Where we work / Vietnam

There is an ever-growing need for more English education in Vietnam.

Vietnam

At the invitation of the government and universities in Vietnam, ELIC teachers continue to enjoy positions of influence in their classes, campuses, and neighborhoods. We find that our students in Vietnam are eager to learn English and excited to be our friends and introduce us to their culture and country.

As Vietnam’s economy grows, the need for English language instruction has been recognized. ELIC has the great privilege and opportunity to make a significant contribution to its modernization program. Take part in making a true and lasting impact on the lives of students in this amazing country.

frequently asked

questions

Job description

Which city is the new role in?

Hanoi and Danang.

Which University is the new role in?

Hanoi University of Culture (HUC) since 2015, Duy Tan University (DTU) since 2020. 

What are the duties and responsibilities of the role?

HUC: Our teachers are currently teaching English majors and a class for HUC Faculty/Staff. The teacher class is offered in the late afternoon/evening twice a week for 2 hours. We have taught various classes for the students: Speaking and Listening, 4 Skills, Presentation Skills, and a Writing class. The student classes are 3-4 hours either starting at 7 am or at 1 pm. Teachers have been invited to several school functions, including the Teacher’s Day program, 60th Anniversary Celebration, and inaugural gala for the launching of the new Family and Social Work Department.  

DTU: Our teachers mainly teach non-English major students fulfilling the general English requirements of the university. Duy Tan is a private school with a mandated number of English elective hours for all students, and an internal TOEIC-style examination that all students are required to take prior to graduation. Our teachers mainly focus on Speaking and Listening courses. In addition to teaching, our teachers are also involved in additional projects and events, such as curriculum development, English clubs, and English Youth Union events.

Describe weekly work schedule and hours for the role?

HUC: Our classes are 3 or 4, 50 minute periods. We take a 10 minute break at :50 of every hour. Semesters are 15 weeks long.  

DTU: Teachers teach roughly 16 hours per week. Each semester is divided into two 8-week phases. Each day teachers can expect to teach 1 or 2 classes usually all morning or all afternoon. Classes start at 7:00 am and run until 5:15 pm. Classes are 2 hours in length.

What class subjects will the teacher be teaching? Are there opportunities to teach something other than English?

HCU: The Teacher/Staff class has studied several levels of Let’s Talk. They are currently studying Outcomes (Pre-Intermediate). For the students, we have taught Real Listening and Speaking (1, 2, 3), Face2Face (Pre-intermediate and Upper Intermediate), Speaking of Speech and Writing (Collins for Life, B2 level).

DTU: Teaching responsibilities include teaching 4 levels of speaking and listening classes.

Teachers are also responsible for delivering midterms and final exams.

How many students will the teacher have? How many different classes?

Teachers can expect anywhere between 25 and 40 students per class, in roughly 5-6 classes.

What is the student demographic?

HUC: The Faculty/Staff class students are generally older, peer professionals working at the university. Most are married with two children (per government limitations). English level among the staff is around pre-intermediate. Many are old enough to have studied Russian as their primary foreign language in university. The English major students are eager to study and there is a range of English levels within each class. Some are actually quite low, a few a quite high and most are around pre-intermediate/intermediate level. The graduating class of 2021 English majors will be the very first graduating class of English majors at HUC. This is a very new program for the university.

DTU: Students are typically 1st–3rd year university students. All are non-English majors. Their majors are typically medicine, pharmacy, IT, tourism, or business. The English level of the average student is very low. Typical challenges they face include limited vocabulary and pronunciation. They have a lot of difficulties listening, so many instructions will need to be written to understand. Many students come from outside Da Nang city, often from the countryside and the central highlands.

How much classroom prep time is required/expected each week?

For every hour in class a teacher can expect to need an hour outside of class for prep time; grading/marking can take more time (so probably something like 15-20 hours per week).

Will the teacher have an office on campus? Will the teacher be expected to hold office hours?

ELIC currently does not have office space at any of the school’s 5 campuses. There are no requirements for holding office hours.

How many teachers are already placed at this school?

HUC: Currently 3, with a maximum of 5

DTU: Currently 3, but the goal for the fall is 9.

How will the new teacher engage with non-Pinnacle faculty & teachers at this school?

Our team generally has someone assigned as School Liaison who acts as a contact point for faculty/international relations for most communication needs such as schedules, exams, school events, etc. Teachers also have opportunities to connect with and at times collaborate with faculty.

