A Day in the Life of an English Teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam

A Day in the Life of an English Teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam

English Teacher Living in Vietnam

Ellie graduated from XploreAsia‘s accredited TESOL course in August 2018. Learn more about her experience as an English teacher at an English Writing Center outside of Hanoi, Vietnam!

Over the last few months I have lived and worked in Hanoi as an English Teacher for a Private Language Centre. My day to day routine is very much dependent on the hours and responsibilities that come with my position at the centre. My schedule can switch and change depending on team meetings, training and teacher cover. Generally, however, it does stay the same. In just a few months I have managed to build a routine that allows me to pursue hobbies, travel and explore the vibrant city of Hanoi and beyond. As I work for a Private Language Centre, I’m required to teach 25 hours over the evenings and the weekends, with two days off during the week. Initially, I thought I might find this schedule hard to regulate. And as someone who’s been used to having weekends and evenings for quite some time, this schedule felt somewhat strange. However, I have grown to love it! I have found time that I never thought I would have.

Average Weekday Working Schedule

07:00 – Wake up, go to the gym (normally)

My alarm goes off. Slowly I’ll drag myself out of bed and to the gym. My local gym is just around the corner costs around $12 a month. Or (300,000 VND). At this point I appreciate the luxury of being able to snooze for another 30 minutes if needed. After my tiring 9-5 routine back home, time is for once on my side in the morning.

09:00 – Head back home

We arrive home and prepare a delicious and colourful plate of fruit for breakfast. Brew a coffee and watch the news. Once I’ve had a chilled breakfast I’ll get myself ready for the day. I’ll start thinking about any errands that need to be run and which of Hanoi’s many incredible coffee shops we’ll be heading to.

English Teacher Living In Vietnam
10:30 – Set out to our coffee shop of choice.

One of the most appealing things about Hanoi is its endless amounts of cafés and lunch spots. It would take you a very long time to discover Hanoi’s entire extensive coffee scene.

Once we’ve found our spot, we will spend a couple of hours enjoying one of Vietnam’s many delicious coffees. My favorite being the coconut coffee and Eddie’s a traditional egg coffee. Here we will work on various different things. Generally I will write about our experiences in Vietnam, travel plans and teaching for our blog.  

Eddie uses this time to write for a second income. As an experienced content writer he is able to earn money by writing for others online and for his own websites. We try to be productive as we can!

Most of our friends also use this time to pursue various different hobbies and side jobs. Some English teachers choose to tutor in the mornings, others learn to play guitar and a couple even rock climb. It’s precious time most of us are not used to having, and something that is greatly appreciated by most teachers here.

12:30 – Lunch time

Decide what we fancy for lunch. Again, the choices are endless.

Eating out in Vietnam can be as cheap as $1 for a delicious meal. It is arguably cheaper than buying and cooking in. Depending on how we are feeling, we could go for a western brunch or a street side Pho.

Western food is much more expensive, but cheaper than home. It’s generally a treat we allow ourselves once a week.

14:00 – Naptime

With full bellies from lunch, we head home to get an hour of chill time before we set off for work.

During this time we usually take the opportunity to have a nap like the locals or to watch some TV.

15:00 – Commute time

Set off on our 30km commute to work. Don’t worry, a 30km commute isn’t the norm for most teachers in Hanoi.

Eddie and I were placed in a center 30km outside of Hanoi. We made the decision to continue living in Hanoi and to commute by bike to work. It usually takes us about 40 minutes depending on the traffic.

Most teachers can expect up to a 30 minute commute, sometimes even longer if traffic is bad. Generally a job in a private language center will require you to travel during rush hour, which means commute times can vary greatly.

16:00  – Arrive at our English Language Centre

Lessons in our center don’t start until 17:30 during the week, which allows us plenty of time to review lesson plans and prepare for the evenings two lessons. Each lesson at our center consists of two blocks of 45 minutes, with a 5 minute break in between. Every English teacher is different. Some teachers like to carry out all of their planning and printing on one day, others prefer to arrive early to prepare before their lessons. I personally prefer arriving an hour before class begins each day to prepare lessons. This is mainly because it keeps things fresh in my mind and I don’t end up with brain fog in class.

17:00 – ‘They’ arrive

The evening starts to get into full swing.

I start to hear feet pattering in the corridors and the squeals of excited children ringing in the air.

At this stage I find it very difficult to actually get anything done. The kids seem to know few boundaries and I find them running in and out of my classroom as they please. As I teach the younger ages, it is very hard to ignore them.

I quite enjoy this period of madness. As I teach the younger ages I use this time to try and tire them out as much as possible before they have to stay relatively calm during my class.

English Teacher Living in Vietnam
English Teacher Living in Vietnam
17:30 – First class

We do our best to calm our students and line them up for class before teaching begins.

At this stage every day is different. Some days classes are a dream, others are a nightmare. It all really depends on how prepared you are for lesson, what sort of mood your students are in and what sort of mood you’re in.

“Teacher fit” is a term I have heard used to describe a certain fitness level that can only be obtained through teaching. At first I didn’t really understand what it meant, but after gaining experience as an English teacher, now I certainly do.

Teaching has you running around, dancing, singing, jumping up and down, shouting words and generally pacing. It is a term that is particularly appropriate for kindergarten teachers.

Two classes in a row can really take it out of you.

20:45 – Home time!

The bell rings for the end of the day’s final lesson.  We say goodbyes to our students and send them on their way home. Once all of our admin is completed, we aren’t far behind them. It’s time for us to reflect on the evening’s lessons and think about what we might do differently in the future. As teachers I believe we learn something new from each and every lesson. I always leave the classroom feeling as though I have gained something.

21:45 – Arrive home

We throw together a simple meal, such as a stir-fry or omelet and appreciate some well deserved peace and quiet. Depending on how we are feeling, we may stop in at one of the street food stands for dinner.

During this time we will wind down with a book or some TV. It’s often quite hard to shut off after being so active for the last few hours, so allowing ourselves this time is necessary.

Weekend Workday Schedule

As I mentioned before, if you are an English teacher in a Language Centre it’s likely you’ll be working long hours over the weekend. For us we teach 3 lessons on Saturday mornings and 3 lessons on Sunday afternoon/evening.

It can be a challenge sometimes getting in for 8am on a Saturday morning, but I quite like it. I don’t know whether it’s the time or whether the kids haven’t been at school all day, but I find they are somewhat more chilled.

Around those hours we stick to a similar routine, with a few beers with friends thrown in on a Saturday evening.

Days Off

Days off in the city are my favourite. Simply hopping on a bike with no plan and no particular place to go is a great feeling. Hanoi is full of interesting things to do and some wonderful things to see. If we’re feeling more adventurous, we might even hop on our bike and head to Ba Vi National Park or Tam Coc. Both a straightforward 2 hour drive from Hanoi.

In the evenings we will normally meet up with our pals from work and go to an open mic night or to a karaoke bar. We definitely work hard, but the reward is so worth it. 

English Teacher Living in Vietnam
You can follow Ellie and Eddie’s journey over at www.idiotsteachabroad.com!

