Volunteering in Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement project in Vietnam was the most fulfilling and life-changing experience of my life. I feel like I have achieved more and learned more about myself in those two weeks than ever before, and I am so grateful for the incredible opportunity I was given.
The project starts off with four days of Orientation Week, a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other volunteers we would be living with for the next two weeks to six months. This experience involved language and culture immersion classes which were very interesting and informative, where we learned about the culture of Vietnam and social norms and expectations as well as the history, geography and cuisine. We had an excellent tour of the city, guided by Leah – one of the local Vietnamese coordinators – and its major historical sites, such as the Reunification palace, Ben Tanh Market, the Post Office, and the War Remnant Museum. A major highlight was visiting the Cu Chi tunnels just outside Ho Chi Minh City – it was so interesting and amazing. We also took part in a cooking class, a Vietnamese fan and dragon fly painting class and Vietnamese towel folding classes!
Despite being the youngest out of all the volunteers, I never once felt left out – instead I made great friends with people of all ages, races and religions, and everyone was so inclusive welcoming and fun. The social life of this program was so fun and the people were awesome.
On our fifth day of the program, we launched straight into our project. I had decided to do my volunteer work for the next 6 days at the school. The first day was amazing – after a long bus ride and tiring walk in a humid 33 degree heat, we arrived at the school to 40 welcoming and over-excited, enthusiastic, gorgeous children.
First we taught the kids English for about 45 minutes (the day before you prepare various learning activities and resources such as posters of animals or colors and the English words next to them). We would sing the alphabet and count to 10 before teaching them common words such as animals and vegetables.
After 2 weeks in Vietnam, I was sad to leave and I knew I would miss it so much. I’m nostalgic thinking back to the most amazing experience of my life, but from Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement project I have brought with me so many valuable memories, friendships and knowledge. Thank you so much GoEco for providing me with such an incredible experience.