What are the bare minimum degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

All teachers are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

What are the ideal degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

Ideally, teachers will have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. 

What are the experience or resume qualifications needed by a new teacher in this role? Is prior teaching experience necessary?

According to Decree 152, established at the end of 2020, teachers must have three years of teaching experience prior to receiving a work permit within Vietnam. However, as volunteer English teachers, we can work with our partners to secure a work permit exemption that negates this requirement.

Are there age restrictions for a new teacher?

No, there are no age restrictions for a new teacher, as long as they meet all other requirements. 

What will the new teacher learn after their first week in the classroom that will encourage them as they move forward?

The most encouraging thing a new teacher will learn from moment one is how friendly the students are. They are so welcoming and excited to meet new educators. 

What will the new teacher learn after their first week in the classroom that will be a challenge for them as they move forward?

Classroom management for large classes can be a unique challenge. There are also many online components to teaching now that can be hard to navigate at first.

Team Dynamics

What is the current team size and team demographic in Vietnam?

HUC: 4 OBP – 1 married couple with 1 high-school aged son, 2 singles who are around retirement age.

DTU: 5 OB – 1 married couple with a 3 year old and 5 year old; 3 singles and 1 local staff with his family. 

Who are the current team leaders and/or what is the current leadership structure in Vietnam?

HUC: the team is comprised of a Team Leader who currently also functions as School Liaison and a member of the Vietnam Leadership Team (VLT).

DTU: the team is comprised of the Country Director, Operations Manager (local staff), who co-lead the team and also serve as members of the Vietnam Leadership Team (VLT).

Where are some of the team members from in the US or Canada? Hometowns? Alma maters?

Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Vancouver area of Canada.

How often do you see your teammates each week in formal team meetings?

HUC: 1-2 times weekly for formal meetings (team gathering, teacher meeting); periodically for fellowship, CR events, etc.

DTU: 1-2 times a week formally (team study and teacher meeting), most days we see each other and often do meals/other events together.

What do formal team meetings entail? What's the takeaway? Why do you meet? What's the value of formal team time?

Teams meet for fellowship in the word, lifting, singing, sharing CR/LCD stories, as well as life experiences; teacher gather routinely to navigate teaching challenges and plan events.

How often do you see your teammates each week informally just for fun? And what do you do together?

Very often! We go to coffee or a meal, watch movies/shows, have parties with students/neighbors, go to parks/museums/etc.

Share a fun team story

HUC: Our team drove out to the national park with a group of students from our English club and spent time playing games, enjoying a bonfire, and connecting in a more informal, personal way, and in a beautiful place with great weather conditions

DTU: One time the power went out due to a tropical storm and so we gathered together as a team and made dinner with flashlights, and along the way, a couple of neighbors came and joined in the fun!

Share a challenging team story.

Team Vietnam has been in a rebuilding/renewing phase the past couple of years as we develop pathways for healthy team culture and leadership development. We only moved to Danang in July of this year, so it’s still pretty new to us. But tons of potential. Our vision is to see Danang become our hub of operations for building up OBP to be sent out to other parts of the country that are more isolated. The central region is also key as fewer like-minded groups are working here than the northern and southern regions, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.

We are in our first semester of partnership with one university in Danang, and believe this particular school is open to expanding the number of teachers they accept. It’s a large private university where we teach non-English majors and English majors, a maximum of 16 hours/week. The school takes care of the visa process and provides our teachers with a stipend of $515/month (we are paid considerably less than China and elsewhere, as we are considered volunteers and our org. is recognized as an NGO). There are several other universities in Danang as well, and we hope to build partnerships with a couple of other schools in the coming years. 

City & everyday life

How long have we been in Vietnam?

We have taught in Vietnam since 1994. 

What does the first week in Vietnam typically look like for new teachers? How do they get their lives "started"?

Teachers spend their first week on the ground going through a combination of “country” and “city” orientation that involves checking out key sites and venturing out on language and culture outings in town with students and teammates, as well as getting settled into their new homes/apartments.

What does housing look like in Vietnam? How far away are housing options from the school? From their teammates?

HUC does not provide teacher housing. All of our HUC teachers live near our office on Hoang Dao Thuy Road.

Utilities are the responsibility of the teacher per arrangement with individual landlords.

Housekeeping is the responsibility of the teacher. It is very common and affordable to hire a house “helper” to assist around the house as required. There is somewhat of a network of like-minded house helpers in Hanoi that can be accessed via current teachers and/or the broader Family community in Hanoi.

