Vietnam

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

My name is Viktor, and I have just completed a 2-week medical volunteer project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I found this experience so wonderful that I felt teary when the time came to leave Vietnam (My fiancée who completed the program together with me can attest to this!) IVHQ has been instrumental in ensuring an amazing experience for all of us volunteers. Their staff were very responsive and eager to help me and my fiancée with the logistics of flying from Canada to Vietnam, long before program start date. The IVHQ website was also a great tool that helped me prepare and stay organized in preparation for the volunteer program. All of the requirements needed to start volunteering in Vietnam were all in one place (i.e. Application fee, resume/CV upload, criminal record check upload, etc.) The site also contained an excellent and customized guide to prepare us for the country we were travelling to, including a basic language primer. Upon arrival to our site in Vietnam we were warmly greeted, and given clear and succinct instructions on the schedule of activities. Leah (one of the coordinators) lead our group of volunteers through a number of cultural activities with infectious enthusiasm and spirit. Her positive energy was so moving and powerful, it made a deep and lasting impact on my own disposition towards life. Our project was centered at an orthopedic hospital, the majority of patients were recovering from trauma and injuries related to moto/moped accidents. Khanh and Thanh - the 2 on-site coordinators were very friendly and experienced. They were our line of communication with the local medical staff, as we lacked proficiency in fluent Vietnamese. We did a wide range of activities at the hospital. These ranged from aiding the nurses with wound care, premixing IV/SC/IM medications, taking vital signs of all patients on the ward, to shadowing countless orthopedic surgeries and assisting the acupuncture doctors with IM B12 injections and removal of acupuncture needles. By the end of the 2 weeks, both me and my fiancée wished that we had more time to do a longer volunteering session. Unfortunately, we both had prior commitments to get back to back home. But the memories of all the new Vietnamese friends we've made live on - through the power of social media! To summarize, this IVHQ Medical program in Vietnam was a fantastic learning experience, that has transformed me in positive ways. Perhaps the most influential factor that I derived from this Vietnam experience, was derived from the patients at this orthopedic hospital. Being a witness to the strength with which the Viet people hold themselves during excruciating pain and traumatic injuries, has toughened me up and made me more resilient to dealing with difficult situations in my own life. This is not a goodbye, but a see you later Vietnam. I would definitely redo this program if given the chance.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: May 18, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I volunteered in Vietnam as an Occupational Therapy student over a period of four weeks during my summer break. I was recommended Projects Abroad by a friend, and after doing some more research and making contact with the team who answered all the questions that I had, I decided to head to Vietnam for my placement. The Projects Abroad team in Vietnam really know what they're doing, and are good what they do. They understand and have a vision of what it looks like to facilitate sustainable placements that are of benefit to the host organisation.

I volunteered at Hanoi Friendship Village, home to 120 children and 60 veterans all affected by the Vietnam war. The village provides medical care, therapy and both educational and vocational classes for its inhabitants. I spent the majority of our time there in the therapy room providing occupational therapy focused therapy for children and adults that came in daily.

Personally, I gained so much out of this experience. I became a lot more independent, found that I was a lot more resilient than I initially thought, and I really opened up to new experiences and meeting new people. I think that through this experience, I have also become a more globally conscious individual. The Projects team made it clear that there were only ever a call away, and they not only looked after us on placement, but ensured that we were immersed in the Vietnamese way of life. They organised activities with other volunteers including Vietnamese cooking class and pottery making. I stayed at one of the volunteer houses with fellow volunteers from different countries around the world. On the weekends, we explored and visited many of the attractions of Hanoi together, and spend many a night sitting on low plastic stools and tables eating food on the footpath with the locals as motorbikes and cars rushed by beside us. Vietnam is a beautiful country, rich with history, and being able to make a small positive contribution to the lives of the Vietnamese people through this volunteer experience is something I will always hold close to my heart.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Apr 15, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
7

Projects Abroad

I travelled with Projects Abroad for two weeks over my school's winter break. I would recommend anyone interested in interning for Occupational Therapy to strongly consider this program. If you are up for a challenge and ready to immerse yourself in a culture that is most likely unlike your own, this is the trip for you. Not only do you get a feel for community and the struggles Vietnam was left with after the war, but you are taught how to work together and how to love one another through the struggles. Living with volunteers from around the world was enlightening, and I learned a lot about cultures and countries other than my own.
Traveling throughout Vietnam as strongly encouraged by the staff. They were extremely helpful in answering all questions and providing their insight. There were also set up activities throughout the week and on the weekends. The two volunteer houses in Hanoi were only 15 minute taxi/motor bike rides from the old quarter where we ate and and shopped all day. The Occupational Therapy Placement was in Friendship Village where the staff was kind and the patients were full of laughter and smiles.
Projects abroad is an amazing organization. They are kind, organized, helpful, and here to make sure your experience no matter how long is amazing. I highly recommend Projects Abroad for anyone with a helpful hand and a desire to experience communities around the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jan 23, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Sounds like you had the time of your life in Vietnam! It's great that you were able to learn and put to practice your Occupational Therapy skills, while also getting to know around Vietnam. It is such a beautiful country! Thanks for sharing your experience!

