About Me

I’m what my Dad calls a ‘wee Irish Colleen’ – in reality, I’m an English (50% Irish blood) Graduate who lives and works in HCMC, Vietnam.

Teaching at a local language centre has proved to be a rather hilarious experience and so I’m documenting my time here on WordPress with the hope of raising a few giggles.

(**I’ve actually now returned to the UK, but the purpose of my blog shall remain the same …**)

Those who know me would probably use just one word to describe me: ‘Northern’. I am the Northern English stereotype. I continue to trust that this is a compliment until someone tells me otherwise …

Find me on Twitter: Kerril29

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59 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. worldhug
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 21:05:17

    Hey there. . .thanks for checking out my blog. Keep having fun in Vietnam. . .one of my favorite countries in the world. Visit Hanoi if you can–this is one of my favorite cities in the world. . .much more interesting and ‘Vietnamese’ than HCMC. And, fyi, dog has been eaten in Vietnam for a long time. . .it’s not really “on the rise”–it just ‘is.’ Only eaten near the end of the month for virility and good luck. Xin chao. . .chao em. . .all the best. Xin cam on. . .

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Jul 25, 2013 @ 21:37:18

      No problem, thanks for checking out my blog too! I’ve been to Hanoi 4 times already – love it up there, definitely a different vibe to HCMC. I’m a true city girl though so will always prefer HCMC. Although, in saying that, Hoi An is my favourite place in the whole world, so beautiful! Thanks for your comment re dog eating, although I just reblogged the video because I was shocked at the video content – when things affect me in this way, I feel the need to spread the word! It’s a good way of showing my friends and family back home the new cultures that I’m experiencing 🙂

      Reply

  2. Mike Lince
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 14:24:04

    My wife and I plan to visit SE Asia next year, so I am interested in learning from your experience before we go. We expect to base a 6 month visit in Thailand and experience as much as we can of the region while we are there. Neither of us has ever visited Asia, and we love new experiences of which this will certainly be one.
    Thank you for visiting my blog. I look forward to more posts from you. – Mike

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 16:06:55

      I have no doubt that you and your wife will have a fabulous time in SE Asia – it is nothing like I have ever experienced before! Thanks for your comment, I hope my updates will be of some use to you 🙂

      Reply

  3. AA
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 12:52:05

    Gosh we could have met when I was there in Saigon few weeks ago. It would have been nice. Prolly next time. Take care & stay safe !

    Reply

  4. Expat Eye
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 13:43:52

    Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog – from one wee Irish colleen to another 😉 Linda.

    Reply

  5. From Casinos to Castles
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 12:33:05

    Hi! Thanks for the follow! I can’t imagine living and working in Vietnam. Can’t wait to read more!

    Reply

  6. emilysford
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 20:58:38

    Hey, just been having a read of your blog and its so funny, keep it up! We are hoping to teach in Vietnam soon, hopefully in Danang but if we can’t find anything suitable we’ll be back down to HCMC, any top tips for finding work? We are not too sure where to start! 🙂

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Aug 18, 2013 @ 21:11:18

      Hi! Thanks so much for your lovely comment 🙂 That’s fantastic that you’re looking to teach out here, and Danang is just so beautiful! I don’t really have any top tips, but I can say that you won’t struggle in finding any work – English teachers are so in demand out here. I’m not sure about schools in Danang, but I know many teachers that start out, in HCMC, in the language centre ‘VUS’ (they offer loads of perks and a comparatively high salary). Feel free to get in touch again if you do move down to HCMC – I’ll happily put a good word in to my school ‘CEFALT’ for you. Good luck, and do let me know how you get on 🙂

      Reply

      • emilysford
        Aug 18, 2013 @ 21:14:36

        Fantastic, its good to hear that teachers are in demand first hand from someone already working here because you just don’t know! 2 weeks left of exploring the country and then the job hunt begins, I’ll definitely be in touch if we come back to HCMC!

      • kerril29
        Aug 18, 2013 @ 22:11:16

        Enjoy your time travelling, it is such a gorgeous country – and make the most of it before you get bogged down with lesson plans haha!

