Sunday, October 28, 2007

Special jobs in Saigon

10:20' 27/10/2007 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – In hidden corners of noisy and busy Saigon, there are people who have done unique jobs for decades.

Collecting old money, stamps

For the past 30 years, at a corner on Hai Ba Trung road, district 1, HCM City there has been an old man whose hair has turned white sitting next to an old, small desk to collect old coins, banknotes and stamps.

This man is named An, an original Saigon man. “I buy old money and stamps and then sell them to others. Collecting old money and stamps is a habit but that habit needs money,” he said.

The old man showed off his ancient coins. “This coin was produced in 1,039, in the Dinh Tien Hoang dynasty,” he said, raising a Thai Binh Hung Bao coin dating back to 968-981.

How much for that coin? “Perhaps more than VND1 million,” he said.

“You have to study to play with old money. To buy ancient coins, you must know Chinese, understand history to define the value of them. If you collect Indochinese money, you must know French, English and the volume of Indochinese banknotes remaining in the market. This banknote is worth several million dong,” he said, pointing to a banknote made in 1899.

He has also collected a lot of old stamps from passers-by. In the past 30 years, he has bought hundreds of stamps, including very rare ones, priced at millions of dong.

“How much longer will I sit here to buy and sell old money and stamps?”

“How long in your opinion, when I’m over 70 already? I think just several years more, till the time I cannot stand sunlight and rain like the past 30 years!”

Turning Cinderella into a fairy

The woman who has this special skill is a professional painter named Dung. After travelling to many countries and attending many big carnivals worldwide, she came up with the idea of doing a strange job in Vietnam: making carnival masks and costumes.

Visiting her shop on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai road, one may think that he is in a strange and wonderful world, like in the world of tales, where Cinderella suddenly becomes a princess by means of magic.

Dung’s masks, festival costumes are very colourful and strange. “I guess you wonder: how can I sell these things when Vietnam doesn’t have carnivals? But I can still sell them to students, young people, and office staffs, to use at picnics or parties.”

Besides mysterious masks, Dung designs paper costumes of the 12 animals symbolising the cycle of 12 years, Mickey Mouse, clowns, Santa Claus, flowers, etc.

“Anybody wants to become Zorro, come here and I will satisfy him!” she said.

Writing love letters for 17 years

In 17 years working as a letter writer in French and English, Mr Ngo has witnessed both the sadness and happiness of many clients and has brought many couples together.

The job of Mr Ngo is closely attached to the HCM City Post Office, an old building built in 1886 in the special Asian-European architectural style. Foreign visitors come to the post office not only to see one of the oldest and most beautiful post offices in Asia but also to witness the work of an old letter writer.

At around 8am on a hot day of 2007, Mr Ngo, a thin old man came on a bicycle. He put the bicycle under the shadow of the sung dau trees, said hello to postcard peddlers, and arranged his table to begin a working day.

The table of Mr Ngo is arranged under a portrait of President Ho Chi Minh. He pulled two Vietnamese-English and Vietnamese-French dictionaries and a postal code directory from a briefcase. He pinned a red ribbon on his left hand as a symbol for his customers. Next to the table is a plate: “Instruction and letter writing”.

The first customer of Mr Ngo was a man from a Mekong Delta province. This man had worked as a driver for a European businessman for more than one year. The businessman had returned to his country and the driver wanted to write a letter to his boss asking him to pay health insurance and $200.

Understanding the situation, the old letter writer began his job. The letter was quickly completed in English. Sometimes Mr Ngo opened his Vietnamese-English dictionary to find a word.

Mr Ngo is considered a world connector, the only professional letter writer still working. For every letter he always very carefully chooses his words and writing style. As a professional letter writer, he understands how important words are.

But Mr Ngo is not simply a letter writer; he is a bridge spanning the gap between humans and an advisor to his customers.

Mr Ngo became an employee of the Saigon Post Office at the age of 17. He is now 75. The letter writer said that he had never been absent from work, even during war time. He speaks English and French quite fluently because he studied French at schools and English from American soldiers.

The second customer of Mr Ngo that morning was a young woman. She took a cell phone from her bag and showed Mr Ngo a message in French. Mr Ngo immediately translated the message: “When I met you, you showed me how Vietnam and Vietnamese people are and taught me Vietnamese. I can’t wait any more”. The girl smiled shyly. She got acquainted with a French guy through the Internet. She said she would return the next day to ask Mr Ngo to write a letter for her.

Female customers often call Mr Ngo a love letter writer, a poet and a matchmaker. Mr Ngo said he had been a matchmaker for several couples. “Their love is hindered by distance, language and culture and it is difficult to overcome these obstacles,” he said.

In 15 years working as a letter writer, Mr Ngo has witnessed the pain of many customers, about whom he has pledged to not release personal information. In turn, customers highly praise Mr Ngo for that virtue.

Mr Ngo has received thank-you letters from all over the world. These letters are sent to the “letter writer at the Saigon Post Office”. He has never received electronic letters. He doesn’t like computers and mobile phones. “Words from machines have no soul,” he said.

That morning, many Japanese visitors came to the HCM City Post Office to see the unique architecture and take pictures of Mr Ngo.