Ever considered becoming an English teacher in Vietnam? With XploreAsia, you could be living and working in this diverse country, gaining a deeper insight into the culture, interacting with local people and making a real difference in the community through teaching English. For more information on this program, visit Teach in Vietnam!   

Volunteer in Thailand: An Interview with Rescue P.A.W.S.

Volunteer in Thailand: An Interview with Rescue P.A.W.S.

Rescue P.A.W.S. landscape logo

In 2013, XploreAsia co-founded Rescue P.A.W.S., an animal relief organization based in Hua Hin. This creates a unique opportunity for animal lovers to volunteer in Thailand while also contributing to our mission at XploreAsia. Rescue P.A.W.S. is made up of full-time staff and a group of volunteers who carry out the daily tasks of the on-site kennels, clinic, and play area. The team is a tight-knit unit who live and breathe passion towards animal care, often going above and beyond what is needed by the innocent canines. Our volunteer programs provide you with a life-changing opportunity to make a big difference to the lives of the stray animals in need of care, whilst also offering you a rich holiday experience soaking up the authentic culture in one of Thailand’s must-visit destinations. 

As marketing interns for XploreAsia, we took the opportunity to volunteer alongside the Rescue P.A.W.S. team for the last two days. After getting to know these two rockstar volunteers, we have a much greater understanding of the passion and dedication that is required to be a Rescue P.A.W.S. volunteer.

Rescue Paws volunteer in Thailand Kennidy with Cher

Kennidy (& Cher)

Kennidy is a 22-year-old from Settler, Canada

Rescue Paws Volunteer in Thailand Shari with Cloud

Shari (& Cloud)

Shari is a 20-year-old from the Gold Coast in Australia

Side note: these two adorable pups are up for adoption! Find out more here or email adopt@rescue-paws.org 

Rescue Paws volunteer with Mae and Thai food

How did you find out about Rescue P.A.W.S.?

K: I originally wanted to teach English abroad. So after a quick Google search, I found XploreAsia. Through them, I discovered Rescue P.A.W.S. and decided to volunteer in Thailand with animals instead. I hadn’t heard of Rescue P.A.W.S. until then, but I follow many similar animal welfare accounts from all over the world on social media.
S: I learned about this opportunity through Global Work & Travel. I did a work program through them previously and had a great experience. I knew that I wanted to volunteer in Thailand next so I was browsing the Global Work & Travel programs and found Rescue P.A.W.S.

Do you have any previous experience working with animals?

K: Yes, I was a secretary at a local animal rescue in my town. I’ve also fostered dogs in the past and have always been an animal lover.
S: Yes, I’ve always loved working with animals and knew that I wanted to work with animals since I was 5 years old. Back home I worked in a few different vet clinics but wasn’t exactly sure what kind of work I wanted to do with animals in the future. My time at Rescue P.A.W.S. has helped me figure out more of what I want to do, which is pursuing vet school!

Rescue Paws volunteer walking towards kennel
Rescue Paws volunteer with cow

What’s your favorite part of the day?

K: I think my favorite part of the day is having one-on-one time with the dogs that are the most timid. It’s amazing getting to know the dogs. Oh, and I love teaching them tricks!
S: Afternoon activities are my favorite because it’s different every day. It could anything from training the dogs, feeding stray dog packs, befriending these packs, bathing the dogs, parasite treatments, Thai cooking, surgeries, etc. Our mornings are pretty routine but we never know what we’ll be doing in the afternoon and if it’s a surgery, we get first-hand experience with the vets.

Biggest reward

K: Seeing dogs slowly come out of their shell. Throughout my time here I’ve been able to build relationships with each of the dogs. Most of them are quite shy and timid in the beginning, but after spending time with them every day their personalities begin to shine through. S: Returning dogs back to their packs. For me, experiencing the whole process from start to finish is quite amazing.  It can take a long time to befriend a local pack, so when you’re finally able to pick up an unsterilized or injured dog, bring that dog into the clinic for testing, surgery, rehabilitation, and then returning that dog back to their pack feels really good. You know you’re making a direct impact on that animal.

Rescue Paws volunteer with dog
Rescue Paws volunteer training dog

Biggest challenge

K: The biggest challenge for me is finding wounded street dogs and seeing them in pain. We actually found Pudge during one of our feeding runs with a wild pack. His foot was cut and he came right up to us. Usually, the dogs are so scared that they won’t come anywhere near you but this cute puppy needed our help.  Also, I see dogs in a different way than back home. It’s just a completely different society. Back home, if you see a stray dog you post about it on Facebook and the owner claims it. Here it’s different. There are soi dogs everywhere and they can generally take care of themselves.
S: It’s challenging to be continuously working with different dogs. There are a lot of dogs here in Thailand that need our help and we only get a certain amount of time with each dog. So, it can be difficult to maintain consistent training and bonding with each dog since they are often rotated between volunteers, adopted, or are returned to their packs.

Do you have a favorite animal?

K: I don’t know. Maybe Lamb or Bohdi. Lamb was the first dog that I able to work with so it was the first real relationship I built. But then there’s also Bohdi. I sat in his kennel with him when he first got here. He was so scared and I eventually helped him feel more comfortable. But it’s hard to pick favorites because we have little relationships with each animal and they’re all so different.

Rescue Paws volunteer holding dog on the beach in Hua Hin, Thailand
Volunteer in Thailand with Rescue Paws

Do you have any advice for a future volunteer in Thailand?

K: Don’t come here with any expectations. You’ll be challenged a lot, so I advise everyone to come in with an open mind. You’ll be challenged on things you thought you knew when it comes to animals. I came in thinking I could save them all but you simply can’t. But what they’re doing here has made a significant impact in their community.
S: Definitely be open minded. Traveling, in general, is always going to be full of unexpected challenges and it’s a mind game to overcome them and make the best of any situation. Your experience is going to be what you make it, so be open minded.

Thank you so much Kennidy and Shari for all of your hard work! Rescue P.A.W.S. wouldn’t be able to thrive without all the help that we get from our amazing volunteers. 

Do you love animals? Want to give back to the community? Come join us and volunteer in Thailand with Rescue P.A.W.S. You can also make a positive impact by visiting Wagging Tales Cafe, our non-profitable coffee shop where all proceeds go towards Rescue P.A.W.S. itself. Learn more about the Rescue P.A.W.S. volunteer program here

Work in Thailand: Orientation Week at XploreAsia

Work in Thailand: Orientation Week at XploreAsia

Work in Thailand

Whether you’re coming to pursue work in Thailand as an English teacher or through one of our various internship programs, your first week will always include a cultural orientation. At XploreAsia we believe that immersing yourself in the culture is critical to your success here in Thailand. During your first week in Thailand you will partake in various cultural orientation courses about Thai culture, politics, and language. We wouldn’t throw you into working in a new country without giving you the basics first (who do you think we are)!

XploreAsia’s Cultural Orientation courses are designed to prepare future English teachers and workers for all aspects of life in Thailand. Each course delves into the heart of each countries culture and values through online classes before you arrive in the country, and once in the country, through active-learning cultural excursions to various sites of cultural and historical significance.

