If you’re taking part in our Vietnam Internship (lucky you!), you’ll get an action-packed orientation week in Hanoi with a whole load of other interns. Here are Amelia’s top tips for getting the best out of your first week in Vietnam…
1. Sleep on the plane. I flew directly so the opportunity to sleep on the plane was easier than those with a connecting flight. However, I fully recommend to get at least 4 hours of sleep on your travels, especially if you’re travelling the day before the orientation begins. I opted to stay awake throughout my flight thus resulting in me being awake for over 24 hours. The next day, the orientation began and I haven’t really had a day off since – two weeks later my body is in a serious state of recovery!
2. Don’t fly here with GBP (or anything other than USD) and expect to exchange it into Dong. It’s very difficult to find a shop that will exchange your money and most banks will only exchange US dollars.
3. Attempt to pack as many clothes as possible or bring money to buy clothes – but only if you’re small! Expect to be constantly wet with either sweat or rain as Vietnam is either boiling temperatures or heavy rainfall. As a result, your clothes won’t stay clean for long and you will need to make sure you have enough to last you the week.
4. “BUM GUNS” – don’t be afraid of the mini showers next to the loo. They may seem daunting at first but they’re actually more hygienic than toilet roll.
5. Learn how to use chopsticks. Most restaurants don’t have knives and forks so be prepared to spend the next 5 months eating with chopsticks. It may seem hard at first but they’re actually great fun to use.
6. BEER STREET! Beer Street is located in the Old Quarter and is a great night out buying beers at a low cost!
7. Make sure you have a phone ready to use in Vietnam. Either get it unlocked before flying to Vietnam or make sure you have a spare phone to use for when you get to the country as you will need it to book Grab taxis or to contact people out and about. Although Vietnam is fun, some areas are really busy and you can quite easily get lost in the crowd.
8. Attend the Vietnamese lessons! You might think you’re here to be the teachers and not the students but it comes in handy to know basic Vietnamese for booking taxis or trying to order food.
9. Don’t waste energy during the orientation week worrying about who you’re going to be living with for the next 5 months. Many lists get released and there’s lots of speculation and rumours about who will be living with who but honestly, it’s best to take it all in your stride and wait till moving in day before figuring out who you’re living with. Even if you don’t end up with your friends, everyone lives close by.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Vietnamese are very hospitable so if you’re lost or want some advice don’t shy away from asking – just remember the locals known more about the area than you do!
If you’re not already booked onto our ever-popular TEFL Course & Internship in Vietnam, check it out here!