Volunteering in Vietnam
Vietnam is a country of magnificent nature; Here you will find lush mountain areas, valleys with calm rivers, picturesque lakes, more than 3,400 km of wonderful sandy beach and numerous islands. The opportunities for volunteering here are many – and the opportunity to really make a difference is huge.
Volunteering in Vietnam
EXIS organizes volunteer work stays in Vietnam in collaboration with a local NGO. Volunteering is a unique way to explore yourself, discover a country, its culture and people while doing a meaningful job. You must be at least 18 years old, independent, outgoing and have a sincere desire to do volunteer work.
You should expect the unexpected, be adaptable, flexible and enthusiastic. These are probably the qualities that made you contact EXIS in the first place. This is not a holiday or a guided tour. It is a unique experience to learn, make new friends and also make a difference with your volunteer work.
Internships can also be arranged.
There are possibilities for volunteering and/or internships in and around Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam in the North and in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly know as Saigon, in the South. Voluntary work is possible all year round and lasts from 2 weeks to a whole year. Orientation, preceding volunteer work, starts on Mondays in North Vietnam (Hanoi) and Tuesdays in South Vietnam (Ho-Chi-Minh City). Arrival is on the day before.
Please note that all the projects will be closed during the Tet festival. In 2018, this is from February 14th to February 21st.
Orientation includes language classes, discussion on culture, religion, politics and practical guidance, as well as about your project work. A guided tour through Hanoi or Ho-Chi-Minh-City is part of the orientation. The duration and content of the orientation depend on the length of your stay. If you volunteer during less than 4 weeks you will follow 1 or 4 days orientation. Volunteers staying during more than 24 weeks receive a full week (5 days) orientation.
Food, Accommodation and Support
Volunteers stay in a guesthouse run by our partner organization. You will share a room and a western style bathroom with other international volunteers.
After orientation and depending on your project, you will mostly continue to stay in the guesthouse with the other international volunteers. Most projects are located near the guesthouse, so you can walk to your workplace or borrow a bicycle from the organization. Some projects are 45-60 minutes by bus from the guesthouse. In this case you will be given a bus ticket to get to your placement.
Meals usually consist of rice, vegetables and/or meat. Vegetarians may be required to do some cooking themselves. A local coordinator of our partner organization will be at your service throughout your stay.
In addition to supervision and support by the programme coordinator, our partner has established the Vietnamese Volunteer Club. These young volunteers come to the guesthouse regularly to spend time with the international volunteers and help them adjust to Vietnamese life.
Volunteering in North Vietnam
There are several work places where volunteers can teach either English or French at different kinds of schools – from primary and secondary schools to vocational training centres, colleges or universities.
Volunteers will be expected to help with the following:
- Improving listening/speaking skills of children
- Improving pronunciation
- Organizing games and other activities in classrooms
- Assisting local teachers in managing the classes
Normally volunteers will teach about 20 hours a week. During the months of June and July there are no teaching possibilities. Volunteers will always work with a local teacher.
For primary and secondary school teaching, the minimum age for volunteers is 18. If you want to teach in a vocational centre, in a college or at university you must at least be 21 or 25 years old, depending on the work place.
There are also special work places available where you can teach English or French to orphans or street children. Below is an overview of some working places in the field of education
Nghia Tan Primary School
This is one of many public primary schools on the outskirts of Hanoi, about 8km from the city centre. English and French are optional subjects. Everyone recognizes the importance of language skills, but the government lacks the money to hire teachers.
There are about 1,800 children, aged 6 to 11, who started learning English in grade 3 (9 years old). Some start to learn French in grade 1 (6 years old). Teachers and children have few chances to meet and talk with foreigners so volunteers are needed to practice the languages.
Volunteers are expected to help with the following:
- Improve children’s pronunciation
- Organise games and other activities in classrooms
- Assist local teachers during classes
- Improve the children’s listening/speaking skills
- Normally volunteers teach about 20 hours a week
Good English and/or French language skills are required.
Pascal Secondary School
This is a private school situated in Dong Anh district, surrounded by the country side. The school teaches around 150 students, aged 11 to 15. There are 4 English teachers who follow the governmental English teaching plan. The children do have some knowledge of English, but as it is often the case with Vietnamese students, they have poor pronunciation due to their lack of contact with English speakers. Volunteers are expected to be fluent in English, aged 20 or more and preferably able to commit for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Hanoi High School for Gifted students
Hanoi National University is training 700 gifted students, preparing them for different majors like Science, IT, Mathematics and English language. Some of these students will become foreign language teachers.
Providing them with good English skills will be decisive for the international development of Vietnam. Tasks are as at Primary and Secondary school, but here we need only professional native speaking teachers.
Vocational College of High Technology
is located in the Tu Liem District, 10 to 15 km from Hanoi centre. About 1000 students aged 18 to 21 follow high qualified labour force training, like computer programming and repairing, metal works and accounting. As these students have few chances to learn foreign languages or to meet foreigners to practice English, volunteers with a university degree and preferably native speakers are welcome to improve communication skills of these students. Tasks are as described above.
Tan Dan Primary School
Tan Dan Primary School is a public school, located in Viet Tri city, which is about 80 km from Hanoi. There are about 700 students, aged 6 to 10 and 4 English teachers. As a volunteer, you are expected to be fluent in English, aged 18 or more and preferably able to stay for 3 months. Normally volunteers will teach about 20 hours a week. Volunteers can work with a local teacher or sometimes on their own. When choosing this school, you will probably also work at either Hung Vuong High School for Gifted students or another working place. Accommodation is in a guest room at the school. Food will be provided at the accommodation. Volunteers, especially those who are vegetarian may be required to do some cooking themselves.
Hung Vuong high school for gifted students
Hung Vuong High School for gifted Students is a public school located in Viet Tri city, 80 km north of Hanoi. This is one of the best schools in the North of Vietnam and very well-known for its students’ outstanding results. There are about 1400 students aged 15 to 18. Although the students are all very motivated to learn English, most of them are really talkative and it is difficult, to make 50 teenagers calm down while helping and correcting two of them.
You should be fluent in English, aged 20 or more and preferably able to work for 6 months.
Accommodation is a guest room at the school. Food will be provided at your accommodation. Meals will be mostly local food. Volunteers, especially those who are vegetarian may be required to do some cooking themselves.
