Just go! If you have a love for travel and adventure, teaching abroad is for you. I have spent my twenties traveling and teaching abroad and could not think of a better way to have spent them. I've found jobs through a variety of companies and countries, but APAX has made the adjustment so easy.
-Degree (of any kind)
-Native English speaker
-background check (no more than 6 months old)
-No serious health issues
*All documents must be notarized. If you are from the USA you can notarize your documents at a US Embassy in Vietnam.
I'm 29 years old and some might say I'm fighting the norm because I'm childless and without my own house. Before I moved to Vietnam, I lived in Thailand and taught English for a year and a half. This experience was a life changing experience, because it is where I took my first solo adventure across the world and traded comfort for unknown. At the time it was the scariest and bravest thing I had ever done.
I am so thankful for this experience, because I gained so many life lessons and self-confidence. Thailand is also where I met my husband, whom was teaching there as well. We returned to the US for 2 years and knew the door to Asia hadn’t been closed. We quickly made plans to return and that is how I ended up back on this side of the world.
Once travel grabs hold of you, it is hard to resist.
APAX is one of the leading ESL companies in Vietnam. They offer a very reasonable salary and loads of support. The company currently has centers all over Vietnam in small and large cities. Hanoi is it's largest population of teachers & centers. The company has only been around for about 4 years, but they are growing fast and looking to expand in to Cambodia and possibly Thailand. They already work in Korea.
APAX couldn't have made the process simpler
We had some friends that moved to Vietnam with APAX and recommended the program for us. Once we decided it was right for us, we went to their website and applied.
The interview process was really simple. Basically we applied through the link above and then they responded within 3-4 days. We applied through an online questionnaire they have, sent in a cover letter as well as the following scanned documents: degree, TESOL/ESL certificate and a CV/resume. If you're not teaching certified and don't know which type of certification to apply for, check out this quick guide to Teaching English acronyms.
Once they reviewed our information they got back to us with a time for a Skype interview. This was all done within a week and it was communicated very well through email. The Skype interview was quick. It lasted for about 15 minutes and they asked questions such as: Why APAX? What is your experience? Tell us about yourselves....etc. The interview was very relaxed.
After we had the interview within a few days they responded with their answer (which is most often a yes) and then they asked when we would like to start training.
They are flexible and allow you to choose when you would like to start
We decided on a date and we booked our flights and sent our flight details to their contacts so that they had confirmation that we were coming.
They then sent us loads of information about training, getting documents notarized (which is very simple for a US/Canadian resident), but more complicated for South African, European and UK citizens. All instructions were very simple and straight forward. Once we had all of this in the works, it was pretty much just a waiting game to head to Hanoi.
APAX set us up in their own private housing, which was very cheap and not far from the training center.
You'll need to invest some cash but not much
You will pay for your flights there, accommodation in Hanoi ($7/day) and food. We did not have to pay anything for training. The only money we paid to APAX was for our work permit, residency card (later) and if we did a police check in Hanoi.
Our work permit and residency card are taken out of our first 3 paychecks so we don't technically pay upfront for these things. The housing, food and police check together cost about $400 total. They are essential for staying and working in Vietnam legally though. We also pay taxes, which are lowered once you have the residency card.
A few benefits with APAX are:
-Support for getting documents notarized
-They get your work permit and residency card done for you
-Support in housing
-Living stipend of 6.4 million Dong/month (unless you live in APAX housing)
-Yearly health check
-Transportation to your placement paid for & organized
-Career progression (always opportunities to advance)
They'll get you trained and confident
Training consists of 6 days of APAX teaching material. APAX is a program that has specific guidelines for each class.
If you already have teaching experience and do not want to teach in an English center, find a job at a school in Vietnam.
The 6 days of training are spent teaching you the content and having you do mock teaching to practice the material
There is some culture/language training in the 6 days. They also help set you up with a bank account and this is also when you find out your placement.
The training is long and it does require a lot out of you physically and emotionally. This is especially true for a person who has never taught in a foreign country before. The training would last for about 4/5 hours a day with "homework" which consisted of you watching videos of example classes for each of the different components of the program. This was easy and done with other teachers to make it more interesting.
APAX was very helpful and informative about which documents I needed to get notarized and how. I booked an appointment during the week of training at the US embassy to have my documents notarized. Once the documents were notarized, I took them back to APAX and they completed the process for me.
They work in a variety of cities and towns throughout the country
During the training, APAX takes care of finding you a placement. You give them your wants/don't wants and they take that in to consideration. If you want Hanoi, they do their best and if you want a small city they usually have a space for that. Currently they are having a teacher shortage, so they are welcoming any applicants (especially in Ho Chi Minh City & Hanoi).
I am currently living in a small city in the northern province of Quang Ninh. I am really enjoying my time here and I do have to say that it takes time to adjust to the Vietnamese way of living. Our town is very Vietnamese. There is no expat neighborhood or community like there is in the larger cities.
We are a small center of about 7 teachers. We all live in houses together and do a lot of things together, so we are a very tight-knit community. Our interactions with the Vietnamese staff are good and we have a good vibe going.
If you are looking for a full-on Vietnamese experience I recommend starting your experience with APAX in a small city for a few reasons:
1. You get to know Vietnam and how it runs from the local point of view. This comes along with experiencing being one of ten "tays" in your city so this puts you in a position to stand out quite a bit. This also gives you a chance to make Vietnamese friends more easily and to visit their homes. You also become somewhat of a "celebrity" in your town.
2. A bonus for living in a small city after 1 year: equivalent of $2,500/person.
3. A bonus given if you work 4 and 8 months (only if you are to end your contract after 4 months or 8 months).
4. Housing support from Vietnamese staff in city
If you do a year in a small city then you can easily transfer to a bigger city.
That being said, any time you do in a small city is helpful for the company so if you decide it is not for you, then they can transfer you to another city/bigger city if you want.
APAX made moving abroad and securing a job super simple. This program is especially great for someone who is moving abroad for the first time since they'll take care of all your documents and legalities for you. I've really enjoyed my time with them and think you will too!