Becoming a volunteer in Vietnam may place you in the heart of an adventure of a lifetime. The country opens it arms to volunteers in numerous areas (education! Health! Economic development! Children!), and engaging with communities while you explore a gorgeous country could be beyond inspiring. Plus, if you want to volunteer and enjoy the combination of breathtaking natural beauty and bustling man-made wonders, Vietnam might be the perfect place for you. The country is culturally and geographically diverse, and any number of social and cultural experiences await your arrival. Why not volunteer in Vietnam?
What Can I See and Do As I Volunteer in Vietnam?
Located on the Indochina Peninsula, Vietnam is the easternmost country in Southeast Asia. It shares its longest shore with the South China Sea, and its closest neighbors are China, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Vietnam is one of the world’s most populous countries.[i] Its location, history, and population influence its culture, and beaches, bustling cities, traversed waterways, Buddhist structures, colonial remnants, and numerous other features mark its character. Depending on where you volunteer in Vietnam, you might live amongst the steep and rolling hills in valleys that house slow-moving rivers or in active cities brimming with movement and action. It simply depends on your program. No matter where you are, you’ll likely be steeped in Vietnamese culture.
While you’re in Vietnam volunteering, considering enhancing the beauty and intrigue around you by seeing some of the country’s most treasured sights. For example:
- The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi: a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the capital and political center of Vietnam for more than a dozen centuries. This ancient site boasts the history of dynasties and impresses the eye with stunning architecture, intricate sculptures and details, and beautiful grounds.
- The Chu Chi Tunnels: a part of a war museum that gives visitors a sense of the underground lives of Vietnamese soldiers just before the Vietnam War. Explore the associated museum and participate in museum-guided activities to steep yourself in some of Vietnam’s historical moments.
- The Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: another UNESCO World Heritage Site with a stunning limestone zone and an ancient grotto and cave system that has unique cave-sizes and shapes. The rest of the park is mostly a rain forest, and visitors can explore it and the park’s grottos and caves by boat, with guides, or in other fashions. The park is also home to elephants, tigers, and black bears, so keep your eyes wide open!
- The Sand Dunes of Mui Ne: giant red and white sand dunes that somewhat mimic the Saharan Desert. Buy food from local stands, rent a sled to fly down the dunes, and drink lots of water because it will likely be hot!
- The cities, sights, and sounds of Vietnam. While there are plenty of wonderful sights to see in Vietnam, so much of your adventure will occur as you commute by foot or vehicle to your volunteer sight. As you commute and pass your time between volunteer hours, explore Buddhist pagodas, have authentic Pho, take in the colors of vibrant markets, and otherwise enjoy your surroundings. No matter where you are, there will likely be plenty to see and experience, simply by living everyday life.
What Are the Benefits of Volunteering in Vietnam?
When it comes to volunteering in Vietnam, it’s difficult to find reasons not to. Besides the benefit of exploring a fascinating country, you may enjoy these benefits too:
- Submersing yourself in a culture and discovering how the locals live. Being a volunteer may be distinct from being a tourist. As you contribute to a community, establish a somewhat regular routine, and become a regular in your neighborhood, you’ll likely make meaningful connections with people and learn more about Vietnamese lifestyles. These connections and observations could add depth and beauty to your experience that last far beyond the conclusion of your program.
- Contributing your talents and time to people, communities, and organizations about which you care deeply. For many volunteers, making a difference in an area that’s important to them is profoundly fulfilling. Whether you’re taking action that improves people’s lives, helping an organization fulfill its goals, protecting the environment, or otherwise serving or supporting someone or something, you’ll likely experience the joy of being of service.
- Exploring another culture. As you connect with communities and work with organizations, you’ll likely gain a broader perspective of social and cultural norms in Vietnam. Perhaps you’ll get to talk to more people about their personal and professional lives, taste more local and common foods, learn more about the intricacies of Vietnamese family life, or otherwise discover what it means to be Vietnamese in its many expressions. Many people may also want to learn from you. Participating in a cultural exchange like this could make your time in Vietnam even richer.
- Building your resume and developing your skills and knowledge. Working and living in another country and working on something important to you could help you develop your hard and soft skills. Navigating a community in an unfamiliar country, participating in a group effort to cause change, and interacting with people from distinct backgrounds could all help broaden your perspective and abilities. Benefits like these may benefit your professional and personal life.
How Do I Find a Volunteer Program in Vietnam?
You can begin your search for Vietnam volunteer programs by using our search tool to refine your search or by browsing the programs listed on this page. If you use our search tool, you can browse programs by location (including cities and towns throughout Vietnam), duration (weeks, months, or a year), or work type (including everything from animals to education to health to social services). If you’re not sure what parameters to use, browse through our programs on this page to get a sense of your many options. When you find a program you like, contact the provider to ask questions and to register. Your heartfelt and adventurous journey awaits your arrival in Vietnam!
Sources: [i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam