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Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 06 May 2011, 19:03
by JustDoIt
Hey :)

I'm thinking about moving to Vietnam to teach English.

I have a few random questions that I was hoping people might be able to help with?

Disclosure Scotland: How up to date does this need to be? If I got one today could I use it to move to Vietnam 6 months to a year from now? What happens when your visa runs out and you're applying for an extra year?

Stubble: Shaving close gives me a really bad rash so I have stubble (trimmed with electric shaver). How much would stubble affect an interview and could I just clean shave for the interview and then grow it back?

Tattoo: I have a dragon tattoo up the whole of my left arm. Will I get away with showing this in some jobs/towns or is just it a no-no? How about when out and about in public, will I be judged any more than in the UK?

Singing: Will I have to sing to teach? I don't do singing!

BA: Everywhere I look it says I need a BA. Well, I have a BSc in Multimedia Technology - will that do?


Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 08 May 2011, 22:35
by Alex Case
BA is just shorthand for a first degree, so BSc is fine.

By disclosure do you mean CRB check? If so, your employer has to be involved in the process so there is no point applying for one beforehand.

Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 09 May 2011, 09:54
by Briona
Alex has already addressed the degree issue so I'll try my hand at some of the others. Re. Disclosure Scotland, it would be better for the disclosure to be as up-to-date as possible. Mine only took a few days to come through so there really is no point in applying for it now.

Thanks to a change in the law, business visas are issued for a maximum of 3 months. This means constant visa runs (usually by way of a cheap flight out of the country) BEFORE the expiry date. Consequently contracts are rarely issued for a year. It's more like 3-6 months, after which you will have to sign a new one. Note that this could involve a change in terms.

The school I worked for sent me a four page document on the strict dress code (no sandals/open-toed shoes for either men or women, no strappy tops, no visible tattoos/piercings, only one set of earrings in your ears, etc). In practice, this was not enforced, although had I have been teaching in-company or Business English, things may have been different. As long as your tattoo CAN be covered up, I wouldn't expect you to have a problem. That said, I taught in Hanoi where I imagine they are more used to Westerners.

In terms of being stared while out and about, as a foreigner in an Asian country it's par for the course, even in the big cities. This has little to do with your body art. Simply put, it's because you're a foreigner. Having typed this, I realise that I have assumed that you're Caucasian. If you're of Asian origin, you will blend in better, although finding work will be harder. If you're of Black origin, I'd respectfully suggest that Vietnam might not the best choice of location.

If you want to teach VYLs (4-6yrs), singing will almost certainly form part of your teaching. I just played the CD loud enough to drown out my tuneless offerings! I also included the odd song with some of my YL classes (usually only those up to about the age of 8) but if I sensed that the kids weren't into it, I happily skipped it. With older kids it's most unlikely that you would be singing but you may want to include a song for listening and/or teaching grammar purposes.

Hope that helps.


Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 10 May 2011, 09:11
by JustDoIt
Really appreciate the replies, thanks :)

Wow, visas are only 3 months, so if I lived there for 5 years I'd need 20 visas!

Would every new visa require going through whole process again? i.e. a new, annotated disclosure? This sounds like a nightmare!

Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 11 May 2011, 08:36
by Briona
I found the idea of constant visa runs rather off-putting so when my summer contract ended, I left the country. As I never did a visa run, I'm not entirely sure of the procedure and the required documentation. Your school would be able to tell you.

My visa was organised by the school I was working for and I picked it up on arrival at the airport. IIRC it cost US$50. This was payable in cash, US dollars ONLY. When doing a visa run make sure you have US dollars (easy enough to get hold of in Vietnam). Note that is illegal to carry more than US$1,000 in cash either in or out of the country.

You should be aware that the visas are stickers which take up a whole page in your passport. On the opposite page, you need space for entry and exit stamps, i.e., two pages per visa. So make sure that you have a fairly new passport, or at least one with lots of free space!

I understand that all of this sounds a bit nightmarish (and indeed it put me off), but there were many teachers who had been in the country, working legally, for several years. So it IS possible, just a bit of a pain in the arse. I don't know whether after a certain amount of time it's possible to get any kind of residency which removes the need for visa runs...? Again, your school should be able to help/advise.

Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 11 May 2011, 20:23
by JustDoIt
Cheers Briona. It's good to read about your experience.

Of all the negatives I've heard this is definitely the one that might put me off. I'll need to look into it further. I just need to find a web page with the process laid out clearly, I keep reading vague and conflicting information.

But, like you say, plenty of people seem to be getting by so it must be doable.

Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 11 May 2011, 20:53
by JustDoIt
Just found this government page:

Work permit for foreign laborers working in Vietnam

It's answered most my questions. Noteworthy text is:

(Validity of the License and application fee)
Same duration as the duration of the labor contract or as set out in the decision of the foreign party on appointment, but shall not exceed 36 months.

So I read that as "If you've got a 12 month contract with your school you can get a 12 month work permit."

The only mention of an extension is:

(Validity of the License and application fee)
Fees on extension of a working license: 200.000 VND/permit

So I'm assuming that means the process is the same for renewal. If this is true then that's not a big deal at all. Hope I'm reading it right!

Re: Stubble, tattoos, singing and other random stuff!

Posted: 08 Oct 2019, 06:16
by jhonmiller
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