I currently teach English in Vietnam and have been here for nine months. It hasn’t been smooth sailing but for the most part I’m happy here and happy with the opportunities that have come my way because of it. I especially love how teaching English abroad can help you see the world.
For most TEFL jobs (at least here in Vietnam) anything above 18 hours is considered full time. No more 40-hour weeks! I currently only work four days a week which is two full days and two evenings, so that’s three days I have to myself. Not working all the time has led me to be able to pick up a few hobbies and have the chance to explore the city I live in.
The cost of living here is so low and English teacher jobs can be pretty well paid, plus many jobs offer incentives such as free housing or a housing stipend.
As I previously said I currently have a few days off a week, which has allowed me to have a couple of days away every now and then such as to Sapa and Ninh Binh. I have also had a few travels during the school holidays to central Vietnam and Cambodia.
Having said that, it’s still a job. I have had people say to me that they want to teach English abroad too because they only want to work a couple of months and then go travelling for a couple of months and then go back to teaching. Sure, this can be possible if you go freelance/just pick up odd cover shifts. But for the most part that won’t give you a guaranteed income to be able to afford to go travelling. So save those long term travels for after your contract ends.
I also know people who don’t want to take the job seriously, turn up late and hungover, and don’t see it as a proper job and just as something to supplement their travels. The jobs can be great and a little more laid back than back home, but it’s still an important job and people depend on you to be on time and professional.
So in conclusion, teaching English can be an amazing opportunity. It’s given me the chance to explore some new places for a fraction of the price it would if I was flying from the UK, and given me more freedom to do what I want with my day. Not only can it give you the ability to travel, but it can be personally and professionally rewarding too.
Have you ever thought about teaching English abroad?
If you want to see more photos of my travels you can check out my Flickr