By: Jane Smith
I’m currently living in Da Nang, Vietnam. Thanks to International TEFL Academy’s Online TEFL course, I’m a TEFL certified teacher and easily found a great job! In Da Nang, most teaching jobs are at centers that teach outside of regular school hours. I work Wednesday through Sunday on weeknights and all day on the weekends. In my work contract, I have to work 35 hours per week, which includes 18 teaching hours. When I’m not teaching, I have to spend 17 hours in the office, which includes lesson planning, meetings, greeting students before class, and meeting with parents. Luckily, I get to choose when to do my office hours, and I can sort of make my own schedule, outside of my scheduled classes. Even though my weekends are long and tiring, I love working weeknights Wednesday through Friday, because I get to enjoy Da Nang during the day. It’s winter now and when it’s not raining; it’s very beautiful! I’m grateful for this beautiful weather because the summers are incredibly hot. It’s especially hot since I drive a motorbike and air conditioning is not common in restaurants and shopping places.
My Mornings in Da Nang
On weekdays when I have to work, I usually wake up around 9am. I love my sleep, and I go to bed around midnight since I work until 9pm on weeknights. Being vegan and allergic to gluten, it’s pretty difficult for me to eat out at restaurants in Da Nang, so I cook a lot at home. In the morning, I always put on rice and veggies to cook in my rice cooker -- such an awesome kitchen appliance! I live very close to the beach and love to take morning walks on the beach. When it’s not raining (it’s been raining a lot lately because it’s rainy season), I’ll go for a walk on the beach in the morning. It’s so beautiful to take in the nature. From the beach I can see Son Tra Mountain. I have to pinch myself that I get to live so close to such natural beauty.
Going to the market
Depending on the day, I will go to the market in the morning to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. In Da Nang, the lunch time is from 12pm – 2pm, and the markets and other businesses shut down during that time. I always have to get to the market before 11:30am before they close down. It’s so different here than what I’m used to in the USA. When I first moved here, I initially shopped at the small mini marts (there aren’t very many) for groceries. Once I started shopping at the fresh open markets, I realized that the markets are the cheapest places to get groceries and anything else you need, including soap, brooms, kitchen utensils and plates, hangers, etc. Usually in America, the cheapest things are at the big supermarkets like Target and Walmart, but here the big supermarkets are more expensive.
A few times a week, I go into the city to get some produce and special items from the two organic shops in town. I love organic produce, so I supplement my market hauls with organic and healthy items from the organic shops. I’m so grateful that Da Nang has become more organic-friendly in the last eight months that I’ve been living here.
Once I’m done running errands and preparing food for the day, I like to relax and enjoy my free time before going to work around 3:30pm or 4pm. If it’s not raining, my fiancé and I will sometimes go for a walk on the beach or go to our favorite restaurant on the beach and play pool, sit in the sand, and drink fresh coconut water. Our apartment building has an awesome rooftop terrace with comfortable chairs, so I love to spend some quiet time up there journaling, reading, or just enjoying the peacefulness. I’m actually up here on the rooftop terrace right now writing this article and enjoying some beautiful weather. During the summer, I don’t spend as much time up here because it’s way too hot! We moved here in the summer and it was so hot that we didn’t really get out to do a lot before work like we do now. After experiencing rainy season and getting cabin fever from not being able to go on motorbike adventures on our days off or walk on the beach, we won’t let the heat discourage us from adventuring this summer.
My English Teaching Job in Da Nang
Now it’s time for work. The center I teach at is a nice 10 minute motorbike ride from my apartment. Sometimes I have meetings and have to go into work at 2pm, but usually I go into work around 4pm on weekdays. I lesson plan and do other necessary administrative tasks until 5pm and I set up my classroom and greet students. I teach two back to back classes starting at 5:30pm. At 9pm, I head home, eat dinner, and then relax until bedtime around midnight. Lately, I’ve been going up to the rooftop terrace after dinner to unwind and enjoy the fresh air. I really love the nice weather during this time of year!
On weekends, I work from 7:45am to 6pm. On Saturdays, I teach four 1.5 hour classes and on Sundays I teach three 1.5 classes. On the weekends, I usually stay at my center all day to work and bring my own lunch to eat there. I prefer to work longer on the weekends, so I have shorter work days during the week. On Sundays, I get to take a nap at my center. As I said before, the naptime in Vietnam is from 12pm to 2pm generally, so I take advantage of that break time to take a nap on one of the couches at work. On Saturdays, I’m usually a little too busy to get in a nap.
After work on Saturdays, I’m usually pretty exhausted from teaching four classes, so I just go home, eat, watch TV or a movie, and try to go to bed early to get good rest for the next day. Same usually goes for Sunday nights, but sometimes my fiancé and I will go out to dinner, go bowling with friends, or hang out at a bar with friends.
Monday and Tuesday are my weekend. My fiancé and I love to take motorbike adventures outside of the city, when it’s not raining. Exploring the beautiful areas surrounding Da Nang is the best part about living here! We also enjoying hanging out on the beach and spending time with the friends we’ve met here.
Jane Smith is 26 from Austin, Texas, with a BBA in finance from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Before moving to Vietnam with her fiancé to teach English, she held various jobs (actuarial consulting, nonprofit, human resources, recruiting) for 2.5 years in Chicago and Austin. Check out her blog here: http://janeandbrandon.weebly.com/