Mr Ngo is now the only letter writer in HCM City, and perhaps in Vietnam. His colleague – Huynh Lieng – passed away ten months ago. Mr Ngo has only one wish: that the world will have many more letter writers like him and his friend, Huynh Lieng.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Private vocational college opens in Vung Tau

Vo Thanh Ky, vice chairman of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, beats the drum to open the 2007-08 academic year at Hong Lam Vocational College yesterday


(SGT-VUNG TAU) The Hong Lam Vocational College, a private international-institution, started the first academic school year 2007-08 yesterday in Vung Tau with 300 students, with the main aim to supply skilled technicians to industrial parks in Baria-Vung Tau Province.

The college will in the first academic year provide training in technical areas to meet labor demands of industrial tenants in the province.

Nguyen Xuan Thu, principal of the college, said that in its first stage, the college offers programs in electrical technology, refrigeration and air conditioning, welding, and automotive repair.

The school is owned by Nguyen Ngoc My, a Vietnamese Australian entrepreneur, with total invested capital of US$7 million. My said: “Our aim is to contribute to training skilled workers for the country by adopting international approaches to learning and teaching, quality assurance, and competency assessment.”

Hong Lam Vocational College offers two types of programs: two year curricula and one year curricula for advanced level trade diploma, and entry level trade certificate under Vietnamese regulations on vocational education training.

The college also provides various short courses and customized training programs for industries. The college is expected to train 1,000 graduates each year, of which 80% will work in industrial zones in Vietnam and others participating in export labor programs in English speaking countries.

In addition, short courses are offered for individuals and organizations to provide specific skills such as advanced welding, project management, financial management, information technology, accounting, and marketing.

The college was constructed from March last year, covering about 4,000 square meters and located in Phu My Town in Tan Thanh District, Ba Ria- Vung Tau Province.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Vietnam desperately needs trained Seamen

HCM CITY — As the country’s export numbers climb, its ships are bulging with products to send abroad. The problem is that while the domestic ocean vessel fleet has been developing rapidly, there are not enough seamen to man the ships.

"By August 31, the country had about 1,194 ocean vessels with total tonnage estimated at more than 4 million tonnes," said Nguyen Vu Hai, head of the Viet Nam Registration Department’s Ocean Shipping Division. "This has resulted in a serious shortage of mariners for ocean ships, particularly those running international routes."

With the exception of major companies such as Viet Nam Ocean Shipping Company (VOSCO), Viet Nam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) and Viet Nam Shipping Company (Vinaship), marine transport companies have had to go to great lengths to ensure a sufficient supply of seamen for their fleets, he said.

The maritime industry finds it especially difficult to recruit workers because sailors have to have specific qualifications, Hai said.

They must have very good health, high discipline and the ability to endure hard living conditions. They are required to have professional skills and good proficiency in foreign languages.

They also have to be familiar with various legal systems, domestic and foreign.

To ensure such qualifications, the training period for a mariner is long: three years to become a skilled sailor, seven years an executive officer, 10 years a managing officer and between 12 and 14 years for a captain, he said.

A CEO of a marine transport company relates the difficulty of putting together a crew. "We had seven vessels, and were hard pressed to recruit men," he said. "In the end, we could find only five captains, three boatswains and three engine room heads."

"Hiring sailors is a hard job because most job centres that lease seamen prefer to work with foreign companies to make bigger profits," said Do Khac That, director of the Seamen Labour Export Company.

"Recruiting mariners with enough qualifications is difficult, but keeping them for a long time is much more difficult," That said."Most skilled sailors want to work for companies that can offer them good working conditions and high salaries. Some mariners give up their jobs when they find another one that is safer and pays more."

Hai admitted that the average Vietnamese mariner’s income is equivalent to only one-sixth of that of an average Japanese sailor’s, or three-fifth of one from the Philippines.

The shortfall in new mariners to meet demand by domestic maritime transport companies has put a huge dent in the business of domestic seamen labour export as well.

Vinalines reported that its labour export business has not seen smooth sailing in recent years.

In 2004, the corporation sent 1,089 seamen to work abroad, earning nearly US$8.13 million. But the number of mariners to be sent this year is estimated to be only 60 per cent of that figure.

Corporation officials attributed the decrease to an insufficient supply of qualified mariners for the export market.

Viet Nam only has two establishments involved in training university-level mariners, the Viet Nam Maritime University and the Southern Transport and Communications University, in addition to some colleges and vocational training schools.

These schools train 1,500 seamen each year. That is not enough to meet the domestic market’s demand.

Le Ngoc Trinh, director of the Maritime College No.1, said most mariner training facilities are in poor conditions and have outdated teaching aids. That means students cannot acquire the necessary skills training.

The maritime industry does not have uniform training standards, so each establishment has its own standards, said Duong Dinh Huynh, head of the Viet Nam Maritime Administration’s Personnel Office. The result is that mariners come with different skill levels.

The Ministry of Transport plans to issue common criteria, requiring all domestic seamen training establishments to adhere to them to ensure standard training quality, according to Deputy Minister Tran Doan Tho. — VNS

American owned school in Hanoi seeks teachers

EFL/ESL Teacher at Cleverlearn

Location: Hà Nội


Cleverlearn Vietnam is a 100% American owned company that is presently expanding at our Hanoi branch. At present, we are seeking additional:

Full-time and Part-time English Speaking Teachers in Hanoi.

* At least 1 year of teaching experience.

* University Degree and Certificate of Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.

* Possessing a creative, insightful and communicative teaching style while being committed to the need of the students.

