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Informative articles about Vietnam visa and travelling


Jul, 2019

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What are difficulties living in Vietnam as expats ? 

What are difficulties living in Vietnam as expats ? 

By Kim Clara

Living in Vietnam is fun! Yet, there are drawbacks that expats must be aware in order to live a happy life in Vietnam

Vietnam, a developing country with peaceful life, friendly people, low cost of living, beautiful sceneries and many job opportunities is welcoming million of expats each year. All most expats enjoy their new experience in Vietnam. How about difficulties that expats cope with while living in Vietnam? I am going to share with you some common obstacles that foreigners get while living in Vietnam. You should be aware about these before moving to Vietnam.

1.     Traffic:


The most common type of vehicles here is motorbikes. In the big cities, on average, each person has their own motorbike. The most embarrassing moment when foreigners first stay in Vietnam is to cross the streets. Foreigners just keep waiting till the entire riders pass the street but this will never happen in Vietnam. The advice is just keeping moving forward but watch out and the rider will pave the way for you. Just keep calm, don’t be scared of crossing the road. You can do it!

2.     Food:


Vietnamese food is well known for being healthy but Vietnamese people do digest many fresh vegetables and meats. Popular meats are pork, beef, and chicken. Vietnamese even treat dog meat, cat meat, snake… as their delicious foods. For vegetarian or people who eat Halal food, it seems to them that it is difficult to find the good food at good price. Also, ingredients from their countries like: curries, spices, herbs are not easy to find in Vietnam. One time, I talked to one Indian expat; he told me that eating local food for a few times will be fine but having local Vietnamese food day after day will be a hard mission for his family.

3.     Weather:


Weather varies in Vietnam from place to place. There are 4 seasons in Hanoi, for a few people from Arabian countries and even Africa, they feel really uncomfortable under the heat of summer time in Hanoi and Hot season in Ho Chi Minh. Again, it is extremely cold for them to spend winter in Hanoi. A few of expats are easily getting sick because of different weather condition.

4.     Language:


There is a fact that the majority of Vietnamese people do not communicate in English and Vietnamese is not an easy language to learn. This causes many issues in daily life like misunderstanding each other. This creates both funny situations and also bitter experience. One of my friends told me that he spent his holiday in Da Lat and on New Year Eve, he found the A/C was burning, he tried to call the reception, the reception didn’t understand. Instead of coming to the room to stop the burn, he gave my friend a lighter. Finally, my friend managed to take the reception to the room to stop the burn.

Language barrier also affect foreigners’ career path in Vietnam. In practice, many foreigners come to Vietnam with a hope of finding a job in their major or their interest, but many of them ended up with teaching English, teaching Yoga or become amateur models/ PG thanks to their appearance. The issue is foreigners do not speak Vietnamese and they do not understand the common practice of different industries in Vietnam. Among many English teachers that I know, say that initially, they didn’t intend to be English teacher in Vietnam, they just keep searching for job opportunities that they have learnt but had to give up. They don’t even want to call themselves English teachers.

5.     Immigration and policies:


Getting permission to work in Vietnam is cumbersome. Many foreigners ask why they still need resident card if they already get a work permit. Getting these documents usually take a long time and cost much money. Also, instruction and regulation are not public officially.

Even though there are frustrations as mentioned above, foreigners who adapt themselves to Vietnam lifestyle, they do lively happily in Vietnam. In comparison with nearby countries, Vietnam is still among one the most favorite destination for foreigners to come and spend their expat life.


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