Learning Vietnamese in Vietnam

I’ve lived in Vietnam now almost 6 months! I cannot believe how the time has flown.

I love the lifestyle here, I love my Vietnamese friends, I love my job and mostly I love the free time I have to work on my hobbies and do the things I love as I only work 16-20 hours a week.

About 3 weeks ago now I started taking Vietnamese lessons. I am learning from some friends FOC, and in return I help them with their English (they are studying for the TOEIC test).

Having lived here for 4 and a bit months before I started lessons I already knew bits and pieces of the language, for instance how to order most of my favourite foods, count to ten, say hello and thank you etc etc.

Now when I started official lessons, the first 3 went so well I felt like a pro, picking up the new words and phrases quite quickly. However by the 4th lesson things started to get difficult! My brain hurt trying to learn new words – the first 3 lessons were basically just learning what I already knew with some extensions.

I can say though after this mornings lesson, which was about my 8th or 9th lesson, that its still difficult trying to pronounce many of the sounds, however my brain no longer feels like its squished like a stress ball!! I finally feel like some new phrases are starting to (VERY SLOWLY) sink in!!

Hopefully in the next 6 months here I can get the basics of a conversation down!

Wish me luck 😀

until next time xoxox

Siobhan

A day in the life of an ESL teacher (in Vietnam)

Hello wanderlusters!

I’d like to give you an idea about a typical day (or week!) for an ESL teacher in southern Vietnam.

I have lived in Can Tho (on the Mekong Delta) for 5 months now and spend an awful lot of time doing as i please. I work an average of 16 hours a week at my ESL private college, which of course leaves plenty of time for leisure.

You can of course do many different things to keep busy or even just lie around in bed/relax on the couch like some of the teachers, however, I try to take advantage of all my free time, and living in a foreign country.

Usually, I wake up around 5/530am and go to a yoga class from 6am-7am. Vietnamese yoga is more like a relaxation stretch class with a couple of yoga poses thrown in for fun. 😛

Generally Monday mornings I sleep in, as Sunday night is the only night my school is shut, so all of the teachers are free and we generally get together (this is the most common night to drink too much).

After morning yoga I go to the market and buy food, then home to shower and eat breakfast.

Three mornings a week I go to my Vietnamese friends house and study Vietnamese with her younger cousins (free lessons – I help them learn English in return). Then, after around 2.5 hours of study together I have lunch with my friend and we chat/ play guitar. I usually go home around 1230/1pm and sometimes have a nap.
Weekends I teach both days from 8am so I don’t go to yoga, I sleep in until 630am.

The other two days I tutor privately for 1 hour in the morning after yoga, then go out to coffee with friends or do something interesting (this month I’m learning Vietnamese Watermelon carving with a friends friend in a nice garden cafe).

3 days a week I go to lunchtime Zumba class for an hour with some friends then home for lunch. Generally my afternoons are spent sleeping or lying around the house relaxing if I’m not out with friends.

From 530pm-730pm every night Monday – Saturday I teach at my college. This is only during the summer as I am currently teaching 4-6 extra hours. Usually all foreign teachers have 2-3 nights off per week. After class I go out with friends for dinner or coffee and games. Some nights we go to live music cafes, karaoke, cocktail parties or even a Latin dance club (because I LOVE to dance!!)

So you see, there are an endless amount of ways to spend your time, I have not listed half of the different things I usually do during the week.

We often go out for day trips to different cities or provinces which are always great fun, I am constantly invited to go here, there and everywhere.

Life as an ESL teacher in Vietnam is one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced and I highly recommend it!

Please comment with thoughts or even share your stories of teaching overseas if you have them, I’d love to hear from you.

If anyone has taught in another country that you recommend please let me know, you help on where to go next is much appreciated!!

Until next time
Xoxo
Siobhan