(Written by Him)
Before setting off both of us completed an on-line "teaching English as a foreign language" course. There are many TEFL courses available with a wide variation in terms of cost and credibility. We did not break the bank! CELTA and Trinity are the most highly regarded, highly sought after by employers and unsurprisingly the most expensive. Herself brought work to complete here in Vietnam which she had secured before leaving Ireland.
Once I secured my first student I felt like I had achieved a lot. With a little persistence and word of mouth on the part of one’s new protégé a self-employed foreigner could build up a lucrative client base in a matter of months. Once again I was in the enviable position of not working to sustain myself instead doing it just for the experience which meant I did not have to always be pushing for more customers. In the end I had 3 students, which was more than enough for me.
My students brought few if any materials with them and I found the most important book between us was my Vietnamese / English dictionary. I would meet them individually, in public places where we could sit and spend time, local parks (when it wasn't too hot), coffee shops and shopping plazas. On one occasion we were evicted from an almost empty coffee shop as it was "bad for business". I think we were practicing too loudly for the other customer. I noticed both locals and tourists alike casting an eye over what must have appeared to them as a strange pairing, like my student and I were bridging some social divide as we sat together.
I enjoyed every minute of it. Meeting new people and having good, prolonged and intimate interactions, learning about their culture and being able, in turn, to effect that persons specific situation (if only slightly) is a privilege. I recommend it to anyone who has time to spare and is interested in peeling back a layer of the veneer, getting to know a new way of life while also making real friends.
Where to next for my teaching English, cultural, social conquest....I'm looking at you Dingle!