Thai Cooking Class

One of, if not, the best part of Thailand is the food. Thai food consists of four distinct tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. Most Thai dishes are not considered satisfying unless they combine all four tastes.  A typical Thai dish includes rice or noodles, vegetables, meat, and lots and lots of herbs and seasonings. The most common street foods being, “pad thai” and “som yom”, or papaya salad.

Thai cooking class is one of our most popular cultural orientation classes. During this course you will learn the basics of Thai cuisine and how to make both of these popular dishes. A very important phrase to know as a foreigner or “farang” in Thailand is,“Mai ped”, or no spice. For those that are looking to work in Thailand, “mai ped” tells the locals to hold back on the chili flakes that they love to saturate local dishes with.

XploreAsia’s Thai cooking class not only acted as an immersion into the culture, but also a useful lesson on how to make an easy, fast, and affordable meal when living in Thailand.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, meaning “the art of eight limbs,” is a boxing sport of Thailand that combines physical and mental discipline using the knees, shins, fists, and elbows.  During this lesson, Muay Thai instructors demonstrate and teach common defense moves that may be useful when working in Thailand.Through this active cultural learning excursion, you will learn how to side kick (Tae Tad), kick to the inside of the knee (Tae Pub Nai), elbow strikes (Sok), and many more aspects that make this sport so popular among the Thai locals. Make sure to pack your workout clothes when coming to Thailand as many of our participants have said this is the best workout they’ve ever had.

Work in Thailand: XploreAsia teachers partaking in Muay Thai

Work in Thailand and learn how to Muay Thai

Rescue Paws

It wouldn’t be cultural orientation week without a visit to our non-profit organization, Rescue Paws. When you work in Thailand, homeless dogs are around every corner and in 2013 we co-founded Rescue Paws as a way to help the stray dog population here in Hua Hin through sterilization and education.. With an increasing number of stray dogs in Thailand, Rescue Paws befriends local packs in the area, , and then makes an effort to decrease the stray population through vaccinations, sterilizations, and adoptions.

The majority of dogs brought into the Rescue Paws clinic  are in life threatening conditions, and living a poor quality of life. Once an animal is treated, they are returned back to their original packs. Unfortunately, some are not in the condition to be returned to the streets. In this case, these animals are put up for adoption and put into a forever home. A visit to Rescue Paws not only helps spread awareness of the organization, but participants get the chance to learn about the importance of animal sterilization as well as hangout with the amazing pups!

Rescue Paws is completely run on volunteers and donations so there are ample opportunities to volunteer or donate to the organization during your time working in Thailand.

Sidenote: follow Rescue Paws on social media and if you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering, adopting, or donating to Rescue Paws, contact coordinator@rescue-paws.org.

Work in Thailand: Sprite enjoying his day at the beach

Sprite enjoying the beach!

Temple Hike at Wat Thum Khao Tao and Monk Meditation

Next on your cultural orientation is a temple hike to Wat Thum Khao Tao and a visit with the local monks here in Hua Hin. Rescue Paws’ clinic is actually located on the temple grounds, so it’s a nice transition from one excursion to the next.

Wat Thum Khao Tao, meaning “Temple, Mountain, Cave, Turtle”, was used as a halfway house for monks traveling from the North to the South. The cave is still frequented by traveling monks, but also is a sanctuary for those that work abroad to experience the spirituality of the Thai culture. Dragon fixtures, Buddha statues, and monk figures, were present around every corner of the cave. With this, a giant Buddha is located at the top of the mountain. The statues around Wat Thum Khao Tao represent the hope for further awakening and the devotion the Thai people have towards their faith. This cave is certainly a bucket list destination for those working abroad!

After your temple hike our participants partake in a guided meditation with the local monks that live at Wat Thum Khao Tao. Through meditation, you are educated on the basics of meditation and how the mind and body work together as one. The monk will also talk to you about the importance of meditation and how this practice will bring peace, happiness, and serenity to your life.

Work in Thailand: Teachers at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Group photo at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Beach BBQ: Leaving Behind Fears of Working in Thailand

Last but not least, cultural orientation week ends with a beach BBQ. The beach BBQ is a time for everyone to celebrate and reflect on the past week. Not to mention a time to have fun and enjoy amazing food with your new friends!

XploreAsia goes to great lengths to provide the most comprehensive culture orientation possible by bringing aspects of all major areas of existence here in Thailand right to the classroom for our clients. We provide traditional classroom learning on life and business in Thailand alongside an array of hands-on experiences that require you to completely immerse yourself within the culture.

Work in Thailand: Teachers at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Are you ready to work in Thailand? Visit our website. We hope to see you on our next cultural orientation week!

Thailand Budget Tips for ESL Teachers

Thailand Budget Tips for ESL Teachers

travel, teach, Hua Hin, adventure, XploreAsia

So, you’ve come to Thailand to teach English and now you want to use your weekends to explore and travel, really discover those hidden gems of Thailand. There is only one slight problem – you’re living on a Thailand budget and need to ensure your rent and bills are paid off, while still being able to put food on the table. Traveling to Thailand on a budget can easily be done, but does require research and planning. We’ve learned a few things during our time here in Thailand and want to share a few pointers from one budget traveler to another.

travel, Thailand budget, beach, paradise, beautiful, ocean, adventure

Thailand Budget Tip #1

When it comes to choosing your accommodation, it is important to remember that you will most likely, only be sleeping here. You will most likely be out and about most of the time exploring all that is Thailand. You’re in a beautiful, amazing country, why would you want to spend all of your time in your room, right? Of course, we all want a clean, comfortable room and bed, but sometimes we have to make sacrifices—especially when you’re on a tight budget. I have yet to come across an affordable hostel that is not only clean, but also accompanied by a gorgeous view. The Thai people take care of their hostels and hotels better than I take care of my place back home. Sure, the bed may not be the most ideal size or comfort level, but you will survive, I promise.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to stay in the heart of each city or town that you are visiting. The hotels and hostels that you would find here are likely to be more expensive than a hotel or hostel off of a side street, a short walk from the heart of the town/city. If you place yourself in a less populated area, you may also get to experience that town or city from a more true and honest perspective. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to do your research on the hostels in the given area. My favourite website to use for the Thailand budget is hostelworld – it shows you all of the hostels available for the specific dates and locations you want and you are able to sort the results by many different filters (price, room, facilities, rating, type and payment). Hostelworld allows you to book right through their website, has an extremely easy cancellation process, and they give you all of the contact information you need. Not to mention, they provide reviews for each hostel, as well as all of the amenities that are both included and not included. For example, a beautiful  hostel (rated 9.1) in Koh Tao island is only $9.70 USD per night for a 6 bed dorm with air conditioning – extremely affordable if you ask me! You just have to take the time to sit down and look at the options available, compare what is offered, and make the smartest decision for yourself.

