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Hello from Canada!

Good morning! My name is Arley W. I'm a 26-year-old male from Winnipeg, MB, Canada. I have been thinking about making the move to SE Asia for the last couple years so that I could teach English, and now I am finally ready. As soon as I save the money to buy my flight, I am going to be heading out there.

I have done a lot of reading online about what to expect, so I think I'm at the point where all that's left is to just jump in the water and see if I can stay afloat. I'd be very curious to hear what the experience was like for you when you just started. How long did it take you to become used to everything - the people, the food, the working conditions, etc.? How hard was it for you to find work?

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to getting to know you!

Asia is very similar to Canada in no ways at all.
Get everything you know and don't expect any of it anywhere in Asia.

Right, that's the build up to getting rid of culture shock.

G'day Arlybob,
Your in Winnipeg  Canada , you'll find the heat and humidity a challenge if you haven't spent time in climates like this.

I don't want to sound negative ,but when you said " as soon as I save the money for the flight"  your coming over.......there's your first hurdle.    I'm assuming your talking a one way ticket given your stay is indefinite??       That's just a few hundred bucks !!   

If your in a situation where your total nest egg is less than a few hundred bucks I wouldn't suggest you go anywhere.   

It's all about preparation.    You've GOT to have a plan B  and C to fall back on.  Too many expats come to SE Asia because they heard the living is cheap , so they arrive with three fifths of fcukall in their pocket and then find out no matter where you go in life there's always the unexpected costs and issues to deal with.

A lot of places want 3 to 6 months accommodation lease paid in advance,  you've got work permits,  vIsa costs, possible vIsa runs, MEDICAL , return flights,  you'll probably need a motorbike,  furniture maybe.....it all adds up.   And .....if you meet a lady ,  a bit of spare cash will come in handy there as well. 😳

Then the work may not be reliable.   There's no shortage of teachers walking the streets cap in hand looking for more work to fund their lifestyles.   Once the Vietnamese know you NEED the work , they've got you where they want you,  another expat  with a begging bowl.😆

Just make sure you've got enough funding to cover a few months living in case things don't go to plan, and always have the cost of the return ticket on hand.  I've met several who didn't & it's  ridiculous.   

      You can enjoy the new culture and lifestyle a lot more if your not counting every penny.

Good luck

Good morning Arlybob,

First off, "wot Fred sez", meaning, nail, head, hammer, hit!

Secondly, Yogi is a very perspicacious bear indeed and well worth listening to.

My advice, for what its worth, is to come over for a month to try the waters first. Make sure that you have enough dosh to survive for a month, then, once you have got over the initial culture shock (which can take up to a year), start looking at some practical things:
1. What do you want to do here? Teach English? OK, well.....
2.  The first thing you need to be aware of is that the place is awash with "English teachers", many of them existing on very low salaries.
3. some of them are being ripped off. There are some very dodgy employers here and that includes some of the so called English language schools/classes.
4. The next thing you need to know is that the laws and ordinances that the Western world has put in place to protect its people generally don't exist here.
5. And lastly, as a round eye foreigner, you have few rights here. Sorry but its true.

However, don't let these points put you off, just plan accordingly especially with regard to financing your trip. Arrive with your eyes open and your wits about you. It is possible to have a great time here and enjoy living in a fascinating, frustrating, rich culture.

One final point, regarding the ladies. Don't rush into a relationship. Its too easy to do that here.

I suggest you read the blogs about VN. At top of page <Community>, <Blogs>

Yogi007 and edomatt both offer some sound advice. You would do well to follow it, as there isn't much I can ad.

Therewise, welcome aboard : - )

Don't think of your trip as a moving trip.  Do not buy a one-way ticket.  Calculate all expenses needed for a stay of several months, and, following Yogi's advice, make sure to hold on to your return ticket.  Full-price ticket that allows you to change the return date would be the best.

The coldest day in Saigon is about 20 degree warmer than the hottest day in Winnipeg (my spouse is from Brandon, so I'm very familiar with MB climate) although it feels much stickier due to high humidity.  Winter in Hanoi is about as cold as spring in Winnipeg.

Noise and pollution, the two things that may fascinate you in the beginning will be more than likely turning into a nuisance when you realise there isn't any release from them.

