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Vietnam and Beyond

Vinh City - First Impression and Experience

VIETNAM | Wednesday, 23 October 2013 | Views [1107]

trying my first pho ga (chicken noodle soup)

trying my first pho ga (chicken noodle soup)

Vinh is not as small as I thought. Didn't see much that night when I arrived, but saw enough to judge it's not a village. Tien, the Director of the Language Dpt of Vinh University, picked me up and dropped me off at my allocated apartment which is held for teachers of ASEM language school. As my contract with the Uni is not signed yet, legally I am not allowed to live on campus. Well, we were stuck in front of a locked apartment with no key and someone from ASEM had to contact one of the teachers who was staying here. He finally arrived and I could take over his room as he had finished working for the school. He works as a volunteer once a year for 2 months, has been living in Vietnam for 6. Quite a character, tall, skinny, long silver hair in a pony tail, originally from the US.

Mhm, I was in for a bit of a shock. The place, especially the bathroom, dirty as, Didn't want to touch the tap of the basin. So, I spent my first hour cleaning in order to be able to wash myself later. The whole place needs a good srub and paintjob, but I just have to make the best of the situation. At least I managed to find 2 clean sheets and a couple of blankets as sleeping on a bare matress is not my thing. 

The next day I wiped the kitchen bench and swept the floor, so, after 6 weeks cleaning my own house I know my standards - but that is a different one here altogether.

Sunday morning I spent walking around the area. Sunday afternoon I got picked up as I was invited to celebrate woman's day with University staff at a restaurant for dinner and Karaoke afterwards. Another late night. But I enjoyed myself and had good fun talking to the teachers. Some are multi-lingual and speak also French or Russion apart from Vietnamese and English. There is currently only one foreign teacher, a young American, who's volunteering.

Monday I had my meeting with Uni management. Aparently, I am the first foreign teacher to teach English at the Unviversity who gets paid. Quite an honour. So far they only had volunteers. All other teachers are Vietnamese. I am supposed to teach staff and students. Demand to teach raised to 18hrs instead of 15 for same money and they wanted to deduct tax until I explained that I had been promised the amount tax free. They seem to be on the tight side as a government institution.

All looked good, I was told to expect a draft of a contract today. Instead I received a text from the School that Uni changed their mind. They found out that it would be difficult to arrange a work permit for me as I am German and do not hold a passport of an English speaking country. So, all was in limbo. Now the situation is that I will have to work just 6 hours for uni (to reduce ASEM's cost as they will have to pay for bribery to get my work permit) and 14 for the school - all under the school's contract. 5hrs more, 3 venues to teach (as ASEM has 2) and for the same money as originally set out. Well, I am not a quitter, want to see how it goes. If they can manage to get a work permit, so can other schools, so want to see this through. Contract will be for 3 months, then it's 2 weeks holidays anyway. They either extend and I stay if I want or I go and travel. Will see. One step at a time. Wish it was summer though, going into winter here up north knowing it's getting nice in NZ makes it less attractive. Well, in January I might travel south, it'll be warmer there. Whatever happens, happens.

At least I have a bike now and can get around faster.

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