Chippy’s perfunctory performance

If you are adventurous, flexible, and willing to immerse yourself completely in Vietnamese culture, DTLC is the place for you.  A school that essentially is a myriad of schools, DTLC provides the logistical platform for teaching in many primary and secondary schools throughout Haiphong and its surrounding area.  You will also teach at the centre itself, thus diversifying your professional portfolio with multiple teaching environments.  With lesson plans prepared for you and travel arrangements carefully coordinated by the directors, all you need to do is show up and teach with enthusiasm, with patience, and with an open, flexible mindfulness.

Bear in mind, though, Haiphong is not for the faint of heart.  A compactly compressed city teeming with people and motorbikes, Haiphong is a city of contrasts, with third world decay juxtaposed with large, clean parks, with industrial wastelands coiling around new suburban neighbourhoods, and finally, with rain-scoured, crumbling tenements scattered between pristine townhouses and apartments.  The population density can at times be maddening, and the lack of English spoken here gives you the sense that you are in the “real” Vietnam.  Also, there are very few Western restaurants here, yet you will quickly begin to enjoy the local cuisine of pho, bun cha, banh mi, and com.  Heavy on vegetables and light on meat, the local food is cheap, healthy, and delicious.

The topography is relatively flat, and the climate reflects all four seasons with summers hot and humid and winters cool and dry.  Near the mouth of the Red River Delta, the surrounding countryside is primarily flat farmland, yet there are beaches and mountainous islands nearby at Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island.  These two easily-accessible spots are world-class beautiful and are major tourist destinations.  Whenever Haiphong begins to weigh you down, you can always escape to the tranquillity and fun of these retreats.

Overall, DTLC is a great way to travel, learn about a new culture, gain valuable teaching experience, and make some money.  But, remember, as Dorothy finds out in The Wizard of Oz, you won’t be in Kansas(replace with wherever your home is) anymore.

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