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ETA4

About

ETA4 is dedicated to cross-cultural connections through comprehensive English instruction and volunteer work. Since 2008, ETA4 has helped over 3000 children learn and grow.

Want to be a part of the history?

Website
www.eta4.org

Reviews

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Alicja
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best English teacher as a volunteer you can get

I belive that ETA4 is one of the best organizations to volunteer with in the world. Even though they are based in the US, and I was living in Poland, they helped me enormously with the trip from the beginning until the end. I was welcomed by other volunteers in Ho Chi Minh city where my flight had landed and then we all went to Hue to start our journey... The people I met, the experiance I had... it is just unforgettable and difficult to put in writing. The most beutiful thing to see is now that the volunteers and students from Hue are all around the world making their dreams come true and speaking English perfectly. I recommned this program to anyone who would like a chance to change some lives, feel needed and simply have fun :)

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Alberto
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision ever

I’m a 26 year old Mexican, since I arrive here everything has been great, I live in a homestay and the family it’s realy nice they help me to improve my Japanese. In the school the professors are so funny and profesional the clases are not boring you enjoy learning. The staff it’s really helpful they helped me to get my train card so i didn’t spend more money the activities are realy interesting and the majority are free. I totally don’t regretted my decision and I want to do 6 more months.

What would you improve about this program?
Change a little bit the trips and make more trips outside the Tokyo area
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Tram
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great trip, nice people, nice place.

It was so awesome being part of ETA4 for five weeks long, so much fun, sweetness and joy.

ETA4 Duc Linh 2014 – my first time for everything

It can be said that ETA4 Duc Linh 2014 is my first time for everything: first time for five weeks long living and doing and having fun together, everything: eating meals, doing the dishes, singing during dish washing; walking to the church where we taught, waiting for friends and running in heavy rains back to the hotel; we were happy, we were sad; first time for feeling happy because of being friends, being sisters and brothers with the super friendly kids. I still remember the first day we came, all the kids were already there at the church, just for welcoming us even though they could only stay for a while because of church; the last day when we were leaving, those kids were also there, at the church, some with red eyes, some with pens and notebooks, said goodbye. They were just so sweet.

Class routines:

Van, another volunteer and I taught the level B, grade 7. Our first day could be said that “fun and many surprises”. The kids were just like having known us for years and years. Some kids from other classes passed and greeted us “Hello”. Some came to us and asked us for names because we were new.

Every day, the morning classes started at 8 and lasted until 11. The afternoon classes were from 2 to 3.30 and after that, it was for outdoor activities such as swimming, basketball, frisbee, dodge ball or other games. Victor, the program leader and other volunteers, usually were in charge of gathering the kids and taught them how to play or we just also joined them for fun. We often merged two, three or more classes and let them compete with each other. Sometimes, instead of sports and games, we turned the music on, taught kids to sing and dance. The kids love such activities.

Every two weeks, it was time for a “Talent Show” night which I love the most in ETA4. The kids not only learn English in classes, in games and sports, they also have chance to build up confidence though music and showing off what they have learned from us because English songs would be preferable.

Besides, there was another night called “Movie Night” which were nights of Kungfu Panda, Up, Brave, Monster University…. I also love these nights. I would never forget the moments of seeing the excited faces of the kids, hearing their happy laughter or sharing them snacks while watching movies.

Volunteers’ routines

We, volunteers stayed in a hotel, where is only 10 minute walk to the church. Every weekday, we woke up around 7 a.m. or earlier and went to the church for breakfast and preparing copies, or just made sure we’re ready for morning classes. Lunch time was around 11 a.m. After the meals, we helped to do the dishes. Well, I can tell, to us, dish washing never gets bored because we were always in team even dish washing. From dish washing, there born a Broom Master, her job was sweeping and sweeping, there born a Pot Master (we called him Xoong in Vietnamese), you can leave any dirty pots for him, his job was to clean them.