We are dedicated in offering a friendly & supportive working environment while providing a unique English learning environment in which learners can interact outside classroom with our modern facilities including: Gym, Diner, Movie Theater and many extracurricular activities.

To apply

Applications including Resume and Cover Letter to:

Ms. Beverly Ann Segismar -

and Mr. Tuan Phuong -

Or directly contact Cleverlearn English Language Center

Building 3, 2C Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, Van Bao St., Ba Dinh Dist.,

Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: (04) 726-1698

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sales Engineer Vietnam - Vetco Gray

Job Description

Business Unit: GE Infrastructure, Oil & Gas
Function: Sales
Location: Vietnam, Vietnam
Job #: 609826
Posted: Jul 02, 2007

Job Description:


  • Manage assigned customer accounts to maintain and increase sales.

  • Develop new accounts in support of APME business goals.

  • Promote Vetco Gray products and services to assigned customer base

  • Selling highly engineered products in a competitive environment requires good technical expertise and good knowledge of Vetco product lines. In order to promote Vetco products and services also requires a strong familiarity with offshore operational practices and methodology.
    Signature: ~NW~

  • Bachelor's degree with strong technical background is required. At least ten years experience is preferred.

  • Product knowledge and engineering background, commercial familiarisation, negotiating skills and ability to represent Vetco to external customers at all levels within their organisation are key to success

  • Ability to communicate effectively at all levels within customers organisations.

  • Preparing and presenting product presentation packages.

  • Working with difficult clients, awareness of cultural sensitivity and interacting at social settings require strong interpersonal skills.

    GE is a diversified technology, media and financial services company, dedicated to creating products that make life better. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, television programming and oil and gas, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 300,000 people worldwide.


    GE's Oil & Gas business is a leader in the development and delivery of advanced product and service offerings for the global oil and gas industry. As a consequence of the rapid expansion of its technology base, GE's Oil & Gas is capable of addressing the largest and most complex engineering and application challenges entirely from its own worldwide resources. So whether it's the world's largest LNG compression trains, re-injection of high sulfur gas, enhancing the safety and productivity of the world's oil and gas pipelines, or equipment for the production of oil and gas from harsh environments, GE is leading the charge.


    GE Oil & Gas recently acquired Vetco Gray, a 5,000 employee company, with a century of experience and innovation in the oil and gas industry, Vetco Gray is a leading supplier of products, systems and services for onshore and offshore drilling and production. The strong reputation of the company's products and services is a reflection of the drive and talent of its diverse, global workforce - Vetco Gray is present in more than 60 locations over 30 countries worldwide.

    ( GE is an equal opportunity employer, offering a great work environment, challenging career opportunities, professional training and competitive compensation.

    Click here to review GE's Candidate Data Protection Standards and respond to the following question to apply:

    I have read GE's Candidate Data Protection Standards and consent to providing this information to GE.
    Yes No

    If you do not wish to give your consent please select the BACK button.
  • teach General English, Examination Preparation (IELTS, TOEFL iBT, TOEIC) in Vietnam

    Native English Speaking Teachers Wanted

    Posted By: Cleverlearn Vietnam - Phu My Hung Branch <>
    Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, at 8:04 p.m.

    Job Description for English Teacher:

    To teach General English, Examination Preparation (IELTS, TOEFL iBT, TOEIC), Business English and some other Intensive English language courses for students of Cleverlearn Vietnam English Language Centre � Phu My Hung Branch.

    Class Schedule
    Depended on teacher�s available time.
    Class Location
    R4-44 & R4-45 Hung Phuoc 3, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My Hung)
    Qualifications Needed: Bachelor Degree/Master Degree + TESOL Certificates + English Teaching experiences

    Working condition: Cleverlearn Vietnam English Language Centre � Phu My Hung branch is located in the centre of the Sai Gon South New Residential Campus (Phu My Hung), convenient to live and work. The school has full - well equipped classrooms and comfortable working environment.
    Salary: Rate per hour depended on teachers� qualifications and experience

    1. Full CV, dated and preferably with references
    2. Copy of diplomas/degrees/certificates
    3. Copy of the front page of the passport, on which personal details and photo are shown.
    For further information, please contact:
    Ms. Duong Thi Bich Thao
    Academic Coordinator
    Email: bichthao@cleverlearnhcm.
    Phone number: (848) 4103133/35
    Fax number: (848) 4103134

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Foreign Trade University in Hanoi needs ESL teacher

    Location: Hà Nội


    We are a group of Foreign Trade University who are planning to study ielts for the early 2008's exam. Seeking for a foreign teacher who:

    * has experience in teaching ielts

    * has good record in teaching ielts

    * can help students practice various skills

    Payment: 20$ or more per hour

    Classroom and other equipments are available

    The class should start asap

    To apply

    Contact me:

    Hanh Dzung

    Tel: 04.8293422/090 444 6086

    ESL teacher at Sunshine School in Hanoi

    Location: Hà Nội


    We are looking for ESL teachers with

    - love for children

    - teaching certificate (preferred)

    - teaching experience (at least 6 months)

    - an intention to work immediately

    What we offer:

    - 16$/ hour (net)

    - more than 10 hours/ week

    - supportive Vietnamese teaching assistants and staffs

    To apply

    Call Ms. Nhung on 0982199200

    Email at


    House 102H

    76 Kim Ma Thuong Street

    Tel: 04-7623934

    English teacher at College of Economics, Vietnam National University-Hanoi


    - Part-time English teacher for college students

    - A least two years of English teaching experience.

