Overcoming the Vietnam Blues
Moving to Vietnam to start an ESL career is a decision that has serious impacts on one's personal life. Suddenly you are on the other side of the world, in a country where most people don’t speak your language, where food isn’t what you're used to and where rules and regulations seem to not exist.
Though Vietnam is a beautiful country, many of us experience homesickness at some point during our stay here. For some, this is nothing more than a fleeting sensation, while others are so affected by it that they decide to return home, earlier than expected.
To combat the “blues” we have created this short overview of tips and tricks you can use to feel better and enjoy your stay in this country.
· Exercise and fitness
Feeling down is partly caused by serotonin, which is released in the brain. To prevent a high level of serotonin you need to be active. We as ESL teachers tend to be less active than when we are at home. The ease of driving on a scooter of GRAB to work and back home, followed by ordering food from Vietnammm and turning on Netflix has made us a little lazy.
You don’t have to go overboard either! Just a 30 min walk around town or in the gym will make you feel better already. Furthermore, being outside has many more benefits, such as meeting new people and getting a bit of vitamin D from the sun.
· Broaden your circle of friends
A great way to keep your mind busy and not worried about what is happening back at home is having people to talk to. Now, don’t fall in the trap of socializing solely with individuals of your own country. Make friends with people from different countries, especially Vietnam.
Learn from your Vietnamese friends, explore the culture and food and try your hands on the Vietnamese language. You might just end up feeling like a local!
· Join a sports club or activity
In most big cities in Vietnam, you’ll find sports teams that are playing your favorite sports. Most of these teams are a mix of Westerners and Vietnamese, which is a great way to get to know even more people. For those that don’t seek out team sports, consider Yoga or dancing. There are numerous activities to do, you just got to look for them.
· Talk to other expats and share your experiences
At times you just need some advice from someone that is going through the same experiences as you do. You can find many people through social media, such as Facebook or Instagram. Additionally, you find forums of advice on pages such as Expat.com or Internations.com.