Back to our meals, we were so lucky having a supper good cook. She was kind and nice to us since she often asked us about our favorite foods so that she could prepare for us….Ahh, I love her so much.
When dinner time was done, it was time for we could do anything we wanted. But normally, if it was not movie night or talent show night, we gathered in our “Big group”, sometimes to be fun we called it “Party Room” or “Ballroom”. It was time for all volunteers to sit down and get to know each other more. We watched movies, we played games, we sung, we celebrated birthday, we talked about anything love, friends, jobs… That was how the friendships were built.

Living conditions

We were still happy living faraway home since we had Wi-fi here. We also had AC, grocery store where you can buy anything, toothbrush, washing powder, snacks, anything.

Honestly, I love the program because of people. The volunteers, the kids, the Father, the Brothers, the kids’ families and other local people, they were so much nice. We, volunteers, the kids, other people were happy since we wanted that. In fact there were still things not as good as expected, but I believe everyone from ETA4 Duc Linh 2014 agreed with me that we wanted to be happy and we in fact had a wonderful time there. Chi Trang, Linh, my big sisters, always ready to give you help. Victor encouraged anyone. I found that he always spoke English slow enough to let anyone that he knew they would understand him better when he does not speak fast. Dan, our youngest brother, love to eat, he always made everyone feel pleased since he liked jokes and helping people around. There are Van, Momo, Quynh, Lam, Hoang, Thanh … nice friends who I think I would to see them again this summer.

When I am writing this, I feel so happy that we made it, ETA4 Duc Linh last summer. I always look forward a chance of coming back.

I would love to recommend this program to my friends and you so if you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact me at hairpinbui@gmail.com

What would you improve about this program?
It would be the number of the kids in one class. When it comes to a smaller class, the kids would receive enough care from volunteers and volunteers would help the kids better.
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Van
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

immensely rewarding experiences

My overall experience with ETA4 Duc Linh 2014 program was AWESOME. I taught a B-level class with around 40 students. They were super friendly and a bit naughty sometimes, but they are really no trouble. They came to me for questions and showed me around town. You should check out the small dam nearby and the rambutan gardens which were in season (the kids would definitely showed/drove you there on their bicycles^^) There were a couple of printers at the church to print out materials for students. The Father and Brothers were there willing to help us with anything, from printing to gathering the kids. I was so happy seeing them everyday, even when it rained heavily. It was summer in Vietnam, however, I felt like autumn in Duc Linh as it rained a lot which cooled down a little.

We volunteers (groups of 2-4) shared bedrooms in a motel which is within walking distance to the church and the market. It's very convenient. There's a pharmacist's right in front of the church where you can buy medicine. The chemist, she was very nice and helpful. She always greeted us with a smile, even offered us free med as she knew we were volunteers.

Classes started 8 am in the morning and lasted until 11 am. Afternoon classes were from 2 pm to around 3:30 pm then students were outside either to swim, play basketball or play dodge ball... Every weekday we woke up at around 7 and walked to the church to have breakfast at 7:30. Lunch time was right after we finished teaching. We left the church at 5 pm and had one hour to take a shower before having dinner at around 6 pm. It's funny that after having meals, we volunteers washed dishes together. This might sound a bit tiring, but it was actually really fun as we had sometime to chat about what happened in our class this morning, what's the plan for tomorrow's class. I missed those days... Oh and we also have Broom Master, Pot Master (Xoong-in Vietnamese), and many other Masters in our group. :)) Like many other volunteers, I found the food super duper delicious. There was barely any leftover on our tables for the dogs, so I thought they were quite furious. There's a girl in our group was in charge of taking photos of the meals we had and posted them on facebook :)). The cook was super kind as she usually asked us whether we had any dietary preferences so that she could prepared for us.

Well I think when it comes to work, especially voluntary work, you may experience some ups and downs. However, you are expected to work hard and make a real contribution - it is not just sitting around enjoying a different culture. In return, the experience you have and lessons you learn are valuable and unforgettable. You can befriend with people you've never met before and quickly bond after just a week :)). To be honest, before the trip I told myself that how I was gonna be fine surviving 5 weeks as I had read so many negative feedback. However, when I got there, it was actually not bad. We got Wi-fi, AC, grocery store nearby so you can buy anything you need.

But most importantly, as you are able to closely interact with the kids who are from different backgrounds. While you have breakfast ready every morning, many of your students have to head to the market and prepare breakfast for their younger brothers and sisters before coming to class... Talking to them will help you learn about their daily lives, many childhood games you haven't played in ages and their optimism for life and the future...

