I am so excited to begin this teachers abroad series again, and to start off with such an inspiration individual. Kelsey from Miles of Smiles was one of the first people I found on Instagram when deciding if I was going to take my job in Vietnam. She takes absolutely amazing photographs, has an informative travel blog, and I was so happy when I found out she's a teacher here too! Kelsey lives in Hanoi which is a fair distance from where I am based in central Vietnam so hopefully her answers can give you some more insight into what its like to teach and live in one of the more popular choices for teaching in Vietnam.
KD: Tell us about yourself - who you are, where you are currently living and teaching, and about your teaching experience.
KM: Hi there! My name is Kelsey and I am from the good ol' US of A. I am currently living and teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam but prior to this I was living/teaching in Thailand. Overall I have been abroad for almost three years (!!) In Thailand I worked at two schools - one was a primary and another a high school, and now I am at a language center, which holds lessons in the evenings and on the weekends.
KD: What made you decide to teach abroad?
KM: As the end of University approached I realized that traveling overseas and seeing more of the world was something that heavily interested me! I put it off because of self doubt and fears but shortly after returning home after graduation I was blown over by the news of my parents divorce. This, then acted as the messy catalyst that pushed me out the door! Was I running... yes, did it turn out to be exactly what I needed? Also yes.
KD: What’s it like living in your current country?
KM: Vietnam is such a beautiful place. It is a country rich with history and traditions but also is vastly misunderstood. They have really only been 'not at war' for the past 50 - ish years? This has led to such a wonderful boom of contemporary Vietnamese culture and true modernization. This old meets new juxtaposition is everywhere and it is truly interesting. There is such a beauty in the old but also in the new. Its difficult to describe.
KD: What do you love most about teaching where you are?
KM: I absolutely am obsessed with Hanoi! It is such an awesome place to live! It has a quaint old town, amazing coffee shop culture and also all the conveniences of a large city! It's awesome!!!
KD: What’s the most challenging aspect of teaching in this country?
KM: Hmm, most challenging thing about teaching in Vietnam? I am hard pressed to find anything super challenging about living here. The traffic in Hanoi is sometimes THE WORST but that is really all I can think of!
KD: What advice do you have for others wanting to teach and travel abroad?
KM: My advice to others wanting to teach and travel would be to absolutely just do it! If you are even remotely thinking that you may like it, you should definitely try it, there is a lesson in everything. Even if you travel and you realize ya know what, maybe this isn't for me. I promise you, you will learn so much about yourself that it will be a valuable experience no matter what!!
KD: How can I teach where you are?
KM: If you are interested in teaching in Vietnam the best option would be to get a CELTA or TESOL degree and then apply online to different teaching companies!
Thank you again, Kelsey, for all of your insights to teaching and living in Hanoi, Vietnam. If you were even half as impressed as I was by the three photos taken by Kelsey on this post, you should definitely check out the rest of her work here:
If you are currently teaching abroad or have previously taught overseas, please get in touch. I would absolutely love to hear about your experiences far and wide.