    - University Degree and Certificate of Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language

    -Being committed to the need of the students

    To apply

    Interested candidates are invited to send CV to email:

    Location: Hà Nội

    TNH Jobs - Part time ESL teacher at Wizisland in Hanoi Vietnam

    Location: Hà Nội


    Do you want to receive a highly regarded benefits package and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications?

    We are seeking professional teachers

    (Part time 9:00am~4:00pm)

    who want to join in the success of our organization.

    Wiz Island is a new thriving International Kindergarten and the first branch school in Vietnam. Wizisland Korea, mother school of international branches, currently holds over 50 kindergarten branches in the Republic of Korea nationwide and over 8 branches in the U.S.A, Canada, China, Japan worldwide. This Genuine Play school and Global Learner’s 3Qs Learning school “where all children love to be,” offers quality emotional education to children from abroad including an extended "before and after school care" programs.

    Programs: Wiz English, Wiz Reading, Wiz Math, Wiz Gabe, Wiz Game, Wiz Art play, Wiz Music (MYC), Wiz singing, Wiz cooking, Wiz Delta sand, Wiz Gym, Wiz Special

    The TEACHER will be required to:

    - Instruct in child education

    - Take charge of an age-classified classroom

    - Coordinate scholastic administration

    - Be trained by Wizisland in our special “Teacher Qualification Course”

    - Take charge of open-class, level test, and academic advise

    - Participate in academic workshops

    If you meet the following requirements:

    - Native English speaker

    - Degree in Education or related child qualifications

    - ESL teacher highly regarded

    - At least one year teaching experience at a kindergarten

    - Eligibility for Vietnam working visa (school supported)

    - Love of children

    - Able to show full care and responsibility for children

    - Recent photograph

    To apply

    Application Details:

    Telephone: 04) 974. 2719~20 Fax : 04) 974. 2721

    Email: please send a full CV and covering letter

    To Jessica Choi /GM

    If you would like more detailed information about us, please stop by to visit our company after calling: Suite #8 12A floor, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

    For more information about Wiz Island Vietnam, please visit our website at

    Teaching Opportunities at ILA Vietnam

    Posted By: ILA Vietnam <>
    Date: Monday, 8 October 2007, at 10:38 p.m.

    Why choose Vietnam?

    Few countries can offer EFL teachers a lifestyle that compares to Vietnam and an opportunity for teachers to immerse themselves in a truly diverse culture. The people are warm and hospitable and encourage you to enjoy the undeniable richness of their country. Additionally, teaching in Vietnam is made extremely positive by the Vietnamese appreciation of learning and the profound respect they have for teachers.

    The cost of living is low, which means you can enjoy a fantastic standard of living yet still save money. The choice of lifestyle opportunities is immense. In the daytime there is a large array of activities such as shopping, going to the spa, seeing historical sights, or taking a day trip. You can stay healthy by playing football, going swimming, doing yoga, joining a five-star gym ($50 USD) or have a relaxing full-body massage ($4 USD). Every night you can choose a different restaurant to dine in, from Vietnamese cuisine to one of the largest selections of international fare in Asia. If you enjoy a drink in the evening, there are plenty of bars, clubs and breweries to choose from. All of this is at a fraction of the cost of back home.

    Vietnam has a wealth of natural treasures and traditional charms, made easily accessible by the reliable and inexpensive travel options. Follow Vietnam�s extensive coastline or explore its scenic mountain ranges; choose from large, chaotic and modern cities to tranquil, picturesque villages. Furthermore, travel throughout Asia is easy; the number of reliable and inexpensive flight carriers means that there�s no shortage of choice of exciting, exotic, regional destinations, all just a few hours away.

    Why choose ILA?

    ILA Vietnam is Vietnam�s leading English language training organisation.
    We currently have six training centres, with three centres in Ho Chi Minh City and one each in Hanoi, Danang and Vung Tau, and we are rapidly expanding with several more centres opening in the next year.

    We currently teach over 8,000 students and employ over 160 expatriates in a wide range of teaching, academic management and administrative positions. Our centres are designed, built and equipped to the highest standards, thus providing teachers, employees and students with an excellent study and work environment. We place a strong emphasis on academic quality and this is reflected in our approach to teacher recruitment, development, support and management.

    Key benefits :
    �EHighly competitive remuneration packages
    �EExcellent career opportunities in academic management, teacher training and in other areas
    �EStrong support and professional development
    �EDedicated academic management and support team
    �EIn-house CELTA, CELTYL and DELTA programmes
    �EWorld class facilities and teaching resources
    �E$1000 USD completion bonus to teachers
    �EOpportunities to get involved in charitable project work
    �EOption to transfer between our various training centres located throughout Vietnam

    What�s more, we also offer:
    �EFirst five nights accommodation free of charge
    �EWork permits and entry/exit visas organised and paid for by the school
    �E$600 Annual health insurance allowance, paid at the beginning of contracts
    �EPaid level testing and other non-teaching work available throughout the year
    �EAirport pickup by a member of ILA staff
    �E30 days holiday, including national and ILA holidays
    �EFree �Survival Vietnamese�Elessons
    �EILA sponsored social activities throughout the year, including the ILA birthday party, the Christmas Party, quarterly get-togethers and an annual trip to the beach.