Phu Thuong Primary School
Phu Thuong Primary School is one of many public primary schools in Hanoi. There are about 1200 children aged 6 to 11. They start learning English and French at grade 1 (6 years old). There are 40 teachers, of which two are English teachers and two French teachers. English teachers are in charge of 15 crowded classes with 40- 50 students each. There are only 2 French classes with 30 students per class. Phú Thuong primary school is situated in central Hanoi, close to West Lake. The local area has many cafés and nice shops, and possibilities to relaxing walks with fresh ice-cream during warm afternoons. You will be able to stay in the apartment for all volunteers, where food is provided.
You are of course supposed to have a good English or French level. Minimum stay is 4 weeks.
Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment
The University is located in Cau Dien area in Tu Liem district, which is about 8 km from the city centre. This means you will have a 30 minutes bus ride to work from your accommodation in the guesthouse. The university also provides basic communicative English lessons for students in order to meet the high demands of the trade sector. One of the increasing labour market requirements is the English language skills and usually this sector of the population only have few chances to learn foreign languages or to meet foreigners to practice English and exchange communication skills.
You should be fluent in English, at least 20 years old and be able to work for at least 4 weeks.
Lao Cai high school in the Northwest of Vietnam
Lao Cai High school is located in the centre of Lao Cai city, 33 kilometres from Sapa – a world-famous tourist destination, in the Northwest of Vietnam, close to the Chinese border. The students at this high school will be future teachers and professionals of Vietnam. It is important that they are fluent English speakers. There are 30 classes. Each class has one Vietnamese English-teacher with 25 to 40 students. Your task as a volunteer is to encourage students to develop theirs speaking and listening skills. Vietnamese schools traditionally favour ‘passive learning’ and the teacher standing in front, lecturing. This does not help students to gain confidence in speaking. The pronunciation of the English teachers is not good, so the students have little opportunity to hear English as it is really spoken. Feel free to use games and use your imagination to encourage the students to speak simple sentences and make learning a pleasure.
Volunteers will stay at the school campus. After pick up from Hanoi Airport you will be accommodated in the apartment for volunteers and follow an orientation. After this introduction you will either travel by train (8 hours) or bus (4 hours) to the project.
Dich Vong Secondary School
Dich Vong Secondary School is located in Cau Giay district, Hanoi, which is about 8 km from the Old Quarters. This is a public school with around 1500 students aged 11 to 15, and 7 English teachers.
Dich Vong School aims at creating and providing a friendly and inspiring learning environment for the students in the surrounding disadvantaged area.
There is very little chance for the children and teachers to meet foreigners to practice English and exchange communication skills even though they have received great support of the government in infrastructure.
You should be fluent in English, aged 18 or more and be able to work for at least 2 weeks. The school is located a 15-20 minutes walk from the guesthouse.
Young Skill Up
Young Skill-up is a training program where volunteers teach various skill-based topics. The target group is young
Vietnamese between 15 and 22 years of age, who have limited access to comparable educational programs. The idea of this project is to create an environment for international volunteers to share their expertise in various fields, using non-formal education methods, primarily interactive workshops, with local youth.
Teaching topics can vary according to volunteers’ expertise, but could include:
- Arts (vocal or choir training, painting, dancing, handicraft, architecture, etc.)
- Physical trainings (yoga, meditation, workout, etc.)
- Office skills (presentation, writing official emails, mastering word and excel, designing CVs, using design tools, etc.)
- Self-development skills (critical thinking, facilitation, debating, interculural learning, etc.)
- Social academic knowledge (climate change, global challenges, cultures, history, etc.)
- Personal skills (sign language, public speaking, photography, making videos, massage therapy, etc.)
You can participate in this project for 1 to 2 weeks. The work consists of preparing and hosting workshops for 5 to 30 students. The workshops are scheduled in the late afternoons/evening, after school time. During the day, work will consist of preparational activities. Our local coordinator will provide help, advice and take care of recruiting students for the workshops. Prior to arrival, you will be in contact with the coordinator to discuss the content which topics would be suitable and work on the preparation of the workshops.
To participate in this project you need good English skills as well as knowledge/experience/skills in the topic you wish to teach in the workshops. If you would like to stay for more than 2 weeks, you are welcome to pick another working place, besides this one.
There are several social and welfare projects in and around Hanoi, where volunteers can work with mentally or physically disabled or disadvantaged children at different ages or with handicapped war veterans. Some of the children are orphans.
Volunteers’ tasks include assisting the staff in their daily work with the children with rehabilitation, organizing sports and/or extracurricular activities, or by teaching English to staff and to children.
Tan Binh Shelter in Ho Chi Minh City
Tan Binh is a shelter for boys only, run by the Women’s Charity Association of HCMC (WOCA). There are around 30 boys, who all come from a poor situation.
While some have no family, others do have some relatives, whom they can stay with during holidays, others may have parents in prison. Tasks will be:
- Organising educational activities and sports
- Building up a wider horizon for the children
- Motivating them to do their utmost, in order to get a brighter future
- Redecorating classrooms
- Participating in all odd tasks
Accommodation is in dormitories with shared rooms. Showers and toilets are available. Breakfast and dinner will be prepared by volunteers themselves. Lunch is provided by the shelter.
Hoa Sen Shelter in Ho Chi Minh City
This shelter provides care and education to about 30 girls. The home is quite far from the city centre and all the girls stay here from Monday to Saturday. Sundays are spent with any relatives they may have. They all attend local schools and have extra English classes at the shelter. Travelling from the dormitory to work takes about one hour by bus. Volunteers should be able to work independently in the classroom. Tasks will be:
- Teaching English
- General welfare
- Organising extra activities like dancing, singing, sightseeing
- Raising money for scholarships
Working hours are 2-3 mornings per week, depending on the school schedule. A combination of working at both Hoa Sen and Tan Binh could be a possibility.
Accommodation is in one of the three volunteer dormitories, sharing rooms with volunteers. Rooms are arranged with 4 volunteers per room in two bunk beds. Western toilets and showers, fans are available. Each house has TV, PC with wifi and washing machine, fridge, cooking facilities and a common room. Breakfast and lunch are provided at the dormitory from Monday to Friday. Food is local style, cooked by a Vietnamese cook.
This NGO in Hanoi takes care of mentally disabled children. There are 11 teachers and one pediatric doctor. There are 50 disabled and able-bodied children in three classes. The aim of the “Hope Centre” is to provide opportunities and education for children with mental impairment and to make them feel included in the local community.
The children suffer from developmental disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, Autism or Cerebral palsy. The centre provides early academic learning and physical education, therapy, yoga, painting and poetry.
The location is in a very crowded place with many shops. It takes about one hour to get there from the volunteer accommodation. Volunteers should like to work with handicapped children, be mature and have initiative. Min work period is 4 weeks.