  7. meticulousmick
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 21:19:51

    Kerri, thanks so much for the follow, really, really appreciated. It is a good while since you clicked to follow my blog but have been away on holiday since. Ironically in that time I have put up a couple of posts on Vietnam. Not been to HCMC yet, so many places to go in the world. Will have to take a fuller look at your blog. Many thanks and enjoy 🍀

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Aug 18, 2013 @ 22:06:49

      That’s no problem at all and thanks for taking the time to comment! I’ve just had a look at your most recent post on the people in the North of Vietnam and particularly like your photos – the young girl is so beautiful! Look forward to reading more from you 🙂

      Reply

  8. Tom
    Sep 06, 2013 @ 09:05:08

    Hi Kerri,

    Just happened to stumble upon your blog because you liked the article “How Vietnam became Vietnam”. I’m jealous to read of your adventure. I’m Vietnamese, raised in the states (but read/speak/write Vietnamese well), and have been back once in 2010. It was fun and I wish I could do what you’re doing. I have some relatives in Vietnam so maybe I will get the chance to one of these experience what you experience. If there’s anything I can do to help to give back for the fun read you provided please let me know. Cheers, Tom

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Sep 06, 2013 @ 09:23:40

      Hi Tom!

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 I know so many Vietnamese-American’s out here in HCMC, many of them do the same thing as me! If you ever get the chance to do it, I highly recommend it! It’s so much fun! Where do your family live in Vietnam? I will be sure to pick your brains should I need any Vietnamese advice 🙂

      Reply

  9. Spocki
    Sep 07, 2013 @ 16:17:32

    Thanks for the visit & the like 🙂 Still based in Binh Duong Province, but I’m leaving Vietnam soonish.

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Sep 07, 2013 @ 16:21:26

      No problem – thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 I’ve still not managed to visit Bin Duong since moving out here, are you enjoying it there?

      Reply

      • Spocki
        Sep 07, 2013 @ 17:41:13

        It’s a bit of a two-edged sword, not much there really, but good for people who can keep themselves busy. If you fancy a tour, DM me @teacherkristina

  10. laurie27wsmith
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 02:47:00

    Thanks for dropping by my blog Kerri, looks like you’re having a good time in Vietnam. My experience was a little different. Good to see the weather hasn’t changed. 🙂
    Laurie.

    Reply

  11. Debra
    Sep 24, 2013 @ 04:57:51

    Hi Kerri,
    I have a friend who was just teaching in hcmc and he said Its easy to find a job w/bachelors, esl teaching in Japan and 8 years of substitute teaching. What are your thoughts on that? I was just going to get a tourist visa but just read an article that you now need your work visa before entering country as of 11/1/13. Is this the talk over there ? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated !!! I will take you to dinner when I arrive.
    Thanks!
    Debra

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:02:00

      As long as you have a bachelors degree – finding a teaching job is a piece of cake! Unfortunately, it’s true, the entry rules are changing as of November. When were you planning on arriving here? I imagine it should still be pretty easy to obtain a work visa before you enter the country though – have you checked with your local Vietnamese Embassy? They should be able to help you out.

      To save time, and a heck of a lot of effort, I’d get your Bachelor’s degree notarised by both a solicitor and your local Foreign Office (sorry, I don’t know the American equivalent!) and then send it to your local Vietnamese Embassy to have it authorised before you travel. This will make obtaining your work permit a lot quicker and easier when you arrive.

      I hope this helps but if you have any more questions, I’d be happy to help! 🙂

      Reply

  12. debra
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 07:55:01

    HI!
    Thanks for the tips! I was planning on teaching in Korea last year so already had my transcripts notorized, my fingerprinting done and sent to Washington D.C. for authentication. would that be enough? I will get ahold of the Vietnamese Embassy this week. I was thinking of staying in a hotel or equivalent for the first month to find a job and the perfect place for me to live. I see that D1,2,7 are expat locals and want to live in those areas. Any other areas you recommend? Also, do you know of a good hotel or equivalent where my things would be safe (no maid coming in every day) for my wandering time in the city?
    I really appreciate your help! Have a great day!
    Debra

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:29:17

      Oh yes, sounds like you have all the paperwork you need! I lived in D2 for a year, and to be honest, it wasn’t for me. It’s a 30min drive from the city centre – so it’s no good unless you find a job in D2. I found this area to be full of expat families, which is great if you have children but not so much if you’re on your lonesome like me! District 7 is equally as far out but many solo expats prefer it because it’s just so quite and much more modern. The rent out this way is really cheap too and the teaching jobs are plentiful there. It’s not the best location to live if you find a job in the city centre though as it really is quite the commute. I wouldn’t advise living in D1 just because it’s really expensive. D3 (where I live) and D5 are just on the outskirts of D1 and offer much better value places, at only a 10min drive into D1. Job wise, I’d first check with VUS to see if they have any vacancies – their salaries and benefits are the best in HCMC. My school (CEFALT) is also recruiting, but the salary is considerably lower. Depending on your budget, there are hundreds of hotels to choose from in D1 – check out http://tripadvisor.com – I can’t really recommend an individual one as there are just too many to choose from! The best of luck to you 🙂

      Reply

  13. dmetras
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 10:15:37

    Thank you so much ! you have answered some VERY important questions for me.
    I hope we can meet so I can thank you properly!!
    debra

    Reply

  14. petitela
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 21:52:18

    Thanks for reading my article! Maybe we can meet and enjoy some street foods! 🙂
    I love the way you feel about Ho Chi Minh city!

    Reply

  15. SarahL
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 13:42:07

    Hello Kerri! I just moved to HCMC and I saw a post from you about cross stitch kits on another page. I am about to finish one I brought from home and was looking to start a new one! I looked at the website you provided, but it was all in Vietnamese, and let’s just say my language skills are limited so far! I just wanted to pick your brain about where I might be able to get a new kit. I am also interested in teaching while over here, so if you have any info, that would be awesome! I live in D1 by the big pink church. Loving Vietnam! I liked your post about the food..spot on! Hope all is well! Excited to see what you post next 🙂

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Oct 17, 2013 @ 15:48:36

      Hello Sarah!

      Thanks for your comment! You can contact a lovely lady called Cathy via her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CathyCrossStitch?fref=ts (I hope that link works!) – she speaks amazing English and has so many different cross stitch sets, you can even design your own 🙂 I’m so glad you’re enjoying Vietnam so far.

      As for teaching, the best school to start with is probably VUS – they pay a very competitive salary and have some great benefits including health insurance and paying for your visa! You can also try my school, CEFALT – I love working there but the salary is considerably lower. Let me know if I can help you at all. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog 😀

      Reply

  16. Kate Ritchie
    Oct 19, 2013 @ 13:07:56

    Hi Kerri,

    I found your blog a few days ago and I’m really glad I did. I’ve learnt a lot already. Me and my boyfriend arrived in Ho Chi Minh about 2 and a half weeks ago. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride so far but hopefully things will settle down soon. I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog for new posts, hoping to learn lots more.

    Thanks,

    Kate

    (p.s. I’ve tried posting a few times but haven’t been able to find the posts on here, so if you suddenly receive 3 messages off me I’m sorry (the joys of technology).

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Oct 19, 2013 @ 13:40:39

      Hi Kate!

      So glad you have found my blog helpful! I was in your position 2 years ago, and it does take a little while to settle in. Are you planning on working out here?

      If you need any pointers or advice, please feel free to contact me!

      I hope you’ll grow to love HCMC as much as I do!

      🙂

      Reply

      • Kate Ritchie
        Oct 19, 2013 @ 21:02:42

        Thanks for your reply, Kerri. I started work here on Friday and have my first full week starting on Monday. I will be having a Xe om chauffer just like you, although I will be getting a bike asap or it’ll end up costing a fortune, as I have to go from home to school and back twice a day!!

        Any hints and tips for the beginner ESL teacher? I was a primary teacher back home so I do have some experience working with children, just zero experience working with children who don’t quite understand me yet. Although I am looking forward to the challenge.

      • kerril29
        Oct 20, 2013 @ 16:33:39

        To be honest, learning as you go seemed to work pretty well for me! I imagine, for your younger classes, you’ll have a TA who will help you with translating. But I actually find that the kids I teach can understand me no problem so long as I use lots of hand and body movements! Vietnamese kids are so eager to learn, I’m sure you’re experience alone will see you through! Failing that, always bring a ball to class for emergencies – it can make even the dullest of exercises entertaining for them! Good luck 🙂

  17. Jaya Chela Drolma
    Oct 19, 2013 @ 14:14:00

    Ha! I’m looking to coming to Vietnam to teach English too.. end of November. That’s IF I don’t get another contract in Abu Dhabi to teach film.. but hey… I’ll read you blog, and contact you if it looks like Vietnam is the go…. Love your blog BTW… fantastic! x JCD.

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Oct 19, 2013 @ 14:57:52

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and please do feel free to get in touch if you do end up coming to Vietnam! Really enjoyed browsing your blog too – there’s a lot of useful info on there that I hope to use myself 🙂

      Reply

      • Jaya Chela Drolma
        Oct 19, 2013 @ 15:08:35

        Yay! Happy to have a new found friend in you…… Glad you like the blog – worked on putting it together, all day today. I love the videos especially – Steve Martin is a hoot; and the My Fair Lady clip is a classic. You’ve already inspired me, with your cheery, caring blog; and I’m learning what to expect/not expect, in my coming to Vietnam (I spent 6 months in Taiwan some years back, teaching…. so Asia is not as daunting now…. Looking forward to reading further, your adventures/experiences. Cheers, Jaya

  18. Chris
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 17:57:18

    Looking forward to reading up on your Saigon lifestyle and Vietnamese experience in general! Not sure if you perused my blog much before, but you may have cottoned on that it is one of my favourite places!!

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Nov 03, 2013 @ 21:55:48

      Haha, I had cottoned on to that and I have to agree, Vietnam is one of my favourite places too! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment 🙂

      Reply

  19. daribaliku
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 19:20:05

    Thanks for giving me the orange star on my post, it brought me here. I’ve been once to Vietnam only in HCMC, didn’t really have much time to explore though. Would love to go back there and also see Hanoi 🙂

    Reply

  20. Hoa Pham
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 14:17:24

    Bui Vien is not far from my place. I wish one day we could have a drink 🙂

    Reply

  21. Donna
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 01:34:38

    I am so pleased to have found you! Very interesting. I will be moving to Saigon end Feb 2014 so trying to find out as much as I can. What do you wish you had brought with you that you didn’t?

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 07:25:46

      I’m so glad you are finding my blog useful! To be honest, after a while, I’ve just got used to living with my surroundings and so don’t miss too much at the moment. I can say though that you’ll need to bring a lifetime supply of make up and toiletries with you!! It is a nightmare trying to find anything that doesn’t have ‘whitening’ bleach in it! I’m sure you will love living in Saigon – I certainly do! If you have any other questions, please do just fire away 🙂

      Reply

  22. ravi
    Dec 01, 2013 @ 18:30:43

    Was glad to read your blogs ..

    Reply

  23. Fran
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 03:36:47

    Hi
    I was wondering whether you could give me more details regarding Ho Chi Minh City Airport and what to do there especially more details regarding the spa you mentioned in a post. I am transiting for 8 hours on my way to London for 8 hours and on my way back from London to Sydney for 12 hours and would really love some more info.

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Mar 11, 2014 @ 15:31:45

      Hi,

      Vietnam’s international airport is relatively quite small, so unfortunately, you may find time drags a little whilst you’re there! In saying that, they have a few bars and restaurants including a sushi bar and a Burger King and, as I mentioned a spa. I forget to name of the spa now, but I seem to recall it being predominantly a foot spa, and while I never used their services, it looks lovely from the outside.

