I asked one of our teachers to list the top reasons to live in Vietnam–and this is what she said.
1. The Vietnamese. The Vietnamese are the most wonderfully caring people. A nation who have persevered through the worst and come out the other end welcoming and full of smiles despite their hardship. They have a good sense of humour which is why they say we Irish get on so well with them.
2. Food! As delicious as it is cheap. If you like the idea of going out and paying a dollar for your dinner without the hassle of preparing anything or cleaning up after, then this is the place to be. Sit on the streets of Hanoi for some delicious Pho, admire the lanterns in Hoi An with some Cao lầu or simply just grab a bánh mi with friends.
3. City parks: You may be used to seeing the odd runner or cyclist going through your local park but here you are in for a surprise. In the very early mornings you will find groups of Vietnamese men and women doing all sorts of yoga and aerobic exercises to the sound of music–Feel free to join in and be part of the cultural experience.
4. Stunning landscapes. In terms of landscape Vietnam is incredibly diverse. Natural scenery includes the towering limestone islands of Halong bay, the phenomenal highland roads of Ha Giang, the beautiful beaches of Phu Quoc island and the vast sand dunes of Mui Ne in the south.
5. Beer. 20 cent for a Bia hơi (fresh beer) in the north and 50 cent for a beer in the south…. I’ll leave it at that.
6. Bikes, bikes, bikes! It may not be your cup of tea, but driving a motorbike or even a moped in Vietnam had been the most liberating experience for me. And no licence needed. Vietnam has some of the best roads in South East Asia and it’s amazing to take your bike into the beautiful countryside at any occasion.
7. The chance to make a difference. In a country where tourism is a major economical player, the ability to speak English gives people an incredible start in life. And you can be part of that. There are also so many wonderful NGO’s (Non–Government organisations) and local charities that you have the chance to be part of during your stay in Vietnam. Educate street kids, care for orphans and help with victims of Agent Orange. Vietnam needs your help.
8. Free time. Teaching English usually consists of around twenty-five classroom hours per week. That means the rest of the time you are free to do as you please. Take up yoga, play an instrument, read that series you’ve never had time to get through. Do exactly as you damn well please 🙂