Accommodation is in a dormitory with shared rooms. Food will be provided at accommodation. Meals will be mostly local food. During work days volunteers may either have lunch outside or eat with the staff at Hope Centre. They have to inform the cook on day in advance if they want to eat there.
Morning Star Centre
The Morning Star Centre is a non-profit day care centre, providing early diagnosis, care and clinical intervention, special education and vocational training for children in Hanoi and surrounding areas. There are about 200 children aged 1 to 16 and 70 staff members. The centre was founded by the “Association of Handicapped Children of Vietnam” and promotes charitable activities and opportunities for children suffering from development disabilities such as Down’s syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy.
The staffs of caretakers, teachers, cooks and doctors are a very caring group of people, who works long hours for little pay. They also have started to offer some vocational training for teenagers at schools outside the centre in the hope they gain independence and confidence. Recently a coffee shop has been opened at the entrance of the centre, where some of the children help out, gaining experience and interacting with clients. Volunteer tasks include:
- Assist local staff
- Play with children and entertain/educate them with games, music, art and other exercises
- Help with fund raising
- Collect useful information and documents from different sources
Typical working hours are from 8.00 to 16.00. Lunch and a nap between 11.00 and 14.00, Monday to Friday.
Volunteers with a medical background or experience working with the handicapped are preferred. Other volunteers are welcome because there is plenty to do and the children love to meet foreigners.
Vietnam Friendship Village
Established by an American war veteran, the “Vietnam Friendship Village”, located in Ha Tay province 15km from Hanoi, started in 1993 to treat children and veterans suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. Children and veterans are nourished and provided with free medical care.The children, who may stay for several years, receive their basic education as well as some form of job training.
In 2004 an organic gardening project was started at the village with the aim to increase awareness of the consequences of war and to demonstrate strategies for healthy living. The farm now provides about 60% of the vegetables for the village. The goal is to cover all local needs and to sell and raise further funds for the community. Volunteers will be expected to help with the following:
- Organise games and other activities for the handicapped children
- Assist teachers in special education classes
- Assist with fundraising and other official communication
- Normally volunteers will work about 20 hours a week
Experience in agriculture or child therapy is preferred but not a requirement.
Thanh Xuan Peace Village
The Peace Village was established in 1991 and provides a home and education for over 100 children and young people (ages 2 to 22) who suffer from the effects of “Agent Orange”. It serves partly as a hospital, an orphanage, nursery and elementary school.
The aim of the village is to care for these children and help them to integrate into society. They are educated in 4 special classes where they receive primary lessons and vocational training, guided by the staff of 50. The children make friends as healthy children do and can usually respond to teachers and family members.
The Village has two physiotherapy treatment rooms, an aqua-therapy pool, a playground, a communal dining hall, classrooms, technical training workshops, computer lab and health clinic. Thanh Xuan Peace Village is located on the outskirts of Hanoi. Volunteer tasks include:
- Organise games in teaching classes (math, drawing, singing and handcrafts)
- Help the staff with general housework and care for disabled children
- Help with fund raising
Typical working hours are from 8.00 to 16.00. Lunch is between 11.00 and 14.00.
Volunteers with a medical background or experience working with handicapped people are preferred. Other volunteers are welcome as well, because there is plenty to do and the children love to meet foreigners.
Phuc Tue Center
This centre is a non-profit and non-governmental day care centre in Hanoi, taking care of mentally and physically impaired children. It provides care and education for approximately 70 children and young people (aged 2 to 22) who are suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, autism, Down syndrome or Japanese encephalitis. The aim is to look after these children and help to integrate them into normal society.
The children are divided into 4 classes. The education programs also include physical education and therapy, yoga, painting and poetry. Volunteers with background or experience in medical work or disability are preferred, but volunteers without experience or background will also be able to help with different tasks, as children are very excited with foreigners. Your tasks could be:
- Caring for and playing with disabled children
- Feeding the children during lunch time
- Calling for charity or Subscription (depends on volunteers)
- Help out with charity campaigns for books, old clothes, old shoes for the children
Volunteers can also help the centre doing gardening to provide food for the children
Thuy An Centre
This centre originally opened its doors for the disabled children of veterans of the Vietnam War. Now the centre accepts all disabled children. There are about 150 children aged 0 to 18 and 50 staffs. Their handicap is either mental and/or physical and the centre helps them with rehabilitation, education and vocational training and care.
The children take part in cultural programs and sports. The aim is to reintegrate the children into society if possible. An organic farming project is planned. Volunteer tasks include:
- Organise games in teaching classes (math, drawing, singing and handcrafts)
- Help staff with rehabilitation, general housework and care for disabled children
- Organise sport
- Teach English to staff members and children
Typical working hours are from 8.30 to 16.00. Accommodation is in the centre in shared rooms. Lunch and dinner will be provided at the centre. Volunteers have to shop for breakfast themselves and get a monthly refund from our partner organization.
Ky Quang Orphanage for disabled children in Ho Chi Minh
Ky Quang Pagoda is a private institution run by Buddhist monks, providing various services for the local community, in addition of being a place of worship.
This place, located in the north of Ho Chi Minh, takes care of about 200 disabled, orphaned and blind children. Local children can also follow lessons. There is a traditional medical clinic for local residents. Tasks will be:
- Assisting local staff in providing rehabilitation exercises and therapy to children
- Playing with children and entertaining/educating them with games, music and arts
- Painting and restoration work
- Help with fund raising
Working hours are from 8.30 to 12.00 and from14.00 to 17.00. Accommodation is in one of the three volunteer dormitories, sharing rooms with volunteers. Rooms are arranged with 4 volunteers per room in two bunk beds. Western toilets and showers, fans are available. Each house has TV, PC with wifi and washing machine, fridge, cooking facilities and a common room.
Breakfast and lunch are provided at the dormitory from Monday to Friday. Food is local style, cooked by a Vietnamese cook.
Community Development Projects
All youth and community development projects are located in or around Hanoi. At the moment our partner organization supports 9 different NGO’s in the following fields of work:
- Poverty alleviation
- Social and Medical Studies
- Sustainable Health development
- Vietnam Sustainable Development
The volunteers’ tasks differ according to the project, but all volunteers should have a good sense of team work, a good knowledge of English and computer skills and be flexible. Please be aware that working with local NGO’s will be mainly office work; and the work may be different from time to time and from one NGO to another.
