost of living and abundance of teaching hours make these positions ideal for saving money. Whilst demand for teachers is high in Saigon and Hanoi, it is truly in these smaller cities that you will be able to give the most back to the community.