Vietnam

Volunteering in Vietnam is a great opportunity for those interested in Southeast Asian culture and wanting to help the people of a country that is suffering the knock-on effects of a war which laid waste to much of the countryside. Despite more than 30 years of peace, recovery has been slow and the country continues to experience social problems, poverty, as well as health and disability issues. Love Volunteers' local partner organization, based in Hanoi, began its operations in 2005 and has continually expanded, so that it now organises an array of volunteering opportunities. Programs are located in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Tay, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen and Da Nang, where the local teams ensure that you have a meaningful, rewarding experience in Vietnam.

The rewards that volunteering in Vietnam bring include the undeniable satisfaction of making a daily impact on the lives of individuals affected by low levels of economic and educational opportunities, as well as poor health care. Volunteering provides you with the chance to meet local people who are eager to introduce you to their world, its customs and its outlook on life.

The volunteering work facilitated by our NGO partner in Vietnam includes teaching orphaned children, supporting projects designed to enhance poor women’s economic situation, promoting bio-diversity, conservation and eco-tourism within a national park. They are also active in the renovation of orphanages, schools and houses, as well as installing disabled access and upgrading toilet facilities at the organisation’s own centre for disabled children.

With competent, dedicated staff on hand, volunteers in Vietnam can be certain of being usefully deployed whilst being fully supported.

For more information about the country take a look at Lonely Planet and Wikitravel.

Program Snapshot

Volunteering in Vietnam offers the chance to help some of the country's most vulnerable people. You will be teaching, working, with children or providing administrative support for a local NGO. This is a rewarding way to see a very unique country.
Location: 
Throughout Vietnam
Age: 
18 years +
Minimum Stay: 
2 weeks
When to apply: 
Book early
Airport Pickup: 
Included. Programs start on the 1st and 15th every month.
Costs: 
LV registration fees plus program fees from US$360 for one week.
Accommodation: 
Volunteer apartment. Meals provided.
Working hours: 
9am until 2-5pm, Monday to Friday
Language: 
Intermediate English

Start & Duration

The programs running in Vietnam have set start dates. In Hanoi the programs begin on the 1st and 15th of each month. In Ho Chi Minh city the programs begin on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. Volunteers can help out from one week through to six months. It's possible to extend this further with our local partner.

Food and Accommodation

Volunteers in Vietnam working on the childcare program are housed at our partner’s headquarters, which is an hour to the west of the frantic central Hanoi. Accommodation is in dorms containing between four and twelve bunks and equipped with a wifi connection. There are shared bathrooms and good-sized common room with a television. Total numbers staying at any one time tend to be between ten and twenty. The building is in a semi-rural spot next to rice paddies, but close to a small town where foreigners are met with great curiosity and usually a warm smile.Meals are prepared by a cook whose food is greatly appreciated by volunteers. Two or three meals will be included depending on the program type. Lunch may not be included depending on the placement location. Vietnam is known for its fantastic food. Pho is a staple dish comprising noodles, often consumed at breakfast. Spicy and fragrant, pho also features in two soups, Pho Bo, containing beef, and Pho Ga, containing chicken. Com (young green rice) is a much-loved autumn speciality served in a lotus leaf.Nems (fried spring rolls) are made from a variety of ingredients. One snack-style dish is giò served at the time of the Vietnamese New Year (Tet). It comes in many varieties, but all of these are infused with the aroma of banana leaves and fish sauce. Also consumed at Tet are Chung cakes - sticky rice cakes involving pork meat.Other ingredients used in the extraordinarily varied cuisine of the country are fresh vegetables, mussels, shrimp, crab meat, tuna, fish of various kinds, bamboo shoots, garlic, cassava and chilli. Seasoning often includes herbs, as well as lemon grass, lime and kaffir. North, Central and Southern Vietnam each have their own regional cuisine.Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are both home to many outstanding restaurants.Volunteers on programs elsewhere in Vietnam are accommodated with host families or in dormitories.

