Gap Year Programs Vietnam

Doing a Gap Year Program in Vietnam is a great way to gain new experiences whilst learning more about the local culture and the Vietnamese people. Our Volunteering Experience in Ho Chi Minh City might be just what you are looking for!

gap year in vietnam travel volunteer

The Volunteer Experience in Ho Chi Minh City

Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Start Dates: Start every Monday throughout the year
Arrival and Departure : Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (on Sunday)

Vietnam is a wonderful place to have your volunteer experience in Vietnam program. The program is located in Ho Chi Minh City. Participants need to be 18-35 years old to join the program. Volunteers were aged 16 or 17 can also join the program provided they have a letter of consent from their parents.

This program in Vietnam starts every Monday throughout the year. This will give you a lot of flexibility in organizing your trip and will allow you to find the best prices flight. You need to arrive on Sunday. The volunteering is from Monday to Friday with the weekend off to explore Ho Chi Minh City.

The Vietnam Volunteer Experience is for a minimum of 2 weeks. You start with the Culture Week, this gives participants everything they need to know to gain a basic understanding of the fascinating city of Ho Chi Minh, both past and present. 

After this you start with your volunteering. You can choose between 3 projects : Orphanage, Working with Disabled Children and the Food Shop Project.

You can do the Vietnam Volunteer Experience as a 2 week program or extend it by booking extra week(s). Read on for more details!

Testimonials

gap-150-ChereyneI have just returned from Vietnam where I had my first experience of volunteering.
In the 3 weeks I was there I met some amazing people and would thoroughly
recommend the experience to everybody. The Vietnamese people we met were welcoming and friendly and
the time spent there will always be remembered by me fondly. I look forward to returning in the future.
Chereyne Colby (Australia)

gap-150-GladysWhat’s a pleasure for me to help at the Orphanage! The children are so kind, they are so happy to see volunteers. I love to be with them. And I would even like to change my career and to work with children when I will go back to home in France. Thanks to your organisation and what it gives to the children and to volunteers.
Gladys Bechet (France)

 

 

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Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation is provided in a college campus. You will share the rooms with fellow participants. Rooms are dorm-style rooms, with 2-4 people per section. Rooms are equipped with showers and fans. Internet is available nearby.

Three meals per day are included in the program from Monday to Friday, on weekens 2 meals per day are included. Food is served in the practical restaurant on the campus. Meals are typically Vietnamese but also include some Western dishes such as; sandwiches, spaghetti and bread. However you should try and enjoy Vietnamese food with its wide variety in; vegetable, egg, tofu, seafood and meat dishes with rice and/or noodles.

Program Requirements

  • The age for joining the program is 18-35.
  • Volunteers are expected to be flexible and patient as well as possess a passion and love for children.
  • As this is a cross-cultural program it is important to be flexible and open to local customs and traditions.
  • All volunteers must have a clean criminal background check and present it to the coordinator upon arrival in order to join the program.

Vietnam Public Holidays 2015

  • 1 January 2015 New Year : Projects running as normal except teaching and disabled daycare are unavailable.
  • February : Tết (Vietnamese New Year) : Teaching and disabled project will change to renovation project. During 16/02-20/02 volunteers will have the opportunity to join Vietnamese new year by preparing and celebrating new year together with local people. Culture week is unavailable between16/02-20/02 and the next available starting date is on February 23rd. Please note that the orphanage is still running activities as usual.
  • From 28/04/2015 – 3/05/2015 Hung Kings Commemorations : Projects running as normal except teaching and disabled daycare will change to renovation project between 28/04 – 01/05/15
  • From 28/04/2015 –  to  3/05/2015 : Liberation Day/Reunification Day : Projects running as normal except teaching and disabled daycare will change to renovation project between 28/04 – 01/05/15
  • From 28/04/2015 – 3/05/2015 : International Workers’ Day : Projects running as normal except teaching and disabled daycare will change to renovation project between 28/04 – 01/05/15
  • 2 September 2015 : National Day Vietnam : Projects running as normal except teaching and disabled daycare are unavailable.

