Moving To Our Little Piece Of The World… 

November 28, 2022

Moving To Our Little Piece Of The World… 

Central Vietnam offers a cleaner, safer, more relaxed way of life.  Post-Covid, as more and more jobs transition online and the world reopens, moving to this region with your family has never been easier.  

But don’t just take our word for it, we interviewed a number of families from all  around the world who have recently joined the Green Shoots International School (GSIS) community, about how they made the move.  It helped us to get to know them better and can also help those of you considering central Vietnam and Green Shoots International School.

Green Shoots is home to families of over 19 different nationalities.  This time our interviews included families from Russia, India, UK, Vietnam, Australia, France and the US.

Why Green Shoots?

Though the new families came from different countries and backgrounds the underlying reason for choosing GSIS was the same. They did not want ‘an education machine turning out robots’ and were seeking professional teachers with a solid curriculum in a well run, happy school.  Green Shoots’ smaller class sizes were appealing and they feel that their children have prospered from the increased individual attention that this allowed.  

There are a number of international schools in the area and advice from our new families was that parents should do their research well before making a decision.  This was particularly so for those families who moved here and initially chose what looked like the best school visually but in reality they were let down by the qualifications of the teachers, regimented programmes and poor running conditions and hence made the change to Green Shoots.  

Some Da Nang based parents did not initially consider Green Shoots due to its location but when the international schools in Da Nang weren’t the right fit for their children they broadened their search and found GSIS, joining the other ⅔ of the school that currently choose to travel daily from Da Nang.  

Researching Vietnam

Research about Vietnam usually came from previous holidays to the area.  Families visiting on holiday came to the realisation that their holiday could be their ‘every day’.  

For those who hadn’t visited Vietnam before, many expected it to be the same as Thailand.  They were therefore surprised to find that the traffic here was intense and initially struggled to even cross the road!  But living here for a few months (and once you know how to do it) they acknowledge that the system is different here but it works!  

Misconceptions about Vietnam included the assumption that it was hot year round.  There was shock from a few families that in the north of the country it could get very cold and occasionally, albeit for a very short period, warmer clothes are sometimes required! 

The rainy season central Vietnam experiences (particularly in October) proved to be a culture shock for many. The tropical downpours and storms were challenging particularly for those house hunting.

Beautiful beaches An Bang My Khe Ha My
Central Vietnam Beaches

Why Central Vietnam?

Overridingly the low cost of living and improved work/life balance that this afforded was one of the key deciding factors for moving to central Vietnam.  The proximity to the beach was enticing along with the exposure to different demographics and cultures.  All this coupled with access to an international airport making it easy for friends and family to visit.

There are roughly 1,2 million people in Da Nang , making it Vietnam’s third largest city.  It presents itself as a modern Asian metropolis with high rises and a burgeoning technology sector. Those choosing to locate in Da Nang loved the city feel, and  felt that the added journey to Green Shoots, whilst based in Hoi An, was worth it for a home they loved and the school they wanted. 

Whilst both Hoi An & Da Nang have pristine white, sandy beaches, Hoi An offers more historic sites and a European feel. A firm tourist favourite, Hoi An has it all with beautiful rural views of rice paddy’s where traditional farming still takes place, and a UNESCO heritage town filled with lanterns.  Families looking for a quieter life often choose Hoi An. 

International Environment

Our new families said that travelling out of their home country and being introduced to an international community has really opened their children’s eyes by providing a more diverse, international environment to study in.

Parents joining our school with mixed race students said that often their children had been raised predominantly in one culture and identified closely with that, but externally they looked like they were from another culture altogether.  The resulting effect for some was that previously they had felt somewhat displaced. With Green Shoots, families felt that the school offers a real world international environment, where all students are exposed to so many different experiences and dynamics that this was no longer an issue.  They’d found their new home in central Vietnam.

Hoi An Old Town lit by lanterns
Hoi An Ancient Town

Advice For New Families

Our new families advised that people looking for a new school should follow the schools Facebook pages and read their school websites.  But not to just leave it at that! Take a tour, ask lots of questions and speak to other parents and children from the school to help make your decision.  Ensure that what the school is offering matches what is going on in the classroom.  

For day-to-day advice parents recommended 

  • Stocking up on medicines before arriving in Vietnam  
  • Bringing sunscreen it's usually cheaper at home and of a higher standard
  • Getting a virtual Vietnamese assistant.  Paying around 10-15 USD an hour to solve issues such as vaccines, visas, rental contracts etc

Concerns Before Moving To Central Vietnam?

The biggest concerns before moving to central Vietnam were focused around medical care and access to important products.  Families new to the area were pleased to know that there is a French paediatrician who does house calls which alleviated some concerns as well as the international hospital Vinmec in Da Nang.  Shopping is limited but the longer you live here the easier it gets and you figure out a work around.  Interestingly enough not one person mentioned the language barrier, which can be very challenging in other countries.  As a tourist region  English at a very basic level is widely spoken in Hoi An and Da Nang.

What Our Families Love Most About Their New Life Here

Overwhelmingly our families love the way of life here and the ever important work/life balance.  Having the ability to spend more time together with family and friends.  They love how it is affordable to live well and enjoy that they get to eat out often.  They love the freshness, quality and affordability of Vietnamese food. 

Street Food Banh Mi in Hoi An
Delicious local food in Hoi An

Although you read about it - the extent that Vietnam is welcoming and accommodating to families was a surprise.  Many felt that the community here cares more than back home and that there was more culture shock when visiting other countries!

At Green Shoots they love having access to a high quality, personalised education and see this as such an advantage as it is not always readily accessible back in their home countries.   They appreciated the combination of teaching and socialising and in the lower primary classes that children learn about their emotions and how to interact with other students, not just reading and writing. Many identified their own values matched the values that the school promotes.

Our new families feel very lucky to live here and know that many other families would love this opportunity if they had the chance.

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