My Great Leap

Published on July 3rd, 2011


Inspiring Other Lasses of "A Certain Age"…

Q: I’m delighted to have discovered your site. A friend and I (61 & 71) would love to adopt you as our mentor. I have a BS & MS in Education, but haven’t used it in 25 years and she has a BS in English. We’d both like to teach and be able to live from our salaries. Are we too old to be hired? How does one begin to determine where age is not an issue?

Recently a pair of lasses kindly commented on my “Narrowing Down the Expat Options” post about the delicate subject of  we lasses “of a certain age”.  And when I tried to respond, it swiftly became obvious that a short comment reply just wouldn’t do.  So instead, I thought I’d post their query along with my (usual, loquacious) reply here as a separate, full post.  To wit:

A:  I’m most happy to inspire you and your friend, Mary. And while we of “a certain age” (thanks “Anonymous” for that lovely phraseology!) might find getting hired a tad more challenging than a 19 year old, suffice I’ve done tons of research on just that particular dilemma and..

I’m convinced that it won’t pose a significant problem. For example, I’m presently in contact w/ a lass who just finished the CELTA course in Saigon (precisely what I plan to do) and she confirmed that one of her fellow students for the course is 70 yrs. old. I’ve also been encouraged by many expats presently teaching in Vietnam. And I believe that with both a BS and an MS plus a CELTA (the gold-standard credential of EFL world-wide) I’ll easily find a job in VN.  If nothing else, I can always do private tutoring.

That said, I strongly recommend you have a bit of a financial “safety-net” before rushing off to the other side of the Planet. It needn’t be a fortune, but enough to get you a ticket home along with some resettling funds, should you find that the life of an expat in a developing country isn’t for you.

It’s a HUGE subject, that clearly I can’t cover in a mere comment. But in short: I honestly believe both of you CAN do it if you want to bad enough. Like any dream, it likely will take sacrifices and/or certainly trade-offs. I don’t know what standard of living you’re used to, but suffice you/anybody CAN live a most satisfying (indeed, exciting/fascinating/comfortable) life as an expat in Vietnam (and many other parts of the globe) if that’s what tickles your dodderin’ toes! 😉

Seriously. It’s just a matter of making it happen!

Do keep in touch. I’d love to hear how it goes for you and your friend.


About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

4 Responses to Inspiring Other Lasses of "A Certain Age"…

  1. TravelnLass says:

    Good for you Mary – volunteering to teach ESL to refugees will be a good way to get your feet wet to see if it’s something you enjoy. It surely was for me.

    And as far as 6 mo. living expenses – sounds fine. And the good news is… 6 mo. living expenses in Vietnam is going to be waaaaay less than here in the U.S. of A! 😉

    I’d also strongly suggest to do your research into all. I’ve been glued to EFL forums and Vietnam blogs for months now – there’s TONS of info out there (though you often have to wade in pretty deep to glean reliable info).

  2. Mary Moss says:

    Thank you Lisa and TravelnLass. I’m thinking 6 months of living expenses in Vietnam plus sufficient $$ to cover CELTA course (and living expenses).

    I so appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions in detail. I’ve decided that I’m going to start volunteering with a local agency that provides ESL services to Vietnamese immigrants. That way, as I begin my own countdown, I will be accumulating relevant work experience.

    Thank you again!

  3. TravelnLass says:

    Thanks for emphasizing the necessity of a financial safety net for emergencies, Lisa. They can happen anytime, anywhere. Still, it needn’t be a fortune.

    In short, don’t be stupid and skip off to live and try to get work on the opposite of the Planet with but a song and a prayer in your bank account.

    But likewise, don’t put off following your dreams until you have a six-figure stash to cover every blessed potential calamity known to man. Life’s a risk just leaving your doorstep each morning, and… this surely ain’t a dress-rehearsal!

  4. Good advice here re: having some money set aside before embarking on teaching on another continent. One must have more than just enough to fly home. There must be something for traveling a bit and for emergencies (health, etc.)

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