The Vision of Vietnam Expat Life
Like many of you reading this, I was unhappy with many aspects of my life back in the west (in my case the United States) and began looking for some alternatives. When a friend of mine mentioned that she had spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Vietnam and loved it, I began to look into the possibility of traveling here to see how I liked it, if not just make the jump to moving here altogether.
After a few language lessons and a lot of research, I decided to give it shot. After all, I was sick of my job, the place I was living, and really didn't have much to lose. After arriving in Vietnam and getting over the initial culture shock that includes intense traffic, major population density (in Ho Chi Minh City) and generally being around a huge range of different nationalities, I took to the country quickly.
Ask any Vietnam expat why they love living here and you're bound to get many different answers. But most of them will include some love for the people, culture and food. As if these weren't enough reasons already to love the country, the cost of living is extremely low, which is definitely the number one reason that many people end up settling down here, especially retirees living on a pension that just doesn't cut it back home.
After teaching English for a couple years and studying the language very intensively, I found myself starting a sports training company with some business minded expats that I'd met. This led to a three year journey that culminated with a sale to a very wealthy businessman. The business that I sold is still operating today. We named it Saigon Sports Academy but it appears they have shortened it to just "SSA". Perhaps I'll write more about that experience in the blog section. I learned a great deal about starting and running a business in Vietnam, which could be very beneficial for users of the site interested in doing the same. The legal environment of the country is quite different from back home to say the least!
After selling the company I decided to go back home to the U.S. to get more teaching credentials so that I could come back and work at a proper international school, which is exactly what I've done. I also married the love of my life and have two beautiful children with her. For those of you considering looking for a Vietnamese partner, I highly recommend it :).
Through conversations with other expats on the street and in my language courses (as you can tell from the site, I teach the Vietnamese language and have a lot of resources to help those that want to learn it), I found myself sharing so much information about my experience here that I decided to create a blog, which led to what you're reading now.
I hope that through the site you will be able to find much information that will help you as you travel through the country, contemplate a permanent move here, or are already a Vietnam expat looking for information that will make your life more enjoyable or easier. I've tried to include information that I wish I'd known when I first moved to Vietnam and will continuously add to it as I continue to learn about and have more experiences in this amazing country.
I hope you will be an active member of the community and post comments and questions that may help others looking for the same information. I will do my best to answer all questions and concerns in a timely fashion. And for those of you struggling to learn the Vietnamese language or are finding the prospect daunting, I'm here to tell you that anyone can learn Vietnamese no matter how old you are or whether or not you've ever learned another foreign language. I've now taught hundreds of people how to speak Vietnamese and am 100% certain that you can learn it too.
Welcome to the site and congratulations on discovering the best kept secret in the world:
Vietnam Expat Life