David James – English Teacher, Vietnam

"Last week was introduce myself week. Basically I talk about Australia and myself, then show around pictures of the Townsville calendar from home and get them to describe what they see. Then I write their descriptive words next to the images I have stuck to the board."

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Josh – English Teacher, Vietnam

Vietnam….I hadn’t been sure what to expect but now it is ‘Việt Nam’: an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime. At first I was completely baffled by chopsticks but after the four months I was able to pick up the smallest grain of rice. My teaching placement was in Binh Duong, an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). It gives an impression of the ‘real’ Vietnam, in the sense that it is a town hoping to develop and industrialise.

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Marianne – English Teacher, Vietnam

First arriving in Vietnam was an absolute shock for me. I’d never been out of Europe before, and so just wasn’t prepared for how radically different it would be in every sense. For a start, there’s the climate. Coming out of the airport, that was the first thing that hit me. Hanoi in summer is extremely hot and humid (temperatures upwards of 40oC), but I eventually got used to being constantly sweaty, although I can’t say I really miss it!

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Clarissa Wilson – Vietnam through the eyes of a volunteer

I’m not much of a story writer so I decided to share my photos with you all instead. Sarah (my volunteer partner) and I are having a great time! The other weekend we went to Ho Chi Minh City to check out the Cu Chi tunnels with some other gappers from the south – fun! It’s hard to believe we’ve been at our placement for nearly a month, time flies!

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Alex James – 8 mistakes I made in Vietnam

Now that I’m back from my placement, I can see pretty clearly what I did wrong. And I did a lot wrong. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!

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Alex James – Living on a budget in Vietnam

I still cringe when I think about all the money I needlessly wasted at my placement. Not having a concept of the exchange rate got the better of me more times than I’d care to mention, as well as just generally being frivolous in the early days came back to bite me after a few months. So I thought I’d compile my top ten tips on how to not lose all your cash in ten days.

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Alex James – The return home from Vietnam

The travel bug had well and truly bit. On the plane home from my 5-month placement in Vietnam all my thoughts gravitated around where my next destination would be, what else I could do, anything to keep the real world at bay. I’ll give you an insight into my train of thought at 10,000ft.

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Alex James – Our visit to Ha Long Bay

Matt and I are quick to make plans. After some detective work we discover all the other volunteers also have the week off. We start composing our itinerary: first thing tomorrow we will hop on a train and visit Harriet and Michelle in Hai Phong. We’ll stay the night there, then, with the two girls, jump on a bus up to Halong Bay. There we will meet Mel and Alice we’ll find some cheap hotel. The six of us will then get on a boat to Cat Ba Island and wile away the time lapping up the sun, sand and surf on the beaches.

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Volunteer tips - Vietnam

The comments below are from Lattitude volunteers who went on their placements in Vietnam in the last few years. We don’t necessarily recommend their suggestions but think it’s useful to share feedback from those who’ve been before.

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The first 6 weeks in Vietnam

I land in HCMC International after a couple of not-too-long flights. I’m with a group of volunteers, 12 of us, when I see a young man holding a sign reading “Lattitude Volunters” (sic). Assuming this is intended for me and my fellow travellers I gain his attention and we pile into a van, off to our hotel/home for the next 6 days.

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The hardest part will be saying goodbye

So the latest. I have finished teaching with the volunteer program, and have moved out of the accommodation they have provided. I am now living with a Vietnamese family, and experiencing everything in a new way. It’s more than awesome!!!

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Holidaying with other volunteer in Vietnam

I have just got back from 10 days of holidays, which I spent travelling with 27 other volunteers. We headed to Nha Trang in the public holiday, which is famous here for its beach. It was soo god to get out of the city, and swim. I have even been proposed to.

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Lost in translation on the Mekong

It was dinner and meeting the family. That was all… I thought. So Miss, my student, picked me up on her motorbike, the typical Vietnamese way to get around, I hopped on the back with my bag of fruit for her family. I only expected to be out for a couple of hours.

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Finding the best spots in Vietnam

So far I am now teaching at 6 different Marketing Campus’s and around 23 Classes. There are a lot of classes that do not speak much English, so I usually just teach them songs like ” if you’re happy and you know it” or “the hokey pokey” , and play games and things, which is really fun!

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First month in Vietnam

On the weekend I went down to Vung Tau with some friends, it is a really nice beach area, so I spent a lot of time swimming. I also climbed a massive Jesus statue, where you can climb in his arms, and the view of Vung Tau from there is amazing!!

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Quick facts
Capital: Hanoi
Government: Republic
Language: Vietnamese
Population: 88.1 million
Religions: Buddhism
Timezone: GMT +7
Climate: climate, with humidity averaging 84 % throughout the year
Currency: đồng
Testimonial
"Discovering Vietnam and how radically different it is from England (I really did fall in love with it) has also made me want to travel more and explore the world and all it has to offer. I would never have been this adventurous had I not been on this placement; it’s really opened my eyes to the world."

Marianne, English teacher