Rent-a-Tay

Here’s a belter of an idea. I’m not sure I should be sharing it lest someone else gets in first.

What I want to do is this: get a small group of university students or adults to chip in and hire me for a weekend for immersive English practice.

I did this unwittingly last year when I volunteered at an English-speaking club. Three of the students invited me to Nam Dinh, their home town. We stayed with the family of one of the students. It was good to experience life with an ordinary Vietnamese family. To eat what they ate, to meet the grandparents and extended family and generally hang out and do a spot of local sight seeing.

Hanging out at Hoan Kiem for a coffee

Hanging out at Hoan Kiem

It was only on the bus back to Ha Noi on the Sunday afternoon that it dawned on me what had happened. I was sitting there listening to the three students chatting away in English and I could hardly get a word in edgeways.

Rewind to Friday night on the way to Nam Dinh and it was a completely different story. They were a bit shy and our conversations were disjointed and circuitous. But over the coming days that radically changed.

They all grew in confidence and were much more comfortable speaking English not only to me but to each other as well. The difference 48 hours made was quite stark. And they too felt they had made a lot of progress.

Being compelled to speak English the entire time was clearly tiring. They were like a tag team, taking it in turns to yarn with me about whatever we were doing. It was good craic and I picked up a bit of Vietnamese too by way of cultural exchange.

There was one incident which did make me feel slightly bad though. I was sharing a room with two other guys and as soon as they stirred I was immediately in there with a cheery ‘Good morning. Did you sleep well?’

Looking at me blearily with one eye shut I could tell they were thinking, “Oh, no. We have to start talking English again at six in the morning.”

So that’s the plan. Rent me for a weekend. Terms negotiable, way cheaper than an English teacher. See the contact page or PM me on Facebook Messenger.

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