The Exciting Forays of Life: My First Month Teaching in Vietnam

Rebecca and her fiance Justin are two TEFL teachers currently living and working in Hanoi, Vietnam. In this post Rebecca shares her experiences of moving to Vietnam and getting settled. Enjoy!

Stepping off the plane in a foreign country and realizing that this is where you now live and work can result in asking yourself, “Where am I, and what did I just do?!”

Congratulations! These questions are your springboard to exploring, understanding, and experiencing something new!  You are there to teach, but also to discover! Let your curiosities overcome your hesitations, keep an open mind, do your research, and don’t be ignorant ☺. With these suggestions in your pocket, you are well on your way to passing through customs and leaving the airport.

First impressions

When we first arrived in Vietnam, my partner and I stayed in Hoan Kiem, otherwise known as the Old Quarter.  ‘Shocked’ is one way to describe the feeling, and ‘elated’ is another.

Cacophony everywhere! After checking in to our hostel, we found ourselves sitting on toddler-sized stools and enjoying local foodstuffs while being baffled by hundreds of side-by-side seemingly identical businesses amidst astoundingly beautiful architecture.

We were entreated to the constant hum of honking motorbikes, songbirds, and bicycle vendors in the area. Truly, there are a thousand ways to describe Hoan Kiem, and yet you really just have to be there to know them.

Apartment hunting

After resting up and getting our bearings for a few days, it was time for us to find a home. There is a strong expat community here, as well as an expat district known as Tay Ho, but we wanted to live somewhere culturally immersive.  You may only live in Vietnam once, right?

In one week’s time we found a stunning 140 sq. meter, fully furnished French-style apartment in the top two stories of a jovial local Vietnamese family home in Cau Giay district. Awesome!

Job Hunting

With a place to live checked off the list, it was full-throttle job huntress time.  I was excited to put my TEFL training to use, so I promptly joined a Facebook group for expats, posted a profile, was bombarded by responses, and quickly found myself teaching for an outsourcing company at a highly reputable Vietnamese Private School.

My first moment of teaching English was being catapulted into a primary school, instructing over 400 students ranging from ages 5 to 10 half-way through the third semester of the school year. HOOO BOY.  Class sizes ranged from 30-42 children, and each room was equipped with a computer synced to a projector, and a chalkboard.

And that is a summary of my first month in Hanoi! Happy Teaching, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below!

Can’t wait for Rebecca’s next installment on the myTEFL blog? Check out more from her life abroad with fiance Justin – Another Hanoi-ng Travel Blog.


  • Frantzie
    Posted September 8, 2015 3:56 pm 0Likes

    How much would you say one should budget for their first month in Vietnam?

    • Alex
      Posted September 10, 2015 8:46 am 0Likes

      You can live a lot cheaper than this once you’ve got started, but for the first month, consider the following:

      Daily fees:
      $10 per day for food/drinks
      $5 extra for transport (you can get a cheap scooter, cycle or take buses after you get your bearings)

      Some teaching jobs will provide free accommodation (awesome!) but if you prefer to find your own-
      $250-300 approx for an apartment depending on if you share with fellow teachers/friends and where you rent.

      Most schools will help with the acclimatization to this new world, and fellow teachers can help show you the ropes!

  • Martina
    Posted May 27, 2018 10:25 am 0Likes

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