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Are you crazy about kids? Do you want to support them in building a brighter future? Volunteers in the Vietnam Children’s program have the opportunity to work in one of our placements in or around Hanoi – these include orphanages, disability centres, villages and street children shelters. Many children are parentless or their families are unable to care for them. The role of the volunteer is to provide love, attention, education and life skills for these children, and to support the local staff at these placements. Volunteers are needed to assist in caring for children, teaching basic English, arts and crafts, music, sports and other life skills where possible. There is also need for volunteers who have specialized skills in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing or other professions with qualifications that could support children with mental and physical disabilities.
Do you have physical or behavioural therapy skills? Or an interest in supporting children with physical and mental disabilities? Unfortunately, due to low resources, there is a lack of understanding and skills to support those with disabilities living in residential projects. There is a great need for volunteers who can use any specialized skills in physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing or other professions with qualifications that could support children with mental or physical disabilities. Even if you don't have a related qualification, we still welcome you to join this program - there's always a need for volunteers to provide interaction and engagement for these kids to help them reach their full potential and build relationships.
Are you a natural communicator? Do you want the opportunity to help others reach for their goals? There is a need in Vietnam for native English speakers or those with Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) experience to teach in schools, training centres, orphanages and disability centres. Volunteers in this program are placed in one of our placements in Northern Vietnam to teach primarily English to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. For those with other specialist vocational skills, there is also an opportunity to teach these in a vocational training centre (hospitality, sales, web/graphic design, accommodation, housekeeping, nail art and embroidery). No previous teaching experience is necessary - althoughenthusiasm, compassion and patience are a must.
Vietnam is notable for its spectacular scenery and long and rich cultural history. While the war is not too far in the past, and still affects the day to day life of many Vietnamese, its people are friendly and the country has opened up to economic liberalisation. With a long and beautiful coastline and the Red River and Mekong Deltas, Vietnam is full of beautiful and unspoiled scenery. The Vietnamese are extremely cordial to Western visitors, and are eager for extra contact with the rest of the world.
Geographically Vietnam lies in South East Asia, sharing a border with China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. Vietnam enjoys a long coastline along its eastern side.
Vietnam launched an economic reform programme in 1986. The core of Vietnam’s economic strategy has been rapid integration into the world economy. Despite an initial improvement, with integration into the global market Vietnam struggles with strengthening its resilience to global fluctuations.
The Vietnamese economy suffers from inflation, which increases the price of goods and services putting further pressure on families.
Fifty per cent of the population still live on less than US$2 a day. On top of this, large portions of the population remain vulnerable to sliding back into poverty as a result of either economic shocks or natural disasters such as typhoons and flooding.
Education of Vietnamese youth is an extremely important foundation for lifting their generation and their family out of poverty.
The mission of our partner in Vietnam is to reduce poverty and provide better quality of life for disadvantaged children in Vietnam. This builds cross-cultural education and understanding between Vietnamese people and people around the world.
Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Vietnamese communities, focusing primarily on displaced, destitute, disabled and orphaned children.
As a volunteer in Vietnam you can provide love, affection, education and support to orphaned children. You will help to improve their living facilities allowing them to be self sufficient and providing a safe and secure environment in which they flourish. As a volunteer you can practice and teach physiotherapy to disabled children. You will also provide English education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Vietnamese communities.
Visitors to Vietnam will find a range of activities within their local area, with the rest of the country also within easy access for sightseeing.
Based in Hanoi, you can visit magical Ha Long Bay on a weekend trip, or the rural town of Sapa. There's also plenty to do within Hanoi, including a tour of the old city, shopping markets, sampling street food, or explore Vietnam's history in the many museums and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Also highly recommended in Vietnam are the Forbidden City in Hue, the small town of Hoi An, China Beach, or the Cham ruins in My Son.
If your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
You will receive a Program Guide which contains a wealth of information. You'll find everything from a broad overview of the country you are going to; project details; life on the project (accommodation, meals, what to wear etc); along with extremely helpful information and advice for preparing for your trip.
GVN provides four different options to pay your program package and secure your placement. These include:
Placements longer than 8 weeks are available, please contact us or apply online for details.
*Based on an 8 week placement
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, accommodation the night before orientation, departure from the program.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $25 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, and entertainment.
Apply now for the Viet Nam Program:
Placements are based in and around Hanoi, and we have placements to suit all interests, skills and experience. Vietnam is famous for it's rich history, friendly people, traditional culture, beautiful beaches, lush green rice paddies, and delicious Vietnamese food.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, located in the North. In itself, Hanoi is a busy and diverse place, but it is also a great gateway to many other sights in Vietnam - Ha Long Bay and Sapa, just to name a few.
