Jace moved to Vietnam in May, from Australia. Teaching in the southern province of Binh Duong, Jace located about an hour away from Saigon, Jace teaches a wide variety of ages at his private language center. On a recent trip to Vietnam, we met up with Jace to hear firsthand about his amazing experience teaching English in Vietnam. Check out the interview below to learn more about what it’s like to teach and live in a smaller city in Vietnam.
To find out how you can begin to teach English in Vietnam click here
Do you think there is a need and demand for people to teach English in Vietnam?
There is definitely a demand for teaching English in Vietnam, as people recognize it is the global language. I am quite surprised actually how many people want to learn English and at all different levels. It is also quite good in Binh Duong, because a lot of parents come from Saigon and have an expectation of quality English. They can tell when a language center is teaching substandard English so there is a need for westerners to come teach in Vietnam.
Tell us a bit about your school?
My school is the newest branch and also the smallest. We still need new teachers to grow the center. Class sizes range from 6 – 15 students. I also have a teaching assistant or two in each class. There is a lot of room to get to know the students. Parents are here before and after every class. Getting to talk with them is very rewarding.
Why do parents send their children to your school?
They come here because they see it as a place where their students can be global citizens and have that sort of formal higher end language training. We work hard to deliver that to the students. The kids are fun, energetic crazy, really sweet and genuine. When you give them the attention it is extremely rewarding. One of the best things that has happened only in three months is seeing my students pass exams, have fun, and use a bit more English.
Do you have same kids for long period of time?
At the moment classes are 108 hour semesters, 36 hour chunks. Teachers teach 2 classes a week for entire time. You have the potential to stay with your students for years if they stay with you.
One of my favorite classes is the teens class because you can have very natural human interactions with them; ask them about their lives and their culture. That’s one of the best things about being from a foreign country. Showing interest and asking the students what their lives are like, because I can learn lots from them too.
Why is it important for people to go to new countries and learn about new cultures and immerse themselves?
For me personally the sense of adventure, although it sounds a bit trite is a real one. I think people do have a keen interest in what’s going on in the world, and the only way you can do it is to live in another country and work there. It has a completely different feel then just backpacking. To be grounded somewhere and sort of set down some roots for a period of time is really important. You learn so much about yourself. Also, escaping your usual confines and seeing things with new eyes is really important on a personal level as well. I think For me South East Asia, as it is quite close to Australia, was a key interest of mine sort of just being in the region too.
What would you tell someone who will soon be teaching English in Vietnam?
First I would say keep an open mind and be open to the culture. If you are open, warm and friendly you will be rewarded likewise. That has been one of the most rewarding things here, to actually be a part of the community and feel like a bit of a local. Really driving around on a motorbike and eating pho.
Thank you to Jace for taking the time to meet with us and answer our questions. We had a wonderful time getting to explore your town and see your school. Everyone we met were extremely kind, wanted to get to know us, as well as helped us try to find our way around town. It also makes us happy to see our XploreAsia teachers doing great and really embracing their time teaching English in Vietnam.