Week 1 : Culture Week

This is an action packed week combines all elements of Vietnamese culture, both past and present. You will visit historic monuments of the city, see the world famous water puppet show. This is coupled with learning basic language and cooking skills and also learning all you need to know about the 1970’s war.  This project aims to offer participants a deeper understanding of the local culture of Ho Chi Minh as well as the deeper rooted cuture of Vietnam. Its objective is a transfer of knowledge, understanding and ways of life.

Monday
Monday morning will consist of a visit to some of the cities iconic sights. These include Reunification  Palace, Opera House, City Hall and Notre Damme, After lunch it will be quickly on to an afternoon at an embroidery workshop, where you will make your own jewelry, using traditional Vietnamese techniques passed down from many generations. Then it’s on to the Pho Hung market, famous for its distinct clothing and delicious food.

Breakfast
Moring meeting with coordinator.
Tour of Ho Che Minh Town : Historic monuments, some of the city’s finest sights.
Visit Reunification  Palace, Opera House, City Hall and Notre Damme.
Lunch  and rest
Embroidery workshop : Practice local handicraft, using Vietnamese techniques
Pho Hung market
Dinner

Tuesday
You will start with your language and culture class. This will be given by a English-speaking Vietnamese native who will delight in educating you about his country. The afternoon will continue along the lines of Vietnamese culture, you will visit a traditional Vietnamese water puppet show.

Breakfast
Language and Culture class : Learn basic survival language and Vietnamese culture
Lunch and rest
China town, Thien Hau temple
Puppet show : Traditional Vietnamese show.
Dinner

Wednesday
Wednesday morning will see you participate in a Vietnamese cooking class. Here you will be sure to learn a secret or two to bring back home with you. After lunch you will visit the War Remnant museum, a vital part of the recent history of the country. The day will be completed with a trip to the local swimming pool.

Breakfast
Cooking Class : Practice and learn all the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine.
Lunch
War remnant museum : Learn firsthand all about the 1970’s war. Admire the underground trenches.
Swimming : Take a splash and cool down at an outside pool
Dinner

Thursday
This day will consist of a day trip outside the city, to the nearby Cu Chi tunnels, made famous during the 1970’s war.

Breakfast
Cu chi tunnel : Day trip. You will travel 70km northwest of HCM city, to the famous Cu Chi tunnel  and memorial park.
Lunch & Dinner

Friday
You will visite projects projects such as the hospital, the disabled children’s home and the street children orphanage.
You week will be completed with a Karaoke leaving party.

Breakfast
Market visit : Buy some gifts for friends and family.
Projects Visit : Street children of Ho Che Minh, Orphanage
Lunch
Projects Visit : Hospital, Disabled Children’s home (Children here have physical and mental disabilities).
Dinner

* Changes to the schedule are possible if so required by weather or local circumstances

Week 2 : Volunteering

During your second week you will be volunteering in one of these 3 projects as per your choice :

Orphanage

This project is based in a children orphanage of rescued street children from all over Vietnam. There are 37 children aged from 5-14. The main role of participants is teaching English, light construction and renovation. As a secondary function, participants can help with the production of local handicrafts, which are sold at local markets to fund the orphanage. All the children at the project have previously been living on the street. Often the children have been subjected to many traumas at a dangerously young age. Therefore, the objective here is to install confidence to the children. In addition offering them shelter, food and clothing.

These are activities at the orphanage for volunteers :

English Teaching
The level of English possessed by the children is relatively low. Therefore participants should focus on more basic aspects, such as; simple vocabulary, basic conversation and simple writing. Classes are constructed into two levels of higher and lower. Participants can choose which level to teach at. Lunch will be provided at the orphanage.

Light Construction and Renovation
This very much depends upon the needs at the time of arrival of participants. Painting the outside of the orphanage, as well as decorative art inside are required. Plans to build an outside toilet and shower are underway.

Making Local Handicraft
These are in the form of bracelets, necklaces, pendants and other jewellery. Participants will begin with learning how to make these. They will then produce and travel to local market to sell.