Pro-tip: Hostels generally have a cancellation policy which requires you to inform the hostel between 3 – 7 days prior to the day you are to arrive; giving many of us more than enough time to change plans, if need be.

hammock, relax, Thailand, teach abroad, relax, XploreAsia

Thailand Budget Tip #2

Our given mode of transportation is very important to the Thailand budget. This past weekend I took a van, a bus, and a train so I can tell you all the ups and downs of each. First off…the vans. Not only do they run all over Thailand, but they are extremely affordable, comfortable and air conditioned. I took a van to Kanchanaburi on Saturday and the total cost was 220 baht, which works out to be approximately $6.25 USD – this is for a 3 hour (220km) drive.

Next up…the busses. Now, I don’t mean coach busses, I mean those colourful busses with all of the windows down and the doors open so that you see the streets of Thailand. The bus I took was from Kanchanaburi to Erawan Waterfalls & National Park was about an hour and a half drive from Hua Hin, depending on if the driver is going the speed limit. This mode of transportation cost 50 baht, approximately $1.40 USD.

travel, budget, Thailand, adventure, teach abroad, XploreAsia

The Truth About My Thailand Budget

Now, I will be completely honest when I say this trip wasn’t exactly the most comfortable. It was a very hot day, and although there are fans on the roof of the bus, with open windows and doors and long stop lights, it got a little toasty at times. The seats themselves were made of a material that you stick to if you are at all sweaty, and you feel every single bump in the road.  Inexpensive – yes, comfortable – no. But it did the job. Although I was happy to get off of that bus, this is not to say I would never take another because of how inexpensive it is.

Lastly, the trains. I took a train from Bangkok to Hua Hin late in the evening one Sunday. From my own personal experience, the trains do not run as often as the vans or busses, however, they are comfortable and air conditioned, and they even give you a blanket and a snack. The price of the train depends on the time you are traveling – as my roommate took the train from Bangkok home to Hua Hin on a Monday afternoon and it only cost her 95 baht per person ($2.70 USD), whereas when I took the train this past Sunday evening, it was 400 baht per person ($11.40 USD). That being said, it is best to book any travels via train in advance to ensure that you get the class and time that you would prefer. Another mode of transportation that I have yet to experience  – is the ferry. Using the ferry to get to Koh Tao is seemingly the most affordable option and the easiest mode of transportation. With this, you will embark on a  6 hour catamaran ride. Who wouldn’t love to be on the open water for a whole 6 hours? Perhaps an individual who gets seasick. The price for this, one way, is 1047 baht – approximately $30 USD…so cheap! I believe that, if you can stomach it, ferries would be the most beautiful mode of transportation as the views will be amazing every which way you look.

Thailand Budget Tip #3

The food you choose to eat while in Thailand will honestly make or break your budget. Yes, it is okay to splurge on Western food every once in awhile when you are having a craving from back home, but try not to make it a habit (as this will become a very expensive habit). Eating as the Thais do – street food for every meal – is beyond affordable. One day for breakfast, I got 10 freshly cooked, deep fried pastries and 3 sticks of chicken all for 30 baht – $0.85 USD. 

western food in Thailand, travel, budget, travel, explore, XploreAsia, adventure

If I compare this to an average western breakfast of an omelette with a smoothie from my favourite western restaurant – The Baguette – this total comes out to be 145 baht – $4.15 USD. Now I know that $4 USD for breakfast is unheard of back home, however, this does add up especially when you have much cheaper options available to you…literally across the road. The same goes for dinner. You can get Pad-See-Ew for 40 baht ($1.15 USD), or you can get a burger and fries for 150 baht ($4.30 USD). Trust me when I say, you will enjoy the Thai food so much more than the Western food – nine times out of ten, it is not exactly how we make it back home, it is better. Why come to Thailand to eat burgers and pizza anyways.

thai food, delicious, explore, adventure, travel, budget, teach overseas, XploreAsia

I used to be such a picky eater, and since coming to Thailand, that part of me disappeared – in a good way. When I go to the local markets I am willing to try what I like to call ‘mystery meat’ as I have no idea what I am about to eat, but it is always so delicious. I have been overly pleased with every meal in Thailand so far, whether it is so spicy that I am crying between bites, or so delicious that I eat it too quickly to even enjoy the flavours.

SO! Are you more confident that you can travel on a Thailand budget? I sure hope so. Get out there and start exploring!

Interested in teaching or working in Thailand? Visit our adventures page!

Thai Culture: The Do’s and Don’ts

Thai Culture: The Do’s and Don’ts

You’ve booked your flight, packed your bags, and are ready to embark on this new adventure with XploreAsia—teaching English in Thailand. This once in a lifetime opportunity attracts people from all over the world, and for good reason. Teaching abroad will change your life. Now, that’s not to say that it won’t be without challenges— but overcoming these challenges is what makes an experience like this so rewarding, unique, and meaningful. You get what you give in Thai culture. Through XploreAsia’s internationally accredited TESOL course you will learn the necessary skills to teach English in Thailand while also making a difference.

Here at XploreAsia we know how scary it can be to come to a new country (we’ve been there). We believe that having a basic understanding of Thai culture is essential to your success, therefore, we provide all of our future teachers with a cultural orientation week upon arrival to Thailand. Your first week in the program will include lessons on Thai culture, language, politics and more. Because we want each and every individual that comes through our program to succeed and embrace the beautiful and unique lifestyle that Thailand has to offer, we’ve created a basic guide to the cultural “Do’s and Don’ts” of Thailand.


Thai culture is greatly influenced by Buddhism and is the world’s most heavily Buddhist country. About 97% of the population is Buddhist, making Buddhism one of the cornerstones of Thai culture. The Buddhist beliefs and values play a vital role in the day to day life of Thai people as well as the many tourists that flock to this country every year. Some of the most prominent values being respect, self-control, and a non-confrontational attitude. Thai cultural expectations revolve around these values and it is truly beautiful to witness and be a part of. Although Thai culture may be very different from our own, there are behaviors one can avoid in order be respectful and truly assimilate into the Thai lifestyle as smoothly as possible.  

Thai culture: Buddha statue at Wat Thum Khao Tao

Buddha statue at Wat Thum Khao Tao 


First things first, we all know how sweet it can be to show affection with our partners and friends in public. However, Thai people are very discreet and prefer to keep PDA to a minimum. Therefore, it is best to refrain from being overly affectionate in public as to not make others uncomfortable. Being a highly Buddhist country, the religion influences certain behaviors as unacceptable. In this instance, PDA.


Another example has to do with certain parts of the body. In Buddhism the most sacred part of the body is the head. The feet are considered to be the lowest and filthiest. Therefore, it would be highly offensive to touch another person’s head and disrespectful to point, push, or step on anything with your feet. Most importantly, one should always avoid facing the bottom of your feet towards another person, as that is seen as a major sign of disrespect.

Pro Tip: Don’t step on Thai money. Since the King’s image is on the face of all Thai bills, stepping on it would be considered disrespectful to the monarchy. And Thai people take their monarchy very, very seriously.

Thai culture: Monk at our local temple located in Hua Hin

Visiting our local monk in Hua Hin


Monks are a significant aspect of Thai culture. You can encounter monks casually passing by, in temples, or even at the train station. Although we treat them with the most respect, it is important to remember that monks are prohibited to touch or be touched by women. Therefore, women should be careful to not come in physical contact with a monk.


