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Me llamo Paula, y era periodista en Colombia, con más de 6 años de experiencia en grandes medios, cuando renuncié, vendí lo que tenía, y me fui sola por el mundo.

Tuve experiencias espectaculares y otras no tanto, y aquí intento contártelas de la manera más honesta.



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Which is the best TEFL course to teach English in Vietnam?

What’s the best TEFL to teach English in Vietnam? Did you know that this country asks for a legalization that is not required in other places? Well, that’s the main question there, and you should have it in mind before starting any course. Even more than its methodology, price and duration.

First of all, remember that if you want to work this way in Vietnam, attracted by the good salaries and the low cost of life, you will definitely need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification to legally work there.

Especially if you haven’t studied anything related to Education, or you are a non-native speaker. But Vietnam legislation is different from other countries: you can’t present any TEFL certification.

Vietnam, out of the Hague Convention

The country is not part of the Hague Convention. Why should this matter when choosing a TEFL course? Because they don’t recognize the apostilles (that make documents valid and kind of «universal»), in any of the parties of the Hague Convention.

So how do they certify that a document is original or real? They have their own way. It’s called «legalization».

The procedure is not very clear and it may change with the time, but the conclusion is that if you don’t properly choose your TEFL course (and you pick the cheapest one, for example), you may spend more money achieving the so-called legalization than the price of the training itself.

The way my friend legalized it

I did an ultra cheap TEFL certification, following the advice of a friend that had tried it (of course, before knowing all the problems he had to «legalize» it). Even if I liked what I learned, when I gave this document to my (awful) employers, they told me it couldn’t be valid if I didn’t make it «visible» for Migration authorities.

So I asked my friend how he legalized it. He told me he had the same problem: the course was from a UK-based company. So, he went to this Embassy in Hanoi to ask for information. First of all, they didn’t have the company officially registered. And secondly, they asked him to go to London and legalize it there (stupid «solution»).

Not realistic at all: we, as Colombians, need a visa to go there, which is not cheap at all. And then, there was the price of the flight ticket, the cost of life, and the time it would take to go there.


So after the ridiculous «solution», his company suggested to notarize a letter, written by him, saying that the certification was real. He did so, and he could get the Working Permit.

BUT in my case… this solution was NOT ACCEPTED. I wasted money doing the notarization in my Embassy, and after two weeks, my employer told me the letter was rejected by the Migration Authorities (not considered a valid legalization).

Doing «magic» with the legalization

My friend’s girlfriend couldn’t do the legalization this way either, and she had to pay more than 200 USD to a British lawyer to do the legalization in the UK.

Of course I wouldn’t do that. This option, added to the price of the course that I had already paid, costed more than if I had paid a TEFL course with a bigger and more respected company. What a mistake!

I told my employers that I could not legalize the TEFL certification, and asked them to give me a solution, maybe after consulting their lawyers whatsoever.

They told me that I had to pay 50 USD more to finally achieve the legalization. They never explained how they made it, but after learning a bit more about their mafia-style working culture, I can imagine how they did it (maybe they bribed the public employee but of course, I can’t state that for sure).

In conclusion: it’s not worth it to save some dollars in the course, if you have to get through this soap opera to make it valid in Vietnam!!!!

The best TEFL to teach in Vietnam

After my not so pleasant experience, and the questions from the readers of this website, I decided to look for a good company to recommend. Credible, with a name in the industry, but overall, whose certification could be easily legalized in Vietnam.

I had something clear: It could not be a school based in the UK. Its headquarters had to be somewhere else. I texted then some companies, focusing on this detail. Only ITTT gave me a proper answer.


Options to legalize ITTT TEFL certificate in Vietnam

The e-mail answering all my «legalization questions» said:

  • «A stamp from the Online TESOL and TEFL Standards Agency (OTTSA). OTTSA moderate and validate our courses and your certificate can be stamped to validate it for a small additional fee of US$25 (2018 price)».
  • «Secondly, we can take your certificate to a Notary Public in Thailand, where the certificates are printed. They will make a copy of the certificate and stamp and sign the copy as a true representation of the original document. The cost of this is US$45 (2018 price)».

Therefore, because of that answer, I decided to affiliate with this company. So, if interested, don’t hesitate to get 15% discount here for the online 120 Hours TEFL course, which is the minimum amount required by the Vietnamese legislation.

LAST SUGGESTION: When I worked in Vietnam, I was asked for, at least, an online 120 hours TEFL certification (and this is why I recommend it in the link before).

But it can change, depending on the company that hires you. So better asking before buying: Do you accept online TEFL certifications? If not, which kind of TEFL certification do I need to start working with you?

AAAAAND… Remember that even if it’s not an online course, you will need to legalize the certification anyway. So, better to choose a company with the characteristics I told you before (overall: not based in the UK!!!!)

You can also apply for an in-class course in Bangkok, Thailand, with ITTT. Get your discount here.

UPDATE: You may have to pay for legalizing ITTT certificate as well

Even if I did my research to recommend here the best TEFL course to teach in Vietnam, a reader of this blog told me that she had to pay an extra fee to a lawyer to get the ITTT certification legalized anyway. 

ITTT is one of the most recognized TEFL companies in the teaching world, but the case of my reader made me doubt about this suggestion (if you are looking for a TEFL course on a budget).

So, again, ask your employer before buying the course (overall, regarding the hours required to work with them, and how to easily legalize the certification).

Voilà !!!! I hope this helps, have a safe stay in Vietnam! 😀

Aaaaand… If this post helped you… please pin it!

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