Teach in Vietnam: Perry’s Story

After one month teaching in Vietnam, Perry’s picking up a new way of life! Learn more about his experience on the API Teach program.


1am struck. I made it. Finally arriving in Vinh, I was tired and sweaty yet surprisingly happy. And I had every right to be. I landed in my new city for the next year. I was excited to experience what Vinh has to offer. All I needed was a hot shower and good nights rest first. Unfortunately, I only got one of the two. 

Waking up at 9am the next day for orientation, I was exhausted but excited to explore my new city. After orientation, a few of the other foreign teachers showed me around and I learned how to ride a bike in Vietnam. You’d think it would be the same… but the rules of the road are “a bit” different here. Here’s a quick breakdown. There are no rules and don’t get hit.

If this sounds scary, you’re correct – it is. Drivers here know the exact size of their car and how fast they can go to not hit anyone. Incorporate that with motorbikes weaving in and out of roads and you have traffic in Vietnam. It’s the definition of wild.  But I do have to say, I’m getting it down and it’s been just a month.

And in this month, I have learned a lot about the city and the country.  For one, Vietnam itself is hot and humid. The weather forecast may say 85 degrees, but the humidity is anywhere from 50-90% making it “feel like” 100+ degrees. Because of this, I am sweating constantly. Many of the teachers shower twice a day to be clean and sweat free.

Another interesting tidbit about the country is that because of the heat, almost all stores and shops will close at high noon (11am-1pm) to avoid the heat, eat lunch, and take a nap. Siesta exists in Vietnam! Who knew? It gets surprisingly quiet during this time too. Traffic is riddled with honking but what I love about Vinh is that at night, everyone goes home and the streets are quiet and peaceful.

Vinh compared to other cities is cheap. Wicked cheap. A bowl of pho in America can run you anywhere from $8-10. Here it costs D25,000 ($1.10). Most meals eating out won’t cost more than D70,000 ($3.10) and that’s a fancy dinner. The majority of foreign teachers will opt to eat out rather than cook because its so inexpensive and theres no clean up. On top of that, going to the grocery store and cooking cost as much if not more to cook.

Of course there are things that I miss back in America. Low humidity weather. Craft Beer. And of course, food. There are no tortillas to be found here! I miss tacos…

It’s a lot of new but I am adjusting and enjoying the time I have here.

API’s Teach in Vietnam program accepts applications on a rolling basis. Please contact your Program Coordinator, Octavia ([email protected]) with any questions.

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