English Teaching at Ho Chi Minh City With Fellow Travelers

Traveling alone has made me ultimately resourceful when I’m not in a familiar place.  It gave me this sense of strength that you can figure out how to survive and train you to become resilient. Last year, I went to Vietnam out of boredom. I have been curious about this country for a very long time and how it’ would be like teaching English to Vietnamese kids. My little dreams and desires are being granted in a funny and weird way. I am a living proof that wishes can be granted and manifestation works. However though, for your desires to manifest, you should be really specific about what you want. Our subconscious mind only follows what we instruct and then send these signals to the Universe (at least, that’s what I believed in)If you are wishing for something general, chances are, you’ll be sending mixed signals and confusing messages to the Universe. In order for our desires to effectively manifest, you should have strong visualization and imagination skills.  I guess I wasn’t that specific coz the Universe heard me and made me a millionaire (I dreamed of becoming one), only it wasn’t in the Philippines but in Vietnam!

View in my room at Jackma English School and Hostel

So you see, my VND millions got stolen at the first hostel I stayed. Initially, I was supposed to stay at the  Airbnb I booked but I got into an argument with the host because he canceled my reservation at the last minute. So I had to book for a hostel somewhere near the district.  It was a decent looking one made for travelers. I was confident that the place was safe because they have CCTV cameras installed. I was with 3 other female travelers in the room and left my wallet during the time when I had to grab something to eat for dinner. When I woke the next morning, all my VNDs were gone inside my bag but good thing I still have pesos to exchange with the remaining VNDs I have covering enough of my stay for a week in Ho Chih Minh City.  Good thing I only booked for the night there because the original plan was Ito stay in this English learning school for those who applied as volunteers to teach English.  I packed my stuff  and went to Jackma English

Fellow travelers who are staying also at the Jackma English

My fellow traveler Shikhar Chauhan along with our students

Class schedule 

Upon arriving at the hostel, I was asked to register some information and they led me to where I’ll be sleeping along with fellow teachers.   Friendly female travelers greeted me and told me I can join them at the night food market for dinner, which I gladly accepted.

Vietnamese are all familiar with grammar but their main struggle is constructing these words into sentences. That’s why our classes are more conversational English with designated topics to discuss. We are required to ask about their opinions on a certain topic, encourage them to talk freely in English and be open for coaching.  All the students were very eager to learn.

Beer on the streets with fellow travelers/volunteers

We decided to have a few beers after the class at a nearby store in the area. It feels so much like the Philippines and even the typical “tambay”things we do is similar like buying chips at a sari sari looking store.  We Asians have so many similarities that I instantly felt at home in this country.  Too bad I was there for just a short time and had to go back to my country because of  work.

Sight-seeing in HCMC 

And because I came here solely for the purpose of the volunteering experience, I didn’t have much time to check out HCMC. I just went to a few nearby tourist spots that are within the district.  As always, I relied on Grab to get to my desired destination as it is easier and hassle-free. I’ve had enough of them on my first day so I need a break from headaches.

It was a humid day when I went here. I just bought a few  souvenirs like Vietnamese dolls , cute vanity compact mirrors plus a handful of the typical stuff that tourist people buy as gifts (magnets, key chains etc). I also made sure to buy a few stocks of my fave Vietnamese coffee along with the drip filter.

Saigon Central Post Office

A portrait of Ho Chi Minh (Jae L, Jan 2016)

The structure of these buildings are astounding.  And because Vietnam has been part of French Indochina in the late 19th century. the  trace of  Gothic, Renaissance and French influences is pretty evident.  You’ll see maps of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia titled Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1892 which translates to “Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892”. The second map of greater Saigon is titled Saigon et ses environs 1892 that translates as “Saigon and its surroundings 1892”.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Just nearby, you’d see the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame.  I can’t help but ask the local vendors there to have my photo taken in front of the cathedral.  I am getting used to this thing. Better than having all my photos taken as selfies.

One of my student requested fro me to write her a letter. I find all Vietnamese really sweet.

Because of this pandemic,  all plans have been canceled and the whole world is suffering from this CCP virus. I just hope everything goes back to normal. I feel like even my writing is suffering. I am totally blocked but then I had to write for the sake of my sanity.

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