This NGO aims to improve local people’s livelihoods, while ensuring sustainable development, especially in remote areas where ethnic minority groups reside. It also promotes national and international collaboration in research, training, information flow and other activities.
Its main task is to conduct research and undertake development projects. The centre organizes training courses for its staff, local NGO staff members and local counterparts.
Its research covers the following areas: social and environmental research, human and political ecology research and agrarian change. The projects aim to pursue sustainable rural livelihoods and gender equity.
Requirements are flexibility, an educational degree in Environment or Anthropology and or practical experience. Minimum stay is 2 months. Volunteers need to send a CV and cover letter. Tasks can be:
- Assist in the preparation and editing of project reports, communication materials and training documents, including: researching, concept development, writing and editing
- Assist in implementation and monitoring of the project activities and reporting
- Assist in promoting and building strong working relationships between the NGO and international organizations
- Help to build a strong English speaking workplace by providing assistance and technical support to local staff
Institute of Social and Medical Studies
This NGO’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of the Vietnamese people through innovative approaches to health promotion and social development. They conduct social-medical and public health research studies to provide evidence for interventions and to inform health policies. They also create projects that improve health and well being of populations at risk in Vietnam. They offer training opportunities for local professionals and students from Vietnam and abroad and provide consultancy services for domestic and international organizations working on public health and community development. Currently they are establishing partnerships with governments, foundations, NGO’s and businesses to expand their projects’ impacts. They focus on:
- Gender, sexuality and HIV/STI prevention
- Reproductive Health
- Communicable disease prevention including avian flu
- Health Policy
- Prevention and cessation of Tobacco use, substance abuse and alcohol consumption
- Injury and non-communicable diseases
- Environmental health
The NGO takes a social-medical approach to its research, understanding that social factors play an important role in one’s health. They conduct a wide range of studies covering many diverse settings and populations. Some of the populations they have focused on include low-income families, children, adolescents, woman, sex workers, drug users, homosexual people, the elderly, migrants, ethnic minorities, and populations in remote mountainous areas.
It offers quality-training courses in public health and social development to local professionals and organizations.
They often work with Vietnamese universities and teaching institutions to enhance the courses.
Requirements are flexibility, an educational degree in Public health or related fields and or practical experience. Minimum stay is 2 months . Tasks can be:
- Assist in the preparation and editing of project reports, communication materials and training documents, including: researching, concept development, writing and editing
- Assist in implementation and monitoring of the project activities and reporting
- Assist in promoting and building strong working relationships between ISMS and international organizations
- Help build a strong English speaking workplace by providing assistance and technical support to local staff
Sustainable Health development
This NGO in Hanoi has been running for a year now and has a small team of staff. Its mission is to improve the health of people, especially in economical disadvantaged areas and ethnic minority communities, through capacity building awareness, raising and improving access to basic healthcare services. There is a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health, mother and child care, disability awareness, prevention and rehabilitation, primary and preventive healthcare.
Information about HIV prevention and reproductive health in general are very important in Vietnam as 50 % of the population is under 30 years old. Volunteers need to bring a laptop, be able to work in teams, have computer skills, and have an educational degree or practical experience. Minimum stay is 6 months. Your tasks will be:
- Participating in developing programs and project proposals, discussions, research
- Writing and editing documents and fundraising
- Assisting in promotion and building a link between the NGO and international organizations
- Support the local staff and teach English 4 hours a week
Accommodation and food is in dormitories. Lunch is mostly provided by the NGO.
Vietnam Sustainable Development Centre
This NGO is currently focused on providing resources through their two web portals to farmers in rural communities and people with disabilities. Because of the industrial development, the government takes the lands of the local farmers and redistributes them to new industries. The farmers receive compensation but their rights are ignored. The NGO informs them about their rights, new technologies, trains them for new careers and provides info about legal issues. The project is based in Hanoi, but it’s focusing on the poorest part of the rural local community.
Requirements are a background in PR, marketing, Media, Communications, International Relations, Social Sciences (or a related discipline), Undergraduate / Graduated student, experience in working for development project, related disciplines and NGO’s, good communication skills, ability to work in a cross-cultural environment, capacity to work both independently and as part of the team. Minimum stay is 2 months. Tasks can be:
- Assist in the preparation and editing of reports, communication materials and training documents, including: researching, concept development, writing and editing
- Assist in implementation and monitoring of the project activities and reporting
- Assist in promoting and building strong working relationships with international organizations
Volunteering in the South, Ho Chi Minh
Below you can learn more about our projects in SouthVietnam. Most work places are also suitable for Internships. Volunteer work options are:
Education, Teaching English and or Sports
Child care, orphanage work or caring for disabled children
Working with local NGO’s
Medical volunteering for professionals or interns
Animal rescue and care
Volunteers teaching English can work in orphanages, shelters, community classes, primary and high schools. Many schools lack teachers with sufficient English competencies to extend the students’ English beyond basic writing and speaking skills. You can help to improve the children’s vocabulary and pronunciation, organize games and other activities. Working hours will vary but will averagely be around three to six hours per day. Most schools do not need qualified or experienced teachers.
If you don’t want to spend all your time in a classroom and are interested in sports, you can also teach sports to children in schools or orphanages or institutions for homeless children. You can help broaden the children’s knowledge of sports, through teaching “foreign” sports and games and educating them on general fitness, health and well being in addition to taking general lessons at the school.
It is up to you to plan lessons and design the teaching of their sports program. Children are extremely enthusiastic and willing to learn, but it is important to be well prepared if you present the children to a new sport. While football is extremely popular in Vietnam, many volunteers have found it rewarding to teach other sports from their home country, such as baseball, lacrosse, basketball, cricket and rugby. If you wish to do this, you must plan ahead and bring the required materials and equipment as it is very likely that this will not be available in local shops.You do not need any previous teaching experience for this program, but it is important to know that you may be required to teach other classes during the day, such as English, Math, English, Geography and History. Therefore, this program is connected to the teaching program
Class of Love
This school offers free education to disadvantaged children that come from other provinces. Their parents have unstable income and frequently move between different jobs. This means their children cannot attend public schools. There are currently 6 classes at the school from Grade 1 – 5. Each class has around 20 students, with around 120 attending the school in total. After leaving school, they are encouraged to continue their studies at a higher level. You will be responsible for the English class and will work as the sole teacher with the support of a Vietnamese volunteer to assist in translation and maintaining the class. You will be required to make a teaching plan using the learning materials provided.
