What is it like living in Vietnam? | My Stories.

My photo of TET celebrations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It is challenging and amazing at the same time.

My Adventures in Vietnam.

I stepped off the plane in Ho Chi Minh city on route to Hanoi and shared a bus with about 50 people on my flight to get from the plane to the hangar. OMG, I thought what have I done.

I was the only foreigner on the plane,15 plus years ago, as all the returning Vietnamese families were coming back for the TET holiday.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. The people smelled different, somehow fresher. It took me a while to figure out that the Vietnamese diet is much healthier than the meat-based diet I had been on. 

I was told later that the Vietnamese can smell the foreigners’ meat-induced excretions and generally find it unpleasant.

A brief skip forward. 

It was 3 years later, while working in a public school in Go Vap, that I was told by a Vietnamese teacher that I was voted as the best smelling foreigner. lol.

Off to Hanoi.

After having to collect my few bags and physically carry them to my connecting flight I was off to Hanoi. I had arranged a pick up from the airport in Hanoi and he was waiting for me casually at the gates.

My first taste of Vietnamese traffic, inside a car, was an unforgettable experience. I thought my driver was demented, little did I know this is the standard driving form in Vietnam. 

Road fatalities

The road fatality statistics are staggering in Vietnam. I have personally seen over 5 deaths on the road. 

Not counting the person who road off a bridge. There was a crowd of people watching him either drown or survive. It is considered rude to help and possibly interfere with the will of God. 

Vietnamese are a proud people who are also quick on the uptake for business opportunities as I discovered this day. A food vendor pulled up on his bicycle and started selling food to the close on 50 people watching.

On with the story 

After being driven back to my hotel, 40% of the time on the wrong side of the road and never slower than 50 kph in a 40 kph zone, I unpacked and went for a walk.

I needed a beer to calm my nerves. I saw men sitting outside a Bia Ahoi shop, which is a homemade beer shop, and ordered a glass of beer. It was an amazing taste and an amazing experience.

Once again I was the only foreigner and a lot of people looked at me. I did feel a bit uncomfortable, so to loosen things up I bought everyone a beer. An instant success, people came up shaking my hand and saying things in Vietnamese that I totally didn’t understand.

But I understood the smiles and heartfelt gratitude of these people. I was instantly in love with this country. How could I not be?. Three hours and $20 dollars later ( Beer was .20 cents per glass ) I was roundly thanked before the then nightly curfew.

Not before someone had rung and gotten a friend of theirs who spoke English. It was a night that I will always remember, along with so many others.

Off to Halong Bay 

Three days later after exploring around the French quarter of Hanoi and Swan lake I was off to Halong Bay to spend a few days on a “Junk” boat.

This was no junk boat but a beautifully equipped 5 star floating hotel My bedroom was coated in jade paneling. 

It was a bit “patchy” at times. Like getting on and off the boat. Walking down stone steps to get on a “dinghy” that takes you to the boat, then climbing up a small ladder. All changed now from what I have heard.

Vietnamese Humor.

Getting off the boat was just as exciting and showed me the humor of the Vietnamese. Unfortunately, we had a very loud, obnoxious man on the cruise with us. 

As he was getting off the boat into the dinghy, he slipped and fell into his much younger Vietnamese “wife” 

I could not help myself and sniggered, not loud but just loud enough for the Vietnamese staff to smile back at me. I was rewarded later with a few free drinks.

The drinking culture, whether coffee or beer, is big in Vietnam. You can find out more in my post about ” Coffee Culture”

Hoi An Japanese bridge.

Da Nang, Nha Trang and Hoi An.

After three wonderful days cruising around one of the natural wonders of the world, I was off again on my next mini adventure.

If Da Nang and Nha Trang resonate with you it might be because of the American and Vietnamese conflict. ( Which is forgotten by the younger generation) 

Times change.

Da Nang and Nha Trang are now beautiful cities in their own right. Cosmopolitan but still with the distinctive Vietnamese flavor. There are ex-pat communities everywhere in Vietnam and these two cities are no exception. 

I had a beautiful ocean view hotel in both Da Nang and Nha Trang and had a great time, but it was Hoi An and ‘My Son” that won me over. 

Hoi An

Hoi An is beautiful, yes it is a touristy town but the architecture alone is worth the visit. There are some incredible houses that have internal open courtyards surrounded by plants that you can visit. 

Shopping here is fantastic and fast. I ordered a silk dressing gown and had it delivered within 24 hours at a price that I am embarrassed to say because it was so cheap.

I strolled from shop to shop and one I walked through had 200 plus incense sticks burning at the same time. The fragrant aroma of the incense was pretty strong, but a delight to experience.

My Son

If you have never been to My Son you are missing out on an incredible time.

“During the 4th to 13th centuries, there was a unique culture on the coast of contemporary Vietnam, owing to its spiritual origins to the Hinduism of India. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower temples in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.

My Son Sanctuary dates from the 4th to the 13th centuries CE.”


Source; Unesco.org

I was taken to my Son by a young surly Vietnamese teenager and saw my first accident in Vietnam. A truck had run over a man on a motorbike. This doesn’t bode well for my day, I thought. 

It was a terrible accident and one I have become, unfortunately, accustomed to, however, the day itself turned out to be great.

Let me explain.

I went out early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. Shorts and T-shirt, but still sweating at 7 am in the morning. If nothing else, Vietnam is hot. 

I spent the entire morning, and could easily have been the whole day apart from my surly guide, walking around the amazing broken and semi-broken structures of the Cham Hindu-inspired architecture.

If you are an avid photographer the opportunities available are enormous. Green jungles, old ruins, and if you get the time right, few people.

A lot of the brickwork is decaying and at that time there was no understanding of how it was made. The “cement” and “bricks” have not been able to be replaced because the technology of making them has been lost.

After I left I went back to my amazing riverside accommodation, where I could overlook the river and watch farmers tending to their paddy fields, I relaxed on my balcony and ordered room service. I was worn out.

Exhausted and off to Saigon. 

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh city is not the place to be exhausted. Even if you are you will quickly rid yourself of any feelings of relaxation. This is a Go-Go city in more ways than one.

Just crossing the street takes all your skills to stay alive. The enthusiasm of the drivers is only matched by the trepidation of the pedestrians.

I only had 2 days in Saigon before I had to return back to Australia. But the bug had bitten. I returned to Australia and got my Tesol diploma along with an English teaching certificate and all my paperwork notarized, and back I went.

What now?  

I have been living in Vietnam for 15 years and while it has its up and downs I have thoroughly enjoyed it. If you want to see my house and school ( Yes, I teach English ) click on the YouTube link below to first see my house and crazy family life.

My House in Vietnam

My name is Stephen and if you want to find work as a teacher in Vietnam, I can help. That’s what I do. Bringing the world together one step at a time.

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Vietnams ESL Sector | A Series of disappointments.

The education sector in Vietnam has its genuine actors but generally the entire industry is saturated, swamped if you will, in a quagmire of distasteful players.

Editorial feature about ESL in Vietnam.

The comments below were written by Marty Hoare who is a moderator of the Facebook group FETV 

( Foreign English Teachers in Vietnam)

The opinions stated are not necessarily the opinions of Vietnam ESL.

However, it is good to look at the perspectives of those that have been involved in the Vietnamese Education sector for a considerable time.

For the sake of speed of readability some small parts have been edited, all with the OK of the Author. 

With no further ado, let’s jump in.

A Quagmire of Disappointment |Marty Hoare, Vietnam, April 2021.

FETV Facebook picture

It is a sector inhabited by unprincipled operators ravenous with an appetite for effortless financial gain. Expectant students (funded mostly by ill-informed parents) are more often than not the casualty of this habitually disreputable industry.

