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About stephen_wright

What am I doing?

    In July of 2008 I graduated from the University of Sussex with a BA in Psychology with Film Studies. Having been in full time education since the age of six I decided it was high time to take a break and went about searching for something I could do. The idea of travelling always appealed to me; however, slaving away at a dead end job to fund travels didn’t. 

    Eventually I stumbled upon teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) and decided this would be my best best. So after a little research and more then a few visits to CDEC (the University careers advice) I enrolled myself on a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language). 

    In September 2008, having said goodbye to my student town of Brighton, I moved home to Abingdon, just outside Oxford, where I started the course.....four weeks later and I was a qualified EFL teacher (it wasn’t as easy as those five dots suggest).

    I found ILA Vietnam when on my CELTA course and sent off an email of application. Before you know it I had a phone interview and ten nerve-wracking days later I got an offer to teach English to Young Learners (under 18s) in Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon).

    ILA Vietnam is a foreign owned company with language schools all over Vietnam including five schools in Ho Chi Minh City. Because they are such a big company they have lots of English teachers like myself who come from all over the world. For the next nine months I will be living and teaching in Vietnam; through this website I hope to make a record of my time here both for myself and for anyone else who’s interested or thinking about doing something similar.


“Few countries have changed so much over such a short time as Vietnam. It is a country on the move: access is now easier than ever, roads are being upgraded, hotels are springing up and Vietnam’s raucous entrepreneurial sprit is one again alive and well as the old-style Communist system gives way to a socialist market economy” 

The Rough Guide, 2006

 In trying to decide where I wanted to work, I drew up a list of what it was I was looking for in a destination. I knew I wanted to live in a big city preferably at the heart of a country. I wanted somewhere completely different to anywhere that I had lived before, somewhere that I would force me to adapt and learn. Yet, I also wanted somewhere that was metropolitan enough so that other young ex-pats would be abundant. 

    When reading back these criteria the first place that sprung to mind was Hong Kong. With its reputation as a city where East meets West its seemed like that perfect place to launch my EFL career. But it was not to be, the language school that I looked at didn’t provide enough support for first time teacher which I felt necessary if I was to do my job properly. 

    After seeing an advert for teaching positions with ILA I turned my attention to Vietnam. Having read up on the country (wikipedia, obviously) it seemed to fit my criteria. In addition, a few of my friends had recently been travelling in and around the country and were able to advise me. 

My Travel Map:

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