    What if I want to volunteer while living abroad?
    ILA prides itself on being involved with and giving something back to the local community and has therefore established the ILA Community Network. Staff and employees can volunteer in charitable projects that include both fundraising events and volunteering options at shelters, orphanages, or the Cancer Hospital.

    Please visit our website for more information.

    What positions are available?

    ILA Vietnam is seeking EFL professionals for the following positions:
    �EYoung Learners teachers to teach a variety of general English levels to children aged 4 to 18 years old.
    �EAdult English teachers to teach General English, Exam Preparation (IELTS & TOEFL), and Corporate ELT programmes.
    �EAcademic Management Positions

    All teaching positions require a minimum of a BA + CELTA (or equivalent.) Academic Management positions require the above as well as a MA or DELTA.

    I�m interested! How do I apply?

    Please forward by email the following to our recruitment department:

    1. Full CV, dated and with references
    2. Copy of passport page with details and photograph.
    3. Cover letter, stating which training centre and which position you are applying to
    4. Soonest realistic start date.

    For further information about ILA Vietnam, available positions, or volunteer opportunites, visit our website at

    402 Nguyen This Minh Khai
    Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam
    Telephone: (884) 929-0100
    Fax: (884) 929-0070
    Contact person: Caroline Elliot/Maree Chiricosta, Recruitment Executives

    Vietnam Sales Manager Needed

    Agensi Pekerjaan Professional Advisory Support Sdn. Bhd. - PA recruitment is established to assist a broad range of Malaysian businesses in the sourcing and recruitment of quality talent.

    We believe that the right person makes a difference and we are here to help companies drive their organizations forward by placing the right person at the right job.

    We are providing premium staffing services with the highest level of dedication and professionalism to the clients at the same time providing good career opportunities to the candidates.

    The ranges of services we are offering namely Executive Search, Permanent Recruitment, Temporary Staffing, Contract & Outsourcing Services, Promoters and Ambassadors.

    Sales Manager - Vietnam


    • To plan marketing strategies & budgets
    • To implement & control marketing development to achieve sales target & objective
    • To facilitate sales & marketing effort in search of new business
    • To establish business rapport with authorities, government agencies, Oil & Gas companies & business contacts
    • To maintain strong business relationship with existing & new corporate accounts


    • Candidate must possess at least a Bachelor's Degree, Post Graduate Diploma or Professional Degree in Business Studies/Administration/Management or equivalent.
    • At least 3 year(s) of working experience in sales & marketing in the Oil & Gas industry.
    • MUST have regional sales experience in fabrication & engineering works in Oil & Gas industry
    • Applicants should be Malaysian, or hold relevant residence status.
    • Willing to travel & be based in Vietnam

    Interested candidates may also forward your detailed resume to:

    Agensi Pekerjaan
    Professional Advisory Support Sdn. Bhd.

    Unit 5.05 - 5.07, Level 5,
    AMODA, No. 22, Jalan Imbi,
    55100 Kuala Lumpur.
    Email :

    Michelle�s journey took her to the heart of Vietnam

    10/12/2007 - 11:40:03 AM

    LAST month, Dungarvan native, Michelle Power, packed her bags and traded the unpredictable West Waterford weather for the sweltering humidity of Vietnam�s bustling cities.

    Michelle, a Work and Travel Advisor at the Dungarvanbased travel organisation, ito-i, was journeying on behalf of her company to assess the various locally run projects in Vietnam, where i-to-i sends approximately 100 volunteers every year.

    As part of its general business practice, the company, which works with more than 500 locally run projects across the globe, regularly sends staff abroad to assess the safety, viability and level of need of its volunteer projects.

    While in Vietnam, Michelle visited 10 such projects, including eight projects in Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh City. When asked about the most memorable of these, Michelle commented that she was most affected by the community development projects in Hanoi and the charity cooking house project in Ho Chi Minh City. �Our community development projects in Hanoi are very well run. They were also very rewarding, as here you�re helping special needs children, and the kids are happy and so appreciative of everything you do for them.�

    As for the charity cooking house in Ho Chi Minh City, which prepares approximately 2,000 meals per day and delivers them by hand to hospital patients and under-privileged people in the area, Michelle was quick to relay the project�s importance: �The most compelling project I visited was the cooking house, as you can really see the immediate results of the work that you�re doing. In the morning, you are literally filling bags of rice and then distributing them to hospital patients and other deserving people. Being involved in the distribution of rice to people in the city who are living in poverty was great, because you actually got to see the appreciation on people�s faces when you arrived.�

    When asked if she would return to Vietnam again, Michelle replied, �In a heartbeat. Vietnam is an amazing country with a lot to offer and an amazing history to explore. There is so much culture and fascinating things to see and do. And the Vietnamese are the friendliest people ever - they make you feel so welcome.� i-to-i is Ireland�s leading volunteer travel and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training organ-isation. To learn more about the company�s volunteer projects in Vietnam, or for further information on any of ito-i�s services, please call one of their Work and Travel Advisors on +353 (0)58 40050, or visit their website at

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Community Development Officer, WWF Vietnam

    11 Oct 2007

    In close collaboration with the ADB and MONRE, WWF Greater Mekong is running a 5-year project, the Central Truong Son Biodiversity Conservation Corridor which aims to maintain the ecological integrity of the Central Truong Son landscape through improved management of core areas for biodiversity conservation and the sustainable development of the landscape through the creation of community co-management
    mechanisms. In Vietnam, the project covers the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces. In Quang Tri, the CTS Conservation Programme is also supported through a grant from DANIDA.