Although the sector also has its genuine actors, the entire industry is saturated, swamped if you will, in a quagmire of distasteful players.


With a growing population of approximately 100 million people, Vietnam is often referred to as the next Tiger Economy. This Tiger Economy mantra has been harmonized since the mid-1980s and continues to be vocalized through to the present day. Even with the arrival of Covid-19 early in 2020,

Vietnam’s songs of advancement continue to be heard loudly across the globe. Yet, due to the flood of questionable press, sponsored economic reports, and expensive consultancy hyperbole, the realities of Vietnam’s rapid expansion into the 21st century make the reality of the exact state of affairs in Vietnam anyone’s guess.

The ESL Industry

Much like the ESL industry in Vietnam, authenticity in this part of the world is often masked behind a veil of duplicity.

In spite of this, there is no arguing that Vietnam has seemingly progressed from a mostly agrarian insular society to one of a developing nation rhetorically unified under one flag.

Of its 100 million people and after 4 decades of growth, it is understood that 70% are rural dwellers with the remaining 30% spread across 2 major cities.

These now mega-cities heaving under the pressure of inadequate infrastructure, mass overcrowding, increasing pollution, and ever-present corruption include Ho Chi Minh City and its capital Hanoi, with the central coastal city of Danang rapidly becoming a significant regional entity.

It is also understood that in the order of 30% of Vietnam’s 100 million people are under the age of 24, often referred to as the next generation. With these numbers is it any wonder that the ESL industry in this part of the world is thriving?

English Language Education in Vietnam.

English is a compulsory subject from 3rd grade onwards. Students in Government schools are mostly taught by under-qualified Vietnamese English teachers with little English proficiency skills.

The external English language center business (also flooded with unqualified and ill experienced teachers), accounts for a large number of foreign teachers.

But literally hundreds of thousands of poorly equipped Vietnamese teachers using archaic methods of grammar exercises, often reproduced from outdated and poorly photocopied texts, and vocabulary cramming, present to scores of disenchanted students.

Public classrooms across Vietnam are stretched to breaking point under the weight of 40, 50, and even 60 or more students in each classroom.

After Class Teaching

Due to the lack of quality education delivered in classrooms across Vietnam, many parents send their children to after-school classes, commonly referred to in Vietnam as Extra Classes.

These are little more than an opportunity for Vietnamese teachers to earn additional lucrative cash income, these extra classes have little to no impact on student outcomes as many of those delivering the content are less than qualified to do so.

It is a vicious cycle and one that appears not to be slowing down. In Vietnam’s latest national high school exam results the average English score was lowest among nine subjects.

Core Results

Recognizing that English language proficiency is a crucial component to the advancement of a Tiger Economy, the National Foreign Language 2020 Project was launched back in 2008

The project attracted considerable negative public attention and feedback from those concerned; no more so than from the then and recently re-elected Minister of Education and Training, Mr. Phung Xuan Nha who in November 2016 admitted that “the National Foreign Language Project 2020 had failed”.

Lack of Qualified Teachers.

In Vietnam, there are around 8 million elementary students, 5 million lower-secondary students, and 2 million upper-secondary students enrolled in little over 15,000 primary schools, 10,000 lower-secondary schools, 2,400 upper-secondary schools, and almost 1000 mixed schools.

It’s unclear how many Vietnamese teachers there are to attend to such a large number of students. In Vietnam, however, it is estimated that there are about 260,000 instructors at the tertiary level.

In 2008 Harvard researchers Valley and Wilkinson described the Vietnamese education system as “being in a state of crisis. As we end the first half of 2021, and after many millions of dollars have been gobbled up by the system, this state of crisis remains.

A Corrupt Sector.

It is all about Money.

Vietnams corruption is well-known. In their Global Corruption Perceptions Index released in 2020, Transparency International classified Vietnam as the 36th most corrupt country out of 179 countries.

After the police, Transparency International ranked education as the second most corrupt industry in Vietnam.

If you want to see how Vietnam or your country is ranked click on the link above.

Bribery is frequent in order to gain university admission or improve grades. Bribing teachers and school administrators is also a frequent practice among parents.

A top government employee was recently proven to be a prominent culprit in the altering and falsification of exam candidates’ answer sheets in national high school examinations in a highly publicized case.

An example of this can be read about in The Vietnamese online Newspaper, Vietnam Insider.

Plagiarism in higher education, the fraudulent acquisition of academic degrees, distorted budget estimates, and the leakage of cash from public procurement initiatives, such as the National Foreign Language Project 2020, are all issues that have been widely highlighted.

Two Sides to a Story

Here we are faced with a dichotomy of judgment. On the one avaricious hand, we have Vietnamese English teachers arguing that it is their system that has failed them and their students, while on the other equally cash adoring hand we have the authorities who would have us believe that it is their teachers who are contributing to the cesspit of sludge that is Vietnam’s education sector.

As the authorities clearly stated in their Vietnam Education and Training Development Strategy, “all levels have not caught up with the reality of education and training development as people are influenced by their own personal benefits”.

Failing Proficiency levels.

Entering an IELTS exam prepared in surreptitious harmony by the Hanoi University and the British Council at the IELTS examination center exposed the inadequacies of the system.

The course students (teachers) were streamed into levels 1 to 3 depending on their band score and were introduced to the formalities of sitting, what instructors understood to be, an authentic IELTS exam.

On completion of the course. It quickly became apparent that the Vietnamese teachers’ English proficiency across the board was far below not only the official IELTS assessment criterion. It became apparent that the English Proficiency Index 2020 report entrance scores were extremely liberal.

Putting aside the blatantly obvious overzealous entrance results, over the first 7 weeks of the course instructors worked painstakingly to prepare their underprepared students for round 1 of their first of two-practice simulated IELTS exams. The outcome of the initial exam proved to be disturbing.

Students that entered the course with a certain IELTS band level were found to be at a considerably lower level. Listening and reading skills were distressingly low with writing skills taking a close second.

Although most students could navigate an English-speaking country as a tourist, engage in small talk with colleagues, and understand simple emails, they could not indulge in an in-depth discussion with native English speakers.

The scene was set for a catastrophic outcome, not to mention a tremendous challenge for instructors that continue to this day.

Candidate Feedback

The majority of the candidates indicated unequivocally that the academic aspect of the IELTS preparation course and the exam was not needed to practice their profession.

The majority of students stated that they would have preferred to be taught modern pedagogical practice with an emphasis on vocabulary and speaking skills.

It’s debatable whether or not their allegations are justified. However, it was painfully evident, based on previous experience, that the course was beyond their skills.

The unpleasant realities of a general lack of competence were exposed but ignored. The awareness that their system had failed them once more, combined with the unpleasant truth about the waste of vital financial resources, resulted in an even more negative attitude.

Vietnamese English teachers who finished the IELTS preparation course went to the Hanoi University IELTS training center to take the official IELTS exam. What the result of that was, is anybody’s guess.

The Cost of Education

Piggies in the trough.

In Vietnam, basic schooling is quite expensive. There are simply too many forms of school fees and contributions.

Additional school fees include enrollment and tuition, construction and repair, purchasing equipment, class fund, textbooks and stationery, uniforms, canteen, parking fees, supplementary classes at school, extra classes outside of school, insurance, parents’ association funds, and gifts and “envelopes” for teachers.

These are among the 15 major groups of fees identified by the HIDE Survey 2013.

School Problems

Schools are under-resourced, and instructors are underpaid. Parents pay construction and maintenance fees to fund school capital expenditures that are frequently diverted to other purposes.

Teachers collect a variety of donations that are far from little, with collection tactics that frequently border on harassment.

Furthermore, it is typical for instructors to make their talents and time accessible to families in exchange for monetary compensation.

As a result, these additional classes are rapidly expanding, allowing an increasing number of students to believe they have achieved higher academic levels.

Supplementary classes.

Supplementary lessons appear to be a mechanism for families to compensate for what they perceive to be instructional flaws and poor educational quality. Extra classes are frequently little more than a way for hungry teachers in collusion with even more rapacious school officials to request additional funds.

A Lucrative Business

The education market in Vietnam is tremendously lucrative. This trend is consistent with education being regarded as the second-most attractive sector in Vietnam, with two main factors driving this growth.

  • The first is the growing number of middle-income earners in Vietnam.
  • And the second is the failure of public school enrollment to keep pace with population growth.

Furthermore, parents want to provide their children with more soft skills that are not available in public institutions, and the private sector is filling the gap.

Martins Opinion

“This sludge pit will only become worse, with students being the hardest hit by these shady practices

Pigs get fat and Hogs get slaughtered is a well-known phrase that can only be used to describe this industry.

The pigs have been fattened by the cesspool of muck that is the Vietnamese school system, and if allowed unchecked, the hogs will continue to be slaughtered.”

Author: Martin P Hoare B.A., B. Teach

I speak from the position of a mature-age professional educator having had many years of involvement in the global English language sector of which 13 have been spent in South East Asia.

To read the full version of the edited article please go to the FETV Facebook group and read Martins article.

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How to engage your EFL students | English in the classroom.

TPR at work in the classroom

Engage your students.

A good teacher should always find new ways to engage the student. Looking for new content and activities for the classroom needn’t be difficult or a chore. There is a wealth of ideas and activities that can be gleaned from the internet alone. Then there are other resources like class books, flashcards, YouTube sites, and teacher forums.

A young student in Vietnam.

A. Classroom tactics.

Almost every EFL teacher has encountered this situation: a class of pupils that are uninterested in what is going on in the classroom, regardless of how hard you worked on the lesson plan. Student involvement is a goal we all aspire for, but we also know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving it, whether we teach online or in person.

Each class has its own strengths, dynamics, expectations, and outcomes. Fortunately, we can utilize the tactics listed below to encourage involvement without appearing to be overly pushy.

Oxford University provides some excellent training videos to help you in the classroom as well, and they can be accessed via Oxford Seminars, How to motivate your students and be a better ESL teacher.

Do a warm-up activity.

A quick warm-up exercise allows you to learn about your pupils’ interests and respond favorably in order to form bonds. Everyone enjoys talking about their passions, so why not allow students to communicate with us and one other through their shared interests?

Five warm-up activities

1. The A to Z Game.

Give students a theme, for example, food, animals, countries, etc. Write the letters A to Z on the board. Teams of students must race to write a suitable word next to each letter on the board.

You can also do this without the students running around. Split the class into at least two groups. I have found the students love competing against one another. Especially a boy vs girl challenge.

You can say the alphabet and the chosen student has to give the answer. For example, A- apple, B- banana, etc.

Or you can choose a student from each team to say the alphabet in tandem. ( Penalty points apply if they get it wrong )

2. Draw what I say.

This is a great game for the listening skill. I draw a simple picture and get the students to copy what I am doing without showing the image. I will talk the students through what the picture is about.

For example, I might say draw a line in the middle of the page and on top of that line draw a house with 4 windows and 1 door. To the left of the house draw 6 flowers. In the sky draw the Sun and 3 clouds in the top left-hand corner.

You will need to pre-teach, top left-hand corner, middle of the page, and other keywords as well. This is a great test of their vocabulary skills and prepositions of place vocabulary as well.

At the end of this activity the students will have drawn some very strange stuff, so play it up and have fun with the results

.3. The memory game.

In this activity, the students need to listen closely and add on extra phrases. I normally start the game by saying something like; ” I am going on holiday and taking a camera.

Then each student adds on something else they can take while repeating everything already said. e.g. I am going on a holiday and taking a camera and a bag. Etc.

Again I split the class into two groups and do this activity several times. You can also allow the students to write down the things taken, but don’t slow down the game.

4. Charades.

Students take turns acting out a word that you offer and their classmates try to guess what it is. This is an excellent way to review vocabulary from a prior session or try out a new word.

You can play this as a team activity as well. Put 2 chairs facing forward and choose a student from each team to sit in them. Then behind their backs write a word on the board and the teams have to try to get the chosen person to say that word.

Repeat the process by changing the students who sit in the chairs. This is a lot of fun and the students enjoy this activity.

Young students especially become engrossed in this activity, and they frequently try very hard to act out the meaning of the word.

5. Hangman.

This popular filler can also be a fantastic way to begin a class with beginners who are still unfamiliar with the alphabet. Simply write a freshly taught word on the board ( In dash format ) and have the children guess a letter.

Choose a topic, let’s say food, and tell the class what the topic is and choose a word for the game. Let’s say “Grape”

On the board draw 5 dashes that correspond with the number of letters. I this case 5 _ _ _ _ _. Now the students take it, in turn, to fill in the word, the first group to guess the word wins the points.

When doing a warm-up activity consider the following;

Keep it simple and age-relevant.

A good warm-up activity should cover these points.

  • Simple to comprehend and implement.
  • Easy to execute, in the sense that they require little to no preparation.
  • Appropriate for the age and grade level.
  • Efficient use of time.
  • Attractive and intriguing and fun.
  • Getting to the point of the lesson or the target language
  • To encourage student participation and confidence, use familiar vocabulary.

B. Total Physical Response and gestures.

Teachers and students do not have to be passive during the learning. Try to generate answers by urging them to raise their hand if they have a question or give a thumbs up if they enjoy something.

Students are more involved if they feel the teacher is having fun. So introduce T.P.R into the classroom. T.P.R involves using body language to help students understand a word or phrase.

An example of this is, brush your teeth then doing the action of brushing your teeth. This is a particularly useful technique for teaching younger students.

Learners in an online classroom can answer in a similar fashion by using emoticons or a group board to write on or even in a chat pod

You can find out more about teaching styles and Total Physical Response on my older blog. “Teaching English Abroad”

C. Praise your students.

Praise has a direct impact on students’ perceptions of success and failure. Many pupils assume that their teachers’ assessments of their abilities are the only ones that matter. This isn’t always the case, though. Even an average student may learn to excel with the right direction and perseverance.

It is critical that teachers recognize their incredible potential to influence their students’ ideas. If a teacher can make kids believe in themselves, they will be able to attain new heights and explore new horizons.

To be useful, positive comments must be specific and related to the outcome being discussed. “Great job” is nice, but “I loved how well-structured your argument was” is even better and gives your students a clear path to follow in order to achieve a better outcome.

D. No negative comments.

There is nothing more demoralizing for a student to be told they are lazy and not doing well in the classroom. Try to find out the reason for their apparent laziness or learning difficulties.

It may well be they are helping their family out in the shop after school and not getting to bed until midnight. Even the truly lazy student can be turned around with words of encouragement and praise.

Students who have received effective praise are not afraid of failure or setbacks. These are seen as stepping stones to achievement by them. They see setbacks as opportunities to develop new skills and expand their knowledge. To them, the method or manner by which they failed becomes one of the methods by which they succeed.

E. Create a positive atmosphere.

A pleasant learning environment is one in which each student feels accepted, at ease, respected, and capable of expressing themselves.

It’s crucial to be receptive to what pupils say, and as a teacher, you should constantly remember to set the tone. So, when a student talks, wait for them to finish; praise them when they give a viewpoint, and act appropriately when they show their feelings.

This is probably easier in an online context, as non-verbal reactions on camera can be used to build and reinforce bonds between students.

If there is only one thing you take away from this article, it should be, have FUN in the classroom. You will enjoy teaching more and the student will enjoy learning much more.


