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Medical Volunteer Program in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

Medical Volunteer Program in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

Purpose
Improve access to quality healthcare
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 2-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 6 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+
Accommodation
Dormitory-style within a tourism college
Program fees
From AU$949 for 2 weeks
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are studying medicine or nursing at any level and want to gain an insight into the Vietnamese healthcare system. Qualified volunteers may join this project but should not expect to be able to treat patients as local regulations prevent volunteers from providing unsupervised hands-on care to patients.

Project details

Interested in Medical volunteering in Vietnam? International Volunteer HQ’s Medical project presents a fantastic opportunity for medical students to learn about the healthcare system in Vietnam. Volunteers will gain medical experience by observing and assisting qualified local staff in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, getting exposure to a range of different specialties, treatments and clinical practices.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

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 hospital, you can help in a range of departments and get exposure to a range of treatments and roles.

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 an understanding of 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 can assist with:

  • Basic triage
  • Wound care
  • Rehabilitation

You’ll be helped by an English-speaking coordinator, and many doctors and nurses who also speak English.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Medical volunteering in Ho Chi Minh with IVHQ?

When you volunteer in healthcare in Vietnam you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Seeing a different medical system in action
  • Observing a wide range of clinical practices
  • Assisting with appropriate healthcare tasks
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining medical experience
  • Immersing yourself in Vietnamese culture
  • Discovering Ho Chi Minh City

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers must be studying medicine, nursing or in a closely related medical field to be eligible to join this project. Fully qualified professionals should note this is a largely observational placement.

  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.

  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

TN
Tam Nguyen
18 Jul 2024

Please please do it! I was so hesitant on doing it at first because I was scared and nervous about the new environment but I’m so glad I did it! I met so many new friends and made a bunch of new connections. I also learned a lot and got to see a new medical system. If you’re hesitant about anything, don’t be afraid to ask IVHQ because they will do their best to help.

...
CT
Cheryl Tay
16 Jan 2024

I’m more certain about a career in medicine and felt that I grew so much as a person! I learnt a lot from the healthcare professionals, had the chance to explore three cities in Vietnam on days I was not volunteering, and made the most of my 3.5 weeks in Vietnam! I took the leap of faith to volunteer alone in a foreign land in a program I have limited experience in but have gained so much! To all that are contemplating about joining IVHQ’s volunteer program, I’ve been on two in 1.5 months and I have zero regrets! Go for it, you have nothing to lose, and so so much to gain!

...
TG
Tobias Gumm
12 Sep 2023

The four weeks I spent on the Vietnam Program were some of the best of my life; the staff were so kind, friendly, and genuine, the city was fun, dynamic, culturally rich, and the people you meet are incredibly respectful and welcoming. Not to mention the food provided - I’m still thinking about the stir fried beef and noodles - and the clean accommodation with a beautiful view.

The Medical program was great, and I learnt so much from the doctors and staff of the hospital. Coming home from this incredible experience they have provided has been wonderful, having brought back the lessons I’ve learned, and the friendships I’ve made. Thank you for everything!
P.S. karaoke night is a must-not-miss!"

...
DV
Danielle Viray
24 Jul 2023

I truly appreciate how organized and prepared IVHQ is when prepping volunteers. The program guide had all of the information I needed to have an enjoyable and safe trip, and it was easy to understand and follow. I also really appreciated how helpful IVHQ is, and how easy it is to contact someone. Before confirming my trip, I was concerned that I did not meet the requirements for the medical placement, so I had reached out to IVHQ. I was fortunate enough to be greeted by kind coordinators, who not only listened to me, but took the time to double check my requirements and explained it to me step by step.

The local team in Vietnam is a very well-organized. They not only prioritize their volunteers' wellbeing and safety, but also provide a very welcoming and safe environment. They played a big role with my adjustment to a new environment, and because of this, I was able to enjoy my time as a volunteer with them.

The volunteer accommodation was clean and comfortable. The local team made me feel like I was at home and the meals were all set at perfect times, and were delicious.

It was a memorable experience, and truly a blessing. This life experience is something I will never forget, and I will take each lesson I've learned from this trip to mold me into a better person. I have gained not only new friendships and beautiful memories, but also a new outlook on life. I came out of this trip more grateful than I was before, and it has also helped me find a new passion of mine.

Go into this experience with an open mind. You will not only have an amazing experience, but you will grow as a person and experience once in a lifetime opportunities.

...
HB
Hannah Bowker
26 Jul 2022

I would say go 1000% I was hesitant but it ended up being the best thing I ever did and is an opportunity I am so grateful for and will never forget. This has allowed me to gain confidence and step outside my comfort zone in terms of experiences and building friendships.

...
HP
Hoa Phan
12 May 2022

I had an incredible and awesome medical experience at the hospital. The faculty and staff at the hospital were very friendly and approachable! The local team was always with me to answer any question arise and very supportive throughout my entire time in Vietnam. Love!