The notion of “face” is important in Thai culture and there are many aspects that involve the concept of “face”. In general, it is best to avoid being overly emotional in public. Particularly, being angry or confrontational towards others. Maintaining “face” shows respect and dignity. AKA, keep your emotions in check.

Thai culture: Having a laugh while eating at the beach barbecue provided by Xploreasia

Showing our best smiles while enjoying a barbecue dinner provided by XploreAsia


While in Thailand you will 110% experience a Thai greeting known as the “Wai”. Don’t be shy, the wai is a common Thai greeting, almost like a handshake. “Wai-ing” someone is easy – just press your palms together in front of your chest and bow your head slightly. Do keep in mind that there are different variations of the wai in Thailand. Thai culture greatly honors and respects the elderly, so when greeting someone older than you, make sure to do a very traditional and powerful wai as a demonstration of respect. Nevertheless, don’t worry (“mai pen rai”), if you get it wrong, making an effort shows a great amount of respect in and of itself.

Fun fact: The phrase “mai pen rai” is a very common expression in Thailand, translating to  “don’t worry”, “it’s okay”, or “take it easy”. Something extremely fascinating about Thai culture is how open and safe it is towards the LGBTQ community. It is a great place to be respectful and accepting towards everybody. With that, don’t forget to live the mai pen rai life! Life doesn’t have to be rushed and in a hurry at all times. Just smile, enjoy your time, stay calm, and mai pen rai!

Thai culture: Visual of how to do a Wai



Stay comfy while you teach in  Thailand by wearing flip flops and slip ons! While exploring in the warm and humid weather of Thailand, it’s easy to slide on a pair of flip flops and easily go on with your day. Not only will this keep you cooler, it’s also an easy way to take off your shoes – given that this is a common practice to do before entering temples, homes, and occasionally businesses. In addition to taking off your shoes when visiting temples, make sure to always wear appropriate clothing to cover your knees and shoulders.

Thai culture: Slipping off your sandals


Are You Ready for Thai Culture?

Last but not least, DO make sure to have an open mind. Be open to learning new things, experiencing new cultures, and DON’T forget to have fun. Thailand has a vast and rich culture and there is so much to learn about this beautiful country. Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s part of the learning process. At XploreAsia we are here to help enhance your cultural experience in addition to supporting you throughout your teaching journey.

Thai culture: Xploreasia teacher practicing her Thai language at Hua Hin local market

Xploreasia teacher engaging in Thai culture by practicing her Thai language skills in Hua Hin’s local food market


If you are interested in any of our programs, visit our Adventures page and follow us on Facebook for more information! 

What to Pack for Thailand: Packing Tips for ESL Teachers

What to Pack for Thailand: Packing Tips for ESL Teachers

Preparing to take your TESOL course and teach English in Thailand is not a one-step process by any means, but it can be simpler than you might realize. For chronic over-packers, there is the 3-pile process: one of necessities, one of maybes, and one of wants. What to pack for Thailand? One suggestion is to pack only the first pile and scrap the rest. 

I never abided by that rule because I could never decide what would go in which pile. So instead, here are some my packing tips (and tips from others!) on how to prepare for your adventure abroad teaching English in Thailand:  


1. Don’t forget these important items:

  • Passport, License, and Visa (and copies), teaching documents (official degree certificate and transcripts), and extra passport photos
  • ATM/Debit/Credit Cards (let your bank know you’ll be in Thailand!)
  • Cash to exchange (roughly $200-600)
  • Any daily medication (with copies of prescriptions), bug spray, sunscreen, and lotion
  • Laptop and chargers (with converters/adaptors –Thailand uses 220V, and the plug-in style is the same type you would bring to Europe and North America)
what to pack for Thailand

2. For teachers, bring at least two formal outfits.

Here are more teacher suggestions on what to pack for Thailand:  


  • 2-3 longer skirts that cover the knee
  • 2-3 blouses that cover the shoulders and chest
  • 1-2 dresses that cover the knees, shoulders, and chest
  • Closed toe shoes


  • 2-3 dress shirts
  • 3-4 pairs of dress pants/trousers
  • 1-2 ties
  • 5-7 dress socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes (1 brown, 1 black)
Teaching Tip

When teaching English in Thailand, presenting a small gift from your home country to the school makes a fantastic first impression and can help you create some lasting friendships right away. Consider these gift ideas:

  • Treat: chocolate, maple syrup, or cookies
  • A travel book with pictures of where you’re from
  • School supplies: children’s books, magazines, colored pencils, construction paper

3. Bring a small duffel bag or backpack for weekend trips

This was a definite necessity when I studied abroad, and one of the first things I put in my suitcase. It’s so helpful for shorter weekend trips, and I guarantee you’ll be making at least one or two trips while teaching in Thailand! 

Culture Tip

Sizes in Thailand tend to run on the smaller size, and finding larger Western sizes can be challenging in small towns. Regardless, it is still possible to find these larger sizes at bigger shopping malls in cities. Also it’s important to recognize that Thai culture values modesty, so remember that when packing clothes. 

what to pack for Thailand
what to pack for Thailand

4. Bring a rain jacket, sweatshirt, and good walking shoes

These items were not forefront on my mind when I was wondering what to pack for Thailand, but you’ll definitely be grateful for them once you’re in the country. Bus rides and airplanes can get chilly, and broadly speaking, Thailand’s rainy season can run from May/June to October.     

There are some gorgeous national parks all around Thailand, and you’ll want to bring some comfortable walking shoes for hiking and exploring.  

Culture Tip

For women, a long scarf to cover your shoulders or knees can be useful when visiting a temple or the Grand Palace.  The one I brought became one of my most essential items: I used it at the beach, as a cover-up, and also as a blanket on some very chilly bus rides.

What to pack for Thailand: Helpful Items

  • A Kindle: English books aren’t as easy to come by, so if you’re a big reader, having a Kindle is wonderful for traveling.
  • Consider bringing an extra inexpensive, unlocked phone with you to Thailand to function as your Thai phone. It’s simple to buy one once you’re in Thailand, but it’s sometimes nice to know that you already have one you can use.
  • A small coin purse for loose change, and a money belt for weekend trips.


I had the chance to sit down with Tara, one of our TESOL Course participants, and chat about how she prepared for taking the TESOL course and for her adventure teaching in Thailand:

What are some things that you didn’t think to pack first but are grateful for now?

Photos from home. It’s not something that I thought I’d want once here in Thailand, but just having a few photos from home can be so comforting. I also brought a travel journal that I’m looking forward to filling with thoughts and memories from my experience.

What is one item that you wish you’d brought to prepare you for teaching in Thailand?

More skirts! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find longer black skirts that are light and breathable. Most of the skirts I’ve found here in Thailand are made of heavy material and are pretty expensive. I also wish I’d brought more breathable, light blouses for teaching.

You only brought one backpack on this trip. That’s pretty impressive! What advice do you have for anybody that’s worried about over-packing?

