Too old?

I am an English teacher currently working in France. I have a degree, (Art), and a TEFL certificate.
I have been teaching English for most of the past 10 years.
My contract is coming to the end and I am considering relocating to Vietnam to teach.
But...I am 51 years old.
Would this be an obstacle to getting a teaching post in Vietnam?

Hello Ramble,

You have the relevant qualifications to teach in Vietnam.  Ageism is less a problem here than in other parts of Asia.

Be patient as it sometimes can take awhile to  get the position you want - so be flexible and initially be prepared to work evenings & week-ends.

Use common sense and research the better quality Language Centres in the City.

Good Luck in your new ventures


PS  - I was 55 when I arrived in Hanoi to work.     :-)

Dear Ramble, you don't have to worry about your age. Last time I studied in Eng center, my dear teacher was 65 years old! I was suprise when she told me that.
You can even open a private class from your own. Don't worry, I sure you'll find a suit job soon. And welcome to Vietnam!

Hello JF and lilith.
Thank you for your encouraging replies.
I will now continue my online research of Language Centres in Hanoi with positive energy!
Thanks again.

Ramble235 :

I am an English teacher currently working in France. I have a degree, (Art), and a TEFL certificate.
I have been teaching English for most of the past 10 years.
My contract is coming to the end and I am considering relocating to Vietnam to teach.
But...I am 51 years old.
Would this be an obstacle to getting a teaching post in Vietnam?

Nope, definitely not.

I was so pleased to see all your positive replies. I am also 51 and hoping to move to Hanoi late summer and had same concerns :) good luck!

I am 66 years old and I get requests to teach English at least twice a month, even though I am not qualified to teach English. I have had offers from schools and clubs all over Vietnam to teach English on the basis that I am English and English is my first language.

For people with formal qualifications there will be no problems in getting offers of teaching positions. However a word of warning - Vietnam does not have a framework of laws to protect employees from bad employers, especially if you are a foreigner. So choose your employer carefully and make sure that you have a water tight contract (if such a thing exists here).

yep, legally, you will fall out. Personally not understanding why, but 1st time work permit/residence will be below the age of 50. -=nope, I can't provide evidence or link =-
In order to get lucky, you might need to invest or be lucky enough, ignoring the 50 years cut off age for first timers (tea money)

l3ully :

yep, legally, you will fall out. Personally not understanding why, but 1st time work permit/residence will be below the age of 50. -=nope, I can't provide evidence or link =-
In order to get lucky, you might need to invest or be lucky enough, ignoring the 50 years cut off age for first timers (tea money)

not sure about that unless they changed the law recently as my first residence / work permit was when I was 64.

l3ully :

yep, legally, you will fall out. Personally not understanding why, but 1st time work permit/residence will be below the age of 50. -=nope, I can't provide evidence or link =-
In order to get lucky, you might need to invest or be lucky enough, ignoring the 50 years cut off age for first timers (tea money)

I've checked multiple websites for confirmation of what you have stated and have drawn a blank.
There have been a few sites which mention age in relation to a work permit and they have all referred to people in their 60s having got one.
As far as I can see, there is no cut-off point at age 50 for obtaining a first work permit.
I am planning to pay a visit to Hanoi in a month or so and I will make enqiries as to any upper age restriction.
Thanks for your reply, it is a point I hadn't considered.

