Xin chao! Am i too young to be an expat?

Hello everyone!

My name is Tony V. Nguyen, 20. If you are somewhat familiar with the Vietnamese culture, just by seeing my (last) name, you guessed right - I am Vietnamese! Although, I have only lived in America my whole life (thus far) and rarely visit my (mom/dad/stepmom) family/ies in Vietnam.

From what I was told, I have been to Vietnam about 3-4 times, including my most recent trip as of last June. The previous trip before that was 10-years ago when I was 10-years-old. Thanks to the fact that I was (much) older than before, I was able to go out with my family as not just a kid, but as an adult. I had a great time there with my family and definitely feel as though I would have more fun living in Vietnam.

Although I am Vietnamese, due to living in America, I have lost touch with my Vietnamese speaking skills and definitely need to work on that before traveling back! I am wishing to be able to move to Vietnam temporarily/permanently when I am done with my undergraduate years in college (1-2 years to go (changed majors)) and make enough money to sustain a decent living while staying in Vietnam.

Until I can go live abroad, I would be grateful if I could hear your story on how you wanted to become an expat (and live in Vietnam) and how you had managed to do so (and also at what age (I feel as though I am quite too young to do something this drastic))!

Thanks for reading!

Hi,  Tony.

Do you have citizenship in both countries?

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Hello Gary,

No, I do not. I currently only hold an American citizenship due to birth rights.

You should call the Embassy in Washington DC and establish your Vietnamese citizenship. That will get you a Viet Passport.  Having two passports can be a blessing.

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Thanks for the information! I just might do that. But, if you don't mind me asking, what would be the benefits and (if any) disadvantages of holding a Vietnam passport?

There are several. Foremost, it proves you are a Viet citizen and you don't need a Visa to enter Vietnam. You have rights as a Viet citizen. IF, for some unforeseen reason, US citizens are not permitted travel to Vietnam, you may leave on your Viet passport.

It's like speaking two languages, it gives you an advantage.

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Oh! Well that is definitely is something I would like to be able to do and not be tied down by a visa. Thanks again!

Do you also speak Vietnammease?

careful claiming Vietnamese citizenship.

Vietnam only recognizes 1 citizenship. If you have Vietnam citizenship they treat you as a Vietnamese national and you lose support you would get from your American embassy/consulate should there be some unforeseen negative event such as being criminally charged or war breaking out.

At your age they might even force you into military service and station you at the heatly contested paracel and spratly islands fighting China.

Yes there's advantages to having Vietnamese citizenship such as not having to extend your stay, buying property and doing business in Vietnam.

But really do you want to be making $200/mth in Vietnam. They treat Viet Kieu's differently if you want to teach English. I always get the comment how can you teach English if you can't speak Vietnamese. By which I reply how did that caucasion teach English not understanding a word of Vietnamese? They don't get the response.

I've been in Vietnam now almost 3 years. Have gone back to Canada about 2 times for couple months in that span. I can ride a motorbike. Something that is necessary if you're going to live in Vietnam for a long while.

Forget family. I left Vietnam when I was less than a year old. I hardly know my extended family in Vietnam. Everyone at first will be nice to you until you run out of money to give them. I get along well with all my extended family in Vietnam without having to gift them but still can sense the difference.

Living in Vietnam and vacationing in Vietnam is 2 different things. You will enjoy living in Vietnam when you can stop comparing your home country with Vietnam. Embrace the positives.

Would also second the caution about trying to get your Vietnamese citizenship.  If something were to happen to you in Vietnam, then the U.S. will not try to help you as they normally would with their U.S. citizens.  The reason is because you actively obtained a citizenship from another country.  You can easily find more information on the internet about this.

In response to your question, benefit to being young is that you have much more room to take risks, make mistakes, and recover.  You don't have as much responsibilities as you will have later in life.  On the the flip side, you're at the age where people typically start building their adult foundation, such as a college education, skills.  As you know, the U.S. is great at helping you build that foundation..don't think Vietnam is there yet.

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