Hi all, thank you for taking time to read and answer my question. I am from a small state in the USA and was recently offered a position at an international school in Hanoi, requiring me to move in July. I applied because I am 25, single and looking for adventure at this phase of my life while also not sacrificing finanacial security. I was feeling confident about this decision until speaking with my family who pointed out that I haven’t been to Southeast Asia or loved out of the state (have traveled but never lived elsewhere due to family commitments and school). This would be a big change for me and I was wondering what people’s thoughts were. I would be leaving the comfort of a secure job in a state that I know well for a two year stay in Hanoi. Has anyone else taken this leap of faith? Is it difficult to build a social network? Has anyone moved to Hanoi without ever having visited before? Thanks for your thoughts!
I'm not a foreigner in Hanoi. I'm a Vietnamese in Hanoi, so I can't say about experience of foreigners in Hanoi, but:
+ Do you know that many foreigners come to Hanoi or Vietnam without even a job offers (they come here first then find jobs), and they still live well, enjoy the place?
Hanoi may not be a best place in the planet, but it is a good and safe place.
+ When I was 25 years old, I also went to the Philippines without any job offer, and I didn't have lots of money, and that is one of the best decisions in my life.
Take the chance of your life!
If you want more opinion/feedback, perhaps you want to join some Facebook groups in Hanoi, like "Hanoi Massive", there is a big community of expats in Hanoi, include Americans.
The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Hanoi is an exceptionally great place to start out abroad. There are many comforts from home here (especially if you live in the Tay Ho or Ba Dinh Area). There is a great expat community and there are always: events, meet ups, 5kruns, etc. going on. Thus, if it is adjusting that you're worried about there is no need to fret. If you want to make sure that you can fallback on something and feel comfortable- Hanoi is perfect that. I walk into places sometimes and I forget that I'm in Vietnam...
I moved here over two years ago at age 23 without a job. I had never traveled before and I'm an introvert. I have been comfortably working here and having a better social life than I even had at home. It's easy to participate in a lot of things and meet people.
It's honestly a great place to start out if you've never traveled and need the home comfort. All I can advise you is to put yourself out there with coworkers, groups, etc. As I said, it's really easy to meet people and participate in activities and stuff, but of course it just comes with a little effort.
I've found however that just a little effort goes a long way. A lot of people are in your same situation and eager to meet/do things.
Hope that helps!
Many Americans still associate Vietnam with that terrible war 40 some years ago, and fail to realize that this country has changed considerably. I recently lived in Hanoi for 16 months and loved that experience. The only reason I left was because of my advanced age, but had I been 25 (I'm 74) I probably would have stayed. No, it's not perfect, but the local people are exceptional in my opinion. I moved back to Oregon just recently, but I already miss my wonderful Viet friends. This is a special place, and you should not miss the opportunity. Feel free to PM me for details about my move and how I found a great apartment, etc. By the way, Americans are treated very very well in Hanoi!!!