Opinion Requested: Racism and Ageism in Teaching in Vietnam

Marco Sison's picture
By Marco Sison - Posted on
14 April 2015

Sorry for the long post. I wanted feedback specific to my situation. TL;DR Can I live in Hanoi/HCMC on my savings and a full time teacher’s salary?

Thank you in advance for any insight and assistance you can provide.

Assistance Requested: Personal opinion on my specific situation from people with in-country experience

Should I be more realistic about my chances of getting a mid-high level teaching job, given my age, professional experience, and Ethnicity (details below)? Mid-high level as defined by pay range >$1500 per month + paid holidays, without wholly unreasonable requests for unpaid activity and/or commutes.

How much do I realistically need to make to be upper middle class in Vietnam?

I am no stranger to budget living. I have lived in the US on less than $25,000 per year. When I travel, I am more hostels and street food, than hotels and bistros. However, my plan is to increase my standard of living slightly by semi-retiring in SEA. Nothing exorbitant, but I am trying to gauge what is realistic.

Unlike prior posters asking about salary, I have saved up enough to never HAVE to work again. As long as I keep my expenses under $18,000 per year, I can live off my savings. From what I am reading, I can live okay in Hanoi/HCMC on $1500 per month ($18000/12 months). Taken in combination with the teaching salary question posted above, what kind of lifestyle can I realistically afford on $1500 per month + a full time teaching income?

Professional Overview:
Currently living in Rio De Janeiro as the Commercial Director of a US Publicaly Traded Helicopter company. I have held Vice President and Director level positions in Finance, Sales, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Business Development for multiple Fortune 50 companies.
I am a graduate from a US Top 10 Undergraduate Business School, with 4 degrees (Accounting, Computer Information Systems, International Business, and Operations Management) and 1 minor (Speech Communication). I plan to complete my CELTA either prior to arrival in Vietnam or shortly thereafter.

When viewed from a potential employer's perspective, will my professional accomplishments help outweigh my lack of prior teaching experience?

This is Professional landing page: http://www.marcosison.com (website is still WIP)

Personal Overview: I am a 41 year old, native speaker (US) with Philippine dual citizenship. I have significant travel/backpacking experience and have lived overseas in developing counties (Czech Republic and Brazil) for multiple years. My intent is long term semi-retirement in SEA, with teaching as a supplemental activity. However, I have been reading on these boards that Vietnam ESL programs have a STRONG preference to “White” and young teachers.

While I am not “White”, my mannerism and physical appearance is atypical Asian. My physical appearance has always been an advantage for me, not a drawback. In the same vein, my physical appearance, outlook, and attitude has never led anyone to believe I am over 40.

Can the discrimination I face be overcome?
What should I realistically expect to make with my background and circumstances? [/i]
My Personal Website: http://intelligenthustler.com (website is still WIP)

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