I've just returned from a trip to Hanoi.
I very much enjoyed myself. The Fine Art Museum, The Temple of Literature, The Museum Of Anthropology, Hoan Kiem Lake. All good.
But...I was there to job-hunt and on that point I drew a blank.
I tried contacting several language schools by telephone, telling them that I was in Hanoi and would like to take my CV to them.
All but one of the language schools told me to send my CV by e-mail and they would be in touch. Now I may be old fashioned, but I certainly don't like the idea of sending my CV, with copies of my degree and TEFL cert, over the insecure internet to a complete stranger. So that idea didn't grab me. (Also, I thought the chances of getting a reply were slim).
One language school did invite me to come in. Maybe I misread the situation, but the HR manager seemed shocked to see Old Father Time standing there looking for a job and, after a cursory look at my CV, said there were no vacancies at the moment, but they would be in touch...
When I made the phone calls and at my visit to the language school, I asked if there is any problem with an over-50 teacher getting a work permit. They all said it is not a problem.
So, I will continue with my plan to relocate to Vietnam.
Next time, I will try HCMC as, apparently, there are many language schools in that city, so more opportunity.
I will see what happens.

There are lots of opportunities for well qualified English teachers in Saigon. I am not an English teacher, but English is my first language and even though I am over 65, I still get asked to teach English at least a couple of times a month. The last time was last week when I was offered 30 USD an hour (but only 2 hours per week) local to where i live.

So don't give up, I am sure that you will find a suitable job if you give time.

Go to HCMC, don't waste your time in Hanoi. I'm a Vietnamese - American man.

I am 52 although very fit (touch wood), an English national and just spent 2 months in Vietnam and without looking very hard have had dozens of job enquiries and some offers. I am back in Europe and still getting emails from schools, especially in Saigon. I think the Asians and Vietnamese are generally very ageist but the demand is so high they know they need to relax their criteria.
I know this for a fact in nearby Thailand where I was once an engineering manager employing over 200 engineers. It was a clear directive NOT to accept CV's of over 50's from the HR dept. You will also see this in many job ads in Vietnam, even some jobs requiring candidates of max 40! But generally 50 is the desired limit. This is naïve and ridiculous as many teachers are better when 50 + and maturity has many advantages in the industry of education. However it is what it is and that's the general criteria.
Again on the plus side I had many institutions contact me and even the university so don't despair, the demand is huge for language education.
Good luck

Hello ukt,
                how did you make contact with the language centres? Did you apply in person or online?
Although I am still interested in working in Vietnam, I'm beginning to think it may be easier to stay in Europe, where I have found that some language centres see age as a bonus. (Not likely to dissappear to Ibiza for a week, with the possibilty of not coming back, for example).
But I am intending to give Vietnam another try and I will visit Saigon in a month or so. If nothing comes of the job search, it will be a pleasant holiday.
Thanks for your reply.

When I arrived here in 2012 (I had lived in Vietnam for a year in 2000 and for a few months in 2005), I made a bit of a mistake by agreeing to help our next door neighbors 8 year old daughter with her English lessons. As soon as other neighbors found out, they came knocking on the door wanting English lessons for their kids too.

Even the boss of the building security team wanted me to teach her English.

And some of the parents got quite miffed when I declined.

Hi there
I got in touch via this site, plus some people I met when I was in Vietnam, you wont have a problem if you really want it,
yes Europe is much much easier in just about everything, Europe also lacks many things Vietnam can give.
its 6 and two threes so to speak, all has pros and cons.
generally and globally English language work is in a sweet spot even here in Spain English academies are popping up all over the place with teacher quality of (alarmingly) various levels.
Just go for it

all the best

What the heck??  I'm 63 and they're asking me to teach English all over Saigon, wherever I go.  I think the way one comes across is more important than the age.  If one acts like the proverbial extremity below the waist, then no jobs will be forthcoming.  It's as simple as that.

Your age is not important, just your outlook and approach

I think it is just the problem of work permit. Not about your age. Hope you have more luck in finding teaching job in HCMC.

Completely agree with you on that...ageist and sexist as my experience.

Lots of jobs on offer, but they will first and foremost hire a young male graduate backpacker type before anyone else. As long as he looks presentable for the parents peering in the classroom window.

They won't pick for quality and experience...fact.  They judge on the looks mainly. Unless you are working for the British Council.

I did work for one supposed reputable centre but again I over heard 3 young teaching staff discuss their lack of necessary qualifications. Two of them were male and they were all under the age of 22 yrs.

