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When most expats arrive in Vietnam, they do so with the aim of teaching English, fully aware that compensation is far better than in most nations, particularly when cost of living is taken into account. However, even as Vietnam booms, it’s important to remember that this is still a developing country and for those who want to give back, there are plenty of great volunteer opportunities.
Based out of Hanoi, Volunteer Vietnam has a number of different opportunities for those looking to assist the local community. These range from working with children with disabilities, or those recovering from agent orange, to teaching English. Volunteers are immersed in the lives of those they work with and are provided with an eye-opening view into their daily lives.
Anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City for only a short period of time will quickly become aware of kittens scampering down alleyways or pregnant dogs lying on the streets. Pets are becoming more prevalent as the city Westernizes; however, there’s still an abundance of strays. ARC pet rescue takes in, neuters and then finds homes for hundreds of cats and dogs each year. For the animal lover out there, they have volunteer opportunities in their D2 facility or as a foster parent.
Cadip is an interesting international organization to volunteer for as the opportunities they provide are more varied than most. In Vietnam, individuals can take part in programs lasting anywhere from one to six weeks. Projects could involve teaching or preparing meals for the poor or helping establish organic city gardens. The majority of these programs are based around HCMC in the south; however, they have some other opportunities spread around the country as well.
With a philosophy centered around the basic idea that education leads to peace, positivity, and prosperity, Volunteers for Peace Vietnam has been operating programs in Hanoi and HCMC since 2005. They have individual teaching opportunities as well as group projects that bring together foreigners from around the globe.
One of the world’s largest travel volunteer organizations, Go Abroad has become renowned for their low-cost programs around the globe. In Vietnam, they have some wonderful programs in which you’ll have the opportunity to work in orphanages in Hanoi or HCMC. Programs vary in length and cost and are open to individuals or couples. Most projects not only focus on working with children but also helping locals more efficiently run their organizations.