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Vietnam with IVHQ

Location

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is home to IVHQ’s Vietnam program. With high-tech industry, upmarket hotels, skyscrapers, shopping malls and buzzing nightlife, the city has a modern, dynamic atmosphere tempered by reminders of its history under French colonial rule and of its fall during the Vietnam War. While Vietnam has made great economic strides since then, the country is still recovering from the war and many people, especially ethnic minorities and those in rural areas, live without the basic necessities of life or find them difficult to access. Volunteers are needed to support efforts that help to further reduce poverty and hunger for these vulnerable people.

Arrival and orientation

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.

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, a One-day Orientation and the Introduction Week Orientation.

One-day Orientation: This begins on your selected start date and all volunteers will attend. It 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.

Introduction Week Orientation: The Introduction Week begins on your selected start date and runs for five days. This option is very popular among IVHQ volunteers 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. You’ll also get to see some of Ho Chi Minh’s notable landmarks, visit markets and take a Vietnamese cooking class. 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 Add on for US$360 (approximately AU$569) to cover the additional costs. If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week, you can indicate this on your application form or let your Program Manager know once you have been accepted.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays

After the initial orientation day or week, you will work for approximately 4 to 6 hours per day. A typical schedule:

7:00 AM Breakfast at the college restaurant.
7:30 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.
8:00 - 11.00 AM Arrive to the hospital: get ready and start to work.
11:00 AM - 1.10PM Walk back to the accommodation, have 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$3 - AU$6.
1:30pm – 4:00PM 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.

Weekends

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Ho Chi Minh City or Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh itself boasts an incredible number of things to see and do. You could find yourself gazing up at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral, or down at the lights of the city below from a bar on the rooftop of a towering skyscraper. You might pick your way through the local morning markets, sample the city’s mind-blowingly delicious street food, squeeze through the underground Cu Chi tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war or admire a selection of ornate temples and pagodas.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to engage in tourist activities, such as trekking, joining Vietnamese history tours and visiting the Mekong Delta.

Accommodation and WiFi

You’ll stay in an IVHQ volunteer dormitory at ​a tourism college which is a 30-minute drive from the tourist area of Ho Chi Minh City.

You can expect to share a room ​with up to 8 other volunteers, all sleeping in bunk beds. Living conditions are basic; however, there is air conditioning and fans for the hotter months. The showers are with cold running water (nice and refreshing in the hot weather!) 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 this during your program orientation.

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.

Meals

Volunteers in Ho Chi Minh City are served three meals per day during the week.

Breakfast is usually toast, cereal, fruit, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner are typically traditional Vietnamese fare and include a wide variety of rice, noodle and soup dishes with plenty of vegetables, meats and fresh herbs. On the weekends volunteers are only served brunch and dinner.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$520) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
2 weeks $600 Equivalent to $43/day
3 weeks $815 Equivalent to $39/day
4 weeks $1,010 Equivalent to $36/day
5 weeks $1,205 Equivalent to $34/day
6 weeks $1,400 Equivalent to $33/day
8 weeks $1,790 Equivalent to $32/day
10 weeks $2,180 Equivalent to $31/day
12 weeks $2,570 Equivalent to $31/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$520) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Meals
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes and transport to and from your volunteer placement each day
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Ho Chi Minh

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Ho Chi Minh! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Ho Chi Minh program.

Cu Chi Tunnel
Cu Chi Tunnel

Embark on a captivating journey through history with our Cu Chi Tunnels Half Day Tour. Delve into the wartime significance of this underground network, crawl through tunnels once used by guerrilla fighters, and soak in the lush green scenery en route. Departing from Ho Chi Minh City, our luxury transport takes you on a scenic 1.5-hour ride to the tunnels. Explore the intricate passageways and even witness remnants of battle. With all-inclusive amenities and expert guides, it’s a memorable adventure back in time. Please note that the Cu Chi tunnels tour is included in the introduction week so you will not need to add this to your itinerary if you are already joining the introduction week.

AU$245
Food Tour
Food Tour

A Vietnam Food Tour for the food lovers! Eat like a Vietnamese for a night! We will take you to the most popular street stalls and hidden alleyways in the city, showing you where the locals truly love to eat! So, save your appetite, delight your palate, and let us fill your tummy with delicious and authentic Vietnamese food!

AU$102
Vietnam Introduction Week
Vietnam Introduction Week

Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Vietnamese culture.

AU$569

Check what's required to visit Vietnam

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Hanoi
Population 96 million
Languages Vietnamese
Currency Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Time zone (UTC+7)

Weather and climate

Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, with humidity averaging 84 per cent throughout the year. However, because of differences in latitude and diverse geography, the climate tends to vary considerably from place to place.

Apply to check if you're eligible!

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How to get started

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