Start Date: 1st or 15th of each month
Length: From 2 weeks – 5 months
*While volunteers will be able to volunteer during these times, we recommend discussing your options with your volunteer coordinator to maximise your placement time.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
You do. You will need to obtain a tourist visa, which can be extended once you are in Vietnam if your placement is longer than three months. Visas can be obtained prior to arrival from a travel agency or Vietnamese Embassy, or at the airport on arrival to Vietnam. Your visa needs to specify the exact dates that you will be in Vietnam, so you will need to bear this in mind when applying.
This varies depending on how many volunteers we have at the time. You may be placed with other volunteers but you also may be placed by yourself at a particular placement. If this is a concern for you, please contact your volunteer coordinator and they can advise you further.
Vietnam is a relatively safe country to live in, however, as with all travel, you need to take precautions such as carrying cash in a money belt and being aware of your possessions and surroundings at all times (be extra vigilant at night time). You will need to be extra careful when travelling in urban areas, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Our partner may be able to arrange this for you if you are interested.
Yes. Volunteers are able to arrange their own sight seeing during their time off in the weekends. Our partner organization and your volunteer coordinator will be able to give some ideas on sights to see and places to visit.
You will need to budget for around US$30 a week to pay for snacks, entertainment, and for some extra bottled water. If needed, you may also need to pay for your tourist visa to be extended to cover your entire volunteering time. Any weekend travel excursions are also at your own cost.
Yes, you need to speak English. You must be a confident English speaker because most of the work involves teaching this language. You will be taken through some brief Vietnamese language training during your orientation since it would be courteous to learn some Vietnamese phrases. If you want to learn more Vietnamese during your training our partner may be able to arrange this for you.
We advise that you consult your doctor about this, as soon as possible before you leave, as some injections need to be done with a certain amount of time prior to leaving home. The more common ones are Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid.
Volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers under 18 must travel with a guardian or parent, and are placed on a case by case basis, in consultation with our partner organization.
Orientation is usually held the day after arrival. Volunteers are given time to relax after arrival, but it is important the orientation takes place soon after arrival so that the volunteer feels at ease in Vietnam.
Orientation is conducted by the regional coordinator.
The orientation process covers:
This is also a great opportunity to ask your regional coordinator any questions you have about your placement, what you will be doing, where you are staying or the local area.
Vegetarian food is available in the placements. There are also vegetarian restaurants available in the city. You can speak with your volunteer coordinator more about this for further details.
In general, the program is not affected by school holidays and the classes at the orphanage run throughout the year. There is one exception to this; the Tet holiday, or the Lunar New Year.
In 2013 this holiday is between the 1st February - 15th February. This will affect placements around that time, particularly short term placements. Longer placements are still available and volunteers will get a chance to participate in the festivities. Due to Christmas and New Year festivities, the orientation for January 2013 may begind a few days later than the 1st.
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
There may be a few possible placements where you can bring your children and this will be looked at on a case by case basis.
Accommodation varies depending on the placement you are allocated to - hotels, guesthouses, home stays, etc. Information about your accommodation will be provided when you confirm your placement with us and your allocation is made by our partner organization.
The Vietnam program has two volunteer intakes per month, on the 1st and the 15th. Volunteers fly into either Hanoi and should arrive the day before their start date, so they are ready to take part in a training program on these dates.
Accommodation can be arranged for you if you arrive earlier than the day before orientation begins. You will need to cover the cost of any expenses for time you stay in Vietnam outside of training and volunteer time.
Our partner organization will work with you to determine the best placement location for you based on your preference, skills, interests and local need. If you have a preference of location or project where you want to work, you can let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate your choices.
Our programs in Vietnam are located in Hanoi, and Sapa.
In the Children's Program, volunteers will help with the day-to-day care of children living in homes in and around Hanoi. This includes teaching English, bathing, feeding, dressing, playing with and general interaction. There is also the opportunity in this program for volunteers to run extra-curricular activities where appropriate.
Volunteers in the Teaching Program will be teaching English to students and teachers at various levels. We also have placements at vocational colleges, where volunteers with specific skill sets can teach local disadvantaged Vietnamese people.
A number of our programs work with disabled children and people, so our programs are always in need of those with skills in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and nursing - although these are not requirements.
You will be met in Hanoi and taken to your accommodation. The partner organization will give you advice should you need to catch local transport or walk to your placement daily.
You will be expected to work five days per week in most placements. The hours will vary from placement to placement, with a typical day being approximately six hours of work.
With its beautiful natural setting, rich culture, and tragic recent history, Vietnam is a fascinating destination. Hanoi is one of the largest cities in Vietnam - both are rich and diverse locations, in terms of culture, people, landscape and food. For more information, we suggest that you purchase the Lonely Planet's guide to Vietnam.
Hanoi and Sapa, in Northern Vietnam, have warm to hot summers and very mild winters. The best time to visit Hanoi and Sapa is March - May and September - November.
Please note: it can get very hot in Vietnam during May, June and July (up to 40 degrees).