    WWF Vietnam Country Programme is seeking an experienced and qualified national candidate to fill the position of COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICER working full-time for a WWF project in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.

    Major duties and responsible

    The Community Development Officer is a full-time position to the project. The position will be contracted by WWF to facilitate participatory and consultative processes in community land use planning, community co-management agreement, which stakeholders develop, agree and adopt participatory management plans within a natural resource management mosaic under this project.

    The position will assist the Quang Tri provincial authorities to develop and implement community based forest management in Dakrong and Huong Hoa communes, and assist in the implementation of both DANIDA and BCI project activities as agreed with provincial partners, and under direction from the Quang Tri Technical Advisor.

    The main qualifications required:

    • A higher degree in a related field (forestry, sociology, resource management)
    • At least five years of professional experience in a relevant field
    • Experience working for or with ODA projects and/or a relevant government agency
    • Familiarity with community conservation concepts, including community forestry and co-management
    • Familiarity with the Vietnamese government institutional framework for community forestry and conservation
    • Proven ability to design and supervise participatory community based conservation models
    • Proven ability to work in a team of mixed skills, interests and abilities towards a common goal
    • Ability to focus on large-scale objectives and adapt activities and processes to meet the overall needs of a project
    • Fluency in written and spoken Vietnamese and English

    Duty Station: WWF Project Office in Dong Ha, Quang Tri, Viet Nam

    Closing date for applications: Friday, 26 October 2007 with interviews afterward

    Applicants should send their CVs and covering letters in English to Mr. Mark Grindley, CTS Technical Advisor, WWF Vietnam Country Programme. Email:, or post to:

    WWF Project Office in Dong Ha
    c/o Quang Tri Forest Protection Department
    39 Tran Hung Dao, Dong Ha, Quang Tri,

    Only short-listed candidates will be notified. No telephone contact.

    Interested candidates are invited to visit WWF website:

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Vietnam TEFL Training Courses

    TEFL International - CTEFL/CTESOL. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
    Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Vietnam
    Where the world is your classroom. Internationally recognized certificate teaching English as a foreign language (CTEFL), internationally accredited by the BOAA. 4 week, 160hr intensive course. Guaranteed jobs worldwide. TEFL International is the world's l ...
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    Saturday, October 6, 2007

    Nearly 70,000 Vietnamese workers sent overseas

    Over 62,700 Vietnamese workers sent aboard
    13:18' 05/10/2007 (GMT+7)

    VietNamNet Bridge - As many as 62,760 Vietnamese workers have been sent to work abroad under time-limit contracts since the beginning of the year, meeting 78.5 percent of the annual plan, the Overseas Labour Management Department reported.

    The department, under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said Malaysia is Vietnam’s biggest labour import market, which currently has 21,313 guest-workers, followed by Taiwan (16,554), the Republic of Korea (8,536), Qatar (4,350), Japan (3,047), Macau (1,631) and other countries (7,032 in total).

    The RoK is a promising labour market for Vietnamese workers due to its relatively high salary, ranging between US$800 and US$1,000. However, the number of jobs is limited.

    An official from the department said Vietnam is one of 15 labour markets which receive high appreciation from RoK employers. Vietnamese labourers are skilful and there rarely break labour contracts. As Vietnam is engaged in the Employment Permit System (EPS) programme under the memorandum of understanding signed with the RoK, it has the highest number of workers in the RoK as compared with other countries.

    At the moment, the centre for overseas labour, under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is the only centre authorised to recruit workers for the RoK.

    Friday, October 5, 2007

    63 pct of Vietnamese university graduates fail to find jobs

    Up to 63 percent of university and college graduates in Vietnam are unable to find jobs, local newspaper Labor on Wednesday quoted statistics from the country's Ministry of Education and Training as reporting.

    One of main reason for the situation is inappropriate training programs with few textbooks at many universities, the newspaper said.

    In the 2006-2007 academic year, 161,411 students graduated from universities nationwide.

    Vietnam currently has 1,540,201 university and college students, or 181 students per 10,000 residents. The number of universities and colleges in Vietnam will double the current figure to reach 600 by 2020, the paper said.

    Thursday, October 4, 2007

    Life Abroad Guide - Northern Vietnam

    If you recently finished school or quit your job, you might have considered living abroad. Are you full of comprehension, but ready to take on the challenge of starting a life in a new exotic setting? There are as many reasons for taking the plunge as there are people who do indeed work overseas. But where to start? Right here with an LAG article.

    2005-2007 Hanoi, Vietnam - Welcome to part 1 of a practical guide series on life as a foreigner. I'll be writing about places I've actually lived and summing up the best, worst, and misunderstood about each place.

    Northern Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular, often goes overlooked by those world travelers looking to finance the next step of their adventure. In Asia, most people think first about working in Thailand, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan. But Hanoi holds some real possibilities for work and adventure. Let's skip the pitch and assume you want useful information about what it takes to make it in the Red River Delta.

