Camilla Nathalie Torlage, 25

Working at DTLC has been a lovely experience for the past 8 months, from the moment my feet touched down on Vietnamese ground I was fetched from the airport and taken to a hotel, where I spent my first month.

My days start off the with most mornings free, so plenty time for a morning bánh mì coupled with a coconut coffee or cà phê dừa. From there, my day is filled with lesson planning and classroom prep. I teach lessons at a lovely primary school most afternoons, and then I head to the AB centre in the evenings. Life in Vietnam can get crazy and chaotic at times, but I was always surrounded by lovely staff members at DTLC who are there to offer support.

Each lesson has a native speaker coupled with a Vietnamese assistant, and so making friends with fellow staff members is truly easy, unless you’re the really grumpy type? And then, of course, there are the students with their beautiful, happy smiles and enthusiasm to learn. Sure, not all students share this enthusiasm, but for the classes that do, games and activities can get real competitive which makes teaching super fun!

Then, of course, there is the weekend travel-side. Catba is now closer than before, an hour journey will get you to a mini-weekend-paradise. This UNESCO site has three beautiful beaches, many coffee shops, a National park and numerous walking trails and caves. So when you are craving some outdoor adventures then get your bus ticket and head out. Hanoi is also a stones-throw-away and from there you’re pretty much set to go in any and all directions around Vietnam, great for school holiday periods and long weekends..

As for the social and nightlife scene in Hai Phong, you may ask? There is definitely no shortage of expats. You’ll find them hanging around Mya Bar, Fox Bar, restaurants scattered around Lach Tray street, Van Cao street, 284 Lach Tray or near the city centre. Beer Hoi spots are numerous and cheeeeaaap, so when you’re on the search for the more local-scene with cheap beer and good food, just look out for the yellow chairs. There is also the popular Indian Kitchen serving up some tasty Indian cuisine, and when homesickness creeps in and the craving for a good pizza or pasta gets too REAL then Texas BBQ has your back. Nightlife in Hai Phong may not involve wild partying as some may expect but that is easily accessible in Hanoi.

And then there’s the question about transport – what is the public transport set-up? And is it safe? Scooters are common, but if you are like myself who enjoys exercise coupled with a fresh breeze in your face not to mention saving that extra cash dollar then a bicycle is a perfect fit. There are also plentiful public and VIP buses that run every hour, not to mention cab taxis and Xe om (motorbike taxi dudes) and since Grab taxi has recently come on board there is that option, too.

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