There are many things to think about when trying to engage students whether in the classroom or online, and these are but a few ideas. I hope it has provoked some thought about how you will engage your next class.

What is your favorite strategy to engage your students in the learning process? What have I left out?

Who am I and what do I do?

I am an EFL teacher who has been living in Vietnam for 15 years and now have my own school. . I also do teacher placements in Vietnam. If you want to look at my school click on the YouTube button below.

My School in Vietnam

Life in Vietnam can be both fun and challenging, it depends on you how much you wish to enjoy it. But there are some big cultural differences. Those that can accept that do well, those that don’t, not so well.

I hope you enjoyed this brief read.


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How to improve writing skills in English | 4 skills.

English writing skills.

The English writing skill is the most difficult skill to master as a learner of a foreign language, ( EFL ). The basic skills of learning any new language start with the listening skill. It is the same as a baby learning their first language.

So let us look quickly at the 4 skills in learning a language.

The skills in order.

People generally learn these four skills in the following order.

  • Listening: When people are learning a new language they will first hear it spoken.
  • Speaking: Then they try to repeat what they hear.
  • Reading: Later they will learn the reading skill.
  • Writing: And the last and the hardest skill is the writing skill.

The first skill | Listening.

When a baby is learning their first language or mother tongue, the first thing they do is listen. It can take 12 makes for the first “Mamma” or Dada” to come out of their mouths.

Babies can understand a few basic words after 9 months, such as “no” and “bye-bye.” They may also start to use a broader range of consonant sounds and voice tones.

At the age of 12-18 months, babies begin to talk. By the end of a year, most babies can pronounce a few simple words like “Mamma” and “Dada” and understand what they’re saying.

The second skill | Speaking.

Once the learner of any language has absorbed or been taught to pronounce a word or phrase, the next step is to repeat.

This is arguably one of the hardest skills to master as it may be the first time another language is spoken.


FLUENCY. Fluency is not just about how comfortable and confident you are in speaking English. It is also about how well it flows off your tongue.

VOCABULARY. Understanding the meaning of a word is critical in being able to use it correctly in speech. Also, the breadth of your vocabulary will set you apart from the mediocre English speaker.

GRAMMAR. Knowing how to use the tenses and the word order correctly means the difference between being understood or not. And the nuances of the English language demand a well-developed understanding of grammar.

PRONUNCIATION. All the above means little if you can not pronounce the words properly. To be understood correctly or at all, you need to be able to say the word in a way that others understand.

The third skill | Reading.

Reading skills should be taught alongside the listening and speaking skill. Just because it is listed as the third skill does not mean it should be taught after the other two skills are learned. And the same applies to the writing skill.

Reading skills for learning a new language can be broken down into 5 groups that will start at the beginner level and progress to the advanced level. While I am only showing 5 levels here, each level has its own sub-levels.

And these sub-levels are broken down into the age and performance of the student.

But as an overview, this is what looks like from a teachers perspective.

Beginner A1

Reading practice to help understand simple information, words, and sentences about known topics. Texts include basic readers and textbooks, posters, messages, forms, and timetables.

Pre-intermediate A2

Reading practice to help understand simple texts and find specific information in everyday material. Texts include emails, invitations, personal messages, tips, notices, and signs. And also class books and texts.

Intermediate B1

Reading practice to help understand texts with everyday or job-related language. Texts include articles, travel guides, emails, adverts, and reviews, textbooks, and more.

Upper-intermediate B2

Reading practice to help understand texts with a wide vocabulary where you may need to consider the writer’s opinion. Texts include articles, reports, messages, short stories, and reviews.

Advanced C1

Reading practice to help understand long, complex texts about a wide variety of topics, some of which may be unfamiliar. Texts include specialized articles, biographies, and summaries. from here the student can move into more advanced material for preparation for TOEIC tests.

The fourth skill | Writing, and how to improve it.

The fourth and final skill is the writing skill. And how well it has been taught in conjunction with the other skills will define how easy or difficult it is for the student to learn advanced writing skills.

Why is it important?

Because of the increasing importance of communication, strong writing abilities are required in practically every industry and for almost every employment.

Reports, sales proposals, marketing copy, user manuals, and presentations that you must produce on a regular basis as part of your job duties necessitate a strong writing ability.

A resume or CV, which is also the first step in applying for a job, necessitates a superior writing technique.

Every day at work begins with writing once you start working because we are required to send emails to peers, bosses, and clients. This is when your writing abilities come in help. So, let’s start with the fundamentals of writing skills.

Tips to improve your writing skills.

  • Set daily writing exercises. They need not be long-winded and time-consuming, even just committing to writing a paragraph a lesson is enough.
  • Set a time limit for writing and stick to it.
  • When we read, we learn how other people write so incorporate reading into your learning.
  • Don’t use any complicated or big words in your writing. Sentences should be short and shouldn’t overuse words like “very”, “really”, “just”.
  • Use one word instead of using 2 or three. Keep it simple until the writing skill level is higher.

Just do it.


The act of actually sitting down and writing is sometimes the most challenging stage in the writing process. You should have a clear notion of what you want to say at this stage, as well as a rough sense of how you want to convey it.

It may appear intimidating, but keep in mind that the hard work is almost complete! Simply convince yourself that you are capable (which you are), sit down in front of your notebook or computer, and write.



I am an EFL ( English as a Foreign Language ) teacher who owns a school in Vietnam. I have been here for 15 years and experienced most teaching situations.

From teaching in state schools with 50 plus students to a class to one on one private lessons. I have taught in English centers both good and bad, and the bad decided me to open my own school.

You can check out my school in Vietnam below by hitting on the YouTube button.


Privacy and disclosure policy


What is Vietnamese street food really like?

Vietnamese street food.

Living in Vietnam for 15 years has opened my eyes to the vast array of delectable street foods available.

Street food is one of the staples of Vietnam. And you can eat it at any time of the day or night.

Eating in your local market or balancing on small plastic stools with a steamy bowl of pho is an experience in and of itself.

This simple unpretentious food is the heart and soul of Vietnam, and the aromas will awaken a desire to eat this hearty and healthy food. The recipes for each dish will change depending on which part of Vietnam you are in.

Regional differences.

Vietnam is divided into three regions: north, center, and south. Geographical variances are reflected in the various culinary varieties, which are all slightly different from one another.

Each geographical region has its own distinct differences, Which are shown through different names, ingredients, cooking techniques, color, and presentation, and eating methods.

Bean sprouts are typically found in pho bowls in the south, but not in the north. Regardless of the variations, the key characteristics remain light, sweet broth, tender meat, and seductive aromas.

And so it is with most recipes, you have regional changes, much like the dialects of Vietnam, but the underlying basics are the same.

One thing does remain the same. Vietnamese love their food and love to make it a part of family life.

Eating Vietnamese style.

Vietnamese prefer to eat together as a family, sharing food. Each person receives a plate or bowl of rice. The bowls of food are placed in the center of the table and people help themselves.

In most households, noodle and vegetable dishes are the ‘norm”. Rice, meat or seafood dish, a vegetable dish, soup, and dipping sauce make up a traditional Vietnamese meal.

A family affair.

Instead of dividing the food into separate servings as in western countries, the Vietnamese share everything from the same plate.

As a result of their unique eating habits, Vietnamese people tend to socialize more during meals. During dinner, Vietnamese people enjoy chatting and small talk.

Parents inquire about their children’s school days, partners discuss their jobs, grandparents tell their grandchildren stories, and so on, creating a wonderfully pleasant atmosphere.

Eating street style.

Street food is sometimes shared accordingly, yet most street food dishes are served individually. Depending on the time of the day, expect to see workers going to or from work stopping and slurping down a hot broth of Pho or whatever they desire.

