Connor and Saskia St Giles CELTA Graduates
Teacher Training June 4, 2024 by

St Giles

Teaching in Vietnam – CELTA Experience

Connor and Saskia share their experience working in Vietnam after taking a CELTA course in St Giles Brighton in 2023.

When and where did you take the CELTA at St Giles?

“We did our CELTA in June 2023 at St Giles Brighton. Neither of us had ever taught before so we were feeling nervous about our first teaching practice. The teachers were very supportive and gave us all the tools we needed to build our confidence in the classroom. The course gave us the essential skills that we have continued to use in our current jobs.”

What did you do after the course?

“After we completed the course we started working at St Giles up until we moved to Vietnam. While the course was challenging at times, we found the overall experience invaluable as it prepared us to work in the industry.”

Hanoi, Vietnam - Connor and Saskia.

Which part of Vietnam are you working in?

“We work in Hanoi, in the North of Vietnam. It’s the capital and second largest city after Ho Chi Minh. These are the most popular locations for English teaching and have the most opportunities. Hanoi has a much cooler climate than Ho Chi Minh, it’s surrounded by some beautiful mountainous regions and it’s possible to visit some national parks within a two-hour drive.”

Can you tell us more about Hanoi?

“We really enjoy travelling around these areas on our days off and it was a huge factor in choosing to live in Hanoi. You are also 6 hours from Sa Pa which has some of the most picturesque landscapes in Vietnam. Hanoi is incredibly busy, which suits us, as we love discovering new places and trying all the delicious food on offer. The living costs in Hanoi are slightly cheaper than in Ho Chi Minh, but the teaching salary should allow you to live comfortably in either city.”

What kind of school are you working in?

“We are both working at a private language centre which predominantly focuses on IELTS preparation. Most of the classes we teach are IELTS prep classes, however, they offer other classes at the centre, such as academic English, business English and young learner classes.””We are both working at a private language centre which predominantly focuses on IELTS preparation. Most of the classes we teach are IELTS prep classes, however, they offer other classes at the centre, such as academic English, business English and young learner classes.”

What are your classes like?

I (Connor) teach an academic English course which prepares students to study in an English-speaking university, and Saskia teaches one of the young learner courses. The class sizes vary from 3 to 12 students per class with a range of age groups from 16 upwards.”

Connor and Saskia St Giles Graduates in Hanoi, Vietnam - looking for job

Was it difficult to find a job?

“We decided to apply for jobs once we were in the country. Most of the opportunities for teaching adults are in IELTS preparation language schools, it’s very rare to come across General English courses. If you want to teach kids there are even more opportunities in public schools or with language centres that have links to public schools.

All of the jobs we looked at required a CELTA or equivalent and a degree. These certificates all need to be legalised in the UK before coming to Vietnam as they are essential for processing your work permit. We didn’t know this so getting our work permit took much longer. We applied for around 4 job posts and were offered two interviews within the same week.”

What was the interview process like?

“The interview process is likely similar to any English teaching job. They asked us about the following: an example of both a successful grammar and receptive skills lesson we had taught, why we wanted to work for the school and in Vietnam generally, teaching approaches, classroom management and how we would respond in certain classroom situations.”

Do you have any tips for applying?

There are a few different ways of applying for jobs here. We contacted our centre directly and asked if they had any job openings. The centre had been recommended to us so we knew that it was reputable. You can also find job adverts on Facebook groups dedicated to teaching English in Hanoi.

It’s worth noting that not all centres advertise jobs through these platforms so you may need to check on their website or email their recruitment team directly to enquire about openings. If you’re planning on applying from the UK there is a website called Vietnam Teaching Jobs that lists job ads from across the country, these companies often provide accommodation, flight expenses and visa support.

Again, there is a Facebook group dedicated to English teachers giving good and bad feedback for schools and centres across the city.”

What’s life like as an English teacher in Vietnam?

“Overall, moving to Hanoi has been quite an easy process. There are a lot of English teachers living here and many opportunities to meet new people.

Accommodation prices are affordable for a teacher and it is very easy to find an apartment quickly. If you enjoy eating local food, this is also cheap.

We are currently learning Vietnamese and there are a number of classes for expats around the city. These classes have helped us as teachers, by giving us an insight into our students’ native language, and also allowed us to feel more settled in the country.”

St Giles Brighton CELTA

CELTA at St Giles International

Become like Connor and Saskia and experience life teaching English in a foreign country with a St Giles CELTA certification.

Become CELTA qualified at our Brighton or London schools in as little as four weeks! Click here to learn more about the Cambridge CELTA. Or, learn more about the graduate experience through our TEFL training testimonials.

CELTA Entry Requirements:

  • Candidates must be at least 18 years old.  
  • Previous teaching experience or knowledge isn’t required, but you are expected to have a university degree or a standard of education equivalent to what is required to enter a university. 
  • Non-first language speakers of English are welcome if they have a high level of competence in English: at least C1 on the CEFR and, preferably, C2. Good language awareness is also essential. 
  • You will be asked to complete a pre-interview task to test your awareness of the English language. Successful completion of this task will grant you an interview where your suitability for the course will be assessed.