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

I chose to do my medical volunteering in Vietnam for 3 weeks in the city of Dalat. I went during winter of 2016 and the weather was in the 65-70s with no humidity, unlike Ho Chi Minh City. The experience was amazing and I was able to learn a lot through clinical work at Pasteur. The staff is very friendly and allow students to be hands on with their learning. During my short 3 week stay, I was able to perform blood work, administer vaccines, and sit in on ultrasounds. After work, it was time to explore the city and find good eats. Dalat is a great location for the volunteering experience. This program helped me realize my passion for the medical field and what I want to further pursue. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who is interested and hope to come back for a 6 week program in the future! It was very fun.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jan 23, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I went to Vietnam in June of 2016, and it is the best experience of my life. I volunteered in a small village called Thuy Anh that was about two hours outside of Hanoi. I had constant contact with other volunteers and Projects Abroad staff. In Thuy Anh a member of Projects Abroad lived with us in order to help us get from place to place, or just to help us feel more comfortable. We each had a bed, a mosquito net, and a cabinet that locked to keep our things in.
Everyday I taught two classes, ten classes a week, for two hours each. I had grades 1-5 and about fifty students in each class. The students were amazing, and so well behaved. They loved games and songs and making pictures, and always came to class ready to learn. They were interested in American culture and the language. Giving them chances to be creative with their learning was a huge highlight for me because it allowed for each of their personalities to shine.
The families of the students were so amazing, one of the families invited me into their home when I got stuck in the rain to wait out the storm and dry off until it the sun came back out. I quickly discovered that the whole community was like this, and leaving became one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I would recommend this program to someone who is adventurous, truly eager to help, and is not too afraid of bugs!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Oct 26, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
7

i-to-i TEFL

I was very interested in the Vietnam paid internship and spent a lot of time on the phone to an adviser at I-to-I who was very helpful patient and kind and rang me up on regular occasions to reassure me and to answer the hundreds of questions that I had about the internship so that I felt confident enough to cough up the £750 fee which pays for accommodation and the orientation over in Vietnam.
One of my questions was about my appearance, I told them that I’ve got very neat, clean dreadlocks and facial piercings and an arm tattoo which covers a scar- but along with this I also mentioned that i intended to wear my hair back in a neat bun and that I was happy to take my piercings out and would obviously cover all tattoos. In response to this I got laughed at, and told not to be silly and that this was absolutely fine as long as I took my piercings out and covered my tattoos as intended.
One other question was about the accommodation Surprisingly I-to-I were not able to provide me with any example photos of what the accommodation was going to look like and considering you are making a home there for 5 months you'd think they'd have that covered.
Anyway my friend and I painstakingly make the decisions to leave our homes, partners, friends and families to make this massive exciting step towards our new careers. I am already qualified with a 140 hour TEFL qualification and have a degree in English literature so am more than qualified enough for this position so was confident that I was going to accepted and that his was the beginning of a new life for me.
I was shocked however after paying £750 to I-to-I to have absolutely no further contact from them after all of the reassurance, not a single word to tell me what would happen next or to congratulate me on my decision. I was handed straight to the partners in Vietnam who sent me an application form to fill out - which I did to a very high standard - I was very confident in the fact that I had all of the necessary qualifications and also had lots of other great qualities necessary in a teacher. I included details of my previous work experience working with children with disabilities. I sent all of this information off very promptly because I am a competent and organised person.
It came to sending my documents off which I did once again very promptly. We were asked to send a signed contract which made the entire experience sound awful. On reading the contract I was filled with doubt because it sounded so awful and I was left awake all hours of the night worrying that it was going to be so horrible that I didn’t want to go anymore. It stated that we may be expected to work over 6 days, that we were not allowed to plan trips, that we had to pay for a $75 mandatory invasive health check (which was not made clear by I-to-I it is in the terms and conditions but this should be should stated very clearly as an added cost!!! ) Also had to send them a picture which I did of course including the facial piercings I intended to remove on commencing the internship (not 3 months beforehand) and it was a very lovely photo too. I didn’t think this photo was very consequential I thought it was just to match up to the passport- wasn’t aware it was the main method of deciding on the success of an application.
Confident that I’ve got all the qualifications, reassured that my appearance isn’t an issue, I go ahead and tell my landlord that I’m going to be leaving in January to which he replies "that’s great I’m selling up then".
So a couple of days later I get an email very bluntly explaining that I have been rejected from the internship and that they refuse to give me any reason for this so that I should get in touch with i-to-i to organise a refund or to see if there is any other experience I can take part in. Excuse me? I am more than qualified and more than competent as I have proven and I have been entirely discriminated against because of my appearance? Which I made clear from the very beginning and was willing to comply with the dress code.
Had a very lucky escape because speaking to my teacher friends around the world i-to-i are renowned for messing people around and not sending them their certificates or ripping them off in one sense or another. So I go ahead and ring i-to-i about this and there was absolutely no sympathy, no compassion and I was treated and made to feel as if this was my fault in some way. I was not offered a refund I had to ask for it, I was not offered any other experiences I had to ask about them they did not try in any way to accommodate for the situation or to try and make it less stressful.
Now I have to move out of my home for absolutely no reason, am absolutely emotionally drained by the whole experience made to feel like less of a person because of my appearance? I’m sorry but what kind of joke is this ? This is the 21st century !? I understand cultures vary and that this was a professional job but when I’ve already made it clear about my appearance and my intentions to conform, i-to-i have a duty to inform me at least why I was rejected – But of course they can’t because they know this decision is not based on any fair grounds. The girl who talked to me basically laughed and said it’s all cultural and had a "what do you want me to do about it" attitude. A little compassion goes a long way when you’re dealing with human beings. I am absolutely gutted to be treated like this but I’m so relieved that I-to-I or sly-to-sly decided to mess me around BEFORE I got over there for 5 months !
Thanks for the emotional roller coaster sly-to-sly it’s been a blast! Luckily I’m a positive person so used this experience to grow, I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the process. I’ve reinforced in myself that I am more than what I look like, that I am a competent, organised, compassionate, enthusiastic, dedicated, qualified, educated, intelligent, kind, funny and above all interesting person with so much to offer to the right people so I think your partners in Vietnam have missed out on a great opportunity to have me teach their children so I'd like to offer my apologies cause its genuinely their loss.

