Program Spotlight: Teach in Vietnam Internship Alumni

If you’re considering teaching abroad in Vietnam, especially through a structured internship like the Bridge Teach in Vietnam Program, hearing firsthand accounts from alumni who’ve “been there” is key! Past program participants Orla, Derrick, and John shared a bit about their experience in Vietnam to help you get an inside perspective on the program.

Teach in Vietnam Program at a Glance:

What: Teach young learners and/or adults in Vietnam
Where: One of several cities throughout Vietnam (Hanoi, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, and more)
Duration: 1 teaching semester (approx. 5 months)
Requirements: Native English speaker, ages 20-35 with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline
Alumni Feedback:

Orla, what have you enjoyed most about being in Vietnam?

What I’ve enjoyed most about Vietnam is getting to experience a whole new, different culture, while living like a local.

How has your experience been different from that of a backpacker or tourist?

The experience has been a lot different to that of a tourist/backpacker. I had a structure to my daily life by having a school timetable, stable living conditions etc. I got to know the local businesses (shops, restaurants, bia hoi, etc.) and the neighbours. I built relationships with my fellow interns, Vietnamese Teachers and the school children, memories that will last a lifetime. I also joined the Ladies Gaelic football team in Hanoi and I got to travel with them to Danang and Bangkok to play a football tournament. I shared so many experiences with my fellow interns through my working and social life. We really got down and dirty with the true Vietnam experience by living in such a fantastic spot over a longer period of time. It gave a true insight into the daily life of a Vietnamese person.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened to you?

The most memorable thing that has happened to me is growing as a person. I managed to take the positive from any obstacle that came my way. I feel very grateful to have had this amazing experience.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching?

What I’ve enjoyed most about teaching was seeing the young children being so pleased with themselves and smiling from ear to ear when they mastered new words/sentence structures.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of your stay?

The most challenging aspect of my stay has been adjusting to the chaotic way of city-life that is Hanoi. In saying that, it wouldn’t have been the same experience without its many quirks, old-school charm and hustle and bustle.

What do you plan to do next?

My next plan of action is to travel South East Asia with some friends I have made on the internship.

Derrick, what have you enjoyed most about being in Vietnam?

Meeting new people in Vietnam, they are always friendly. Also, the food is very good.

How has your experience been different from that of a backpacker or tourist?

I think that I got to experience more of the local things that most tourists and backpackers don’t always find the time for.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened to you?

I will always remember the kids, the smiles on their faces when they saw me.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching?

Being able to see new places and new experiences and at the same time being able to make a difference in some of the students’ lives.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of your stay?

Not being able to understand what the local people say to me.

What do you plan to do next?

I’m going to Thailand to teach English.

John, what have you enjoyed most about being in Vietnam?

I have enjoyed being part of a group all going through the same experiences. We have shared the laughs, bad times and everything in between. I have made some friends for life through this internship. The Vietnamese people are extremely friendly and welcoming. An improvement in weather over Ireland is also a plus LOL.

How has your experience been different from that of a backpacker or tourist?

Having been to Vietnam previously as a backpacker I had some previous knowledge. However, by living here I have discovered more about the Vietnamese culture and the people. Different cultures are interesting to me and I am of the opinion that in order to understand a culture better you must immerse yourself in it. I am most definitely a fan of Vietnamese culture.

What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened to you?

The most memorable thing I think is the very first class and how my nerves disappeared away almost instantly as soon as I entered the room. The children stood up and very enthusiastically greeted me “Hello Teacher”. Previous to that I had been so nervous, barely able to eat. it was amazing for the teacher in me to come out of its shell.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching?

The children are definitely the most enjoyable part of teaching. Of course, not all classes are full of angels but when a lesson plans comes together, the kids learn and they and I have fun, then it is extremely satisfying.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of your stay?

The early starts and the very long break have been a bit of a challenge those are very much a personal taste.

What do you plan to do next?

Next I’m going to Cambodia for 10 days as it was a country I missed out on the last time I traveled in South East Asia. Following this, I head to London to visit a friend and then to my home in Ireland for a few days. After this I leave to go to Colombia to teach on in a government-sponsored teaching program.

Visit our site if you would like to learn more about the Teach in Vietnam Program or other ways Bridge can help you get a teaching job abroad!