It was 10 o’clock one night and I was heading back home after a night out when the smells overcame me. I had to sit down on those little plastic stools and stuff my face with Bún bò huế. A spicy relative of Pho.

The friendliness of the locals, and perhaps the several drinks I had, led me to buy a round of beer for all the homeward-bound workers then pay for their meals. All for less than $15.00 for 7 people.

Drinking Vietnamese style.

I was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia and thought I knew a bit about the drinking culture. however the Vietnamese take it to a different level. Food and alcohol, mainly beer, go hand in hand.

You will often see groups of males sitting in a restaurant or around a food stall quaffing down a case of beer while enjoying their meals. Where are their wives?. At home waiting for them to return from their meetings.

Vietnam also produces several varieties of rice wine, known as Ruou, and quite often you will find a pickled snake in the bottle. Said by many to provide health benefits to the drinker.

Yes, there are nonalcoholic drinks available and you can get the most amazing juices and fruit smoothies imaginable. Green tea is a staple that will be handed out free of charge when in a coffee shop or restaurant. However, don’t expect it at a street stall.


If you believe huge chain coffee shops make good coffee, you’re in for a treat. The coffee in Vietnam is strong.

Robusta and occasionally Arabica beans are used to make it. It contains a lot of caffeine, with 200-300 grams per serve being typical.

This coffee has the strength of Superman and can be bitter to people who aren’t used to it. The majority of Vietnamese people add sugar to their coffee. It’s a no-no to add drink milk.

If you want white sweet coffee, condensed milk is the way to go.

In cafes, there are three primary types of coffee to choose from. Caf’e Den (Black Coffee), Caf’e Sua Da (Coffee with condensed milk and ice), and Caf’e Da (Coffee with condensed milk and ice) ( Black coffee with ice).

You can fly home if you try them all in one sitting.

Dipping sauces and spices.

I can’t talk about my favorite street foods until I explain the importance of dipping sauces and the flavors they instill into whatever dish you are eating. from basic soy sauce to the evil-smelling yet tasty fish sauce, there is a lot to enjoy.

Because of the varied use of numerous sauces and spices, each meal has its own depth of taste.

Despite the fact that the cooking method is quite simple, Vietnamese cooks make extensive use of spices such as salt, pepper, fish sauce, and… Perilla, Thai basil, and other herbs are added to make dishes with amazing and well-balanced flavors.

Chilli powder, pepper, sugar, and so on are only a few of the spices available. They are used with care and creativity to blend rich flavors that are at the heart of Vietnamese cuisine. And they are then served up in a stunning presentation that will have you eager to eat.

What are my favorite street food meals? Here are some of them.

My favorite street foods.



When it comes to Vietnamese street cuisine, the most natural choice is pho or Vietnamese noodle soup. This local favorite consists of chewy rice noodles in a scorching hot savory broth topped with crunchy, peppery, herb garnishes and tender chunks of meat or chicken.

My preference Is beef. And I go with the uncooked strips which are then added to the broth and will be tender and ready to eat as it lands on your table.

When you’re in Vietnam, nothing beats a big cup of hearty rice noodle soup to get your day started. You can explore obscure backstreets to find the ideal spot to enjoy your meal.

And like Americans with pizza or the British with Fish and chips, the Vietnamese have their favorite Pho stalls or shops.

Bánh mì

The Vietnamese sandwich is a popular choice with both locals and ex-pats alike. Normally considered a quick and easy meal to take away, it is worth the effort to try at least several.

Pickled veggies, coriander, fresh chilies, and pork slices will be loaded into your crusty French-style baguette. Usually made with pork and coated with pâté, it is a must for any foodie to try.

Eggs, chicken, meatballs, and a variety of other toppings are available. But my favorite is pork, arguably the most popular meat in Vietnam.

Bún bò huế

If phở had a bolder and hotter brother, it would have to be bún bò huế. The main ingredients of this noodle dish are beef broth, thick rice noodles, beef shank, pig’s feet, liver, and lemongrass.

It’s served with bean sprouts, fresh herbs, lime, and various other toppings and spices. Savory, tasty, and addictive, this dish originally from Hue is one you’ll want to keep coming back for.

It is commonly available in most cities around Vietnam because of its popularity.

When you are phở’d out, try slurping down a bowl of bún bò huế. You won’t regret it.

Com Tam

The word ‘Cơm tấm means ‘broken rice.’ Rice that has traditionally been unsellable and fed to animals because of its reputation as inferior rice.

It has, nevertheless, won a place in the hearts of both Vietnamese and foreigners alike.

The soft and fluffy broken rice with grilled pork chops and exquisite fish sauce is flavorful and will delight your taste buds.

Broken rice has a softer texture than “unbroken” rice because of the diverse shapes and sizes of the grains. It also absorbs flavors more readily. It also cooks quickly, making it a popular choice for rice meals that require quick preparation.

Fresh tomato, cucumber, and radish slices are usually served alongside the rice and pork.

This is a popular lunchtime dish and one that I keep returning to again and again. Eating this accompanied with an ice-cold beer is one of the joys of life.

Bánh Xèo

Or Vietnamese pancake. At first glance, you would think they are made with eggs. However, they aren’t, the yellow coloring comes from the turmeric powder in the recipe.

Bánh xèo is a Vietnamese pancake that is filled with filling ingredients and fried till one side is crispy.

You’ll end up with a crepe-like pancake with a crispy side and fillings like shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.

This is more of a restaurant or cook-at-home food. But I couldn’t leave it off my list as it is one of my all-time favorite dishes.

There is a street version available ( Bánh tráng nướng) as well. But in my opinion, it doesn’t come close to the complex blend of flavors you will find in the upmarket version.

And so much more

The Vietnam food experience has entertained the palates of some of the top chefs around the world along with presidents and food critics. From Obama dining with Bourdain to Gordon Ramsay attempting to replicate meals, it is foodie heaven.

There is so much more I haven’t covered from Bo Kho ( beef and vegetable stew ) to Gỏi cuốn and Chả giò, which are spring rolls to Chè, which is a sweet dessert. And yes, it is street food. You can buy it in plastic cups and is a cool refreshing snack on a hot Saigon day.

So, if you like traveling and love your food this country is a place you can live or visit and happily mingle with the locals.

My name is Stephen and I have lived in Vietnam for over 15 years. It can be frustrating and challenging but never dull. If you are up for an adventure you should consider Vietnam as a place to visit. Your taste buds will thank you.


You can check out my house in Vietnam below by clicking the YouTube button.

My House on YouTube

Affiliate Links


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.



What is it like living in Vietnam as an Ex-Pat?

Vietnam has grown in popularity and it is now widely acknowledged as a safe place for ex-pats to live and work. The pleasant weather, inexpensive cost of living, vibrant culture, and gradual improvements in Vietnam’s infrastructure all attract ex-pats. 

These are some of my thoughts and experiences about living in Vietnam for the past 15 years.

My experiences living in Vietnam.

When I first arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city the first thing I noticed was the smell. The locals smelled different, and that is because they do not eat so much beef and have a more mixed diet.

And I was told later that it is the same for Vietnamese. The Vietnamese can smell the meat coming out of foreigners pores.

That was more than 15 years ago. When I first came it was after the breakup of my first marriage, and I wanted to see a completely different culture.

The first time was a 3 week holiday and I  traveled from Hanoi to Halong Bay then onto Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and then Ho Chi Minh city. it was during this time I fell in love with the country.

                                                           You can find out more about Vietnam here.

A brief return home.

I returned home and immediately decided to get a Tesol degree so I could teach English in Vietnam. That was the start.

Returning to Vietnam I secured a teaching job promptly after a mishap in Hanoi. I had been offered a job in Hanoi where it was said to be close to the city. 