All children have a basic level of knowledge English. You will have the responsibility to ensure the general welfare of the children and make sure they are comfortable. Remember to be their friend too. They have been through a lot. You are expected to give the children English tests, especially mid – semester and final – semester. The results of their English tests will be officially considered as a part of their grade point average at the end of a school year. You are also encouraged to try and raise money for scholarships, special events and restoration of the school if possible.
You will work around 6 hours per week at this school and use the rest of your time between other schools that need help.
Shelter 8 for street children
This is a boy’s orphanage in one of the poorest districts in Ho Chi Minh City. All boys have been living on the streets, maybe because their parents have passed away and none of their relatives can take care of them or because their parents divorced and left them. The shelter provides them with shelter, food and education at local schools.They have a few staffs who take turns to stay at night and look after the children there. The people carrying out the project have been trying to build a healthy life and safe environment for children, to create an open and friendly atmosphere. Another aim of the shelter is to try and reunite children with their family if possible. Living at the shelter, children must agree to go to school or follow vocational training. The shelter also organizes many activities like swimming trips, playing football matches, picnics, student exchange with other schools and courses like hip-hop dancing, drawing, and singing. There are 21 boys living at the shelter while the staffs in charge consist of 1 project leader, 2 educators and 1 cook.
You will be responsible for the English class and will work as the sole teacher with the support of a Vietnamese volunteer to assist in translation and maintaining the class. You will be required to make a teaching plan with lesson plans using the learning materials provided to ensure continuity in learning from the teachers before and after you. Although most of the boys have studied English in the past, it is unlikely they know how to speak and understand English. The boys usually play sports at least once a week. You will work around 5 hours per week and will use the rest of your time between other projects and classes that need help.
Tan Quy Community Class
This school was established by our partner organisation. All of the children have a family that want to encourage their children to enter a more interactive English learning environment. The school gives the local children a chance to learn from native speakers, while also building a closer relationship between international volunteers and the people from the local area. There are two classes: Class 1 with 20 students from grade 1 to 4, and Class 2 with 18 students from grade 5 to 8. There are currently 38 children, boys and girls. You will be responsible for the English class. Although most of the children have studied English in the past, it is unlikely they know how to speak much English. Therefore you are expected to help with speaking and listening skills. You will work around 2 -4 hours per week and will use the rest of their time between other schools classes that need help You only need to walk 10 minutes to get to work and have the chance to meet many people of the local community.
Vinh Hoi Community School
The aim of this school is to offer disadvantaged children basic education. If students study hard, the school will try to organize scholarships for them to continue into higher education. Furthermore, the school organizes social activities. Most of these students live in very difficult families. Their parents are often casual workers, without the means to pay a public school. Most of students in this school didn’t have any chance to learn English until our partner organisation sent volunteers. You may find it difficult to communicate with the students, but you always have a local volunteer to help you translate. Various materials for teaching English such as course books, flash cards, dictionaries, stories, games, etc. will be provided.
For those interested in teaching Sport, you can help to teach the children 2 times per week during 1 hour. You will work around 2 -4 hours per week and will use the rest of your time between other projects that need help.
Phu Nhuan Community Class
This school also offers free education. These children are from families that are too poor to send them to a public school or there may be no one to look after them at all. Although they are not living in an orphanage, many of them don’t receive any family care, due to poverty and various complicated backgrounds, some of them are orphans. There are currently 20 disadvantaged boys and girls attending lessons but not all learn English. The school only offers children primary education, focusing on literacy and math. Children have only begun learning English since our partner organisation started sending volunteers in 2009. The children also get the chance to study vocational skills, such as making handmade stuffs to create a better income by themselves. They are very active and cheeky sometimes, they like learning English through playing games and being involved in different activities. You will be responsible for the English class and will work as the sole teacher with the support of a Vietnamese volunteer to assist in translation. Maybe you can also arrange your own activities for the children and have fun together. You will work around 3 – 4 hours per week at the school and will use the rest of their time between other projects that need help.
Saigon Love School
Saigon Love School is located inside a Buddhist temple in the Go Vap district of Ho Chi Minh City. The school was established in 2005 in order to help educate 70 -80 children from poor immigrant families living near the pagoda. Local teachers teach Vietnamese in the morning and usually volunteers teach English for a few hours. The children are of varying age and have different levels of English skills. Travelling by bus from the guest house takes around an hour and a half, depending on traffic.
Saigon urban schools
In Saigon you can teach at 5 different elementary, secondary or high schools, with about 5000 pupils from 1st to 12th grade. Most pupils have studied English for some years, but can’t speak it very well. The help of volunteers improves their communication skills. Teaching at these schools will give you a chance to learn more about the local culture, the students and life in Vietnam. During classes there will always be a local English teacher working together with you. You will mainly focus on speaking, while the local teacher is responsible for grammar and other issues. If you have enough confidence, the teacher will let you work independently. There are also outdoor activities and you will be invited to join as co-organizer. You will be asked to make a teaching plan to ensure continuity in learning for the volunteers taking over after your stay. The schools are located in different districts in the urban area of Ho Chi Minh City. Travelling by bus from the guest house takes about 1 hour, depending on traffic.
English Class for Buddhist Nuns
The aim of the project is to help local Buddhist nuns to communicate in English and broaden culture understanding. The English class for Buddhist Nuns is located inside the Dieu Giac Pagoda. The nuns are interested in studying English and get a chance to do so in the mornings, where volunteers can help them practice and improve their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
You will be provided with various materials for teaching, such as a course books, flash cards, dictionaries, stories, games, etc., so feel free to use them to plan your lessons based on the learners’ level. Dieu Giac pagoda is located in district 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Travelling by bus from the dorm at the guest house takes about 1 hour, depending on traffic.
Tan Binh Shelter for street Children in Ho Chi Minh City
Tan Binh is a shelter for boys only, who all come from a poor situation. While some have no family, others do have some relatives, whom they can stay with during holidays, others may have parents in prison. Your tasks can be organising educational activities and sport, motivating them to do their utmost, in order to get a brighter future, redecorating classrooms, participating i all odd tasks. The shelter also organises many activities for the boys like swimming trips, picnics, student exchange with other schools and of course the English classes. There are currently 26 boys living in the Tan Binh shelter, though not all of them study English. The age range is from 7 to 20 years old and often boys who grew up there stay on to work at the shelter or visit very often.
Thang Long Vocational Training
Thang Long School provides teenagers free courses such as hotel and restaurant hospitality, hairdressing, sewing and tailoring, information technology, photography and English. All the students here come from poor families and are aged 11 to 19. The English class give the students a chance to learn from native speakers. There are three different Basic English classes in the morning, afternoon and evening. Each class lasts for about one and a half hour with about 10 to 20 students in each class.
