Covid-19: Where you can go & flexible booking
114,124 volunteers since 2007

Medical Volunteer Program in Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Aug 2, 2021

The healthcare system in Vietnam is run differently to many others in the western world, and volunteers can play an important role in assisting local staff. By volunteering in a local trauma hospital, you can help in a range of departments and get exposure to a range of treatments and roles.

Medical volunteer in Vietnam with IVHQ

Government regulations prevent volunteers from carrying out independent tasks, so you can expect to be shadowing and assisting local doctors and nurses as they perform their duties. For this reason, this project is best suited to students hoping to gain more insight into the Vietnamese healthcare system. Qualified volunteers are able to take part, but you should not expect to carry out hands-on medical care.

Medical volunteers assist with basic triage, wound care and rehabilitation. You’ll be helped by an English-speaking coordinator, and many doctors and nurses who also speak English.

Please note this project has a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks and there is also a surcharge of US$25 (approximately AU$33) per week, which covers the training and resources needed. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

Apply now
Apply now
Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable fees from AU$373 for 1 week
  • Volunteer in a trauma hospital across a range of departments

  • Observe and assist local doctors and nurses

  • Suitable for experienced professionals or medical students

  • Minimum duration of 2 weeks

  • Additional US$25 (approximately AU$33) per week surcharge for additional training and resources

  • Volunteer for up to 5 hours per day

Destination Highlights
Vietnam at a glance
  • Based in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, three meals each weekday and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer house

  • Between 15 and 30 volunteers start in Vietnam each month

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Vietnam, based on your country of residence.

IVHQ has volunteer placements located in and around Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Volunteers are required to fly into Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, Ho Chi Minh, which is a 7 to 8 hour flight from most major airports in Australia.

Volunteers begin the IVHQ Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh program on each Monday of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

The program orientation begins every Monday, and volunteers need to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarised letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Vietnam prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation on the day before your program orientation.

There are two options for orientation in Vietnam. The first option is a one-day orientation that begins on your selected start date, which all volunteers will attend. This covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Vietnam, including an introduction to the Vietnam program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, you’ll learn about the local projects, go on a walking tour of the local area, and arrange your sim card. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

The second option is an Introduction Week, hosted by our Vietnam team in Ho Chi Minh. The Introduction Week begins on your selected start date and runs for the first five days, then your volunteer program will commence the following week. This option is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend everyone take advantage of Introduction Week in Vietnam, as you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Vietnamese culture, a true appreciation of local life and have extra time to bond with your fellow volunteers. Plus, it’s a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in Vietnam. Introduction Week does incur an additional US$25 surcharge to cover the additional costs.

As part of Introduction Week, you can also add-on the opportunity to explore the famous Cu Chi Tunnels for an additional US$20.

If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week and Cu Chi Tunnel visit, you can indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program or you can let your Program Manager know once you have been accepted into the program.

The Introduction Week schedule is outlined below:

Monday: Start off with an introduction to the Vietnam program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, learn about the local projects, go on a walking tour of the local area, and arrange your sim card.
Tuesday: Start the morning off visiting some famous places in Ho Chi Minh City, such as the Reunification Palace, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and the Jade Emperor Pagoda. Spend the afternoon dining in District One, followed by a visit to the War Remnant Museum and last stop at the famous Ben Thanh Markets
Wednesday: Spend your morning learning the art of Vietnamese cuisine at a cooking class. Your afternoon consists of bracelet making, followed by a visit to the Can Cu markets which are near to the volunteer accommodation
Thursday: You will begin your introduction to your volunteer placement and receive the placement-specific orientation, unless you have chosen to add-on the Cu Chi Tunnels excursion, where you’ll spend the day visiting the most famous historical site in the city - the Cu Chi Tunnels. Here you will experience and learn about the North Vietnamese soldiers lives during the Vietnam War
Friday: You will have the opportunity to spend time volunteering on your placement to help your prepare for the upcoming week volunteering at your project, while the volunteers that chose the Cu Chi Tunnel add-on will meet to discuss their upcoming volunteer placements and receive the placement-specific orientation.

Please note, this schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on the needs of the project, local and weather conditions, and unforeseen circumstances.

Weekdays: After the initial orientation week, you will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:

7.30 AM: Breakfast at the college restaurant.

8.00 AM: Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.

12.00 PM: Lunch break. Lunch is served at the college restaurant or at the placement. However; volunteers are free to buy their own lunch​ at their expense​, which will usually cost between AU$2-AU$5.

2.00 PM - 5.00 PM: Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.

6.00 PM: Dinner at the volunteer accommodation.

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer dormitory with other IVHQ volunteers at ​a Tourism College ​​approximately 30 minutes by taxi from the tourist area of Ho Chi Minh City. Rooms are comprised of bunk beds and you can expect to share a room ​with up to 8 other volunteers. Living conditions are basic, however there is electricity, running water, air conditioning and fans for the hotter months. While bedding is provided, it is recommended that you bring your own sleeping bag/silk liner (these can be purchased in Vietnam) and a mosquito net if you wish to travel during the weekends.

WiFi is available in the volunteer dormitory, however the connection can be slow so we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Vietnam. The local team can assist you with purchasing a SIM card during your program orientation so you can keep connected.

Some placements are located relatively close to the volunteer accommodation, however in some instances, volunteers may need to travel by public bus for 30​ to 40​ minutes to their placements. If this is the case, you will be accompanied by a member of the local team for the first 2 or 3 days to ensure that you know where to go and can find your way around easily.

Volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City are served three meals per day (two on weekends) at the college, which are typically traditional Vietnamese and includes a wide variety of rice, noodle and soup dishes with plenty of vegetables, meats and fresh herbs. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.

“Thank you so much for all of your help throughout the whole process. I’m sure you hear this all the time but I really did have a wonderful time. Volunteering is so rewarding and having the chance to combine that with travel makes it a once in a lifetime experience.” - Allegra Boccabella (Special Needs/Childcare Volunteer in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Vietnam here

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh

Duration Program Fee
1 week $275 AU$373
2 weeks $435 AU$590
3 weeks $595 AU$807
4 weeks $755 AU$1,025
5 weeks $915 AU$1,242
6 weeks $1,075 AU$1,459
8 weeks $1,295 AU$1,758
10 weeks $1,515 AU$2,057
12 weeks $1,725 AU$2,342
16 weeks $2,145 AU$2,912
20 weeks $2,565 AU$3,482
24 weeks $2,985 AU$4,053
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee from US$299 (approximately AU$406) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • The Medical project has a surcharge of US$25 per week for training provided and resources used on this project. The Introduction Week incurs a US$25 surcharge.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply
What extra costs will I have?
  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement if required.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program
  • Spending money - Volunteers in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh generally find US$30 to be sufficient for weekly expenses
Registration Fee
What it covers
  • Most affordable program fees
  • Expert support from a program specialist
  • Full MyIVHQ account access
  • Online volunteer training
  • Comprehensive preparation tools
  • IVHQ alumni rewards
Program Fee
What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Volunteer placement
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Vietnam. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to engage in tourist activities, such as trekking, joining Vietnamese history tours and visits to temples and visiting the Mekong Delta.

See our Vietnam Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Vietnam!

Capital Hanoi
Population 88.78 million
Languages Vietnamese
Currency Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Time zone (UTC+7)

Weather and climate: Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, with humidity averaging 84% throughout the year. However, because of differences in latitude and the marked variety of topographical relief, the climate tends to vary considerably from place to place.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Ho Chi Minh City. Additional requirements apply for Teaching English and Medical volunteers, please read the projects descriptions below.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!