      Their duty free section is quite large too if you enjoy shopping. You can also get free wifi but you have to go to a designated point to ask for the password.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply

  24. theamazingtrace
    Jan 03, 2015 @ 03:53:49

    Hi! Great blog!

    I am thinking of heading over to HCMC to teach. I wanted to ask you a few questions.
    I have a degree and 1 year teaching experience in South Korea, do I also need a TESOL for Vietnam?
    Is it easy to save money there?
    Is it easy to find accommodation?
    Do you recommend me finding a job from here or wait until I get there?

    Thank you for all your help!

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Jan 04, 2015 @ 12:27:26

      Hi – thanks for stopping by!

      You will need a TESOL, TEFL, CELTA or something similar to teach in Vietnam (in addition to your degree and teaching experience). However, as you have already taught before, it should be relatively easy for you to find a job once you have completed your certification. I definitely recommend waiting until you are in Vietnam to find a job – there are too many hoaxes on the internet.

      Finding accommodation is also extremely straight forward once you are in Vietnam. I’d avoid looking for anything beforehand, for the same reason as above. The salary for foreign teachers is high, and depending where you work, you will easily save a decent amount every month.

      Hope this helps! Have an amazing time out there 🙂

      Reply

  25. Esther
    Jan 26, 2015 @ 13:00:27

    Hi Kerri,

    Great blog and pictures!
    I’m going to be in Vietnam over Tet, I’ve read a few comments that this is the worst time to be there as everything shuts down in terms of transport and restaurants. I would love to spend Tet with a host family to experience the real celebrations, culture and of course food of the festival. Any recommedations on where i can look to connect with a host family or a real homestay?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply

    • kerril29
      Jan 26, 2015 @ 13:09:45

      Hi!

      To be honest, I’m not too familiar with homestays in the country. I know they offer a 2 day homestay in the Mekong Delta – but this is something best organised whilst you’re in HCMC with one of the tour operators there. I’d advise waiting until your out there to organise something like this, as it’s so difficult to decipher the real from the scams on the internet. Don’t worry too much about Tet, while the cities will be quieter, the main tourist areas usually stay open, so you’ll still find plenty of places to stay/eat and things to do. Sorry I can’t be of more help! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

      Reply

  26. Louise
    May 02, 2015 @ 10:53:39

    Hi
    We are Australian teachers moving to Vietnam Binh Duong Province to teach in an international school. Trying to research an area to live and look at some rentals on line? I can’t seem to find what district we would be working in? Is it district 7?
    My husband may come alone initially, so it would be nice to live somewhere with a bit of action. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated

    Reply

    • kerril29
      May 03, 2015 @ 12:17:59

      Hi,

      Binh Duong Province is really quite far out from central HCMC. It’s over 2 hours drive from District 1 which is the main touristy/expat area of the city and even further from District 7. I never actually went out to visit Bing Duong – the closest I got was to the Cu Chi tunnels which is about an hour away from there – so unfortunately I don’t think I can be much help about where to live. Perhaps check out http://saigonexpats.net/ it’s an online forum where expats share advice and tips, so someone may be able to help you there. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      Reply

  27. Trần Đỗ Phương Uyên
    Dec 20, 2015 @ 14:49:37

    Dear teacher Kerri,

    My name is Tran Do Phuong Uyen, I’m the coordinator of a volunteer organization called Volunteer House Vietnam, where we provide free English classes for the underprivileged children in HCMC and Hanoi. http://volunteerhousevietnam.org/home/ And this is the website.

    We are targeting at the communication skill on the kids with very special backgrounds and for that, we will need a lot of helping hands, especially from the native speakers. I understand that you’re a busy with your teaching at school and the blog as well, but I do hope that you can spend a bit of your time taking a look at this to see if you would like to come and join one of our class. Or maybe, you can talk to your friends about this, so that they can give us a hand when they have free time.

    Thank you for reading this. I’m so sorry if this bothered you.
    Hope you will have a nice day 🙂 Best of luck !!!

    Reply

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