Schedule

Sunday
You will be picked up from the airport by our staff. From here you will be taken to project HQ. You will have a shot introduction with the staff at the street children’s home and taken to bed for a good night’s rest.

Monday
This will consist a full introduction with all the staff. At this point you will also discuss your upcoming direct role at the project. You will be introduced to the learning resources present at the home.

Tuesday to Friday
Here, you will begin your orphanage experience. Teaching English language is a priority need of participants. Additionally, you can also become actively involved in the farming and gardening work at the home. Participants will also learn to make local how to make local handicraft. This is sold at local markets, to help fund the street childrens home.

Weekends
Free time.

* Changes to the schedule are possible if so required by weather or local circumstances

Working with Disabled Childen

This project is based in our partner hospital in Ho Chi Minh. At this project, you will be taking care of children with a range of disabilities, both mentally and physically. This home cares daily for 12 Vietnamese children, with a mixture of disabilities. They are all from families who cannot afford to pay for help of their children. The main role participants will play at this project is caring for the children. This will be in the form of comforting them, playing games and socialising with them. Participants with experience in this field would be advantageous but not compulsory.

The key area for improving the quality of the children’s lives is enhancing their speech and muscular capacity. Daily regimes are carried out for the children, of which you will be part of. Painting, art and other means of creativity is encouraged by the hospital for the children. If participants would like to bring any materials to assist with the aforementioned, this would be warmly received. Activities such as; playing games, dancing and singing are encouraged by the staff at the hospital and the children themselves. The aims of this project are to care for children with disabilities and collectively work together to improve the quality of life for the children.

Schedule

Sunday
You will be picked up from the airport by our staff. From here you will be taken to project HQ. You will have a shot introduction with the staff at the disabled childrens home and taken to bed for a good night’s rest.

Monday
This will begin with a full introduction with all the staff. At this point you will also discuss your upcoming direct role at the project. You will be introduced to the children and discuss with the manager you exact desired role at the project. This can be assisting with the well-being of the childen.

Tuesday to Friday
Here, you will begin your disabled childrens home placement. Your exact role will depend upon the needs of the disabled childrens home at the time. Playing games with the children, helping with their speech and posture are commonly caried out. Participants with experience in social care have relative freedom to be creative with their input.

Weekends
Free time.

* Changes to the schedule are possible if so required by weather or local circumstances

Food Shop Project

A substantial amount of the population in Ho Chi Minh live in poverty.These people have a low income due to their lack of a good educational background and limited employment opportunities. This group of people don’t have enough money to support themselves. The food shop is run by a NGO together with local people to provide subsidized and cheap meals for the poor. The food shop doesn’t discriminate in their clientele and everyone who needs support, such as; people living in poverty, the elderly, disabled people and students, are more than welcome. This food shop relies on donations and local volunteers who work in the food shop every day to cook and serve cheap meals for poor people.

Established in 2012, the Food shop is opened to help poor people by providing cheap lunches. Joining this project, the participant can help to prepare lunches and serve meals to a group of 500 people (poor elderly, workers with insufficient incomes, disabled people, poor students and children) who come for the cheap, good and hygienic meals every day. One portion includes steamed rice, a main dish, seasonal fruit and ice tea. The participant’s main role is to; prepare, cook and serve the meals and assist in cleaning activities in and around the food shop. The food shop is self-funded. Generating income and volunteers for the project is an important objective.

Schedule

7:00 Breakfast
8:00 Depart fort the food shop
9:00-13:00 Working (Assist in the preparation of food, cooking, working in the kitchen, cleaning the area & serving food, etc.)
13:00 Lunch break
13:30-15:00 Working (Cleaning the food shop)
15:00 Time to go back to our  campus accommodation for some personal/ free time.
18:00 Dinner

* Changes to the schedule are possible if so required by weather or local circumstances
** Please note that during Vietnamese New Year, between the 11th until the 24th of February, the Food Shop will be closed

Book Now

More details to follow.