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Volunteer in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh

Volunteer Abroad in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam with IVHQ
Volunteer in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh with International Volunteer HQ! IVHQ has a range of volunteer abroad projects available in Ho Chi Minh City, including Teaching English, Special Needs/Childcare, Medical and Feeding the Homeless.
Capital: 
Hanoi
Population: 
88.78 million
Official 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.

About the Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh program

LOCATION OF VIETNAM - HO CHI MINH VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

IVHQ has volunteer placements located in and around Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam.

START AND DURATION OF VIETNAM - HO CHI MINH VOLUNTEER ABROAD PROGRAM

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.

VIETNAM - HO CHI MINH VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. 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.

SHORT TERM VOLUNTEERING IN HO CHI MINH CITY

If you wish to experience a taste of volunteering in Vietnam, you can register for a special 1 week volunteer program. You will spend the first part of your week with the other volunteers on orientation, gaining a cultural insight into Vietnam. This will be followed by 2 days visiting a volunteer placement to get an idea of what it is like to volunteer.

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 MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?

Between 15 and 30 volunteers start on our volunteer program in Ho Chi Minh City each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees! 

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh volunteer reviews

"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)
Visit our Volunteer Abroad Reviews page to read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh.

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh volunteer project descriptions

Teaching English

The majority of volunteers on the Teaching English project teach students at a tourism college in Ho Chi Minh. Many students at the college have a beginner to intermediate level of English and this project offers international volunteers the opportunity to assist these students in developing their English language skills. Volunteers follow a syllabus and help students to improve their vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation and general knowledge of the English language. There is also a limited amount of Teaching English work available in local Vietnamese schools, kindergartens, hospitals and community centers, assisting staff and students with their English language skills. Many schools in Vietnam lack teachers with sufficient English competencies to extend the students’ level of English beyond basic writing and speaking skills. Volunteers help to improve the student’s pronunciation, listening and speaking skills, in addition to assisting local teachers in managing their classes, organizing games and other activities within the classroom. Teaching English volunteers must be fluent in English. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ's local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.

Medical

The Medical project in Ho Chi Minh provides skilled medical professionals and students with the opportunity to experience a new culture and working environment, while simultaneously developing their specialized medical knowledge. Volunteers are given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of differences between medical systems in developed and developing countries. Volunteers are placed in a local Orthopedic and Rehabilitation hospital in Ho Chi Minh, where they work alongside a local doctor and/or nurse who guides them in different tasks and activities at their placement. It is important to note that as a volunteer, you will not be allowed to partake in major procedures and your role will be more job shadowing. Depending on your level of experience, you 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 volunteers are always encouraged by local staff to see and learn as much as possible, the local staff are also very interested in gaining a better understanding of medical work in your country and learning about the similarities and differences. Volunteers are able to work within the fields of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy with children and adults who suffer from cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, congenital motor system deformity and other disabilities.

Please note, there is a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks for this project. The Medical project has a surcharge of US$25 per week for training provided and resources used on this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply. Volunteers need to be in training or qualified in a relevant medical field, therefore, volunteers are required to present a copy of their qualifications and certificates to our partner organization on arrival in Vietnam.

Special Needs/Childcare

Although Vietnam has now been at peace for many years, the effects of war continue to haunt not only the adult population of this country, but also its children. Volunteers on this project have the opportunity to work in institutions caring for children and young people affected by Agent Orange, or in schools, hospitals and community clinics looking after mentally disabled children. There are also placements available in local orphanages. Work is somewhat varied depending on the institution where the volunteer is placed, however typical examples of tasks include: assisting local staff in providing rehabilitation exercises and therapeutic treatments for children, playing with children and entertaining/educating them with games, music and arts, renovation work, such as painting murals, helping to develop fundraising initiatives to ensure on-going funding for these institution, and teaching English to local staff.

Feeding the Homeless

Poverty is still widespread throughout Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh has a large population of people who are unable to afford regular nutritional meals. Our Feeding the Homeless project is aimed at providing assistance to a local 'Soup Kitchen' to enable them to provide over 300 meals daily to people from various backgrounds including poor elderly, low-income earners, disabled, students and children. Meals are offered at very low cost to patrons and volunteers’ assistance is greatly appreciated as it enables the program to further spread its reach and ensure the ongoing success of its operation. Tasks include food preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning the area after meal times. This project is perfect for those volunteers wanting to work hard and interact with locals while having a very authentic and rewarding experience.

VOLUNTEER ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer dormitory with other volunteers at the Ho Chi Minh Tourism College in the Tan Binh district, 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 to 8 to 14 other volunteers. Living conditions are basic, however there is air conditioning and fans for the hotter months. While bedding is provided, it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag/silk liner (these can be purchased in Vietnam) and a mosquito net if they wish to travel during the weekends. Most volunteer placements are located relatively handy to the accommodation, however in some instances, volunteers may need to travel by public bus for 30 minutes to their placements. If this is the case, volunteers will be escorted by a member of staff for the first 2 or 3 days to ensure they know where to go and can find their way around easily.

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

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION

Orientation is taken by our Vietnamese team at the volunteer offices in Ho Chi Minh City. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and runs for the first 5 days of your stay. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Vietnam – Introduction to Vietnam, Vietnamese Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Vietnam, Introduction to your Project and Placement. Your orientation week also includes two Vietnamese language lessons, a cooking class, a visit to the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace and the famed Cu Chi tunnels. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

VOLUNTEER WEEK

First Day: On your first day of volunteering (after your orientation week), you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays: A typical volunteer day 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 however; volunteers are free to buy their own lunch, which will usually cost between US$2-4.

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.

VOLUNTEER WEEKENDS

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.

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh Volunteer Fees: 
Volunteer periodProgram fee US$
1 Week270
2 Weeks370
3 Weeks470
4 Weeks570
5 Weeks670
6 Weeks770
8 Weeks930
10 Weeks1090
12 Weeks1250
16 Weeks1570
20 Weeks1890
24 Weeks2210
To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
Please note: All programs attract a Registration Fee of $279 USD on top of the Program Fee. The Medical project has a surcharge of US$25 per week for training provided and resources used on this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.

What do my fees pay for?

Registration Fee (refundable if you choose not to go*) – ongoing support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, IVHQ Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

What additional costs will I have?

Visa, flightstravel insurance (mandatory), criminal background check, vaccinations, transfer back to airport at conclusion of program, in-country trips and tours, souvenirs, spending money (volunteers in Vietnam generally find US$30 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).

* - Terms and conditions do apply.

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