My introduction to Vietnam

I flew up to Hanoi and was met at the airport by the school owner, who then drove me around for ages under the pretext of buying books. Just when it was getting dark he took me to his school and my promised accommodation.

The school was 2 hours from the capital and in the country. My accommodation was an unairconditioned room with a hole in the wall. it was a rather sleepless night battling the mosquitos. 

Two days later I packed my bags and headed to Ho Chi Minh city. I arrived in HCMC and got a job in the first week. 

This is when I knew I would be in for some very interesting experiences.

The next few years. 

The next few years went in a blur of working, meeting new friends, and having a great time. I established myself as a well-liked and known teacher and worked in various schools. I even spent 9 months working in Pleiku in the highlands of Vietnam.

During holidays I also traveled to Cambodia and Thailand. It is very cheap to travel around South East Asia and I made the most of it.

Outside my house in GoVap, HCMC. My photo.

Fast forward to today.

I am now living in Go Vap in ho Chi Minh city. A district that does not have a lot of foreigners in it. I have some amazing stories and have been on some incredible adventures. 

But quite often it is the unexpected things that take your breath away. For example, coming home one night I ran into this outside my house. My neighbors were celebrating TET with a dragon dance. 

The dragon dance originated in China about 2,500 years ago. The Vietnamese dragon dance is not just seen as a dance. It is a form of displaying martial arts, as the performers should be Kung Fu masters. 

Without the Kung Fu component, it would be seen as just a soulless puppet performance.

TET holiday

Tet is the big holiday of the year with a lot of activities and things to do. If you have only been in Vietnam for a short time it may seem boring because most activities are done at the home.

Tet Nguyên Dán, more usually abbreviated to Tet, is Vietnam’s most prominent and well-known holiday and festival. The name Tet Nguyên Dán means “Feast of the First Morning” in Sino-Vietnamese.

The dates of Lunar New Year vary from year to year, although it usually falls in late January or early February. Tet Holiday is considered the perfect time for family members to return home and gather together.  

For Vietnamese the Tet Holiday is an opportunity to relax and enjoy life after a long year of hard labor; as a result, people forget about their problems and concentrate on the festivities. They will also spend time shopping and visiting pagodas and temples during this time.

Tet is a time to relax, eat and enjoy life. And shop. district 1 in HCMC. My photo.

Pagodas and temples.

It is the sights, sounds, and smells that make Vietnam such an amazing place to visit. Often at night, you will hear the monks chanting when you are safely tucked up in bed. They will be up early and stay awake late and it is enchanting to listen to as you drift off to sleep.

Buddhism in Vietnam 

Buddhism, mostly of the Mahayana branch, is the most widely practiced religion in Vietnam. The exact date of Buddhism’s entrance to Vietnam is unknown. 

However, it is most likely around the year 200 of the Christian era. It arrived by northern routes from Central Asia and southern routes from India.

Types of Buddhism in Vietnam

Taoism, Chinese spirituality, and the indigenous Vietnamese religion all have a symbiotic relationship with Vietnamese Buddhism. 

The three Mahayana School of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Vajrayana, are the most popular among Buddhists in Vietnam.

Pure Land Buddhism  ( Amidism ) and Zen Buddhism have taken over Buddhist life in Vietnam. Pure Zen was largely followed by monks and nuns, whereas Pure Land Buddhism was chosen by the general public.

You will see monks walking down the street wearing no shoes and yes. it is still a common sight in the outlying districts. 

My local Buddhist monastery. My photo.

What do I do now?

I now have my own school and am married to a Vietnamese lady. We have been teaching online as Vietnam has been quite badly affected by Covid. I also do teacher placements in Vietnam. If you want to look at my school click on the YouTube button below. 

My School in Vietnam

Life in Vietnam can be both fun and challenging, it depends on you how much you wish to enjoy it. But there are some big cultural differences. Those that can accept that do well, those that don’t, not so well.

I hope you enjoyed this brief read.


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

What are the stereotypes of English teachers in Vietnam?

Teaching English in Vietnam.

People have predicted that things will change in Vietnam in terms of ex-pats for years But, it is evident that very little has changed in the last 15 years.

The majority of foreign workers work as teachers in schools (whether ESL, Japanese, Korean, International Schools, or universities).

However, in school management, administration, and other fields, there are extremely few foreigners. It’s all about teachers, teachers, and more teachers. So, why hasn’t it altered all that much?

Click here to find out more on Teaching in Vietnam.

The Asian model.

People have tossed out estimates like 70% of foreign employees are teachers and the remainder are anything else.

From small business entrepreneurs, freelancers, corporation ex-pats, or on the low end – Chinese and Korean laborers working in Chinese and Korean companies.

Expats’ evolution in business in East and Southeast Asia has been uneven. While some countries want you to stay in their country for the rest of your life, not all of them are made equal.

Two Models

There are two models to choose from in Asia. You have the Korea and Singapore models, where foreigners began as instructors and trainers and progressed to leading universities, businesses, and advising non-governmental organizations.

Then there’s the Chinese approach, which entails simply being a teacher. This has occurred in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Thailand and Malaysia were the exceptions, but it is apparent that Thailand has returned to the China model.

More progress needs to be made.

It’s disappointing that more experienced foreign personnel are unable to assist in the administration of some of the universities.

They could implement more efficient policies and assist in the modernization of some of the curriculum (which happened in the case of Singapore).

It would be excellent if more progress was made in this area, even if foreign workers are only noticed or valued in the education sector. At the very least, both Vietnamese students and foreign workers may have additional possibilities.

The school stereotypes

In Vietnam, female teachers outnumber their male counterparts by a large margin. Many Vietnamese regard the imbalance as unimportant, but educational specialists believe that the lack of male role models in education has a negative impact on the development of well-rounded students.

“Children are constantly exposed to pictures of men as pilots or engineers, while women are depicted as teachers or tailors,” she explained.

More women than men are thought to have chosen this profession because it allows them to balance work and family life.

Many Vietnamese believe that teaching is not a difficult profession and that as a result, women have more time to spend with their families.

So it can often be seen as a foreign English teacher in Vietnam, that the preference for males is somewhat sexist.

More foreign teacher stereotypes.

The level of English language instruction in Vietnam has been widely criticized, owing to a variety of ‘traditional’ reasons such as huge class sizes and inefficient and poor teacher training.

The ‘difficult’ learner, in particular, is frequently singled out for blame: The most common learning methods are described as ‘passive,’ ‘traditional, mechanical, and occasionally reluctant. S

Students are reported to be insecure, reliant on memorization and prone to blunders, and lacking in communicative and critical thinking skills. This supposed “learning culture” is thought to be “tough to change.”

Cultural Bias.

Quite often this is just an example of foreign teachers bringing their own cultural bias to the classroom.

It’s important to note that traditional Vietnamese teaching methods are teacher-centered, book-centered, and grammar-focused rather than pronunciation-focused. There is also a strong emphasis on rote memorization.

English, which is taught using Western cultural methods, is the polar opposite of this form of instruction.

Right or wrong this is not our country, and we are guests in a foreign land and should accept cultural differences.

Things are changing and we must wait for the change to happen before we judge or try to force change.

You can find out more about etiquette in Vietnam here

There are some annoying things in English schools.

English teachers are employed in both government and private schools in Vietnam to teach English to youngsters. Teachers are not employed by the government school.

Instead, Vietnamese language schools hire teachers and send them to different schools to conduct lessons.

The benefits of this include that language schools give the syllabus and teaching materials, as well as professional development opportunities.

The downsides.

Schools prefer white faces and younger teachers. Whether you are qualified or not, it is much easier to get a job if you are young and white. Even this is slowly changing.

Here is a Reddit post regarding this subject.

Q. I am a British graduate of Indian origin with a TEFL. Though I don’t look British, my English is perfect. How difficult would it be to find work as a brown-skinned dude in Vietnam?

