As a developing country Vietnam will be difficult to find work to fund your travels. There may be some opportunities for teaching English in schools, but most people who go with this purpose do so as volunteers and a vast number of volunteer organisations exist to place people on such projects. Below are listed just a few of these organisations, most placements are very similar in content, but different organisations arrange projects in different areas and for varying lengths of time.
VentureCo’s 16-week programme combines aid projects with expeditions from Cambodia, through Vietnam, to Laos, and finally China. The first three weeks are spent in what is known as ‘cultural orientation’ consisting of visiting various places guided by a team who introduce you to the culture and traditions of the countries, and learning the Khmer language. The following four weeks consist of community aid work in Koh Kong, involving teaching and food distribution to underprivileged children. A 9-week expedition then follows taking you through Vietnam: Saigon, HoiAn, China Beach, and Hue City; Laos: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and the Mekong River, and finally China: Kunming, Lijiang, the Yangtze, Xi’an, Beijing, and finishing with a trek on the Great Wall of China. Programmes with VentureCo are self-funded and can cost you up to �5000, which includes travel, food, accommodation, transport, and fees for the activities themselves.
GAP Activity Projects Ltd
The focus of placements in Vietnam with GAP is on teaching English in secondary schools and higher education institutes. Volunteers are expected to work for twenty hours a week on placements of up to five months. Although food is not provided an allowance is given and accommodation is free, provided in or nearby the host school.
Frontier arranges expeditions in a number of different countries and environments, including Vietnam, Tanzania, and Madagascar. In January, April, July, and October, applicants leave for four or ten week expeditions in the Vietnamese Rainforest. Political issues used to mean that access to the rainforest was restricted, but now Frontier expeditions lead people who carry out survey work to endeavour to protect the environments that are being rapidly destroyed by land clearance and logging schemes. The cost of a four week expedition is �1400, ten weeks is �2450. These costs include food, accommodation, Visas, insurance, and training.
Volunteers are sent to Hanoi in Vietnam to assist in teaching English in two of the state primary schools. The first school is the School for the Blind who attempt to give enough help and support to its visually impaired students to enable them to overcome issues of their disability and to reach a level of education ready for university. The second school is the Binh Minh School, some of whose students have Downs Syndrome. The emphasis in teaching in these schools is very much on giving the children encouragement and confidence which they may lack because of the stigmas attached to their situations. Four to eight week placements with i-to-i cost around �1295 and �1395 for nine to twelve week projects. Volunteers live with others in a guesthouse and are usually provided with a budget for food.
More teaching opportunities are available in Vietnam with the Project Trust. The focus of teaching is in Hong Duc University in Thanh Hoa, south of Hanoi. Volunteers teach English as well as helping with extracurricular drama and sports activities. Accommodation is provided on campus in flats and volunteers are given bicycles to enable them to get around easily. Volunteers must be aged between 17 and 19 and a half years old and are expected to raise �3850 themselves to fund their project, this includes all expenses for living costs, travel, donations etc.
Helping to teach English in Da Nang city, volunteers are placed in extra-curricular language institutions where students already have at least basic knowledge of English but are looking to improve their confidence and pronunciation. Classes are in the afternoons or evenings but during the day schools like to show volunteers around the city or even give you some Vietnamese language coaching. Accommodation is usually provided with other volunteers of the organisation. Travellers Worldwide can help arrange your flights, and a changeable return ticket is provided to give more flexibility to your travels. The cost of a three month placement, excluding travel, is �1495 and �350 per additional month you wish to stay. Flights usually cost around �600.