At DTU, our team deliberately placed itself in the older part of town where we are surrounded by Vietnamese communities (as opposed to the beach area, which is an enclave for expats and tourists). Housing costs in the beach area fluctuate quite a bit (in the pandemic prices have dropped considerably but will be expected to rise again), whereas costs in the older part of the city remain fairly stable. Most teachers live in typical Vietnamese homes, which are narrow and tall with multiple floors and lots of stairs. There are also studio-style apartments or loft-style apartments available for rent.

Water and trash collection are inexpensive; the chief cost is electricity if a teacher is using a lot of A/C. This isn’t as needed for a decent part of the year, as temperatures cool off, but the weather is quite hot and humid during the summer months, and these concrete buildings do heat up considerably. Electric bills are about double what they are in other parts of the year during the summer months.

What is the local currency in Vietnam? Do people typically carry cash? Credit cards?

The local currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). Credit cards can be used in most supermarkets, grocery stores, malls, etc. People do generally carry a fair amount of cash with them.

How do people generally travel to their school? What is public transportation like in Vietnam?

HUC: Taxis are readily available and very affordable. A city bus is also a good option and very cheap. “Grab” is an app that can be downloaded and used on your smartphone. It’s just like “Uber” in the US. It is a very easy, relatively cheap way to get a taxi or motorbike taxi.

DTU: Most teachers prefer to travel by motorbike (scooters ranging from 50cc’s to 125cc’s; anything above 50cc’s requires a license, which requires obtaining a temporary residence card and taking a driving test), and we have an extensive training program in place for those desiring to learn and be approved to drive. Taxis are also readily available (motorbikes or cars) through an app. Traffic in Danang isn’t too bad, so most routes are about 15-20 minute maximum commutes (though one of the school’s campuses is about 30 minutes away).

What is Vietnam culturally known for? Where are fun spots to take new visitors?

There are a lot of cultural things to do such as museums, festivals, parks, and local shopping. There are also a few malls that have movie theaters. The city is over 1,000 years old and has a ton of history and culture to drink in.

Danang is a city of about 1.1 million and is basically one part tourist destination and one part development hub. Vietnam hopes to grow both its manufacturing output as well as its information technology market in this city. It’s also the major education hub for the central region. So it has a lot of the benefits of a large city (international airport, decent medical care, an international fellowship, Western shops/stores, etc.) while retaining a lot of the more vintage aspects of Vietnamese culture and life.

Danang is a coastal city nestled against the edge of the Central Highlands. It is full of natural beauty: beaches and coastlines, rolling green hills and mountains, with numerous valleys, rivers, and lakes in the surrounding region. Hiking and motorbike tours through the mountains (such as the famous Hai Van Pass) are quite popular, though there are certain risks involved with driving and/or hiking, especially if alone. Danang city also boasts many historical and cultural significance, with neighboring world heritage sites at Mỹ Sơn and Hoi An Ancient Town. The city is also full of unique cafes, shops, markets, museums, and parks.

What does shopping for food look like in Vietnam? Do people usually eat out? Cook for themselves? Share meals with teammates?

Hanoi is filled with eating options for a range of tastes and budgets. HUC has a small coffee shop located in the building just to the left as you enter campus. It has very limited snacks and food options but does offer fair coffee and tea. All are very inexpensive. A canteen on campus serves institutional food (mediocre by reputation only) for about $1.50 a meal. The back gate is a good way to go to find local food options near campus. Go out the gate and turn right to find several street food options. Explore, have fun, take some students and/or teachers with you.

Homes usually come equipped with a gas stove and other appliances such as electric ovens are available, and many of our teachers do a fair amount of cooking at home. There are numerous restaurants around town as well, ranging from local eateries that cost between $2-$3 a meal to Western restaurants with more Western prices. Food can also be easily delivered through delivery service apps or social media.

There are numerous open-air markets as well as small convenience stores/mini-marts in each neighborhood. There is also a large wholesale market in the southern part of the city.

What do meals look like during school hours? Do teachers share meals with students?

Teachers often have the flexibility to grab coffee or lunch with students on or near campus.

What local dish is Vietnam known for?

Vietnam has many famous dishes: Bun bo nam bo, Bun cha, Nem xan, Pho, My Quang, Bun Thit Nuong, Cao Lau, Banh Canh, Banh Xeo, Bun Dau.

Does Vietnam have any western chain stores or restaurants?