    Section 1. Finding work

    No matter how cheap the cost of living is, you'll need money to finance your adventure. Luckily for native English speakers, there is a growing demand for English teachers and not much concern over credentials and training. There are other opportunities available, but for those of you at the beginning of your career, none pay as well as teaching English. If you want to get involved in other fields, you should consider the chances for advancement and the value of experience before the take-home pay.

    1.A Teaching English

    As of 2007, private English teachers could make $15-20 per hour at any number of places. Factor in more if you look stereotypically Western (blond hair, blue eyes), less if you look decidedly Asian. Most schools look for those with a clean, friendly appearance and a four-year degree. Cleverlearn has a relatively new language center in town, and is a popular place to teach, given the free use of their media room and fitness gym. Apollo is another large private school. The city is exploding with private language institutes, and you really can find opportunities within a week if you just show up and start asking around. There are also some positions that are only available to those with teaching experience or credentials, but it is unclear whether employers are really being discerning. Universities are among this questionable group, since they often demand experienced teachers but don't pay a higher wage or bother to check resumes.

    The beauty of teaching English in Hanoi is that you are free to profit fully from networking and taking on new jobs. The work pays by the hour and I know one person who was able to maintain a luxurious lifestyle and save money for the future on only nine hours of teaching each week. It's often small corporate lessons and at-home tutoring that pay very well but don't offer many hours. You can't get these jobs right away, so don't be so quick to completely fill up your schedule with jobs that pay just the average. Above all else, teaching English is a great starting point - giving you the security and flexibility to look for that perfect job.

    1.B Teaching other stuff

    Experienced or certified teachers can look for work at Hanoi's two international schools, the United Nations International School (UNIS) and the Hanoi International School (HIS). They do most of their hiring at international job fairs, but they do seek local hires from time to time. You can also call and put your name on the substitute teachers' list.

    Don't be afraid to teach what you know. Many have successfully taught yoga and other trendy classes to the executive expat crowd. Just don't expect to get rich teaching ordinary Vietnamese. English lessons are seen as a valuable investment that will pay off professionally, unlike Pilates.

    1.C International intrigue

    You won't find an entry-level or mid-level job at many foreign companies in Hanoi, but you might have more luck with international charities and development organizations. Don't expect to make much money at first (or ever) but it is a good chance to get your hands dirty. Talk to the people at the NGO Resource Center to find out where the action is.

    1.D Journalism

    Hanoi, like anywhere else, holds possibilities for the aspiring journalist or photojournalist. Be aware though that calling yourself either of these things without the proper government approval is a recipe for disaster. Writing any news content carries a risk.

    That said, many freelance journalists operate successfully from Hanoi with proper press ID. And the country's English-language daily, the ever popular Vietnam News, often hires young foreigners to help edit and rewrite their content. The capital's media has been growing at a furious pace recently, and there are even opportunities in television and radio.

    Section 2. Living

    Everyone has their own needs, but it's a safe bet that you'll want food, shelter, and some protection against sudden death. Read on...

    2.A Housing

    To avoid costly mistakes, arrange housing before you get to Hanoi. While housing is affordable, the city's hotels are not. Check out classified sites like The New Hanoian or Expat Vietnam. Having roommates is ideal because of the way most houses are built. Tall and narrow, it's easy for everyone to have their own bedroom. Decent apartments are becoming more common, though you pay a large premium over sharing a house. Here is some housing market data to think about:
    -a typical furnished five story house cost me $450/month
    -the same house was leased for $600 after I left; the difference? I had a Vietnamese blood relative negotiating for me.
    Most houses rented to young foreigners will go for between $600 and $900, split between three or four people. Even without expert negotiators, that's much cheaper than apartments which are in such high demand that they start around $400 and are much harder to bargain down.

    2.B Eating

    Here's where you can make the case that Hanoi is a horrible place to live. The food tastes great, but it has a price. If you are pulling down over $2000/month, you can pay that price in cash by going to upscale restaurants and ordering delivered food from trusty restaurants. However, most will want to be extremely careful about what they put in their mouths.
    Rule 1: Assume you will get parasitic worms. Buy and take worm pills every six months.
    Rule 2: Ask for no MSG. Khong mi chinh! (pronounced hchkhchhckhck-hoe-ng mee ching) Any Vietnamese person who was allergic or sensitive to MSG died long ago, so none of the survivors think twice about adding two tablespoons of MSG to every dish.
    Rule 3: Say no to extras. Oh, how nice! They gave you a moist towelette. Don't worry, as it WILL show up on your bill. If you aren't going to use the towelette or eat the peanuts be sure to send them back immediately.
    Rule 4: Don't rely on subtlety. If you need a waiter scream, "Em oi!" (pronounced M-uhhh-ee!) This is the equivalent of screaming, "yo bee-atch," and it's the only way to get attention and respect in a local eatery.
    Rule 5: Don't eat ice, raw vegetables or cut fruit. That's where the serious parasites live and you should eat this things only once you have built a resistance to local microbes AND found people you trust to run a sanitary kitchen.

    There is a whole other set of rules for buying and cooking your own food, but I will give you the condensed version: HIRE SOMEONE TO DO YOUR SHOPPING.

    2.C Safety

    While not strictly required, I couldn't send you off to Hanoi without a brief primer on personal safety. Hanoi is a boiling kettle of death, and it's only by luck that one is able to survive. Again, we have some simple rules.

