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Country: Vietnam
City: Son La

Son La City is the capital city of Son La Province which is located in the northwestern region of Vietnam, bordering Laos. The city is between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu, about 300 kilometers from Hanoi and 150 kilometers from Dien Bien Phu. The population is approximately 100,000 which represents 12 different tribal groups, among which ethnic minority groups account for 60%. There are daily and overnight public buses to Hanoi but no trains or flights (although there are daily flights from Dien Bien Phu). Fellows can buy common food items, furniture, clothing, and household items in Son La, but there may not be much variety. There is a provincial general hospital in the city but Fellows would need to travel to Hanoi for anything complicated including good dental treatment. In Hanoi and the larger cities, there are many western restaurants and well-developed services, but outside of these locations, choices are more limited. The rural parts of Vietnam are less well-developed and certain parts of the country are quite isolated. However, on the whole, Vietnam is an easy country to live in for foreigners. There is good IT/cell phone infrastructure, housing, and an excellent variety of fresh and local food. The challenges that one may encounter are traffic and pollution.

Host Institution: Son La College

The Fellow will be teaching at two different host institutions in Son La City: Son La College and Tay Bac University. Son La College is funded by Son La Province’s local government and offers several 2-year certificate programs as well as 3-year Associate Degree programs to residents of Son La Province and neighboring Lao provinces. The college has 4,000 students and half of their student body consists of pre-service teachers for kindergartens, primary and middle schools. The college has 15 English teachers who instruct about 100 English major students as well as students of other majors.

Tay Bac University is funded by the Ministry of Education and Training and is designated as a regional university for Vietnam’s northwestern provinces where the university’s students originate. The university provides BA and MA programs in Agriculture, Economics, Technology and Teacher Education. Half of the student body is made up of pre-service teachers for high schools. The university has about 30 English teachers and about 400 English Education students. Campuses of the two institutions are in the city center and about 3 km away from each other. The quality of the classrooms and offices are quite basic. Internet connectivity is available in offices but might not be available in the classrooms. Projectors are available in a limited number of classrooms or provided on demand.

Primary Duties

  • The Fellow will teach communicative skills to 1st and 2nd year English major students of Son La College.
  • The Fellow will teach communicative skills to 1st and 2nd year English major students of Tay Bac University.
  • The Fellow will teach English language teaching methods and techniques to 3rd and 4th year English major students of Tay Bac University.

Secondary Duties

The Fellow may be asked to:

  • Conduct teacher training workshops on English language teaching methods and techniques for English teachers from both Son La College and Tay Bac University.
  • Conduct teacher training workshops at the request of the Son La Province Department of Education and Training. The aim of these workshops is to improve teachers’ language proficiency and to expand the range of teaching methods that they use.
  • Assist teachers and students in organizing English club activities and American culture enhancement activities to promote an English language speaking environment at Son La College and Tay Bac University.

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