±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· Expat Focus Financial Update September 2017
· 10 Things To Think About Before You Move Abroad In Your Middle Age
· Expat Focus Financial Update August 2017
· What Could Higher Interest Rates Mean For Your Overseas Property Purchase?
· Expat Focus Financial Update July 2017
· The Lifestyles And Cultures Of Great Expat Locations
· Understanding Exchange Rates for Your Overseas Property Purchase
· Interview With Duncan Khoury, Head of Marketing, World First Australia
· Expat Focus Financial Update June 2017
Michael Tatarski, Ho Chi Minh CityBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Expat Experiences: Vietnam - Michael Tatarski, Ho Chi Minh City
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Ho Chi Minh City, which most people still call Saigon, on September 8th of this year. I moved a few weeks after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. I wanted to get a job overseas but wasn't hired by my desired government agencies, so I decided to go into the ESL field and move to Vietnam.
What challenges did you face during the move?
My move was actually rather easy. I enrolled in a ESL certification course several months ago, and half of the training took place in Saigon. LanguageCorps, the company which provided the training, arranged a hotel for my first two weeks here, and the staff was very helpful in getting us adjusted to life in Saigon. Obviously I missed my family, but it is easy to make fast friends in the expat community here.
How did you find somewhere to live?
|Ho Chi Minh City|
Are there many other expats in your area?
Very few, if any. We live in a non-touristy part of the city, District 3, that is mostly inhabited by Vietnamese. The big expat areas are farther outside of the city.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
The locals are, for the most part, very friendly. There is an obvious language barrier between me and most of the locals, but we can still communicate if need be. I treat the locals with respect and they reciprocate.
What do you like about life where you are?
The fact that we don't live in a heavily touristed area. My neighborhood gives me a much better sense of what Vietnamese culture is like. Living in a high-rise apartment building would just be wrong, in my opinion. There are also many cheap and very good restaurants serving a wide range of Vietnamese cuisine with easy walking distance. The food aspect goes for the whole city as well. Saigon is a gastronomic playground, with almost any kind of food you can think of available somewhere. Overall life here is fairly easy for an expat.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
|Ho Chi Minh City at night|
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Come in with an open mind and embrace the local culture. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to eat like the locals do. Vietnamese cuisine is amazingly diverse and flavorful and a joy to explore. Embrace the street food culture!
Understand that life here will be much different from where you came from, unless you're coming from another part of Southeast Asia. Expect to be surprised. Many people do not realize how modernized Saigon is. Sure, there are still some rough patches, but this is a very cosmopolitan city that is growing explosively, much like the rest of Vietnam.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are still uncertain. I'm returning to the U.S. next fall for a wedding. I will probably try again to find a job related to International Relations or foreign policy while there, but if that doesn't work out I will most likely continue teaching, either in Vietnam or someplace new.
To learn more about life in Vietnam visit Michael's blog Along the Mekong
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.