A typical week

The Working Week runs from Monday to Friday, and amounts to a total of between 20-30 hours worked.

Typically, volunteers rise at around 7am, have breakfast and report for work at 8am. Lunch breaks normally fall at around 11am-12pm. The working day generally ends at 5pm, with dinner eaten at 6pm.

Free time can be spent relaxing or travelling to visit such places of interest such as Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its attractive islands and amazing limestone forms known as "karsts"; Sapa, a picturesque town in the North-west; Hue on the Perfume River, which is full of fascinating attractions including the Imperial City. Volunteers may also want to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda with its interesting bars and eateries, or the quiet, car-free ancient city of Hoi An. The Mui Ne beach is a popular yet quiet tropical beach resort on the South China Sea, which is great for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

About the Country

Vietnam has 85 million inhabitants and relies heavily on rice production, as well as petroleum, tea, coffee and rubber to fuel its economy. Devastated at the time of the war with the US, Vietnam has had 30 years of peace and its countryside, affected badly by chemical de-foliation, is recovering. The wildlife, particularly in the north, is legendary. Gibbon, Asian Elephant, the lizard known as the Bengal monitor and the Green sea turtle are just a few of the species found here. The south has coral reefs, mangrove swamps and dazzlingly clear waters.Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and the cultural heart of the country, is home to more than three million people. Cultural and historic monuments are dotted across the city, representing fragments of a succession of dynasties.Due to its picturesque setting among a large number of lakes, the city, though bustling, also offers leisure destinations, with West Lake probably being the most popular. Hanoi has a 2,000-year-old ‘Old Quarter’, with labyrinthine streets and an amazing blend of commercial enterprises and buzzing night life.Vietnam is ablaze with colours, tastes and scents. In rural areas, you will see children astride buffalo, women working the fields wearing traditional conical hats and land being farmed on impossibly steep slopes. The cities are a non-stop whirl. Uniting these diverse geographical zones is the happy optimistic outlook of the Vietnamese people.Apply now! Or check out the FAQ or contact page for more information. 

Volunteer Requirements

Love Volunteers' local partner in Vietnam urgently requires volunteers, whether coming to the projects on an individual basis, as a couple, family or group. All nationalities are welcome and the only requirements are a positive attitude, being 18 years of age and possessing a working level of English or French.If you want to work directly with a local NGO doing administrative work, clerical duties and fundraising you may require a university degree or some other form of tertiary education. For more information please drop us a line. Apply to volunteer in Vietnam now!

Orientation

Volunteers in Vietnam are introduced to the local neighbourhood. The logistics of travel are gone into, as are the do’s and don’ts of living amid Vietnamese people with their specific culture. Orientation also includes some Vietnamese lessons.

Ellie
UNITED KINGDOM
Vietnam

My placement with Love Volunteers in Vietnam was my first experience of volunteering, and I really can wholeheartedly recommend it. I travelled alone to Asia, which was fairly nerve-wracking, but the staff in Ho Chi Minh City did their upmost to ensure I was not only welcomed but introduced to the programme smoothly. Being in a dorm with lots of other volunteers meant that I met people really quickly, and the placement included an induction session, where local volunteers took us out into the city to the main attractions.

The Teaching English placement that I did couldn’t have been better. Throughout the weeks you’re sent to different schools around the city. This was really good as it gave the programme variety, and meant that I met lots of different teachers and volunteers. The great thing about Ho Chi Minh is that it is an extremely friendly city. All of the staff and children were nice, and very receptive when being taught.

It’s been a year and a half since I was out in Vietnam, but I can honestly say that it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Travelling alone transformed my confidence, and I’ve gained not only friends for life but really good skills that look good on my CV. Choose Vietnam!

Francesca
Francesca
Francesca
Francesca
UNITED KINGDOM
Vietnam

Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City was amazing. We were involved in a variety of projects with students of all ages. We got to put together and run our own lessons, which was scary at first but was ultimately incredibly rewarding. We taught two/three lessons a day and the staff were really flexible e.g. if you wanted to go away for a long weekend. There was loads of support and all the other international volunteers I met were friendly and helpful and just lovely!

Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
Lisa
SOUTH AFRICA
Vietnam

I have just returned from Vietnam! I had the most incredible experience :) I was living in Hanoi which is a busy and beautiful city. I have met other volunteers here and we are living in an apartment amongst the locals. This is a really great way to see the true Vietnam and experience the city as a local. I was teaching English at a primary school which is an awesome experience and a great programme to be involved with. It is a massive culture shock to see how different everything is here, but it is so interesting and lots of fun! I really recommend this programme and this country :)

Medical in Ho Chi Minh City

English Teaching

The volunteer’s role in Vietnam is to support the provision of English in institutions where under-staffing and skills shortages are an issue. Teaching qualifications and experience are welcome, but are not a requirement. The teaching programs are based in either a Vietnamese school or community centre catering to pupils of both primary and secondary school age. Volunteers in Vietnam contribute to developing the children's English vocabulary and building on their writing and speaking skills. Of invaluable assistance to the local teachers on the project, the volunteer teacher assists with classroom management, educational activities and games. The working day is fairly flexible and hours can be tailored to suit the volunteer’s wishes.

French Teaching

Volunteers with advanced French are needed in Vietnam. There are opportunities available for teaching French and assisting local modern language teachers in delivering the subject. Provision is currently of an uneven standard, and the additional boost to French learning that foreign volunteers in Vietnam can provide is enthusiastically welcomed. As with English, the inventive use of games and activities is of great benefit.

Working with children

Volunteers in Vietnam provide much-needed support and assistance to children at various childcare facilities. One such facility is a government-owned school for orphans with disabilities aged five to twenty who are housed in single-sex dorms. The facility continues its support of students through either university or vocational training. Other placements include day-schools for disabled children, as well as kids from poorer backgrounds.Duties mainly involve teaching the children English, organising and helping out with extra-curricular activities, as well as playing with the children. There are plans to introduce HIV and AIDS education to help reduce the threat which this disease poses in Vietnam.Depending on personal inclination, volunteers can also lend a hand in the kitchen, which provides an opportunity to acquire traditional Vietnamese cooking skills.

Community Development

These projects have a positive impact on social development and concentrate on providing education, aiding the disabled, protecting the environment and tackling poverty. The work includes installing disabled-access to centres and toilets, building and maintaining basic housing for the disadvantaged, making improvements to food safety at a facility for children with disabilities, as well as supporting a micro-finance project for impoverished women in rural areas. Other programs encourage bio-diversity and eco-tourism within national parks.

Indicative costs per program

Volunteer period [weeks]12346
Medical in Ho Chi Minh City-US$360US$465US$570US$780
Working with children in Ho Chi Minh CityUS$260US$360US$465US$570US$780
Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City-US$360US$465US$570US$780
Teaching English in Hanoi-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Teaching French in Hanoi-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Working with children in Hanoi-US$400US$500US$600US$800
Community development---US$600US$800
Volunteer period [weeks]812162024
Medical in Ho Chi Minh CityUS$990US$1410US$1830US$2250US$2670
Working with children in Ho Chi Minh CityUS$990US$1410US$1830US$2250US$2670
Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh CityUS$990US$1410US$1830US$2250US$2670
Teaching English in HanoiUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600
Teaching French in HanoiUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600
Working with children in HanoiUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600
Community developmentUS$1000US$1400US$1800US$2200US$2600

Other volunteers periods available. Please, contact LoveVolunteers for pricing of other periods.

A Love Volunteers registration fee of US$235 is charged in addition to the program fees and covers any placements you undertake for twelve months from the start of your first placement. The fee is refundable if you cancel more than three months prior to the start of your initial placement. This fee ensures 24/7 pre- and post-placement support from Love Volunteers, checking and vetting of local organisations, a comprehensive information pack, as well as administration and marketing costs. All transaction costs pertaining to online, bank or wire transfers are additional to the program fee and must be covered by the volunteer.