I’m in the third month of my TEFL Vietnam experience and I have decided to write a blog to shed some light on life, living, teaching and working in the city of Hai Phong.
I arrived in Hanoi City on the 7th January 2017 , wide eyed, excited yet also apprehensive and nervous about what the coming months would throw at me.
During my first week in Vietnam I was able to chat and socialise with fellow teachers as well as complete the final stage of my TEFL course, the i-to-i practical training.
By the second week I had now departed to the North Eastern port city, Hai Phong, where I would spend the next four and half months living and teaching for Dang Tuan Language Centre (DTLC).
Upon my arrival in Hai Phong, I instantly noticed the stark contrasts to Hanoi. Unlike the capital, Hai Phong felt more authentic – very few western/foreign people in the area. In Hai Phong, I noticed it was also far more difficult to get by trying to communicate with the locals. Thankfully, DTLC’s TA’s have held weekly Vietnamese lessons at the campus helping us in every day to day simple tasks such as ordering a Ca Phe Sua Dua or a Banh My, haggling with a street market seller or directing a lost taxi driver.
My first week teaching for DTLC was met with a whole array of different emotions: Excitement at the novelty of the new experience, nerves in the prospect of teaching the bigger classes – particularly the older kids and also stress at not knowing which classrooms to go to. Nonetheless, although the first week was challenging and a huge learning curve for me, once I had a few weeks of teaching under my belt I felt much more confident and accustomed.
In terms of Hai Phong as a location for teaching English abroad, I couldn’t think of anywhere better. The local people have been overwhelmingly welcoming, despite a language barrier. The DTLC campus is situated in a tranquil neighbourhood, yet it isn’t too far from the city centre and is close to a good amount of eating spots. Hai Phong is also an excellent location for weekend trips away, only and hour and a half bus ride to Hanoi and even less to Ha Long Bay. In addition, the beautiful Cat Ba island is just a mere 45 minute ferry trip away as well. So far, I have really enjoyed living here in Hai Phong.
I have experienced so much over the past three or so months and I can definitely say that my decision to teach English in Vietnam has been worth it. I now look forward to the remainder of my time in Hai Phong working for DTLC and am excited at what the future will bring.