20 English Teaching Assistant Award
Accepted Degree Levels
Grant PeriodAugust Start
Grant Length10 Months
First launched in 2008, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program in Vietnam brings U.S. Fulbrighters to Vietnam for 10 months to support English teaching and learning at gifted high schools, colleges, and universities in Vietnam in provincial capitals and other cities outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This program supports English learning in Vietnam and provides a cultural exchange between Americans, Vietnamese students, and host institutions to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.
It is a great time to be a Fulbrighter in Vietnam. Twenty-six years after the establishment of bilateral relations, the United States and Vietnam are trusted partners with a friendship grounded in mutual respect. U.S.-Vietnam relations have become increasingly cooperative and comprehensive, evolving into a flourishing partnership that spans political, economic, security, and people-to-people ties. Fulbright ETAs play a pivotal role in deepening the relationships between the two countries.
With a rich heritage and world-renowned cuisine, Vietnam has increasingly become a key destination for tourists worldwide, further emphasizing the importance of improving the national English language capability. Serving as a Fulbright ETA in Vietnam for 10 months will offer an unique opportunity for Fulbrighters to advance their teaching skills, develop professionally, and experience firsthand the vibrant Vietnamese culture. In addition, ETAs can explore the extraordinary natural beauty of the country and get to know the Vietnamese people on a personal level. . Former ETA grantees to Vietnam have affirmed that the experience offered both personal and professional transformation.
In coordination with host institutions, participants may design lessons, organize activities, and participate in conferences or other events. Rapid economic development and tourism has made English language proficiency a priority of the government of Vietnam, and interest in learning English language learning is high nationwide at all educational levels. The U.S. enjoys a very high approval rating in Vietnam (over 90%) and there is significant interest in U.S. culture, especially among young people. Participants are expected to be cultural ambassadors representing the United States to local Vietnamese communities.
Grantees must begin their grants in August 2023 in order to attend a mandatory 4-week in-country orientation in Hanoi before starting their nine-month assignments at host institutions (September 2023 - May 2024).
Pre-Departure Orientation (Mandatory)
All grantees are required to attend a pre-departure orientation (PDO) in the U.S. in the summer of 2023 as a condition of their grants. The PDO is organized for Fulbright ETAs, U.S. researchers and scholars going to many different countries in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region. Details to be announced and confirmed by the International Institute of Education (IIE).
All grantees are required to attend a mandatory in-country orientation in Hanoi in August 2023 for two to four weeks depending on the Covid-19 situation. The orientation is intended to comprehensively prepare ETAs for work and life in Vietnam, and includes Teaching English as a Foreign Language training, Vietnamese language training, and other educational, historical, and cultural exposure. Details to be announced and confirmed by the Fulbright Program in Vietnam.
Applicants must be American citizens.
Previous teaching experience is preferred but not required.
Prior experience in Vietnam is not required.
Applicants should be comfortable speaking in front of groups, serving as a leader to instruct and mentor groups of students, and they should be prepared for planning and teaching lessons independently. Many ETA sites are in underserved or rural areas which can be more conservative, and ETAs should be prepared to adapt to local customs, living conditions and cultural norms. Accommodations, although clean and safe, typically only feature basic necessities, although they can vary greatly from site to site. Many placements lack conveniences such as gyms, swimming pools, movie theaters and access to Western groceries.
Candidates must be willing and able to physically and mentally adapt to working in the hierarchical Vietnamese cultural context and the bureaucratic Vietnamese educational system. Many participants will be the only foreigner working at the host institution or even the only foreigner living in their city, and as a result may experience loneliness and isolation.
As cultural ambassadors of the United States in Vietnam, ETAs are expected to exhibit a high level of professionalism and show respect for themselves and others around them. They are expected to share aspects of American culture with their schools and communities. They are also expected to learn and understand about the Vietnamese culture.
ETAs cannot be accompanied by dependents.