Your program package is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until payment for your program package has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program package are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Light, cotton clothing that covers most of the body is not only more acceptable in Vietnamese culture but also helps to protect against sun and being bitten by mosquitoes. Volunteers can wear old clothing while working as it's likely that clothing will get quite dirty. Women should not wear short shorts or tops which leave the shoulders uncovered when teaching; 3/4 trousers and skirts below the knee are acceptable.
No, you can volunteer through the Global Volunteer Network from any where in the world.
It is NOT recommended to mail supplies to Vietnam as it can take 6 weeks for packages and letters to arrive. Often packages are opened upon arrival and can be taxed based on their contents. If you want to send something, we try to coordinate having an incoming volunteer bring the items. Mailing items OUT of Vietnam is rather easy.
Yes, all volunteers in this program will be required to provide a police clearance document. This is because volunteers will be working closely with children and other vulnerable individuals. To obtain a police clearance you will need to contact your local police station to find out what their procedure is. Normally, you will be asked to complete an application form authorizing the check to be done, pay a fee and a few weeks later the check will arrive in the mail. A copy of your police clearance will need to be sent to GVN before your placement begins and you will need to take the original with you when you volunteer.
GVN's partner in Vietnam works with local orphanages, centres and schools in Hanoi and Sapa to provide both national and international volunteers to support vulnerable Vietnamese people. It is a social enterprise, and any profits generated are reinvested into the organization to grow and develop its network across Vietnam.
The partner organization and its volunteers share the realization that hard work and enthusiasm will help achieve whatever is put before them. This program requires the support of other volunteers, donors and sponsors to realize its dreams, but together with a shared vision, high values and ethics, they look forward to any challenge that lies ahead.
As a volunteer in Vietnam you must:
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"My experience with the partner organisation in Vietnam has been excellent, mainly because of the support of Hanh and Terry which is fantastic. They not only helped me with the settlement and orientation on my arrival but also became good friends so as to make me feel really comfortable in Vietnam and enjoy my stay a lot. I am going to miss everyone very much."
"I had a great time joining the projects as a volunteer in Vietnam. Teaching the kids at the Orphanage as well as the kids at the Street Kids Centre was a welcoming and exciting challenge. I also enjoyed the National Volunteers companionship since they also gave me the opportunity to talk with someone without using my hands and feet. Thu did a great job as well, she is always willing to take some time from her busy work schedule to help you out or just join you for lunch and talk things over. I thank Terry and Hanh for also welcoming me to Hanoi; I wish you all the best for your work."
"Immediately after I volunteered in 2008, I was already thinking of going another time, because I missed the children. However, I have a full time job which I like, so running away for 6 weeks is not easy. I fortunately could convince both boyfriend and boss that helping children who are not overloaded with love, so as taking a break from everyday life and work, would be so good for me. I went, and although I feared a little that a second time could be different, and may be difficult, I wanted to go to the same place where I knew so many beautiful children. It was the best decision I made in the last three years!"
"The whole experience was just excellent! Superb support from Terry and Hanh, both prior to and throughout our time in Hanoi e.g. arranging accommodation, setting up the volunteer work, meeting us on arrival, local orientation to Hanoi, help with language, arranging local volunteer support at the Centre, help with translation e.g. with landlord, advice in eating out/travel/local currency/transport, enabling us to be involved in events, putting us in touch with a superb travel agent etc. Socializing with Terry, Hanh and their friends was also wonderful and an added bonus - it enabled us to experience more of Hanoi/Vietnam and was above the call of duty!
Hanh in particular provided continuous and ongoing excellent advice and support to ensure all our needs were met.
The Director of the Centre was very welcoming, supportive and appreciative – she treated us so well, gave us her time to meet and talk on several occasions, shared information, included us – and the meal in a classroom on children’s day was very special and will be remembered.
Having the local volunteers there was also excellent – they were soooo friendly and helpful – we were happy to talk English with them, they helped with our language and we learned from them.
What more can say! I am pleased we found this organisation in Vietnam and would recommend this as a volunteer placement for the effort in setting up the work and accommodation for us before we arrived, and particularly for the ongoing support provided and friendship throughout the 2 months in Hanoi.
Thank you all so much. Keep up the good work."
"At the end of our first week in Vietnam, we're thoroughly enjoying the experience and totally besotted with the wonderful children and young adults we're assisting.
Activities in the orphanage each morning are hectic, with bathing of babies, physio and feeding for some of the disabled children, English lessons for the older ones, and lots of play! We’re bringing bananas with us each morning and these are a real winner with the children – it’s "bees to the honey pot" when they're handed out.
On two evenings each week we take English classes at the baby orphanage for about 30 children aged between 7 and 12. Whilst lively, many are keen to learn and the activity is particularly rewarding for the teachers and, we hope, the pupils!
For two retirees in our 60s, the Vietnam experience is providing a wonderful and fulfilling new lease of life!"
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
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