There are a lot of items available in Hanoi. If you can’t find it at the local supermarket, you will likely find it at an international store (Dan’s or L’s), located in the Westlake area (Tay Ho area). Numerous Western goods are available in Danang at the following locations: Joly Mart, MoonMilk, VinMart, Lotte, Healthy Farm, K Market, and Mega Market. 

What's your favorite thing to do as a team in Vietnam? What do people do for fun or during downtime?

There is so much to do! We visit parks and museums, take a bus to Ba Vi National Park, visit the Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem Lake.  Visit local parks, the Son Tra Peninsula, the riverside along the Han River, and the beach area. 

How do people exercise in Vietnam?

Besides the campus gym, there are no recreational facilities available at HUC. However, in the evenings, you will often find students playing pick-up soccer games and badminton in the open areas. Danang has a number of parks, malls, and other walking attractions, such as the beach or the Han River walkways, with great views of the Son Tra Peninsula and the famous Dragon Bridge.

How do people spend their weekends? Are there cities nearby that people typically visit for a weekend away?

Sometimes teachers travel a couple of hours away by bus to visit Ha Long Bay. In the city, people frequent shopping malls and the Old Quarter.  From DTU, people go to the beach and to the riverside; Hoi An ancient town is about 40 minutes outside the city, and the city of Hue is about a 2-hour ride north.

What's your favorite coffee shop and/or restaurant in Vietnam? Why?

Too many to list! But caphe trung is a must-try (“egg coffee”). In the central region, “salt coffee” is very popular.

What will a new teacher be surprised to have learned after their first 60 days in Vietnam?

After a couple of months, a new teacher should be able to navigate numerous “survival” cultural outings and have a strong sense of the benefit of living in proximity to the local culture and community.

Any additional helpful points for Vietnam?

Hanoi: Capital city. Rich history. Seat of government. Intellectual. Vibrant and dynamic. Fast-paced on the surface, slow and deliberate close-up. Towering buildings, intracate local communities. Gateway to the north. Full of young people seeking new opportunities.

Danang: Heart of the central region. Surrounded by natural beauty–mountains, rivers, beaches. Intriguing history and cultural makeup. Dynamic and growing. College town–students and young professionals everywhere, looking for opportunity and ready to engage. Spiritually challenging. Palpable needs. Hub for teacher development. Launchpad to new regions and placements.

Family & growth

How do people generally work with Member Care Specialists in Vietnam?

Members of Team Cambodia meet regularly with our Member Care Specialists.

What does ongoing personal/spiritual development look like in Vietnam?

Teachers are given a development plan that seeks to give them opportunities for growth spiritually, professionally, and in language, culture, CR, leadership, and team; this plan is guided by TLs and teachers collaborate with one another for accountability and support.

What does ongoing professional development look like?

Teachers are given a development plan that seeks to give them growth opportunities spiritually, professionally, and in language, culture, CR, leadership, and team; this plan is guided by TLs and teachers collaborate for accountability and support.

Are any current teachers in Vietnam continuing their education through our various MA opportunities? If so, what degree(s) are they pursuing?

Not currently, but some do have MAs in TESOL or other related fields

Is language study available in Vietnam? If so, what does that process look like for new teachers?

Yes. Teachers can study at a language center or with a tutor. Generally, teachers begin with a study plan of 2 hours per week and can work in phases/cycles for language study (e.g. 8-week courses, a full semester, etc).

Are there any families with children in Vietnam? If so, how many children are on the team? What is the age range (oldest and youngest)?

HUC: Yes–1 high school boy (age 16)

DTU: Yes, 2 boys, aged 3 and 5

What's it like to raise a family in Vietnam?

The capital can be a challenge due to traffic, pollution, high volume of people, and cultural differences/transitions. Danang is full of good outdoor options and is very family-friendly, but there are still challenges regarding culture/transition.

What schooling options are available for families with children?

Most school options in Hanoi are quite expensive, though some scholarships are available (these are for international schools). There is a decent range of schooling options in Danang, ranging from higher-end international schools (quite pricey) to mid-range quasi-international schools (e.g., our son attends a Vietnamese school that uses Japanese format and Canadian curriculum, is 50% in English and hires some Western teachers), and sort of a homeschool co-op situation (but I think only until high school).

What roles do non-teaching spouses typically play in Vietnam?

Non-teaching personnel have a wide range of opportunities to engage with local relationships and be involved in campus activities such as English clubs and other events. Parents often dedicate a lot of time and energy to their kids and have the flexibility to focus on that.