What is your name, age and nationality?
My name is Marilyn Hewett, and I am a 26 year old from the USA!
What is your education level and background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs. Prior to moving abroad, I worked in politics and international relations.
Have you traveled abroad previously, and if so where?
I lived in Ghana for a few months volunteering during a gap year in college. I
also visited many countries in Europe when I studied abroad in Italy. Moving
to Vietnam was my first time in Asia!
What motivated you to teach abroad?
I really wanted to live abroad and teaching seemed like the best way to do that
while also making a difference in the community, plus I love kids!
What did you want to personally achieve with this experience, and have you
I really wanted to take a risk that would involve a lot of personal growth, and
moving abroad definitely checks that box. You have to be very self-reliant
and independent (or at least willing to learn how to be!) in order to succeed in
this experience. I also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures,
not just Vietnamese but also the cultures of other expats I meet, such as Brits
and Australians. And of course teach some fun lessons to kids!
Did you apply for the program with a friend or on your own?
I applied on my own, which was scary but I knew it was worth it!
Did you know anyone who had taught abroad before you?
I knew a few people who taught in different places, and they all said it was
the best decision they’d ever made.
What were some of your concerns before you began teaching abroad?
I was a bit nervous about certain logistics, such as finances, health insurance, and language barriers. But any obstacle you face has an answer, and learning to figure things out on your own is a great benefit to moving abroad.
TEFL PROGRAM INFORMATION
What made you decide to do a TEFL course and choose TEFL Heaven?
In my on-line research into how to teach abroad, doing a TEFL course through
TEFL Heaven seemed like a good, reliable option because there were many
positive reviews and testimonials about the company. It seemed like a good
investment to make, considering all the opportunities it would open for me.
What made you choose a face-to-face TEFL course over other options?
I think a face-to-face course has benefits that other options don’t. For one,
you get an on-the-ground introduction to living abroad, which allows you to
more gradually adjust, and also make friends going through the same thing!
Also, you get to teach real students in real classrooms and get immediate
feedback on your teaching, which helps you become a more effective and
Which TEFL program did you do?
I did the Hanoi, Vietnam program in August 2018.
What did you enjoy about your TEFL course?
I most enjoyed meeting everyone else in the course, and our fabulous
instructor! He made us all feel completely comfortable and was always willing
to answer our questions about teaching or Vietnam in general. The course
was a nice balance of serious and fun.
How prepared did you feel for your teaching position?
I felt prepared and confident in my abilities by the time the course ended.
How long were you in Vietnam and how long did you plan to stay?
I planned to stay one year, and I’m currently in my ninth month!
How did you secure your English teaching job?
A lot of things in Vietnam happen on Facebook, so that’s where I looked for
and found my job. It was a pretty easy hiring process, including a short Skype
interview and then sending all my necessary documents to them. Everyone in
my course managed to find jobs very quickly.
What did a typical working week look like for you?
I usually taught about 15 hours per week, split evenly between a language
center and a public school, so some days I worked daytime and others
What age group or range did you teach?
I taught everything from kindergarten to young adults! It just depended on
the schedule of my center because they opened new classes every few
What did you most enjoy about teaching your students?
With the kids, I most enjoyed playing games that allowed them to have fun
while also learning the material. With the young adults, I really appreciated
their enthusiasm and dedication to learning English; it made my job a lot
easier knowing the students really wanted to be there!
How did you get your work visa?
Most employers will support you in the process of getting a work visa.
What were your monthly expenses?
Rent: $150-$300 ($300 for nice 2-bedroom apartment, $150 for room in
shared house with other expats)
Food: $150-$200 (including at least one daily Vietnamese coffee!)
Other bills: $25 (water, utilities)
Social life: $40 (most of my social life is going to the beach, which is free!)
Transportation: $10 (gas for my motorbike)
Phone: $6 for one month cell plan
Would you say you were able to live comfortably on your monthly salary?
Yes, Vietnam really is very inexpensive to live!
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone thinking about teaching abroad, and
would you recommend teaching English in Vietnam?
I would say if you are thinking about teaching abroad, just do it. I've never met
anyone who regretted their decision, and most people say it was the best
decision they ever made. Don’t fret too much about the unknown details,
everything will work itself out. I would recommend teaching in Vietnam
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