Vietnam Assist has helped a British client bought a new chest of draw and delivered it to his home. His adorable and playful cocker spaniel dog bites everything he could reach for and leaves them everywhere in the apartment. He did joyfully bite a considerable number of slippers and elegant and shiny business shoes over one year of his age. Shoes and slippers are now kept in this chest of draw. Those bitten ones are now kept as toys for the cocker spaniel.
Vietnam, a developing country with peaceful life, friendly people, low cost of living, beautiful landscape and with potential job opportunities welcomes millions of expats each year. Most of them enjoy their new experience in Vietnam. How about difficulties that they may cope with while living here in Vietnam? There are some common challenges that foreigners might encounter when living and visiting Vietnam that you should be aware before moving to here.
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 vegetarians or people who eat Halal food, it seems that it is difficult to find good food at reasonable price. Also, ingredients from their countries such as: curries, spices, herbs are not easy to find in Vietnam. An Indian expat said 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.
Weather varies in Vietnam from north to south. 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 time in Hanoi. A few of expats can easily get sick because of different weather conditions.
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 misunderstanding. This creates both funny situations and bitter experiences. An expat 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 him a lighter. Finally, the expatriate managed to take the receptionist to the room to stop the burn.
Language barrier also affects 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. Many English teachers 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.
The most common means of transportation in Vietnam is motorbike. In the big cities, each person has one motorbike on the average. The most difficult time is when foreigners first come to Vietnam is to cross the streets. Foreigners just keep waiting till the entire riders pass the street but this will never happen in Vietnam streets especially in big cities. The advice is just keeping moving forward but watch out, the riders will pave the way for you. Keep calm. You can do it!
Getting work permit in Vietnam is cumbersome. Many foreigners asked why they still need resident card if they already get a work permit. It usually takes a long time to get these documents done. Also, instructions and regulations are not public officially. Getting a police’s criminal record for is a challenge, too. Some foreigners need police’s criminal record while they lived here for their next job – also in Vietnam or in another country.
Even though there are frustrations as mentioned above, those foreigners who adapt themselves to Vietnam lifestyle, do lively happily here. In comparison with nearby countries, Vietnam is still among the most favorite destinations for foreigners to come and spend their expat life.
Do not hesitate to contact Vietnam Assist if you need any help from us to get your life more comfortable in Hanoi.