Only volunteers with a background in vocational training skills will be accepted to teach vocational skills. You will work together with a Vietnamese teacher. For English education, you will be responsible for the English class. There are no local volunteers and the volunteers are expected to work as the main teacher with the assistance of the Vietnamese teachers at the school in translating. You will teach 5 mornings, 3 afternoons and 2 evenings from Monday to Friday and have free time during the weekends.
Child care, orphanage work or caring for disabled children
Ky Quang Pagoda
This pagoda is a place of charity for unfortunate children and has a traditional medicine clinic for local residents. It has 25 staff members. Some of the children here have been abandoned by their parents and relatives and infants are sometimes found at the front gate of the pagoda. At the moment, about 200 children and adults are living in the Pagoda. There is a day care-room that includes 35 disabled children, suffering in particular from cerebral palsy, blindness, Down’s syndrome or Agent Orange. Here, they get lunch and dinner, play and interact, sleep and receive therapy during the day. In the evening and night, they sleep in different rooms with other orphans. About 30 to 40 local children have a chance to study, as some local teachers teach Vietnamese. There are three main activities for volunteers:
- Teach English to children between 9 and 15 years old
- Play with children aged 3 to 8 in the kindergarten
- Give physical therapy to disabled children of different ages
If you are interested in teaching English, you will work as the main teacher with the support of Vietnamese volunteers in translating. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus to get to work.
Smile Restaurant was inaugurated in October 2012 by a charity foundation offering meals at a low price to poor students, immigrants and local workers in the area of HCMC. The foundation does fundraising in order to get the money needed to sell a quality meal at the cost of 2000 VND (less than 10 USD cent).
If you have experience in cooking, you can help with cooking. But in most cases volunteers help prepare food, wash vegetables, set up the tables, serve food, cleaning and dishwashing. The restaurant is located in the centre of HCMC. As a volunteer you will be involved in a charity project and learn about life in HCMC. It takes about 30 minutes by bus from the guest house to get to work.
Working time is from 8 to 13, Monday to Friday.
Volunteering with handicapped children
Thi Nghe Center
This centre for disabled orphans provides nurturing, healing and rehabilitation, cultural education and personality development to orphans with cerebral palsy (around 60%), polio, development delay and mental disabilities. Treatment is offered to babies and children up to the age of 16. In addition, the centre also helps to educate and restore motor function for around 200 disabled children in the community. There are about 260 people working at the centre including administrative staff, nurses and doctors, technicians and physiotherapists and teachers. The centre has three facilities:
- Main facility for disabled orphans where volunteers work with seven medical care rooms for children arranged by age and disability types, a special care unit for children with serious illnesses, health treatment room for children, a prevention and physical therapy room and an exercise room for children based on their natural motor stage.
- A facility for disabled orphans who, as adults, are unable to find jobs in the city. Here they get help to get used to manual work on tea or coffee farms, vegetable gardens and livestock.
- A boarding facility for children with disabilities in the community who can follow education, rehabilitation, and therapy.
The centre also has a school for children from nursery to grade 3 to help them develop cognitive, communication and personality training. Activities such as drawing, computer, dance and gymnastics are also provided for the children who are able to attend. As most children are bedridden, you must show initiative to interact with the children in a way that is meaningful to them and helps them feel your love and attention. Volunteers are working as members of the local staff but also as caretaker care and to be a friend. You may be required to help changing nappies, cleaning, and folding clothes.
One of the most important tasks is during the meals, when you are expected to help feeding children. When caring for the children, you will soon realize that despite their disabilities they are simply regular children who want to play and have fun as much as any other child does!
You will work 20 hours per week on average. During working days you will stay at the project site to have lunch and take a rest.
Ky Quang centre for disabled children
See description under “Orphanage” Ky Quanh Pagoda.
This work environment demands patience, open-mindedness and creativity. If you have a background or experience in medical work or disabilities you will be able to work more closely with nurses on basic physiotherapy. However, most volunteers will be expected to work in the day-care room where support is especially needed. You will spend most of your time in the day-care room working with disabled children, as members of the local staff but also as caretaker care and to be a friend.
You will be assisting the staff with basic rehabilitation exercises and therapy treatment for children. The staff will guide you and help you understand the need of each individual child. Staffs are always willing to learn new techniques or methods in therapy, if you have a background in therapy work, you can spend time with local staff to offer some basic training and information. Group activities with the children through songs or games always have a positive impact on interaction development. You are free to use the materials and toys there or bring your own. Drawing and painting is good for them, as well as simple puzzles or building blocks. Anything constructive is useful for them, as well as fun.
Ho Chi Minh is a very large town. It will take you approx. 2 hours to get to work by bus. As the chilren take a nap after lunch, your actual working hours will be 4 to 5 per day.
Ho Chi Minh Physio Therapy Centre
Known officially as Centre of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation for Disabled Children, but it also offers treatment for adults. The centre has three main purposes:
- Rehabilitation of children aged 5 -15, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Congenital Motor Deformity etc.
- Rehabilitative training and courses on taking care of a disabled child as well as other courses for local medical staff, students and family of disabled children
- Research in fields such as Congenital Motor System deformity and treatments, Physiotherapy and the care of disabled children
The centre functions like a hospital, mainly focusing on orthopedics, with various rooms for different treatments including a daycare room for disabled children with physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The daycare has 5 teachers looking after 32 children, but not all attend everyday. Most of the children suffer from cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, congenital motor system deformity and other disabilities.
Same working conditions and requirements as at the Ky Quang Centre During the working day volunteers will stay at the project site to have lunch and take a rest.
LTK Physio Centre in Ho Chi Minh
This centre provides rehabilitation to adults and children. Most of the centre functions as a hospital with various rooms for different treatments, but it also includes a day-care centre for disabled children where they can get physical-, occupational- and speech therapy. Your tasks can be:
- Assisting local staff with rehabilitation exercises and therapy
- Playing with children and entertaining/educating them with games, music and art
- Shadowing medical doctors in surgery (medical students only)
- Painting and restoration work
- Joining different therapy rooms and work more directly with children and adults (depending on your skills)
Working hours are from 8.30 to 11 and 14 to 16.30.
Gia Dinh special school for autistic children
This school provides children both mental and physical activities:
- Typical physical movements, such as walking, standing, running, jumping, and balancing
- Fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, self-control in eating, dressing,bathing, swimming etc.
