Not sure how I missed this report but I found out by an email from the US Embassy in Hanoi today that the US Peace Corps was finally invited by Vietnam to enter the country. The first Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) volunteers should enter Vietnam by mid-2022. The email the US Embassy sent was asking for some inputs from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, such as myself, that are currently residing in the country. Back in November, 2016, I attended an event where other RPCVs in the country met with the General Consul and the Peace Corps to celebrate the initial signing.
I served as a PCV in Kazakhstan from 1997-1999 and have resided in Vietnam, off and on, since 2004. I am curious to see where the PCVs will be sent. Knowing the politics of Vietnam, I guess the PC Office will be placed in Hanoi with the initial volunteers placed in the same city and around smaller towns in northern Vietnam. I am curious to see when the Vietnamese government will allow the Peace Corps to spread across the rest of the country. Still, any PCV that serves in Vietnam will feel like they are in heaven. I would love to have been a PCV in this country. They will have a better opportunity to learn the language and culture faster then the typical expat in Vietnam.
With the size of the country, Vietnam could handle 100-150 TEFL and English trainers per year. It would benefit the country greatly. Also, PCVs with experience in STEM and technology will benefit many schools who need these skills. As with Kazakhstan where I served, there will need to be an emphasis on developing critical thinking skills which is lacking in the educational sector across Vietnam. These skills are ignored by the many international schools as well. With support by USAID, do not be surprised to see schools outside the normal metropolitan areas finally getting much needed computer labs.
I probably will not be in Vietnam when the first group arrives but I wish them luck. Good Luck Viet-1 PCVs!!!