A. You’ll be fine, just not as easy as attractive white men.

I think Vietnam is the least racist of Asian countries I’ve been to. But they ARE very forward.

Overweight a few pounds? You got fat!

Black? You’re the first black person they’ve seen not in the movies! Let me touch your skin!

Locks for hair? Omg, they’re gonna touch that. 

Arm hair? Yeah, that too.

Don’t worry they’re very nice, they just have no filter and don’t realize other cultures find it rude.

I think this explains it all, while not trying to be racist there are no laws in place to stop explicit requests for young white foreign males.


if you leave your cultural biases at home, you will be fine. If you can’t, it is probably better that you do not come.

There are some teachers who have been here for only a short time and think they know everything about the country. They will try to get discounts on everything and get angry if they are charged $1.00 more than the locals. This is petty, in my opinion.

And you will also lose face with the locals, so grin and bear it. Remember you are making a lot more than the local population and they know it.

Who am

My name is Stephen and I have been teaching in Vietnam for 15 years. I have taught in both state schools and private schools and now have my own English school.

You can check out my school below on my YouTube channel.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

How to help your child learn English at home.

Why you should teach your child English at home.

Helping your child learn English at home.

With schools closed due to the Corona virus, parents all over the world are wondering how they can help their children learn English at home. Sure, teachers are teaching online, but as parents, we can do a lot more.

When instructors and parents collaborate, children have a better chance of succeeding in school. Every interaction you have with your child during the day can be used to help them develop their English skills.

Here are some ideas to help home study.

Have fun.

We have a lot of duties as busy parents. It’s all about finding the appropriate balance when it comes to teaching or leading the learning process at home.

Teachers in schools must plan timetables and lessons for the entire class. You have more freedom to focus on your child’s preferred interests and activities when you learn at home. You can consider what will be most beneficial to your child.

Learners of all ages achieve more when they enjoy and find their work engaging and meaningful. Don’t be frightened to have a good time!

Try new things.

There are a lot of online resources to help, so do not be scared to try different things. You have English learning apps, websites, English rhymes, and songs to name a few. To find out how your child likes to learn and what things do they enjoy.

Children’s picture books

For young children learning English, this method can open them to a whole new realm of learning. It can be difficult to select the correct books, but it is critical to recognize the advantages of having this one-on-one relationship with your child.

Picture books give parents and children a compelling incentive to change from their native language to English. The predefined text of a picture book is a very valuable prop for parents who perform poorly in English.


Flashcards can be a very useful tool. Especially for the beginner or younger learner. Teaching individual worlds is an important part of the learning process and flashcards provide pictures along with the words and pictures.

Rather than a boring home lesson you can make it fun by turning learning into a game. For example, You can buy 2 sets of the same flashcards and play a memory-based game.

Place the flashcards face down and your child has to remember where the 2 that are the same were placed. Laugh and learn will also instill a desire from your child to learn.

==> Using flashcards to teach English <==

Rhymes and songs

Repeating rhymes and songs is a fun method of learning new vocabulary in English. You can create a collection of songs that your child can listen to over and over to become comfortable with keywords.

==> Rhymes and songs to learn English <==

Apps that help your child learn English

Improve your child’s English skills with these entertaining and educational applications! These games, podcasts, videos, and quizzes are designed for kids of all ages and will help them learn English at home or on the go. You can learn more about them by clicking here.

==> Apps for children to learn English <==

Comics, TV, and video games.

Who doesn’t love cartoons, comics, and playing online games.? Okay, not everyone. But a lot of children do. And if you can get your child to read comics, watch cartoons and play games in English, they will learn faster.

Find what they enjoy doing and try to get them to do it in English. The cartoon network in English is a great tool for home learning.

Word searches and other games

Word searches can be a great tool as long as they are not overused. They can be used as a reward for a lesson well done.

However, as a stand-alone tool, it is questionable. It certainly helps with word recognition if used in the right way. Find a word search that relates to the topic you are teaching and the words you have taught.

There are online word search makers that you can use to specifically target the words taught in your childs lesson.

Things to think about.

What does your child like to do in his or her spare time? Drawing? going outside to play? comics? Do they enjoy reading stories? Dancing? indoor games or puzzles?

Make an effort to engage in some of their favorite activities in English.

Is your child more active at different times of the day? Do they like the mornings or the afternoons? What do they do after learning? Do they want something to eat? Choose the perfect moment to tackle the most difficult tasks!

What is your child’s preferred method of absorbing information? Is it possible to teach off-the-cuff during these times? Make a list of what works best for them.

Do you want your child to be able to make their own decisions about their education? Or do they prefer to make decisions with you? Always remember to ask them for their opinions and to encourage them as they build their own study skills.

Can I help if I don’t speak English?

Yes! Encouragement and praise are the finest ways to provide the best support for your child. This boosts your child’s self-esteem and belief in their own abilities.

Encourage children when they take charge of their own education and congratulate them on their efforts

You could even give your youngster the task of teaching English to a member of your family. Did you know that one of the most effective methods to learn is to teach someone else? You could even ask that they teach you.


Whatever you do, make it fun. Your child will love you all the more for you taking the time out of your day to spend with them.

To develop the love of learning in your child will mean they will want to learn and they will increase any learning skill quicker.

Remember the first skill in learning any language is the listening skill, so the more they listen to English, the faster they will learn.

And be patient, learning anything takes time. And learning a language is one of the most difficult things to do. But small steps now will lead to big leaps in the future.

Who am I?

I am an EFL ( English as a Foreign Language ) teacher who owns a school in Vietnam. I have been here for 15 years and experienced most teaching situations.

From teaching in state schools with 50 plus students to a class to one on one private lessons. I have taught in English centers both good and bad, and the bad decided me to open my own school.

You can check out my school in Vietnam below by hitting on the YouTube button.

My school in Vietnam


Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

What is it like teaching English online?


Teaching English online

Welcome to my world of teaching English online.

The life of an online EFL teacher can be very different depending on where you work, how many hours you teach each week, and the level of your students, among other things.

So, to assist you to answer that question here’s a real-life example of what it’s like to be an online EFL teacher.

Who am I?

First, who am I? I am an EFL ( English as a Foreign Language ) teacher who owns a school in Vietnam. I have been here for 15 years and experienced most teaching situations.

From teaching in state schools with 50 plus students to a class to one on one private lessons. I have taught in English centers both good and bad, and the bad decided me to open my own school.

Covid and online teaching

And now with the Covid epidemic sweeping the world, most schools have been teaching online. Teaching online can be frustrating and it can be funny. How you approach the challenge of online teaching ( and upgrading your knowledge ) makes the difference between a good lesson or a boring one.

You can have students that are lazy and turn off the camera and those that actively participate in class. This can be found in just about every class. To overcome this as much as possible you need to make it fun and use the right online tools.

Teaching online can be fun

If you make it fun for the students they will embrace the learning. Laugh and learn has always been my motto. The joy of learning a language is the first thing that should be taught. Once your students are hooked on the learning and fun, life becomes much easier as a teacher. This is true for both online and classroom situations.

I recently had an older student tell me a risque joke. That is when you know they love learning. Telling a joke in a foreign language is one of the hardest things to do. If your students can do that you know you are heading in the right direction.

Two students’ risque jokes.

Why don’t roosters have arms? because hens don’t have breasts.

Why are noodles ( this is Vietnam ) and women the same? Because when you eat them they both wiggle.

Yes, a bit precocious. But a different culture and we should not judge. As teachers of EFL, we are guests in a foreign country. And this is something I see every day, especially with new teachers. You can not bring your values and try to instill them into a different culture.

Why else do I like online teaching?

