Settling In Vietnam
Unless you are already a master of the Vietnamese language then you will come across many language barriers with the local people. Basic English is spoken by some, but by combining a few phrases and using a bit of confidence you can usually get around and find what you need. A good sense of humour is particularly helpful when communicating and is also handy for negotiating better prices.
It is a good idea to take classes though, as it is often very hard to structure sentences properly and accurately pronounce words without professional tuition. Besides that, you will get a lot more out of your Vietnam experience by picking up phrases and absorbing the culture.
If you did not know already, the official currency for Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). The exchange rate between the US Dollar and Dong is fairly stable at around 21000 VND to $1.
If you’re bringing money over, then it is best to bring dollars and exchange them at banks upon your arrival. Our advice is to get new notes and keep them as flat and crisp as possible to ensure that they are accepted over here. Torn, old looking and faded notes are often not accepted as they are worth less than their total value in many places across South East Asia.
3) Vietnam Housing
Housing in Vietnam provides teachers with various options, which suit people of different ages or who plan to stay in Vietnam for different lengths of time. Some teachers, particularly those who are on short term contracts, choose to live in a guest house or hotel. As these range from budget to luxury, it can be easy to set up and removes any hassle involved with contracts.
As Apollo Teaching Centres are based in large cities, city flats are always an option. Rent will vary depending on the size and location of the flat and can be negotiated, particularly if you are intending to stay for longer periods of time. Most contracts last for one year and apartments can be single or shared. Vietnam housing is also available for rent and many expats move to areas just outside the city centre.
Before or upon your arrival, your local Apollo team can advise you and put you in contact with good guest houses, hotels and landlords so you can effectively prepare in moving to a new place, region or country.
4) Vietnam Transport
For newcomers, Vietnam transport in some places may take you by surprise. For example, in Ho Chi Minh City there are over 7 million residents and over 4 million motorbikes on the roads. Both of these numbers are growing. In the smaller cities, such as Da Nang, the traffic is not quite so heavy.
Crossing the road is an interesting experience for many in Vietnam. For those who are less confident, it is a good idea to watch the locals first and follow their lead.
Getting across town is not too expensive by Xe-Om, literally translating to ‘Hug Vehicle’, which is a motorbike taxi. Many are often found on street corners and do not be surprised if they are calling you over to ask where you are going. The number of taxis has also grown dramatically over the last few years and there are many established chains that are recognisable throughout the city.
Many staff own or rent their own motorbikes, and this is a good independent way of getting around, once you are used to how the traffic flows. Licenses can be obtained locally and your local Apollo centre will be able to help you