Teachers from all over the world are flocking to Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam. As a non-English speaking country and one of the fastest developing economies in the region, Vietnam is pushing toward globalization by providing accessible education for its students. The low cost of living in Vietnam and relatively high salaries for foreign teachers is making teaching abroad in Hanoi an increasingly popular choice among aspiring expats.
Teaching Jobs in Hanoi
Generally speaking, there are a lot of opportunities for foreigners to teach abroad in Hanoi. Teaching jobs in Hanoi vary from teaching full-time in international, governmental, and private institutions to teaching part-time in language centers or providing private tutorials. Having said that, the most popular teaching jobs in Hanoi are centered on teaching English.
Full-time Teachers. Teaching full-time in local schools is the most popular route for teaching abroad in Hanoi. With full-time employment, teachers can secure a job for the whole school year and even have the possibility of extending their contract for additional years.
Part-time Teachers. Those looking for part-time work typically find teaching jobs in Hanoi at language centers, where teachers instruct small classes of students in varying age brackets. Some full-time teachers can also apply for part-time jobs on the side, since they only require a minimum number of hours per week. Most language centers also provide tutorials for individual students during non-class hours, which is usually after classes or during weekends.
While teaching English in Hanoi is most popular, some schools do also offer teaching jobs in other subjects, such mathematics, science, and history. While most institutions prefer to hire native English speakers for English teaching jobs, non-native speakers can also apply if they have relevant teaching experience, ESL teaching certification, or a degree. International schools tend to hire foreign teachers to teach a variety of subjects in Hanoi.
Keep in mind that the school year in Vietnam starts in September and ends in May, with classes from Monday to Friday. And, schools tend to frequently observe public holidays (#weekendtrips!).
Life in Hanoi
With character that comes from 2500 years of existence, Hanoi is the living legacy of war-torn, ancient Vietnam. It has evolved into a sophisticated place that offers high-end living, exquisite restaurants, and exciting nightlife.
Hanoi is the definition of a metropolis. The city center is alive day and night, with large establishments and corporations and heavy traffic during rush hour. Life in Hanoi is a sprawling mix of the old and ancient, with the modern touch of technology and transportation. Streets overflow with small restaurants and street foods, but fine dining and quality foods are also available.
People literally duck to avoid the fast paced motorbikes that run like a melody and dodge pedestrians like they are in a race. Getting around the city is made easy with plentiful public transportation. There are three types of public transportation: metered taxi, Xe Om (pronounced she ohm), otherwise know as motorcycle taxis, or cyclos (seek-loh). Metered taxis are readily available in Hanoi, and they are inexpensive and reasonably safe. Most drivers are honest, but some will try to bargain for a price rather than turning on the meter, so be sure to negotiate a decent price before hopping on. Xe Om are a more popular means of transportation. It is very easy to spot a Xe Om in the street; before you even have a chance to look for them, they will come to you. Most of the drivers wear a uniform so they are easy to identify. Lastly, cyclos are the pedi-cabs used in the streets of Hanoi. They are generally slower and safer than riding a motorbike. They can carry three (or sometimes four) passengers, and can even be used to move the contents of a house.
Salaries & Costs
Foreign teachers tend to have a higher salary than local ones teaching in Hanoi. The more teaching experience and education you have, the better, in terms of your job prospects and wages. For part-time teachers, most language centers will pay an average of $20 per hour. For full-time teachers with appropriate certification and relative experience, you can expect an average pay of $1500 to $2000.
The cost of living in Hanoi is rather cheap for foreign teachers. If you stick to simple accommodation with basic amenities, eat mainly street foods, and only occasionally splurge on partying and eating out, you could live on $300 to $400 a month while teaching abroad in Hanoi. The prices of basic necessities are also cheap; a half a gallon of water costs 75 cents and a rice meal in a cheap restaurant costs $2, and you could eat for $10 to $15 in a posh restaurant.
Accommodation & Visas
There are schools that offer free accommodation as part of teacher compensation packages, particularly private institutions. However, others will only provide assistance in finding a good place to stay. You can rent a single bedroom from $160 in the city center, but prices tend to be cheaper in more rural or suburb-like areas. A three bedroom apartment can be rented from $600 a month, or a little more for a posh, serviced apartment.
There are different visas available for foreign teachers in Vietnam. Some expats who want only a part-time teaching job in Hanoi can opt for a business visa, which will enable them to stay in Vietnam for three months, with the possibility of an extension. For full-time teachers, documents should be provided by the school you will be working for to help you attain a working permit, which will be valid for three years. To find out exactly what hoops you will have to jump through to obtain a visa and teach English in Hanoi, check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Living and teaching abroad in Hanoi is very exciting, no matter what time of year, because the climate is varied and seasonal. When it rains, it pours. During the cold season, it gets as cold as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but during the hot season, it can get to as high as 90 degrees. Compared to the south, the weather in Hanoi tends to be colder because of its geographic location, with the sea to the east and mountains to the west.
As well as being delectable, Vietnamese food is totally pho-to worthy. You won’t be able to resist filling up your Instagram feed with colourful snaps of your culinary adventures (making your friends at home drool in the meantime). Exploring Vietnam’s distinct culinary traditions is a huge highlight of teaching in Hanoi. Be adventurous, and dip into as many unusual, memorable, and delicious dishes as your budget will allow.
For first time travelers to Hanoi, the madness of the crowds could be overwhelming. Motorbikes are everywhere and accidents are regular. So, you need to buckle up and have a street-smart attitude before you arrive to teach abroad in Hanoi. But, don’t worry. After a few days, or weeks, you will get the hang of everything and start to enjoy the beauty of Hanoi in all its uniqueness.