Roll all of your clothes. It saves so much room. And invest in some zip-up cubes. I swear by them. It makes my bag so organized, and it helps me keep track of what I have. Another tip I’ve learned is to bring a separate bag of dryer sheets to keep your clothes smelling fresh!

Generally, just remember to bring what’s necessary and don’t worry too much about bringing duplicates.

What is one thing you wish packed more of?

Bug spray! I use it so much here. I’m almost out. It’s not too easy to find great bug spray here, so I definitely wish I’d brought a couple more bottles. Another important thing I brought was electrolytes. They’ve been super useful here because it’s so hot, and you’re constantly sweating. I’m almost out of them too – it would’ve been nice to have more.

Thank you so much, Tara! You gave us great input on what to pack for Thailand. We’re so excited for your adventure teaching English abroad, and we can’t wait to congratulate you on finishing your TESOL Course!

I’d love to hear from you: What to pack for Thailand? What are some of your packing tips? Have any of you traveled to Thailand before? What are some essential items you always bring with you when traveling abroad?

Ready to start your adventure living and teaching abroad? Sign up for one of our amazing TESOL Course and teaching programs today! 

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Donald Trump: What He Might Have Learned if He Taught Abroad

Donald Trump: What He Might Have Learned if He Taught Abroad

Make the World Great!

Although no one can argue with a desire for America to be a great country, in today’s reality, being a great country means working to make the WORLD great, not just America. Donald Trump does not seem to understand this fundamental reality. However, if Donald Trump had spent some time teaching English in foreign countries, we are sure he would have acquired the understanding, skills, and information necessary to make the world great. Teaching English overseas helps develop the character traits essential to making the world great – compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity. These are traits that an American President should embody. But sadly, they are not apparent in our current President.

Compassion may be defined as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress combined with a desire to alleviate it.” Teaching abroad promotes compassion because the teacher often is exposed to students and families with varied needs due to poverty, homelessness, disabilities, or lack of sufficient nourishment. To meet these needs, the teacher must have sympathy for the children and want to help them overcome the adversities they face. A compassionate person makes the world better because awareness of peoples’ problems drives them to do something – not just assign blame. Trump’s statements and actions with regard to “shithole” countries, protections for Dreamers, and response to the devastation of Puerto Rico would have been quite different if he had learned compassion.

Donald Trump face

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.

Albert Schweitzer

Donald Trump face

Culture makes people understand each other better…they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.

Paulo Coelho

Teaching abroad also promotes cultural awareness, another obvious “missing part” of Donald Trump’s world view. An educator overseas comes to understand the critical aspects of culture not only in the country in which he or she is teaching, but also in other countries. Educators overseas learn that a culture is not “bad” or “good.” It is not something to be jeered at or “banned.” Culture represents the values and traditions of a people over centuries of history. Educators come to understand how culture influences the children and families they work with and the value of that culture to the country. In this way, educators learn about community and the importance of working in a community. The world is now a community and, although it has many different cultures, it is only through working in a community that we can make the world great.

Finally, it is impossible to teach abroad without coming away from the experience with a strong respect for diversity. Again, Donald Trump has not displayed respect for diversity in any way. Anything that seems to deviate from his professed religion (which he claims is Christianity), his value of money above all else, and even his gender is fodder for his ridicule and derision. Educators overseas are exposed to an array of religions, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and family roles that differ significantly from their own. Through this exposure, educators learn to accept and honor these differences as they work with students, fellow teachers, families, and communities.

Donald Trump face

Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.

Jacqueline Woodson

What if Donald Trump had taught English abroad?

If Donald Trump had taught English abroad at some time in his life, he might have learned how to make the world and America great instead of ushering in a period of unprecedented divisiveness that has resulted from his statements and actions. Maybe that is what the world needs. More and more people taking the time out to teach abroad so that the traits of compassion, cultural awareness, and respect for diversity spread throughout the world.

Taught abroad and agree? Disagree?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

4 Things To Do On Your Summer Break Abroad

What are your Options?

Like any other teacher in the world, instructors abroad are not immune to the summer break countdown. The cramming of finals, make ups, and sporadic graduation events leave an individual aching for the oasis of “me time.” Therefore, as the calendar fills with slashes crossing off days completed, he or she may ponder on what voyage to embark on next. Alas, multiple opportunities are available to quench wants and needs. An educator overseas has access to many activities for their summer break abroad, but there are four main categories to choose from: travel, volunteer work, retreats, and financial prosperity. Each element encompasses a branch of desired bliss. Unsure on which one to “pencil in?” Keep that calendar on hand, because you are about to find out.



The substantial amount of time allotted during summer breaks abroad easily cures the “I want to go there” plague. He or she has access to an array of countries that may have been difficult to visit back home; as a result, an individual can construct an itinerary with flexibility due to the granted recess. If a person wants complete immersion in only one country, that can transpire. If a person craves excessive passport stamps from all different countries, that can also transpire. This rare pliability truly allows an individual to have free reign in regards to travel. Also, another bonus about traveling during summer breaks abroad stems from the coincidence of summer break with other schools. In other words, a person can obtain “travel buddies” through fellow educators or simply ask colleagues where they have visited during their time off. This hidden component of guidance can be extremely beneficial to novice and expert travellers. Ultimately, the adventure is solely up to the inquirer; thus, the rejuvenation period provided by schools accommodates any wanderlust stricken soul.

Traveling is an excellent option for you during your summer break abroad

If a person wants complete immersion in only one country, that can transpire. If a person craves excessive passport stamps from all different countries, that can also transpire. This rare pliability truly allows an individual to have free reign in regards to travel.

Volunteer Work


Volunteer at many different organisations during your summer break abroad

For example, an amazing organization named “Rescue Paws,” located within Hua Hin, Thailand, supplies multiple opportunities for individuals to work with adorable pups. 

If he or she does not want to break the bank but still lusts after a different setting, volunteer work is the perfection selection. Volunteering is comprised of two broad genres: animals and people. The compassion and intellectual stimulation subsequently provided from both categories reveal no “wrong” decision exists. For example, an amazing organization named “Rescue Paws,” located within Hua Hin, Thailand, supplies multiple opportunities for individuals to work with adorable pups. Walks on the beach, soaking bubble baths, and lively playtime soothes any unwanted stresses gained from teaching. This furry fun is also combined with extensive knowledge on “man’s best friend.” Behavior patterns, sterilization, and animal care in general are all important topics explored when volunteering at Rescue Paws. If animal maintenance is not the desired route, there are many chances to assist struggling groups of people. Orphanages, homes for the elderly, and underprivileged areas are always in desperate need of volunteers. Working alongside such inspirational individuals will result in a life altering experience. The consistent compassion, empathy, and love demonstrated leaves a volunteer with more than he or she could have bargained for. Therefore, if a new atmosphere, awareness, and humanity are attractive elements to you, then volunteering during your summer break abroad is an excellent choice.



