Move to Vietnam within a Month


I think its pretty clear where my heart lies: in rural, off the beaten path teaching placements. I think that's why I hadn't considered moving to Vietnam sooner, because it was something that was so common - and I wanted a unique experience. 

But after having a bit of a "I have no idea what I'm going to do next" moment once I left Costa Rica and I decided I wouldn't be joining Dylan on his cycle down South America, I thought moving back home to South Africa would give me the time and space to reflect. It didn't take too long before I was on Dave's ESL Cafe searching for a new job. This kind of living gets addictive, so if you're considering moving abroad don't say I didn't warn you! 

Here's how I moved to Vietnam in under a month - and you can too! 

Obviously I have been living abroad for several years now, so I didn't have anything tying me down. This was a key factor in making this process so quick and effortless. If you are considering moving abroad the first thing you are going to need to do is get rid of all of your stuff - cars, furniture, home, anything that doesn't fit into your suitcase. And I know this can be a daunting thought, but it really is such a freeing experience. And I bet you'll soon realise how you don't miss any of the stuff.

I decided to secure a job before leaving South Africa. At this point I didn't really have a destination in mind so I just scrolled through all of the jobs on Dave's ESL Cafe until I came across a job in Vietnam which looked appealing. It had extensive information about how "rural" it was - it even mentioned how one shouldn't apply unless you were serious about living without western luxuries, so I contacted the centre right away (I think the word "rural" might be the way to my heart??). It's important to read the requirements and information in the job ad, and then match your resume and cover letter accordingly. If you're new to teaching or are looking to boost your resume to get noticed, you can find a free CV template here:

I want to add that securing a job for Vietnam before leaving isn't all that necessary. There are plenty of teachers who come to Vietnam and find a school or language centre once they're here. I think this could be even better (and take less time) because you get to test out the country to see if its a good fit for you. You can also see first hand what you're getting yourself into by going directly to schools to check them out, and you'll be an easier applicant to hire because you're so accessible - you're literally already right in front of them! This option also means you'll need to pay for flights and sort out visas on your own, whereas mine was included in my contract. 

After my interview process was complete I received my job offer and I began my documentation process. The following is required by law to obtain a work visa in Vietnam: a Bachelor's degree (in any field) and a police clearance from your country. If you are looking to teach anywhere in the world I would get the police clearance process started as this takes time. I waited two weeks for mine which is record time for South Africa. Some jobs will require a TEFL certificate but there are so many who will hire without - yes, really! These documents will then need to be apostilled. Every country has a different process for how this can be obtained, but it usually takes time. 

You'll also have to apply for a visa. I came to Vietnam on a business visa and then moved over to a work visa after I was here for a few months. Some teachers are able to get a work visa straight away, and there are others who work on a tourist visa and do visa runs every three months. I think you should decide what you feel comfortable with. The document/visa process was the only reason it took me three weeks until I could fly out. Teachers are in high demand in Vietnam, especially out of the big cities, so you could easily acquire a teaching job here. 

And thats it! If this seems like a lot of work to you, it really was such an effortless process and honestly quite similar to things you have to do when you're doing any kind of travelling anyways. I'm sure if you're looking into teaching in Vietnam you would have heard stories of the demo lessons you'll need to be ready for as well. I personally didn't have to do one, but new teachers at my centre do constantly "observe" me teaching so you'll need to come prepared for that - this is why although a CELTA or TEFL course isn't necessary, it sure will help you acquire a job more effortlessly.