Useful Stuff


We've gathered loads of useful resources and fun articles for you to get to know Vietnam. Take a look at these articles, blogs and videos to see what life is like for an English teacher in Vietnam and to get ideas for your trip. Start your planning here!


Take a look at this blog by an English teacher in Vietnam, based in Ho Chi Minh City, with lots of posts documenting the ups and downs of her time in the country.


Teaching English in Vietnam: A Guide

The same blogger has put together a great article about the cost of living in Vietnam too. Check it out!

Cost of living in Vietnam


Other bits...

10 things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, written by a traveller


What it's like to teach in Vietnam


25 Tips for travelling in Vietnam


Mitigate culture shock with 4 tips for cultural immersion


10 Interesting facts about Vietnam...


...5 more interesting facts about Vietnam!


Must try Vietnamese Drinks

Country Profile

General

Vietnam is the Eastern most country on the Indochina peninsula in south-east Asia. It shares borders with China, to the North, and Cambodia and Laos to the West. The capital city is Hanoi.

The culture of Vietnam is one of the oldest in Southeast Asia. Due to 1000 years of Chinese rule, Vietnam was heavily influenced by Chinese culture in terms of politics, government, Confucian social and moral ethics, and art. Following independence from China in the 10th century Vietnam began its territorial growth into the country that we see today. Characteristics of Vietnamese culture include respect for community and family values, handicrafts and manual labour, and devotion to study. Important symbols present in Vietnamese culture include dragons, turtles, lotuses and bamboo.

There is also a large French influence in Vietnam, in all forms of culture from architecture to food. French colonization, which began with missionaries arriving in the 18th century and not ending until 1954. Clearly it had a lasting effect on the country, the people, the architecture, the land, and the flavors. French is a minority language spoken in the country.

People

Vietnam's people are a special mix of cultures, languages and historical backgrounds. The one common denominator amongst them is that, as in most Southeast Asian countries, they love to smile and are genuinely interested in foreign visitors.

Buddhism is the largest established religion, however Vietnam has a rich and wide variety of religions based on imported faiths and popular beliefs.

The most appropriate manner of greeting is a gentle handshake and a smile!

Language

Vietnamese originated in the north of Vietnam and is the national and official language of the country. It is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. Vietnamese has also been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.

Currency

Currency used in the country is called Vietnamese Dong. It was introduced in 1978 and £1 is worth over 32000 dong. Due to the highly inflated currency one must be careful when paying with a 50,000 note just incase you pass over a 500,000 instead - that’s a lot of money for a street vendor so there’s no guarantee that they will inform you of your mistake!

Cuisine

Despite the varied landscape of Vietnam, all of the cuisine contains this brilliant balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness. As with other Asian cuisines, it's all about the yin and yang; the sweet and the salty, the cooling and the warming, the fresh and the fermented.

The food of the north is heavily influenced by China with its stir-fries and noodle-based soups. As you move south, there's more flavor-blending with nearby Thailand and Cambodia. The tropical climate down south also sustains more rice paddies, coconut groves, jackfruit trees, and herb gardens. The food in southern Vietnam is typically sweeter.

Vietnam is the second largest rice exporter in the world and so, unsurprisingly, rice is everywhere - breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert! The Vietnamese also have a taste for fish sauce which is used in most cooking and in condiments.

Western food is available in the country, although it’s more expensive than local food and probably half as good. Major fast food chains are present in major cities in case of a burger emergency!

Weather

There is not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as during most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities. Welcome to a country with 2000 + miles of coastline and three different weather systems.

North (Hanoi and far north)

Distinct summer and winter seasons. Winter is dry and mild, lasting from November to April. The summer months are hot and humid with July to September the wettest months.

Central (Hoi An, Hue & Danang)

The centre of Vietnam has hot and dry weather from mid-January to late August, with temperatures often reaching the mid-30's °C. During the winter months the rainfall increases with October and November achieving peak levels, occasionally in the form of typhoons.

South (Ho Chi Minh City and The Mekong Delta)

With temperatures remaining constant year round the climate of the south is split into two simple seasons, wet and dry. The dry season begins in November and ends in April/early May with late February to May being slightly hotter and with higher humidity. The wet season lasts from May to early November with the months from June to August receiving the highest rainfall of the year. The average temperatures in the south range between 25 - 35°C year round.



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