Many individuals wish he or she had the chance to improve a skill or learn a completely new one. This common aspiration can be fulfilled when one chooses to partake in a retreat over your summer break abroad. An extensive amount of retreats are available for self enhancement. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and more all exist to transform pipe dreams into a reality. For example, Muay Thai is a popular sport across the globe. There are an excessive amount of Muay Thai retreats around Southeast Asia. These learning hubs assist all ability levels, expose crucial self-defense techniques, and also incorporate rigorous amounts of exercise. The items achieved above allow an individual to undergo a holistic wellness metamorphosis. To add to the healthy transfiguration, friendships will also be established! Multiple participants from around the world occupy Muay Thai retreats. The inevitable new connections born from sweating pores and never-ending front kicks are an added bonus. The friendships, self-improvement, and useful intelligence available from retreats make this option very appealing. Still uncertain? Not a problem. This final option is for you!

Go on a retreat to improve your skills or gain a new one!

An extensive amount of retreats are available for self enhancement. Yoga, meditation, martial arts, and more all exist to transform pipe dreams into a reality.

Financial Prosperity


Line your pockets during your summer break abroad by teaching, being a camp counselor, or maybe even doing something else!

During school break, an individual can earn extra income through tutoring, blog writing, swim lessons, and more. These diverse professional employment opportunities can lead to a lucrative bank account.

After completing a term, he or she may want to keep working for financial prosperity. During your summer break abroad, you can earn extra income through tutoring, blog writing, swim lessons, and more. These diverse professional employment opportunities can lead to a lucrative bank account. For instance, the demand of available educators during the school recess is extremely high. The long duration of no school, 1-2 months, means students will not be receiving any instruction. This lost period of school time inclines parents to hire available educators for tuition. The guardians may want their child to improve weak subjects or just maintain an intake of education. This interest of stationary teachers conclusively provides an individual the opportunity to obtain that “extra cash.” In turn, these multiple financial gains allows one to save money for future expenses, pay off unwanted debts, or simply splurge on luxury items. Regardless of reasoning, the chance to earn more currency is always a strategic decision.

Summer breaks abroad supply teachers abroad with many different opportunities. Adventurous travel, rewarding volunteer work, refining retreats, and financial gain, are four divergent choices waiting to be summoned. The appetising spread of options permit one to evaluate and then feast. So grab your pens and start planning all over those empty calendar pages!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Follow her adventures at educatedexplorer.blogspot.com  

Which summer break opportunity sounds the best to you?

Comment below and tell us!

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

In-Class TESOL vs Online TESOL Courses

Which one is right for you?

After making the invigorating decision to teach abroad, you usually need to pursue a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course. Two options for the class are available: in-class and online. The abundance of opinions on which course is better can prove helpful, but overwhelming.  Overall, both options present countless benefits, but the best way to choose which course will be the best for you is to think about it is you need from the course. An in-class TESOL course offers learning through observation, invaluable time practicing teaching, and deep-rooted friendships, while an online TESOL course supplies nomadic freedom and exposure to fundamental teaching strategies. There really is no wrong choice! So which one works for you?

In-Class TESOL Advantages


A participant practices teaching in his in-class TESOL course

When you observe a class, you often can spot issues others may be having while teaching before they even know it themselves, allowing you to perfect your teaching strategies.

It may sound obvious, but watching others teach can make you a better teacher. When you observe a class, you often can spot issues others may be having while teaching before they even know it themselves, allowing you to perfect your teaching strategies. Observation is a key element in learning how to teach; it allows you to watch, understand, and review yourself on what is done well and what needs to be improved, even before you stand up to teach yourself. And when you do practice your teaching skills in front of the class, you can put into play the observations you made and adjust accordingly. Plus, you are an extra person for others to observe and improve their own techniques from. Observation is the first element in everything humans do, whether it be learning how to walk, learning a skill, or learning how to play a sport, so why should it be any different in learning how to teach? It may seem a bit awkward at first, but awkwardness will soon turn to insight and improvement for not only yourself but your peers in the course as well.

The other most helpful element within an in-class TESOL stems from practicing your new skills in a real school environment. Participants of XploreAsia’s in-class TESOL course are given an opportunity to instruct a group of children in a school setting. This aspect of the in-class TESOL course proves extremely valuable for both veteran and non-veteran teachers. After learning instructional techniques, behavior management strategies, cultural “do’s” and “don’ts,” and lesson plan construction, you are able to gage your ability level by instructing in a classroom. Additionally, when you practice teaching in a school, monitoring from the TESOL professor and your peers will ensue. This allows for constructive critiques and assistance if needed. The opportunity to be critiqued while actually teaching during the in-class TESOL is clearly one word…awesome! Successful teaching takes practice! This component of an in-class TESOL adheres to this; no one is perfect. Therefore, the in-course TESOL helps you practice, practice, practice!

A participant practices teaching at an English camp during her in-class TESOL course

The opportunity to be critiqued while actually teaching during the in-class TESOL is clearly one word…awesome! Successful teaching takes practice!

A class graduates from XploreAsia after successfully completing their in-class TESOL course

The common thread of actively pursuing a teaching career abroad seamlessly sews participants together.

The last distinct advantage that comes from an in-class TESOL course is the friendships that come from it. The common thread of actively pursuing a teaching career abroad seamlessly sews participants together. Like-minded people join this course, and after spending so much time together and dealing with the struggles and accomplishments in the course with each other, you will create strong friendships that last throughout not only your time teaching abroad, but beyond. Shoulders to cry on, future weekend excursion partners, and travel buddies are created during the short time you are together on the course. Meet ups, social media, and sometimes even placements near one another cement the comforting bonds created within the in-class TESOL course.

The friendships, the practice teaching in an actual school, and observation are the elements of an in-class TESOL course, but another option does exist; the online TESOL course.

Online TESOL Advantages


An online TESOL provides countless positives, but the nomadic freedom accompanied with this option unveils the true definition of convenience. Like many people, you might find yourself constantly busy with prior obligations. The lack of leisure time may forbid you from enrolling in an in-class TESOL or you might just enjoy learning from the comforts of home. Whatever the case may be, the ability to enter the virtual classroom from any place in the world accommodates any sort of wanderer lifestyle.  Airports, coffee shops, and your own home transform from ordinary places of habitation into an enriched classroom at the click of your fingertip. This ability to pick an online TESOL that fits into your schedule provides accessibility to anyone and everyone in the world. The convenience of constant availability paired with flexibility from an online TESOL course appeases anyone’s calendar… so grab any electronic device and go!

A woman completes her online TESOL course at a coffee shop

Airports, coffee shops, and your own home transform from ordinary places of habitation into an enriched classroom at the click of your fingertip.

a participant completes the online TESOL course from home

The differentiated instruction mentioned above helps all learners succeed. And if you still need extra review, no problem! The materials are available online whenever you want them.

To become an accomplished educator, you must learn, comprehend, and implement the fundamentals of teaching. These important strategies are explicitly taught, tested, and reviewed within an online TESOL. The written details, videos, and resources assist an individual during this process. The differentiated instruction mentioned above helps all learners succeed. And if you still need extra review, no problem! The materials are available online whenever you want them. The continuous access to all materials helps you construct a sturdy base upon which to build your knowledge of teaching abroad. The foundation you build will ultimately assist you throughout your teaching career. This benefit paired with nomadic freedom makes the online TESOL course undoubtedly desirable. At the end of the day, each journey usually starts with one step, but you can now begin yours with one click!

