Gain work experience by aiding at a hospital that serves the poorer community of Ho Chi Minh.
This project offers the rare opportunity of hospital work and practice alongside English-speaking Vietnamese doctors in Ho Chi Minh. Your level of interaction will depend on experience, confidence and qualifications, which makes this an ideal project for students of the medical profession.
This project is based in a government operated hospital, serving the poorer community of Ho Chi Minh. Your main responsibilities will be a daily check-up of all patients, monitoring patients and offering advice to doctors as well as consulting with them. Observation, recording and analyzing will be a key part of this project.
Upon arrival you will discuss with the Hospital Director and his assistant the full extent of your role during your placement.You will be given an English speaking, Vietnamese doctor, whom you will "shadow" during your entire program. You will be allowed to be involved in medical issues and give your opinion, which will always be taken into consideration.
The hospital has an X-ray room, a childrens' ward, an adults' ward as well as an operating theater, all of which you will be actively involved in. Your exact role will of course depend on the needs at the time.
Aims & Objectives
The government operated hospital aims to offer effective treatment to a large number of citizens from Ho Chi Minh. At this project you will be able to transfer your pre-existing knowledge to the medical staff and the hospital as well as to absorb new knowledge and information in return.
Weekly Schedule & Activities
You will start your very first day with a full introduction to all the staff and the hospital. At this point, you will also discuss your upcoming role at the project. We will introduce the equipment and the current operating procedures at the hospital. You will also have a full-time doctor designated to you, whom you will "shadow" throughout your entire placement. This doctor will be fully qualified and fluent in English.
Monday to Friday
You will begin the actual work in your volunteer program. Depending on the needs of the hospital at the time, you will assess patients, perform medical procedures, perform surgery and X-rays. The hospital staff also have regular meetings, which you will attend to discuss and improve the needs and performance of the hospital. Your input is vital as different perspectives help with the long term success of the hospital.
Please note that the volunteer activities and schedule can change at any time based on the needs of the project, local conditions, the weather and unforeseen circumstances.
Evenings & Weekends
During the evenings the volunteers are generally free, and there are no program activities scheduled unless otherwise mentioned. Weekends are free, although if preferred, you can continue your work at the hospital.
The project is either closed or has alternative activities on the following public holidays in 2017:
02 Jan: New Year's Day (the project is closed)
28 Jan - 05 Feb: Vietnamese New Year. Activities change to renovation work. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to join the Vietnamese New Year preparations and celebrations together with the local people.
06-09 Apr: Hung King's Commemorations
30 Apr: Reunification Day
01-02 May: International Workers' Day
02-04 Sep National Day
Please note that there are fewer patients during the holidays, which means fewer activities at the project.
Mandatory Volunteer Requirements
Minimum age of 18
Police clearance certificate
Basic level of competency in English
Participants wanting to take part in this program should have a medical background such as studying medicine, nursing, etc. You will need to provide your CV and a copy of your passport to be submitted to the hospital. You can submit your papers to your travel advisor who can forward them onwards.
What Makes a Good Volunteer?
Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.
Volunteering work and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. At times, alterations in activities are due to changes in local conditions. This can be part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that it is.
Your accommodation is on a campus in a college dorm. We have our own rooms inside this dorm, which are reserved for volunteers only. Single gender rooms are shared between 10 people, with cold showers and western style toilets. WiFi is available, but please note that the quality of the Internet access depends on weather conditions. In Southeast Asia internet accessibility is often rather unstable due to heavy rain.
There is also a room reserved as an office, where you can go to if you want some peace and quiet. We have books and magazines available here for you to borrow, and a pool and gym are located inside the campus for you to use. There is a nice local cafe next to our dorm.
All volunteers are expected to be environmentally conscious and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to participate in keeping the accommodation neat and organized.
PLEASE NOTE - This accommodation has a 23:30 curfew.
Important Arrival Information:
We highly recommend buying a cheap local SIM card for your whole time in Vietnam (for your own personal safety and for easier/cheaper communication with other participants, staff and family back home), and especially if travelling to us by yourself, this becomes especially useful. These are extremely cheap in Vietnam, costing around USD $3-5.
Our local staff will meet you at the airport upon your arrival and arrange your transfer from the airport. He will be awaiting you at the arrival section with you name, and take you to your accommodation.
Participants, who arrive before the weekend or by land, are required to meet at our meeting point. A taxi from the airport will cost less than USD $10.
Our meeting point is:
23/8 Hoang Viet Street
Tan Binh District
Ho Chi Minh City
The arrival transfer is only available on the Saturday and Sunday before your program begins. We discourage late arrivals as it may take longer for you to settle into your program. Any emergency or early/late arrivals need to be communicated to us via email [email protected] and the late arrival instructions need to be followed.
Transfer Coordinator: +84 (0) 122 8310 910 (Anna)
If you are lost or have any major concerns regarding transfer, please try to contact the coordinator first. Anna speaks English, no need to get a Vietnamese person to call these numbers.
Tourist Police: Dial 113. The Touristic Police of Vietnam are trained to assist you in English. Direct any safety concerns to them.
Transportation Between Your Accommodation and the Project:
The volunteer covers the local costs for transportation between the accommodation and the project.
Getting Around in Ho Chi Minh:
There are many taxis around the campus. You can easily catch a taxi from the main road to get to any destination in Ho Chi Minh.
Important Departure Information:
Check-out is on the Saturday before 12:00 in the last week of your program. We will assist you in arranging a local bus or taxi back to the airport. A bus will cost around USD $3 and a taxi USD $10.
Three meals a day are served during the week. On weekends there are two meals a day (brunch and dinner). Meals are typically Vietnamese but also include some Western dishes such as sandwiches, spaghetti and bread. We do, however, recommend you try Vietnamese food in all its variety including vegetables, egg, tofu, seafood and meat dishes with rice and/or noodles.
What to bring:
Scrubs, closed shoes (no flip flops allowed)