    Rule 1: Always be safe on the road.
    -Funny, right? goes without saying? You'd think so, but foreigners in Hanoi are a boastful bunch, and often fueled by alcohol. Don't get on a bike without a helmet (get one that fits well and protects your jaw and face). You probably shouldn't even cross the road without one. Also, don't drive beyond your abilities. Most young foreigners are riding motorcycles for the first time in their lives, and you should NOT fold under the pressure to be as nonchalant as they are. Ride as a passenger everyday for at least a week to learn the real rules of the road. In two years, I never drove myself, relying on motorcycle taxis instead. They are affordable and you can pick experienced drivers. Try calling Cokbi (tel:04 262 6364), and remember to brind a helmet with you.

    Rule 2: Master your fears, cross the road
    -There is a true art to crossing the road in Hanoi. Continuously look both ways, no matter how impossible it is at the moment to imagine someone driving the wrong direction. Move smoothly - no sudden stops or starts. NEVER step backwards. Waggle your hand in front of you to signal that you are moving forward.

    Rule 3: Be aware of trends in crime

    -Violent crime is low in Hanoi, but rising. Keep your bling hidden and keep yourself visible. Motorbike theft and home burglary are very common, so don't leave your bike on the street at night and keep a safe at home for cash and valuables (the heavier, the better).

    Rule 4: Don't give up your passport
    -You are nothing without a foreign passport. Authority figures may try to lay their hands on it, either because they want to put you in a helpless situation or because they don't know better. By law, foreigners are required to carry their passports at all times, but you can get away with a photocopy. Always give the photocopy, and leave the real thing in a safe.

    and we also have one suggestion - not a safety issue, unless you consider sounding stupid a risk to your ego:
    Remember, they call it the American war.
    -The Vietnamese had plenty of wars before ours, and plenty of independence wars. The one with marines, napalm, the Ho Chi Minh trail, and all that good studd is called the American war in Hanoi.

    Section 3. Having fun
    Why else would you be going to Hanoi? Here's the top ten:

    10. Bobby Chin's
    This upscale dining establishment sets the standard in town. Western prices for western fusion -a nice treat for special occasions.

    9. Truc Bac lake
    This underrated lake is only one of many in Hanoi, but it's well worth the visit. It's where John McCain parachuted during the war. You can easily walk around the lake, but like all walking tours, it's best to get it done early. By 6am the street traffic will give all but the most hardy foot jockeys a hard time.

    8. Books and DVDs
    "Copyright?!! We don't need no stinking copyright!" Pirated foreign language books and DVDs still flood the market in Hanoi, and who could blame the sellers? There is not enough demand and no legitimate market for these products here.

    7. Dragonfly
    This bar has become somewhat of an institution. A bit of a sweaty meat market, but let's be honest, that's why you like it. (15 Hang Buom,

    6. RnR Tavern
    Day or night, the tavern is the best place in town for affordable tacos and burritos. At night, the mood turns decidedly psychedelic and the all-Vietnamese Grateful Dead cover band plays weekly. There's always a pool table, satellite TV and a balcony, making this a safe and comfortable hang out for all. (47 Lo Su Street, tel:04 934 4109,,

    5. Hang Trong street
    Don't know what to do with your weekend? Go to Hang Trong. Popular rooftop cafe, PUKU, is here to help nurse your hangover. When you're done, window shop the art shops and haggle yourself a famous oil painting.

    4. Cinematheque
    This 'club' is the best place for theater-style movies. There's excellent food, wine and coffee that you can take into the movies. They often have special theme weeks with a truly international film selection and lots of highly rated documentaries. Best of all, they run on donations and concessions only. (22A Hai Ba Trung)

    3. Titanic (aka the Ship of Fools)
    This bar on a boat is on the 'bad' side of town (i.e. the side not protected from flash floods), but that's only part of the reason why it's known by some as the Ship of Fools. Titanic is usually open after most other bars have been shut by the police. Definitely THE place to lose some inhibitions and be silly. That all stops the moment it's time to go home, since you'll have deal with walking across the narrow gang plank and, of course, the 'bad' side of town.

    2. Master Quang
    Master Pham Vu Quang teaches Shao Lin kung fu, as well as Tai Chi. I recommend the kung fu, at least twice a week if you are physically able. You can arrange very affordable one-on-one lessons at his personal studio overlooking Hai Ba Trung street.

    1. Quan An Ngon
    Literally, 'Delicious Restaurant', Quan An Ngon is one of the best places in town, and surprisingly it's also one of the cheapest (not to mention safe). Generally, the more dishes offered in a Vietnamese restaurant, the worse and more expensive the food is. If a place offers only one dish, it's sure to taste great and be cheap. Here, dozens of food stalls operate within one courtyard, each serving only one dish at rock-bottom prices (with a modest mark-up for wait staff and rents). Perhaps the best reason to eat here is that none of it is local food. Food at the 'Delicious Restaurant' is all southern style, replacing the fat, grisle, and MSG of the north with fresh herbs and spices of the south. (18 Phan Boi Chau street)

    There is one more reason to live and work in Hanoi and that reason is Air Asia. Now that this low cost airline has opened flights between Hanoi, Bangkok, and KL, there is nothing to keep you from exploring Southeast Asia's treasures. Factoring in the relative ease of saving money in Hanoi (versus Bangkok or Tokyo) and you've got to agree, nothing beats it as a home base for your adventures.

    A repost from here.