Overall, choosing a TESOL course is an exciting start towards career advancement and adventure. There are many advantages available from both courses; the important observation, the invaluable practice teaching, and the deep-rooted friendships developed from an in-class TESOL course helps an individual flourish in multiple ways, while an online TESOL course allows the desirable nomadic freedom and vital exposure to fundamental teaching strategies. So which one should you choose?  Future teacher, the choice is yours!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Follow her adventures at http://educatedexplorer.blogspot.com/

Online TESOL or in-class TESOL? Which do you think is better? 

Comment below!

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

The Top 5 Reasons to Teach in Vietnam

Wake up at 6:00 a.m., frantically rush out the door, seize a cup of liquid fuel, articulate commuter grumbles, hypnotically complete mundane tasks, remain idle in standstill traffic, nuke 2 day old pizza, sink into a fluffy oasis, and then repeat. Sound familiar? Is this what you thought “adulthood” would be? The idea or notion that  “this is what adulthood is” falters when one teaches in Vietnam. When an individual teaches in Vietnam, he or she departs from solely “existing” and truly embraces the full meaning of “living.” There are 5 main reasons why a person should teach in Vietnam: passionate community, stunning scenery, delicious food, unquestionable safety, and an expat faction.

Passion for Education


A boy peeks around a fence. Teach in Vietnam

When one accepts the calling to teach in Vietnam, the passion for education is palpable.

When one accepts the calling to teach in Vietnam, the passion for education is palpable. Both the community and students view the English language as an important skill one needs to acquire for professional advancement. This mindset demonstrated by students and the community permit an educator to flourish when teaching in Vietnam. He or she can solely focus on providing the best instruction possible without the added weight of needing to “prove one’s worth.” This unspoken cultural acceptance acts as a major alleviation for first time instructors. When I taught in America, the language teachers, faced the stigma of “unimportance.” The value of learning a second language is not truly embedded. My coworkers constantly needed to “prove” their subject’s worth to students, parents, and society in general. This added task on top of teaching is an undesirable element. Luckily, teaching in Vietnam eliminates potentially unforeseen under value; therefore, the vigor witnessed in other subjects floods your classroom as well.

Stunning Scenery

After educating adorable Vietnamese children, one can savor the picturesque scenery expanding throughout Vietnam. Beautiful emerald green bays, lively cities, and tranquil country sides quench an individual’s various needs. The abundance of diverse landscapes allows one to choose what “vibe” he or she is feeling for the weekend; monotonous living is not one of them. XploreAsia graduate and current teacher in Vietnam, Hilary Tamara, stated, “every place you visit in Vietnam is very different and the range of landscapes are so diverse.” The gorgeous and various regions within Vietnam, as divulged by Ms. Tamara, permits one to experience the peaceful ripples of Ha Long Bay to the bustling adventures within Ho Chi Minh City. Instead of daydreaming about “a change of scenery,” teaching in Vietnam allows one to explore an array of captivating terrain.

Two men look off over the mountains. Teach in Vietnam

 Instead of daydreaming about “a change of scenery,” teaching in Vietnam allows one to explore an array of captivating terrain.

Delicious Food

Vietnamese food. Teach in Vietnam

Herbs, noodles, and eggs; oh my! Vietnamese food truly causes one to order “with their eyes.”

As one explores the geographical wonders of Vietnam, he or she will uncover another mouthwatering “wonder” titled Vietnamese food.  Herbs, noodles, and eggs; oh my! Vietnamese food truly causes one to order “with their eyes.” Veggies and meats speckle the streets. Each unique dish emits an aroma of gluttonous delectability. The renowned grub within Vietnam attracts people from across the globe. Blogs and “guidelines” have sprouted all over the internet as a side effect. These sites also expose another appetising proponent of the glorious cuisine: affordability.  Dishes range from around USD 1.50 to USD 2.30. The scrumptious cookery combined with the cost effective price tags manifest into a deadly, but pleasurable, concoction. Teaching in Vietnam allows an individual to devour the edible gems of bloggery wonder whenever he or she desires.


Enticing food is not the only welcoming component of teaching in Vietnam; the atmosphere generated also lends itself to a safe environment.  Traveling solo or with a friend to a vastly different country can be slightly daunting. Language barriers, cultural taboos, and functionality in general evoke uneasiness. When a person teaches English in Vietnam, a welcoming environment greets him or her upon arrival. Apprehension about safety or manipulation dissipate. One should remain mindful about surroundings and belongings as a general rule of thumb, but an individual can easily maneuver around Vietnam without fear or restriction. This sense of security applies to solo women travelers/educators as well. In regards to transportation, Uber and bicycles are great and safe ways to meander through the cities. When one teaches in Vietnam, the security supplied allows an individual to explore, thrive, and cherish all the amazing qualities the country has to offer. Upon the safe embarkment of adventure, he or she may discover the last element of why a person should teach in Vietnam: the faction of expats.

Vietnamese children run from the camera. Teach in Vietnam

When a person teaches English in Vietnam, a welcoming environment greets him or her upon arrival. 

Expat Community

A group of friends pose for a picture in Vietnam. Teach in Vietnam

Ultimately, when deciding to teach abroad, leaving friends and family “behind” can be an unfavorable aspect. The community gained from teaching in Vietnam can alleviate this initial negative by creating bonds with like-minded individuals from around the globe. 

Teaching in Vietnam supplies another important necessity when abroad: friendship. There is a large expat community within this Asian country so one does not feel alone in a foreign land. Many expats can be found within the city or through social media pages. For example, a page titled “Vietnam is Awesome,” located on Facebook, allows foreigners and locals to expose important information about the country: beautiful sites, hangouts, events, and more. Before even reaching Vietnam, an individual can join the page and link up with current teachers, travelers, locals, etc. This helpful resource permits an educator to plant his or her roots early on. The pre-establishment described above is essential and comforting when he or she transitions to a new abode. Ultimately, when deciding to teach abroad, leaving friends and family “behind” can be an unfavorable aspect. The community gained from teaching in Vietnam can alleviate this initial negative by creating bonds with like-minded individuals from around the globe. Family and friends back home are only a video chat away. One does not abandon ties from home, but instead increases connections with people near and far. The lifelong friendships obtained through the current expat AND local community supersedes hesitation.

Overall, there are an excessive amount of reasons why a person should teach in Vietnam. The value of English, Instagram worthy landscape, drool-inducing food, the reinforcement of security, and the ever growing community are just 5 highlights of why a person should cash out ritualistic monotony for invigorating adventure. So what are you waiting for? Submit that final resignation letter to predictable complacency and accept the new offering of “living.” Your new life in Vietnam is only one decision away. We will see you soon!

Written by Chelsea Cullen. Check out the rest of her adventures here: http://educatedexplorer.blogspot.com 

Thinking about teaching in Vietnam? Which reason appeals to you the most?

Share your comments below!

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