- Language, communication, and social skills
- Reading, writing, and math skills
- Skills in weaving, sewing, cooking, arranging flowers or another craft of their choice
There are currently 86 children at the school, aged 3 to 16. Your will be asked to work with autistic children, assisting staff with providing basic exercises and therapy treatment.
Community development projects
Most local NGO’s are working on community development fields such as sustainable development, micro- finance support, health care services, environment protection and community asset development. Local NGO’s are working with many international partners. However, some of their staffs are not very good at English, especially academic English as well as writing proposals and fund raising skills. Therefore they are looking forward to having international volunteers in their team to help. You should be minimum 22 years old, be a native English speaker, have computer skills, be flexible and have an educational degree or practical experience. Send a CV and cover letter to [email protected]. Minimum stay is 4 weeks.
Tasks can be:
Developing programs and project proposals, including brainstorming, discussion, research, writing and editing, including doing research, editing and fund-raising, assist in preparation of communication materials and training documents, provide support to local staff to improve their English.
During work days most food is provided by the NGO.
The aim is to provide skilled medical professionals and students the chance to experience a new culture and working environment, while learning and developing their specialized medical knowledge. You get the chance to gain a greater understanding of differences between medical systems in developed and developing countries.
Ho Chi Minh Orthopedic & Rehabilitation hospital
Known officially as Centre of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation for Disabled Children (CORDC) but it also offers treatment for adults too. The LTK Physio Centre provides rehabilitation to adults and children.
See description above.
Interns are required to provide proof of medical study, qualifications (if any) and experience in the field. You must be committed and enthusiastic as the local staffs expect you to become an active member of the team regardless of your skill level or expertise. Interns will be placed with a local doctor and/or nurse who will guide them to different tasks and activities. As an intern, you will not be expected or allowed to partake in serious procedures. However, depending on level of experience, participants may observe operations, provide assistance in basic procedures and visit patients – before and after surgery as well as any other tasks offered or required by the local staff.
While participants are always encouraged by local staff to see and learn as much as possible, they are also very interested to gain a better understanding of medical work in your country and in particular, learn about the similarities and differences..
You will work 20 hours per week on average.
Pediatric Hospital (Children’s Hospital)
This hospital is one of the most well-known pediatric hospitals in Vietnam and as such, you will have a different experience to that of working at LTK Hospital. At this hospital you will only work with infants, children and adolescents. This hospital has a wide range of departments that volunteers can be placed in according to their qualifications or interest. Interns must confirm their preference when enrolling. EXIS will contact the local staff directly in order to arrange a suitable department for you. This is a very large hospital with high standards in Vietnamese healthcare. Operating room facilities are at the same level as Western hospitals and the general facilities are of better standard than most typical Vietnamese hospital. Most staffs at this hospital have a high level of English and many can also speak a third language such as French or Japanese. This hospital has a very high number of expert staff. As a result of this, participants may sometimes feel un-useful and having less hands-on work.
On the other hand, with such a large number of patients visiting this hospital for specialist treatment, you will likely see a wide range of illnesses and treatments, experience of which you will benefit.
You will travel to work by public bus, during around 40 minutes, depending on traffic.
Requirements and working conditions are the same as for the Ho Chi Minh Orthopedic & Rehabilitation hospital.
You will work 20 hours per week on average. Lunch and a rest are taken at work place.
Animal Rescue and Care
Animal Rescue Care Center
Wildlife Rescue Centre rescues animals that are confiscated from illegal animal trade. This is the biggest multi-species rescue station in the South of Vietnam that takes care of many endangered wild species. After the animals have recovered and have been rehabilitated, they are returned back to the wild.
Raising public awareness of the protection of wildlife is one important purpose of the centre. The display centre is equipped with visual images, objects, samples and information in a lively way to help the visitors understand about illegal wildlife trade and hunting as well as what they can do to protect the bio diversity of Vietnam.
Wildlife rescue centre holds over 400 animals however, there are very few staff members available to help. The centre would not be able to run without the support from many sponsors, individuals, including the active participation & hard work of volunteers.
You must show eagerness, the ability to maintain motivation and reliability. For this project, experience is not necessary, but enthusiasm for hard work and to ‘get involved’ in the cause is. You also need to be fit and healthy and able to rapidly adapt to local situations. The exact nature of the tasks varies all the time and there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. However there are certain everyday jobs that will be your responsibility:
- Assisting keepers cleaning the enclosures. This includes sweeping, raking and assisting the keepers in general husbandry activities:
- Watering plants and maintaining gardens
- Painting enclosures and external walls
- Cleaning windows on the reptile holding facilities
- Enclosure maintenance e.g. digging holes, removing tree branches, planting scrubs and flowers
You will mostly deal with:
Reptiles – freshwater turtles, Chinese water dragons, Bengal water monitor lizards (there is no contact with snakes), Primates (limited handling with Loris & Gibbons), Pangolins (limited handling due to the species being nocturnal), Otters (limited handling, but volunteers will be involved in feeling, cleaning and, of course, observation), Bears and large cats (there is absolutely no contact with these animals), Horticulture like planting, weeding, watering and general garden maintenance. Working at weekends is optional. You will have lunch at a restaurant nearby the station. Travelling by bus, the journey from the dorm takes about 2 hours.
You will work 20 hours per week on average. Lunch and a rest are taken at work place.
Saigon Dog & Cat rescue and care
There are many abandoned dogs and cats in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. In response to the needs of these pets, a project named “Dog & Cat rescue and care” was founded by young people and university students in 2013.
They rescue dogs or cats, which are then brought to the foster home and taken care of and given medical care until they are healthy enough and ready to be adopted. Since the start of the project, hundreds of animals have been rescued. Usually there are between 15-30 animals at the foster home.
All expenses for this project are covered by donations and fundraising through the social media or other campaigns. As the number of dogs and cats is increasing, there is great need for volunteers, who can help caring for the animals or help with fundraising. The project is located in Ho Chi Minh City, but also active in other districts. At the moment, volunteers will be working at the foster houses in the Tan Phu and Binh Chanh districts. Travel time to work by bus is around 1 hour, depending on traffic.
Your tasks can be: Cleaning, feeding, playing and taking care of the animals and/or activities on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) or organizing campaigns in local communities in order to help with promotion and fundraising.
Working time is from 9 AM to 3 PM. Working during weekend is optional. Volunteers will have lunch at a nearby restaurant. On your first day, you will get an orientation and be presented to the animals. Be aware that you can get dirty at work!
