Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Q&A with Jason Petrasanta

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What is your citizenship?
United States

What city and state are you from?
Philadelphia, PA

How old are you?

What is your education level and background?
Master's degree or Higher

Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
61 countries but Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Colombia, Mexico, Ukraine, Albania, and Estonia are amongst my favorites.

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I actually went to Vietnam and fell in love with the country, and I have a passion for teaching. When I found the love of my life in Vietnam, I thought it was the perfect fit it also gives me the flexibility to travel and live a very relaxed lifestyle, unlike the US.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
My biggest concern was whether I would make enough money to survive and would I be effective as a teacher. I also worried about domestic issues such as what am I going to do with my house and my car.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
They think I am crazy, but they pretend that they are happy for me.

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
International TEFL Academy had a great reputation and a very detailed program. I chose it because I saw many good reviews, and I had a really good feeling about the school

Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course.

How did you like the course?
I thought the course was very detailed and made me think a different way about teaching the task. It kept me on my toes, and my instructor gave good detailed feedback. But I have to say I learned more doing the practicum (live practice teaching) than anything else.

Teach English in Vietnam TEFL

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
It gave me some great talking points for my interviews.

Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I chose to teach English in Vietnam in the city of Ho Chi Minh. As I mentioned earlier, my girlfriend lives there, and I could have a very affordable lifestyle which would allow me to follow my passion of traveling. It's the best of both worlds. You get the amount you would get in a first world country, but the prices of a Third World.  Also, I have to mention the food is phenomenal.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I just signed up for a one year contract, but I plan on staying there as long as the country will have me.    

During which months does your school typically hire?
May. Slowest time is during Tet (Vietnamese New Year) usually in January or February.
How did you interview for this position?
Skype/phone interview

What kind of Visa did you enter on?
Work visa

Please explain the visa process that you went through.
The visa process is I apply for a business visa, and then the company will take care of the work visa.

What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
- Bachelor's degree
- TEFL Certification
- Native English speaker

What is the best way to apply?

Please include any application resources (website, email, etc.) or other information here:
Expat.com and Dave's ESL Cafe are good places to start.

Tell us about your English teaching job!
I am working 80 hours a month and I am paid US$1700. I receive about 12 days paid vacation plus another 20 for holiday vacation. I am working with a groups of student adults etc.

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I am moving into a brand new development, and my only roommate is a dog I brought from the states. I found this through a bunch of research, but there is plenty available through the ex-pat website.

TEFL Vietnam

On a scale of 1 - 10 please rate your experience with this school.

Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...    
It is probably the cheapest and best nightlife in the world. The food is amazing. It's easy to go on dates. Having Ho Chi Minh City airport close by means very cheap travel to Southeast Asia and Uber is super cheap. Unfortunately there is really bad gridlock until the new metro system is built, supposedly in 2020.

What are your monthly expenses?
My monthly expenses are on the high-end because I'm living basically in a five-star luxury resort, but I'm spending about $1000 total. You could easily do that for less than half, but I wanted a pool, gym, etc.

In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
I would say $1000.

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