You have the opportunity to have a free discussion about anything. The majority of kids are eager to learn about their teachers’ cultures and traditions. And they are also eager to share their own cultural makeup as well. Quite often you will find students opening up about things that they will never tell their parents.

For example, I was joking around in class trying to get the students to talk off the cuff. So I said ” Kitty do you love David” She went hmm, maybe a little crush. Then David blurted out “no teacher, I’m gay” Something he probably has not told his parents. So the trust factor in teaching is a huge responsibility.

And this is possibly something they would never have shared in a classroom. The supposed anonymity of the online world sometimes helps forge closer bonds between students and teachers if done in the right way.


Teaching online or in any environment is incredibly rewarding. Not just in the monetary sense, but also emotionally rewarding as well.

When you have a student ring you up thanking you for their high TOEIC score or the students’ parents dropping off a present to say thanks. This is the motivation for teaching.

Bringing people together so we all understand one another better is one of my objectives.

Teaching online brings many rewards but if we just look at the financial ones, you can expect to make about $18 to $30 in Vietnam and even higher if you run your own classes.

Is teaching online difficult?

Teaching students who don’t have any knowledge of speaking English is the most difficult. If you don’t have patience, you might end up getting frustrated and angry in class. This is a no-no.

keep your facial expressions, gestures, and voice in happy mode, whatever happens. Keep cool and maintain a friendly atmosphere. Patience is the key.

Also, when dealing with beginners, we need to be alert and hands-on at all times. Understanding their pronunciation and what the younger learners mean can be a challenge.

Flyers for young learners

But once your students get to the Flyer stage and higher it can be a lot of fun, with student interaction spurring you on to even greater levels.

How do I become an online teacher?

You’ll need a laptop or PC with a fast internet connection, a headset with a microphone (or a built-in microphone), and a quiet, well-lit space to hold your sessions to get started as an online English teacher. It couldn’t be much easier.

However, not everyone is capable of doing so. Do you enjoy working with children and teenagers? Are you willing to work on lesson plans for a few hours outside of class, usually unpaid?

Do you hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed a TESOL or TEFL course? If you can answer yes to the above and love to travel, whether virtually or in the real world, this amazing career could be for you.

How do I get a job?

Put together your resume and get your teaching certificates and degree notarized at your consulate or local government body and start applying online. This may take some time as a beginner, but there is help.

And, yes that is me. If you want to teach online or even come and live in Asia, whether Vietnam or Thailand, I can assist you in finding a rewarding career as an English teacher.

Teacher placements in Vietnam is what I do to help new teachers avoid the pitfalls and experienced teachers get up and teach quickly. Whether in the classroom or online, I can help find you a well-paying position with a good school.


The thrill and excitement of seeing your students learn and progress is one of the many advantages of being a teacher.

Despite the fact that teaching is not one of the highest paying professions due to the long hours necessary, individuals that enjoy being in the classroom regard it as one of the most fulfilling careers ever.

So, if you are up for a lifetime of adventure leave me a message and I will help support you to get the job you want.

My House in Vietnam

Everything is cheap in Asia and so is the cost of a house. But I prefer to rent as my 3 story Villa only costs me $600 per month. You can check it out below on the YouTube button.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.


Are schools reopening in HCMC, Vietnam, or not?

Vietnam schools are scheduled to reopen.

Are schools reopening in HCMC, Vietnam, or not?

Yes, they are, but with a twist brought on by the severity of the Covid -19 virus. At the moment it is planned for children to start school again on December 13th. They will have to expect changes in the school and in the classrooms.

As kids return to school on December 13, schools in Ho Chi Minh City are devising flexible strategies to reopen them. The safety of students and teachers is a top priority. So the schools are devising plans to reduce the spread of Covid among the students and teachers

Currently, more than 98 percent of school pupils have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination. But a large number of parents are still worried about sending their children back to school.

And with good reason. I just learned tonight that one of my student’s fathers’ died and was cremated before the family got to see his body. The government is taking drastic action in trying to prevent the further spread of Covid.

Plans to reduce the risk of Covid.

Some of these plans include the use of hand sanitizers, medical masks, and extra disinfectant lights in the restrooms. They will also be supplied to all classrooms. And a medical isolation facility will also be created near the school gate for the treatment of suspected cases.

Class numbers will be limited to 35 students in each class. seats will be arranged to ensure that the students are kept at a safe distance from one another.

To guarantee the safety of students, large-group classes will be held in larger classrooms and libraries.

The schools have also purchased vitamins C, D, and zinc to give to pupils when they return to school to help them build their immune systems.

How will they teach?

For the remainder of the first semester, the schools will combine face-to-face and online instruction.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education, low-risk high schools can resume classroom teaching for 30 hours per week, but medium-risk facilities can only operate for 18 hours per week.

Basic courses like math, literature, foreign languages, chemistry, and physics will be taught in class, while subjects like technology, art, and music will continue to be taught online.

Grades 6, 9, and 12.

Students in grades 6, 9, and 12 will have no more than 18 face-to-face classes per week. In particular, educational institutions on level 4 alert (very high-risk areas) will only offer online instruction, some broadcasts on television, as well as provide students with lessons to study at home.

Grade 1

For kids in Grade 1, primary schools in Covid-19 alert level 1 locations will be allowed to resume half-day face-to-face sessions.

Schools in Covid-19 alert level 2 locations will be able to run half-day lessons with 50% of the total number of 1st graders per day.

First-graders in Covid-19 alert level 3 locations will return to a half-day session three days a week. Each day’s session has 50% of the total number of students.

Students in Covid-19 alert level 4 locations will only have access to online learning.

English centers

English training centers that have been unable to open have been running virtual classes online. And even though this is not as effective, in my opinion, as face-to-face teaching, it has provided some tuition for the students. As well as welcome funds for the teachers.

Many English centers have suffered and a lot have closed. Some taking teachers’ pay and the student’s fees along with them.

However after a lengthy time closed a lot of the English centers that remain are re-opening their doors in Saigon.

The planned reopening coincides with the schedule of the State schools.

Are flights open again?

Flights are being reopened from December 15th with a two-phase reopening plan

As part of a two-phase reopening plan, Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has proposed that international flights on nine routes across Asia and the United States begin on December 15.

If permitted, the first phase will begin this week with four weekly flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States, as well as Singapore, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Laos, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei.

From January 1, 2022, phase two of the project asks for more routes, including Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, and Sydney.

The first phase will include flights to and from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with the second phase expanding to include Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, and Van Dong.

You can find out more at the Vietnam Airlines website. ==> HERE <==

Is it safe to travel to Vietnam.

Vietnam is opening its doors again and if you are fully vaccinated you will not need to be quarantined. If you are unvaccinated you will be quarantined on arrival at your cost. Vietnam is still considered to be a high-risk country to travel to.

Yes, you can come to Vietnam but you will be required to wear a mask outdoors and you should be fully vaccinated. If you want to come to teach it will be mandatory for classroom teachers to be fully vaccinated.

However, there are some jobs that only require online teaching which do not need the teachers to be vaccinated.

More schools will be going back to classroom teaching so in my opinion if you want to teach in Vietnam and you do not want the shots you will find it very difficult to support yourself.


While the schools are reopening there will be a big demand for English teachers. Many teachers left Vietnam at the start of the pandemic and there are not enough teachers to fill the demand that will happen.

It is completely up to you if you wish to risk coming to Vietnam and I would advise to liaise with your embassy or travel advisory body before deciding.

Who am I?

My name is Stephen and I have been living and working in Vietnam for 15 years. I have my own school and also do teacher placements in Vietnam. You can check out my house on YouTube below.

Any or all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you purchase something through those links I will make a small commission on them.

There will be no extra cost to you and at times due to my affiliation, you could actually save money.

You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.