I hope to come back to Duc Linh this summer, and I am doing my best. Hope to see you there.

If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact me at mybestmemories33@gmail.com

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Loc
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hue is a beautiful and peaceful city

I honestly love this program...this is coming from a person who have no prior experience in teaching, who knows he was not meant to be a teacher but yet fueled by friends who did this program before and how much they enjoyed it.I decided to do this program last summer, and it was the best decision I've made. I admit, when I first got to Hue, it was strange because I didn't know any one, but soon enough, that all changed. The environment is so friendly and welcoming. The people I was with was very open minded and friendly and we all got along so well. I personally love how ETA4 gave me the tools and the confident I needed to teach without having someone to look over my shoulder. This was great for me because I felt like I can learn from any mistakes I made and better myself the next day, at the end of the day, the students' interests always came before mine, even when I was sick, I didn't really want to take the time off because I knew some would drive pretty far just to sit in my class. I grew attached to them so much that I promised I would come back again next summer, and I fulfilled such promise. I recommended this to all of my friends, why? it's not just because the program is great, it's because I came back a better person from the things I have seen and learned from. I can go on and on, but i hate writing. If you guys have any questions regarding this program, I would love to talk to you via email or phone...but email me first lol...joeyhoang84@gmail.com

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Amber Paulson

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Why did you decide to teach abroad with ETA4 in Vietnam?

ETA4 is a program that I have many connections with. Not only did a friend of mine attend the year before (and loved it), but the program was founded by an old colleague of mine from high school, Victor Wilson. I had a strong desire to travel the world and help people, but I had no idea where to start. I chatted with my friend who volunteered with ETA4 in 2011 and he gave rave reviews. After realizing that it was Victor's program, I applied, was accepted, and went with it from there.

What made this teach abroad experience unique and special?

This is my only experience teaching abroad thus far, but I have a strong feeling that this program is incredibly special. For five weeks, every volunteer in the program was accepted as one of the people of Hue, the city in which we taught. We were welcomed by students who had been attending the program for years and by new students, thrilled at the prospect of learning English from native English speakers. Because the program has been centered in Hue for so many years, it has very strong roots with the people and the community there. They expect ETA4 each year, and they wait in anticipation for the classes to kick off.

We resided in a hotel but all our time was spent with our students and teacher's aides. We were welcomed into homes, ate delicious meals, and sometimes even invited to weddings (a high honor in Vietnamese culture). We rode motorbikes with our local friends, who were more than eager to share their beautiful city with us. The community was so welcoming that I don't believe any volunteer really wanted to leave by the time the program had come to an end. The academic portion of it is special also. There is a set and suggested curriculum, but each teacher is urged to bring his or her own personal flair to the classes. New ideas and alterations to lessons were welcomed and implemented - the curriculum is constantly changing and growing. We were not held to a specific curriculum, rather provided with the tools we'd need to teach our own individualized and effective courses.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

ETA4 has had a tri-fold effect on my future. By career, I am a second grade teacher. Having the opportunity to teach in another country and to teach students who do not speak my language as their native tongue, allowed me the opportunity to truly explore myself as an educator. I was presented with challenges and rewards that are completely different, yet just as satisfying as what I experience at my little private school in Los Angeles. I'm also able to now bring what I've learned from that summer into my classroom, either through academic instruction, or just simple conversation about the rest of the world. I also fell in love with the program with my whole heart. It is my hope and dream to continue my involvement with ETA4 for many years to come - I'm definitely returning for the summer of 2013.

I have also, in my opinion, grown into a more conscious and more knowledgeable person from the experience. Being placed in a situation where one is removed from the comforts of our modern lives, forces individual self-evaluation on an extreme scale. When I'm met with the stresses of my day-to-day life, I take a moment to remember who I was in that situation and what I learned from my Vietnamese friends, and I smile.

What is one piece of advice you would offer something considering teaching abroad in Vietnam?

Bring sunscreen, rent a motorbike, say "yes" to everything, and never stop exploring. There is so much to be taught and even more to learn.