A teaching job that pays enough to afford you a living is as scarce as hen's teeth.  Keep in mind that there isn't any such thing as law-protected wages or health care benefits for most jobs in VN.

The best thing about VN is the inexpensive food. The worst thing about VN is the jungle's law, just as Matt succinctly stated above.  The latter is *very* difficult for most Westerners to accept.

"How long did it take you to become used to everything?" -- Depends on the individual, on how much travel you've done in SEA (in your case, probably none), and on how fast you can adapt to a culture that is completely different from your own.  There are plenty of blogs and forums where the posters/authors couldn't find one good thing to say about VN even after several years living and working here.  OTOH, there are many Westerners who have lived here for decades and decided to stay for the rest of their lives (most of them however, are much older than you.)

There are plenty of negative and positive things about life in VN as a foreigner.  It seems you've more or less got your mind made up, which is a good first step, although the one BIG thing that you ought to reconsider is to save a whole lot more than just the cost of the flight.  A good nest egg would make the search for employment easier to handle.  There's also very good chance that you'll need to dip into that reserve to supplement your income any time during your stay.

eodmatt :

Good morning Arlybob,

First off, "wot Fred sez", meaning, nail, head, hammer, hit!

Secondly, Yogi is a very perspicacious bear indeed and well worth listening to.

My advice, for what its worth, is to come over for a month to try the waters first. Make sure that you have enough dosh to survive for a month, then, once you have got over the initial culture shock (which can take up to a year), start looking at some practical things:
1. What do you want to do here? Teach English? OK, well.....
2.  The first thing you need to be aware of is that the place is awash with "English teachers", many of them existing on very low salaries.
3. some of them are being ripped off. There are some very dodgy employers here and that includes some of the so called English language schools/classes.
4. The next thing you need to know is that the laws and ordinances that the Western world has put in place to protect its people generally don't exist here.
5. And lastly, as a round eye foreigner, you have few rights here. Sorry but its true.

However, don't let these points put you off, just plan accordingly especially with regard to financing your trip. Arrive with your eyes open and your wits about you. It is possible to have a great time here and enjoy living in a fascinating, frustrating, rich culture.

One final point, regarding the ladies. Don't rush into a relationship. Its too easy to do that here.

I am totally agreed with you

Thanks all for the wonderful advice. I can be quick to jump into a plan for something like this without taking the time to be safe and make sure I have all my bases covered.

I will definitely be bringing enough money to live for at least a month or two out there. I have heard so many stories, though, of people who just land in Vietnam and are hired within 24 hours. Are those experiences extremely infrequent these days?

G'day Arley,
Yep,, that still happens.   I've seen backpackers picking up a job handing out "flyers" in front of bars and restaurants.    They stand there ALL day and night and get paid a meal of steamed rice and fish sauce.    Not kidding.

The regular VN staff wiping tables and serving meals would be getting about 50 cents and hour.  So if your just standing there handing out slips of paper ,,, you'd be just getting the "meal" .

There's NO easy money here .     There's is if your a "party" member, but that's another story. 😆

Keep saving the "bugs bunny" and maybe organise a travel buddy , that can halve your accommodation costs, but also could become a problem.

At 26, just look at it as a "gap" year and have some fun.

Just read this from Go Overseas website, about teaching English in VN:

"... as long as you're a native speaker, you should be able to find a good position.

Language schools are great for newer teachers because they offer a lot of perks for little experience. They're reliable, plus they offer support and professional development. You may also be offered workshops and training to become a better teacher. In addition to these benefits, many schools also give contract completion bonuses, relocation packages, and pay for overtime. They may also arrange and pay for visas and work permits."

I can't stop laughing.   :lol:

Ciambella :

Just read this from Go Overseas website, about teaching English in VN:

"... as long as you're a native speaker, you should be able to find a good position.

Language schools are great for newer teachers because they offer a lot of perks for little experience. They're reliable, plus they offer support and professional development. You may also be offered workshops and training to become a better teacher. In addition to these benefits, many schools also give contract completion bonuses, relocation packages, and pay for overtime. They may also arrange and pay for visas and work permits."

I can't stop laughing.   :lol:

Yes, it isn't just bollocks, it's utter bollocks!

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