Friday, January 14, 2011
Expat Experiences: Vietnam - Michael Tatarski, Ho Chi Minh City
Who are you?
My name is Michael Tatarski. I am a 22 year-old American from New Orleans who is teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I attended the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, where I studied Political Science and History.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Ho Chi Minh City, which most people still call Saigon, on September 8th of this year. I moved a few weeks after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. I wanted to get a job overseas but wasn't hired by my desired government agencies, so I decided to go into the ESL field and move to Vietnam.
What challenges did you face during the move?
My move was actually rather easy. I enrolled in a ESL certification course several months ago, and half of the training took place in Saigon. LanguageCorps, the company which provided the training, arranged a hotel for my first two weeks here, and the staff was very helpful in getting us adjusted to life in Saigon. Obviously I missed my family, but it is easy to make fast friends in the expat community here.
How did you find somewhere to live?
I decided to look for housing with two of the other training participants. One of them found a real estate broker who was advertising houses on Facebook. We contacted him and looked at an amazing 3-bedroom house and signed the lease shortly thereafter. The renting process was fairly straightforward. Some extra paperwork was necessary since we are foreigners, but nothing too complicated. It helps that you broker speaks a good amount of English, although our landlord butchers the language and is somewhat crazy, but she leaves us in peace for the most part and responds to any problems with the house quickly.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Very few, if any. We live in a non-touristy part of the city, District 3, that is mostly inhabited by Vietnamese. The big expat areas are farther outside of the city...
Read more about life in Vietnam