Friday, March 11, 2011

Expat Experiences: Vietnam - Jonathan Hoff, Ho Chi Minh City

Who are you?

Jonathan Hoff, born in Bournemouth England. I'm 30 years old and currently a teacher by profession.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved abroad to Korea in 2004 before heading to Vietnam in 2005. I had spent a year travelling Asia and Australasia before that, and the thought of returning to England to embark on a long, mind-numbingly boring career (which seemed the only option) was not too appealing. I preferred the excitement of boarding a plane with a few hundred dollars in my pocket to a far away country. I took a contract to teach English in a small South Korean countryside town and have never looked back.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Korea was a culture shock certainly, as was Vietnam, but at the time I was so young that I didn't really feel like it was a challenge, I just took everything in my stride. One challenge I met during my time here in Vietnam was that of bettering my career chances. I took my wife, who is Vietnamese, back to England for 10 months. During that time I returned to University to get my postgraduate teaching qualification, allowing me to apply for better jobs in Vietnam, and improving my career prospects. My daughter was also born during that time, on English soil.

How did you find somewhere to live?

I came to Vietnam to study in a TEFL course and soon after arriving moved into a shared house with other trainees. After six months they left the country and I moved into a single room in a large house with a Vietnamese family. I had a small balcony and used a shared bathroom. It cost ($50) a month and I lived there for a year and a half until I got married. We then progressed to an apartment in the city which was ($350) per month, and now we live in a nicer suburban area (the first of its kind in Ho Chi Minh City) in a three bedroom apartment where rents are anything from ($700 to $2000+) a month for an apartment or villa...

Read more about Jonathan's experience in Ho Chi Minh City:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a remarkable story. It's a great experience flying out to some no where land and don't look back to me also. Some people asked me how can I do that. Couldn't answer them, just know that I do. LoL

Saigon's still surprising me after months living here.

Tom from