Accepted Degree Levels
Special Application Instructions
Semi-finalists will be contacted for a virtual interview with the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam.
Foreign Language Proficiency
Proficiency in Vietnamese is not required at the time of application and basic Vietnamese training will be provided to the grantees, but we strongly encourage the grantees to familiarize themselves with some basic Vietnamese prior to arrival.
- Secondary School
- Teacher Training
- University/Post-Secondary Institution
- Other Educational/Community Institution
Grantees are placed at high schools for gifted students, community colleges, teacher training colleges, or universities.
The Fulbright Program in Vietnam will arrange placements for all candidates and will inform the ETAs of their placements once they have been finalized.
- Regional City
Grantees are placed in provincial (regional) cities, districts, or towns outside of the urban areas of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The primary activity of this program is assisting in teaching English as a foreign language, so it is generally not possible for ETAs to undertake serious or intensive independent research or to engage in extensive work with non-governmental organizations. However, ETAs are encouraged to seek out opportunities for cultural enrichment and professional development, including community service, to enhance their overall Fulbright experience as cultural ambassadors.
A grantee's first responsibility is to their Vietnamese host institution. Teaching or otherwise working for for-profit organizations is not permitted.
Housing arrangements will be made by the host institutions. Grantees typically are provided a private room with an attached bathroom and a simple kitchen (hotplate, refrigerator) but grantees also should prepare for the possibility of sharing the kitchen with others.
ETAs cannot be accompanied by dependents.
Nature of Assignment
Grantees will work up to 30 hours per week, including 14 hours of teaching listening and speaking skills to graded/full time students and teachers, 14 hours of lesson planning and grading, as well as participating in and/or leading cultural or English teaching and learning activities. The final two hours are set aside for Vietnamese language learning. Grantees should not teach English for Specific Purposes (ESP), IELTS/TOEFL/TOEIC/SAT preparation courses or classes organized by for-profit English training center owned either by the host institution or by other organizations.
ETAs will have approved vacation time during school breaks as defined by their host institution and Vietnamese public holidays, including an approximately week-long break during the Lunar New Year (Tet). The use of leave time outside school breaks and Vietnamese public holidays may not be possible as it will depend on the school. Candidates should not apply for or accept this award unless they are able to commit to this academic schedule.
Applicants should not plan an independent study or research project. English Teaching Assistantships are different from study/research awards, and teaching-related activities take up most of the grantees’ time. Applicants will have opportunities to pursue independent activities to enrich their time in Vietnam, but this will occur on the sidelines of their primary duties within the school placement. The Statement of Grant Purpose should focus on why the applicant wishes to participate in the program in Vietnam and how he/she will make it a memorable cultural experience.
Host institutions are responsible for grantees’ visa application procedures and fees in Vietnam as well as visa extensions or work permit applications if needed. Grantees are responsible for providing all necessary documents for the visa application and paying any visa issuance fees from their grant allocation. The Fulbright Program in Vietnam will coordinate with the grantees and the host institutions throughout the visa application process.
Local attitudes toward gender, race, and religion can be different than in the United States and can often be surprising and unsettling. Candidates should be prepared to negotiate these cultural differences in their communities with maturity and diplomacy. Since ETAs will sometimes be the only foreigners at their site, they may experience street harassment from locals who are unaccustomed to seeing foreigners. Adjusting to local cultural norms can be one of the greatest challenges for many ETAs, and applicants should carefully consider whether they are prepared for that. The Fulbright program in Vietnam has no higher priority than the safety and wellbeing of its grantees. Support is available for all grantees from the Fulbright Program in Vietnam, the host institution and ASPE ASSIST, a mental health consultant and referral service hotline.
The host institution is responsible for providing the ETA with a bicycle or an electric bike (at the ETA’s request). Host institutions are required to support the ETA’s transportation options, but options vary depending on the site. ETAs who wish to drive a motorbike must take an examination in Vietnamese to obtain a Vietnamese driver’s license.