Ofcourse English language learning is big business here and the turnover is on a constant roll so it's easy enough to find work regardless of age.

I agree with all this and very well put.
The region is very much developing and will take time to catch up and become a less judgemental society. I used to manage a team of 200+ in Thailand, sometimes a nightmare. Just prove you are worthy despite (or because of) age and gender and you can succeed.
Try to influence them not change them overnight or frustration looms!

Good luck

This thread seems to replicate this one which was started by the same individual on the HCMC page so I will not repeat my full post again. … 07#3215585

Someone once stated on an entirely different forum that work permits were absolutely not granted to teachers over 65.  When I solicited responses to repudiate that statement, I got none so it may be true.

Ramble, You posted in January and it is already May so you may already be here.  No worries.  I am 60 years old, came to Ho Chi Minh City, and quickly and easily found work teaching English.  There are many teaching centers with many teachers far less qualified than you.

I only wish to say that your post is very accurate IMO it it's analysis about the subject in Vietnam.  Ageism is common, discrimination based up looks, etc. ... BUT there are mitigating circumstances.   Many Vietnamese are very overt in their discrimination and it's common that they will share their opinions without being asked never thinking that someone might be offended being called 'old', 'fat', 'black' as cultural political correctness does not exist in VN.   BTW, I don't have a problem with their lack of PC, it's OK with me.  I can deal with people sharing their opinions better than PC'ness .

If you are older [over 50], ugly, covered in tattoss or overweight then you are going to have less opportunities; just stating my opinion based upon my time teaching but let's be honest, no generalization is perfectly accurate...and if you happend to be of non-caucasion skin color or ancestry then you are double down going to have less offers.  I know of a case with an dark skinned Indian, internationally experienced, TSEL  qualified teacher who was bumped out of the job he had diligently performed in for six months, when a white, older, handsome teacher with no TSEL experience beyond cert. arrived and got an offer from that same employer.    White, American and handsome trumped everything else.  Remember that the schools are heavily  staffed by VN women.   This is just a real fact in some instances.  Please understand I am not saying 'American' is special or better and it's obvious that there are other caucasian nationalities that are highly prized, I'm just saying that I've been told to my face by teachers repeatedly that 'American, male, white, young' is the most desired trophy.  Again in no way can I say 'American' is better and I've gotten plenty of comments from VN that they don't really care for most Americans they meet so let's just leave my comment as just that a comment.

If on the other hand you, if you are older and have a younger than your age appearance, you take good care of yourself for instance and maintain a good physique, your handsome or at least not offensively ugly and you don't have a beer gut hanging over your belt then you will have little problem getting someone interested in employing you as a native speaker teacher as the demand is far in excess of the supply of young teachers and don't kid yourself...if there were enough young teachers then the offers for older teachers would be less.   Vietnam is currently a bit obsessed with 'young' and not just in English schools.  Experience in any field seems to be less important that fitting into the VN keyhole of view ...'young'.

I have witnessed the importance of 'being what the VN want' and I can attest to the fact that if you are white, tall, handsome, fit and don't have a big head of white hair and a grey beard then you will get lots of acceptance.  If you got a head of white hair or a grey beard, dye it and shave it before you start interviewing....just giving advice not saying everyone is going to agree with me.

But as was said, right now demand is high and there are sufficient jobs available to overcome the age issue in many schools.

