With just 4 weeks left until my flight to Vietnam, I thought it a good time for a progress update on my endeavor to teach English abroad. As expected, the 3 month allotment I gave myself for preparations has proven adequate, but not by a large margin. In today’s blog, I’ll touch on what’s been done, what remains, and end with some personal thoughts.


I’m sure I may be missing a few things, but here is a list of required tasks that I have already completed in order to begin teaching English abroad:

  • Research and decide on location, certification course, and course date
  • Create spreadsheets for budgets, tasks, contacts, and accounts
  • Pay deposit for course
  • Decide on arrival date and book flight
  • Apply for Visa on Arrival (VoA), receive VoA Approval Letter, and print Immigration Form
  • Complete FBI Background Check
  • Request and receive transcripts to go with diplomas
  • Transfer direct deposit to a more internationally accessible bank
  • Set up online payment and paperless communication for all billing accounts
  • Complete doctor, dental and vision appointments and fill prescriptions for 90-day supply
  • Cancel all monthly subscriptions no longer required
  • Download and test relevant applications (Skype, WhatsApp, BusMap, etc.)
  • Photocopy all required documents for digital and printed backups


As with the list of what’s been done, this list of what remains may be missing a few items. Here are the tasks that I know have to be accomplished prior to my travel:

  • Pay balance for course
  • Fill out Immigration Form
  • Get a set of passport photos for the Visa and another as extra
  • Order a few hundred dollars worth of Vietnamese currency to bring with me
  • Purchase traveler’s insurance for initial trip
  • Reduce car insurance to “garaged” coverage and secure storage
  • Pack for trip (minimum necessary and within airline limits)
  • Board flight and cross fingers


While a career teaching English abroad may not appeal to or be feasible for everyone, it is a noble, impactful, and typically rewarding pursuit. It is not, however, something than can or should be done on a whim. Research is essential, the requirements are extensive, and the challenges are many. However, if you are like me, then you will see the potential rewards as greater than all the obstacles.

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