In closing
- communicate with people after they've paid you £750
- don't lie about appearance not mattering because it clearly does and make this very clear to anybody out there with a personality a bit more interesting than a wet flannel.
- don't treat people like it’s their fault they got rejected
- have a bit of compassion
- be a bit more polite
-dont make people who get rejected ask for a refund, you should be the ones to contact them- offerings support – advice and of course that refund!

Program: TEFL
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Oct 24, 2016
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Vina Volunteer Service

Ms Xuan is the host of Home Stay # 1 in the village of Ban Luc 2, where I stayed for two weeks. You could not ask for a more generous and hospitable host.

With Ms Xuan guidance, I participated in the daily routine of “Thai Community Life” gaining a first hand and intimate experience of the Thai Culture.

Mai Chau is a truly tranquil and peaceful setting guaranteed to help you relax, slow down and connect with nature. The Thai people are very happy, peaceful and contented, welcoming you into their homes with offers of green tea or rice wine depending on the time of day.

Highlights for me were:

Working in the fields: cutting grass for buffalo – weeding corn – harvesting rice

Collecting snails – fishing

Learning and cooking Thai food

Tending buffalo

Exploring the community by bike

Learning more about Thai Culture at the local museum

Checking out the local and surrounding markets

Exploring the Limestone Cave

Practicing English/Vietnamese with girls from Hoa Ban (neighbors 2 doors down, weaving and embroidery of traditional Thai patterns and clothing)

David from Vina Volunteer Service did a fantastic job organising my entire trip, introducing me to the community, organising all transportation and was topped off with 2 day trip to Halong Bay at the end.

I can not recommend an organic farming project in Mai Chau enough, this is one of the unique places in the world where you can come to recharge your soul.

Alexander Taulelei

Samoa – New Zealand

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Sep 2, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
9

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

Terrific trip with wonderful opportunities for seeing the most beautiful locations in the world. The staff was very friendly and accommodating for the entirety of out trip!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Aug 26, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7

CADIP

I volunteered in Vietnam for two weeks in December organizing Christmas and New Year celebrations for disadvantaged Vietnamese kids and it was the best thing I've done. The opportunity to brighten the Christmas of these children meant the world to me. The group were fantastic people. I’ve enjoyed spending time with positive and supportive people from different countries.
Prior to my journey, CADIP were informative and efficient in answering any questions I had. The project coordinator was amazing – friendly and very helpful.
Anyone looking to make a difference volunteering should seriously consider their program.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jan 28, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Choosing Projects Abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. They provided 110% on everything. I was able to live in a Country in which I did not speak any of the language, yet somehow felt at home because of Projects Abroad phenomenal support.

During my adventure, I was able to volunteer at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine where I assisted on over 20 hemorrhoid surgeries. Projects Abroad provided English speaking Doctors who I began to look at as mentors. I learned an incredible amount in my four weeks there.

If you are even thinking about trying this, go for it. It's definitely worth it! The most exciting part of the trip is getting to meet the fellow volunteers from around the world. Through Projects Abroad I have made memories that will last a lifetime!

Xin Ciao!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jan 12, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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