Sadly that's a  pretty accurate summary except for the point about Americans being the number 1 preference. Having travelled to over 50 countries that is quite inaccurate at least in my experience. In South America British native teachers are always preferred and Vietnam even more so, unless they are being over polite to your face (or 2 faced) most Vietnamese still hold a grudge unfortunately although that is slowly changing thankfully.
I have been going to Asia for 26 years and your statement is generally not true. The British culture in Asia is massive, especially sports such as football (ok soccer), the English premier league is huge and followed passionately in Asia with many team owners Thai, Chinese, Malaysian etc. I am often greeted with English sir? wow! what football team sir? are you from Manchester sir? Pity I don't follow the sport personally which disappoints them.
To say that Americans are always the top priority is quite a statement and something that only an American would say without fear of sounding immodest and something from the Donald Trump book of diplomacy.
I cringe when I hear students from American schools coming out with, OMG, man, that sucks, I guess you gotten kinda like that, I was (like) at the store and (like) bought some pants and (like) kinda like em and (like) wore em at the prom and (like) had a ball and (like) got a ride home and (like).
It depends what part of the world you are in as to whether or not Americans are looked upon as number one and preferred but the fact that many Americans actually say what you said makes them often unpopular. Ask most Canadians, Aussies, Vietnamese, Arabs etc etc. In fact many Americans I find are paranoid about their global unpopularity.
I used to be a technical author for a major American company so my rant is based on years of experience.
If I ever say something like "I am English and we are looked upon as number 1 in the world" I would expect to be ridiculed and would deserve it.
Come on man your post was great until you blew the trumpet.
All the best

Sorry for any offense.  I thought I was avoiding being read that way.  I guess I failed.  I'll make a mental note.

Pal444 :

Sorry for any offense.  I thought I was avoiding being read that way.  I guess I failed.  I'll make a mental note.

You merely stated what appears to be the truth; something that I've heard come from the mouths of many people; with most of them hailing from places other than America.

The only point that I would clarify, based on my 8 years in country, is that the students are the ones that seem to prefer American teachers.  It's the students calling the shots in most schools and the managers are merely giving them what they want, be it right, or wrong.

With that being said, I have been passed over based on my age (50), but have been able to find work.  That's just the way it is.

Its not offensive just clumsy. Basically the power of Hollywood has had a huge influence on the Facebook generation but its really not true that Americans are priority.Sometimes sure. But its why the world's richest people usually send their kids to Oxford or Cambridge. Certainly Asian billionaires.
I never correct students when using American or Classic British English. Its the way the world is nowadays and their choice.

Ramble, You will find a job with no problems. Universities may not pay as much as the centers but each will open their arms to a well qualified Native English teacher. 51 is a good age and Not an old age. I've met many 60 plus aged teachers. In Hanoi close to West Lake in an International school, and is incredible, like a foreign University with Olympic indoor pools, Football field, Basketball courts, Multilevel Modern Building. They may be stricter about your qualifications but what an opportunity... Look, if you need teaching work, just walk into any center and you'll be working. I have done this many times in Hanoi, in the Central highlands, and in Saigon and I usually get work on the spot. Vietnam retirement age is 60 for men but I know many Native teachers working beyond that number. Good Luck. I lived in Hanoi and Saigon and I loved Hanoi. The weather was cooler, the people were helpful and willing to go out of their way to help and the speed of life is a little slower than Saigon. You have nothing to worry about, make the transition and you will love it.

Hi there,

Your post did not offend me in any way. Actuslly, I would agree. The centres here are run by daft wee lasses that hire for how someone looks. Indeed today alone, I've seen at least 2 posts looking for male American teachers. I think the students like it as well because of all the US A media stuff they watch, music, fashion etc.
For sure there's work...the quality might be questionable on both sides. It's just as it rolls for now. Am sure once English is saturated enough, they'll look for quality and not quantity, Either that or they'll all be learning chinese or russian once again ☺
I also found out about a teacher met all their idea of prefered criteria - looks, style, etc turned out to be a paedophile but they missed to check his paperwork...he's in jail now. The wee admin lasses thought he was cute. Enough said...I quit working for them.
I think we've all contibuted topic and are all more or less in agreement of how things are here and hopefully we have managed to encourage a new face in town.
Have a lovely weekend.

I'm encouraged.
I'm planning another trip to Vietnam soon to continue seeking out a teaching post.

Thanks for all the replies.

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