Viet Nam is a vibrant country filled with natural wonders, welcoming people, and dynamic opportunity. Its rich culture, delicious cuisine, and beautiful weather offer Volunteers a tremendous backdrop to make a historic impact as part of only the second cohort to serve in the country.
The Peace Corps is excited to partner with Viet Nam’s Ministry of Education and Training to implement the English Education Program. The program supports Viet Nam’s national priority of English proficiency for its secondary school students and emerging workforce, as well as strengthening teachers’ English proficiency and capacity to teach English. The objective of this project is the acquisition of English language skills by students and teachers, with emphasis on strengthening speaking ability and comprehension. There is particular interest in the communicative authenticity and cultural exchange that Peace Corps Volunteers can inspire.
Volunteers will be assigned to secondary schools and live in towns or smaller communities that have been jointly selected by the Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education and Training. These areas have less developed infrastructure and greater educational needs than the capital city. National curricula are followed in order to prepare students for high-stakes national exams. Volunteers will co-teach and co-plan English classes with their Vietnamese counterparts. English proficiency in these communities will likely be low. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers will provide English language practice opportunities by implementing extracurricular activities, school events, after-school clubs, and summer activities.
This will be the second group of Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Viet Nam. Like Peace Corps Volunteers around the world, they can look forward to learning a new language, developing teaching skills that are effective in classrooms, navigating unfamiliar work and living environments, adjusting to local cultural norms, pursuing opportunities for intercultural exchange, and forging friendships with neighbors and colleagues. However, Volunteers in this program have a significant additional responsibility: continuing to establish the reputation and credibility of the Peace Corps in Viet Nam. The first few cohorts will have to navigate greater levels of ambiguity than a Volunteer in more established programs. This cohort will continue to help the Peace Corps learn what it means to be a Volunteer in Viet Nam and build a stronger program. The individuals selected should demonstrate high levels of self-awareness, humility, initiative, and maintaining one’s health and well-being, as well as the ability to work well with various stakeholders, including community members, school faculty, and Peace Corps staff.
In order to establish credibility in the school community, Volunteers must be willing to abide by the same rules, norms, and standards that the Ministry and local leadership convey to local teachers regarding behavior and appearance. Volunteers are expected to be prepared and punctual for teaching responsibilities, to attend required faculty meetings, assemblies and events, and to adhere to the local school calendar and its holiday schedule.
Beyond the classroom, Volunteers will work towards the Peace Corps’ goals by living with host families and spending time in their Vietnamese community. Integrating into one’s community through sharing meals, practicing Vietnamese, participating in everyday activities and special events, and developing friendships are hallmarks of successful Volunteer service.
By the end of their in-country training, Volunteers will need to demonstrate competence in the Vietnamese language, classroom teaching, and progress in their adjustment to norms of Vietnamese communities.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will meet the following criteria:
o A Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.
o 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.
Highly competitive candidates will possess one or more of the following criteria:
o Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics.
o Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
o Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
o Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
o Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level (middle or high school) in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
o Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with 1 academic year classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language.
o Experience with professional development for teachers, curriculum development, and educational materials development.
o Experience planning and organizing activities for children and young adults (e.g. youth camps/clubs).
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Volunteers will receive intensive training in Vietnamese throughout Pre-Service Training. Volunteers are expected to continue developing language skills during service through self-study and/or tutoring as use of local language assists with daily living and relationship building.
Vietnamese is considered a difficult language for English speakers to speak and comprehend, at least partly because it is a tonal language, where a single word can have multiple meanings depending on the pitch used. A desire to study and learn Vietnamese is essential as Volunteers will work in areas where there is little English language spoken. Vietnamese is a Category IV language on the Foreign Service Institute’s language difficulty ranking, which ranks languages from easier (Category I) to more difficult (Category V) to learn for those with English as their native language.
Volunteers will live with host families throughout Pre-Service Training (the first three months in country) and for six months or possibly their entire two years of service in their communities. Homes are likely to be similar to that of Vietnamese teaching colleagues. Host family accommodations provide Volunteers with a safe, private room that includes basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. During Pre-Service Training, Volunteers will likely live in homestays clustered in close proximity to training sites and will participate in trainings with smaller groups, meeting with the larger group one to three days every two weeks. During the two-year service, each Volunteer will live in a town or township near their assigned school. There may be exceptions where some Volunteers live in independent housing following their swearing-in as a Volunteer. Volunteers may live up to an hour or more away from the nearest Volunteer. Volunteers will be embedded in a community and will have access to local markets and transportation to the capital city, Ha Noi, where the Peace Corps office is located. Wireless internet access is readily available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can be of varying quality.
As with all sites selected for Volunteers, housing will meet Peace Corps safety and security requirements. Volunteers will have their own room, but may have less privacy than which they may be accustomed. Living with a host family is not the same as simply renting a room: you will participate in communal activities – such as cooking together, sharing meals and celebrating family events – and host families may feel responsible for your well-being and safety. They will likely be very interested in how you are spending time, what you enjoy eating, and your interests and hobbies. As this is a newer program, government officials will also likely be curious about your work, language development, and community integration. More broadly, Volunteers in Viet Nam should not presume privacy with regard to their internet usage; the government of Viet Nam routinely monitors all social media.
Regardless of where in the world they serve, Peace Corps Volunteers are often the subject of curiosity and/or unwanted attention regarding both visible and non-visible aspects of their identity – e.g., skin and hair color or texture, height and weight, race, ethnicity, tribe, national origin, language, religious beliefs, gender identification, sexual orientation, political affiliation, family structure, age, marriage status, socio-economic status, ability, and other aspects. A Volunteer’s colleagues and neighbors may be unused to interacting with foreigners and may have preconceptions about Americans. With the support of Peace Corps staff, Volunteers will become adept at managing this type of attention; as a Volunteer and their community get used to living and working together, the level of this type of attention may fluctuate.
The Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for staff and Volunteers. During Pre-Service Training, staff will provide Volunteers with information and support how a Volunteer’s identities may impact their experiences in relation to integration, safety, and other topics. Peace Corps Viet Nam staff will continue to gather information specific to what Volunteers may experience and will welcome discussions on diversity and inclusivity-related concerns at any time.
Serving in Viet Nam
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Viet Nam: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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