UNESCO’s International Biosphere Reserve covers 75,740 hectares and consists of rare species of salt water and brackish water mangrove. The site is an important wildlife sanctuary in Vietnam with high bio diversity. More than 200 species of fauna and 52 species of flora. The mangrove forest is regarded as Ho Chi Minh City’s “green lungs” and reduces CO2 emission. A single tree can reduce 500 kilo – 1 ton of CO2 during its lifetime. The aim of the project is to replant trees in the “Can Gio Biosphere Reserve”, where the original vegetation has disappeared. Rehabilitation also helps to restore the habitat for animals. Your tasks will be to work in the nursery, to help employees spreading information about the mangrove forest in the surrounding villages, to help taking care of wild animals (monkey, otter, pig, and crocodile) etc.
We expect volunteers to be in good physical condition! Accommodation is in dormitories at the reserve, together with other international volunteers. 3 meals a day are served at a local restaurant. Should you miss city life, it is possible to stay overnight in the apartment for volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City during weekends, if you give the coordinator a week notice.
De fleste af de nævnte projekter og arbejdssteder kan modtage praktikanter. Send en e-mail til [email protected] hvor du forklarer dine ønsker og fortæller hvilke krav, din studievejleder stiller. Så vil EXIS finde ud af, hvor du bedst vil kunne passe ind.
Fees: volunteering in Vietnam
Most projects in Vietnam have the following fees.
See below for projects with special fees
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Fees: Animal Rescue Center
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Fees: hospital projects + organic farming
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Inkluderet i prisen
Voluntary Work in Vietnam
Dormitory style accommodation at the guesthouse with shared bathroom – 3 meals a day during your entire stay
Counseling and support during your entire stay
A contribution of 250 USD per week,when working at the Animal Rescue centre and 50 USD when working at a Pediatric Hospital
Free bus ticket if project site is far from guesthouse
Free use of internet at the guesthouse (limited access due to power shortage or great demand)
Fees for internships at the Children hospital include a weekly contribution of 50 USD
1 to 5 days language and cultural orientation (duration and content of the on-arrival orientation depending on the number of volunteer weeks)
The following is not included in the fees:
- Travel to and from Vietnam
- Visa fees
- Airport transfer after end program
- Personal expenses like pocket money, costs for extra activities
- Extra Accommodation and food per day at 15 USD
Vietnam is a country of stunning landscapes, mountain regions with lush vegetation, valleys marked by slowly flowing rivers, picturesque lakes and more than 3,400 km of wonderful white, sandy beaches and numerous islands.
Vietnam has suffered from wars and foreign rulers more than almost any other country throughout its 4000-year history. It is no surprise that Vietnam is still known for war, mainly in the 20th century. But the small country held out against its stronger opponents and recovered quickly from 30 years of civil war.
Millions of Vietnamese people people suffer from the after-effects of “Agent Orange”: the nickname given to a defoliation agent used by the US Army in its Herbicidal Warfare program during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is responsible for genetic defects on human beings and continues to cause physical and mental disabilities. There are about 8 million victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. We must admire the attitude of many Vietnamese towards this dark chapter of their recent history. “What is over is over”, they say! For more information click
Vietnamese people, also called “Viet” or “Kinh”, account for 88 % of the population. Most ethnic minorities live in the highlands covering two-thirds of the territory.The largest ethnic minority groups include the Hmong, Dao, Tay, Thai and Nung. The Vietnamese society is very young. Around 44% of the population is under 15 years of age. The average age is 25 years.
Vietnam stretches over two climatic zones. In the north there is a subtropical climate, which is divided into two seasons: winter, which begins in November and ends in April and summer from May to October. In the south the tropical climate is divided into three seasons: cool from November to January, February and hot months of May and the rainy season from May/June to October.
Before you go
Volunteer work is for people interested in learning about sustainable solutions to poverty. You will work in partnership with local people on community based projects.
To volunteer you must be in good physical condition and willing to lend a hand wherever needed. The work demands flexibility, initiative, maturity and drive.
Local staff will give help and support, but you should be prepared to plan and organise your own work. If no one on your project speaks English, one of the Vietnamese volunteers from the Volunteer Club will accompany you to your workplace and function as an interpreter and communication link between you and the local staff. Do not expect luxury!
Visa and Entry Requirements for EU-Citizens
Visitors to Vietnam must obtain a visa before travelling, at a Vietnamese diplomatic embassy or consulate in their home country. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival. You can apply for a visa by mail or in person at the Embassy as early as six months prior to the date of travel. The applicant must submit an original passport, a completed and signed visa application form with one passport-size photo attached, the visa fee (money order, or cashier’s check) and a prepaid return envelope, if the visa is to be returned by mail. Entry to Vietnam may be refused if your passport expires in less than six months.
A tourist visa is sufficient for stays up to 3 months. The most common visa is a single entry for a period of one month. It is possible to receive a double or multiple-entry tourist visa for a period of more than 3 months upon request and at additional cost. It is possible to extend the visa or to change the validation period in Vietnam as long as your visa is valid. Holders of a valid visa may use any official entry or exit port in Vietnam (airports, harbours, or on land, e. g. the borders Vietnam/China, Vietnam/Laos and Vietnam/Cambodia. Volunteers staying longer than 3 months need a working visa. You will receive the necessary application papers in due time from our Vietnamese partner organization.
Vietnam is generally a safe country. However, petty street crime is increasing as the number of tourists increase. In Ho Chi Minh City especially, you should not wear a lot of jewellery and should keep your spending money close to your body in a secure place. We further recommended that you take taxis rather than cycles at night. Taxis are metered and cheap. Carry a hotel card so that you can show your taxi driver where you want to go. You should leave valuables in a hotel safety deposit box at all times and carry photocopies of your passport, credit card numbers and airline tickets.
Travel insurance is compulsory. Please contact your insurance company and explain the destination and reason for your stay.
Health and vaccinations
You should consult your doctor for information about vaccinations and also prepare a small first-aid kit. The following vaccines are recommended: Polio, tetanus, yellow fever, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis.
Your personal kit should include:
- Aspirin or other medication for pain or fever
- Antihistamines (for allergies and itches)
- Anti diarrhoea medication
- Something to settle the stomach
- Hydration mixture (to prevent dehydration)
- Insect repellent
- Antiseptic and bandages
- Sunscreen and lip balm – the sun shines more than half the time, so be sure to bring plenty
- Also, the dust rate in the air is quite high in industrial cities; it is advisable to buy a small mask if you are bothered by dust. You will see the locals wearing these masks too.
For more tips and good advice see: The Vietnamese tourist office
Ready to go?
Reserve a spot for one of our projects in Vietnam