Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Ho Chi Minh City from $245

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About

IVHQ offers a variety of highly affordable volunteer opportunities in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Join the program for anywhere between 1 week and 24 weeks. Volunteers can assist on a range of community-driven projects while being based in the largest city of Vietnam. Volunteers are accommodated dormitory with other volunteers at the Ho Chi Minh Tourism College.

IVHQ Volunteer Programs available in Ho Chi Minh:

  • Teaching English
  • Special Needs/Childcare
  • Food Outreach
  • Medical

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on each Monday of every month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $295 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 15 and 30 volunteers start in Ho Chi Minh each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Vietnam with fellow volunteers - trekking, visiting temples and visiting the Mekong Delta.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 23 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 23 of 23
Default avatar
Brianna
10/10

Vietnam- Ho Chi Minh City

This was my first time volunteering abroad and my experience in Ho Chi Minh City was unforgettable and life-changing. The program offered the opportunity to build a relationship with the program coordinators, the other volunteers, and the children in the orphanage (my placement).
We stayed in a college in the city and were offered a lot of support by the local staff. It was easy to communicate with the staff and they were very willing to help.
There was wifi and the meals were provided by the college restaurant, staffed with Vietnamese students. In this case, you're also able to meet local students that are potentially around your age to find out more about the culture and aspirations of the younger generation.
Overall my experience in Vietnam was unforgettable and very well worth the nervous worrying that took place before my departure.

How can this program be improved?
I volunteered in the orphanage and I would just like to point out that transportation came out of our pockets. The kids made it very worthwhile but I definitely think the daily transportation to the orphanage should have been included.
Yes, I recommend
Mallory Meiser Go Overseas Headshot
Mallory
9/10

Go Overseas Team Review!

What I love about IVHQ is that they offer an affordable alternative to your typical vacation for young professionals. While most of my friends take a week off to head to the beach, I was able to learn a new language, interact with a different culture and make friends from all over the world. I had never been to Asia, or travelled alone before and IVHQ offered me the support and opportunity to do so. Next time you are thinking about how to spend your vacation days-- consider taking the adventure of volunteering abroad in a new country. Now for the category by category break down:

Impact:
The program I worked on was called “Feeding the Homeless.” Every morning we would leave the local school where we were living around 7 a.m. and take a bus to the soup kitchen (although rice kitchen might be a more apt term). I was fortunate enough to have the chance to work with another volunteer who had been there for 7 weeks already. It was obvious the kind of relationship someone who had volunteered for longer through the program was able to make. On his last day the local staff baked a cake and threw a going away party for him!

Support:
IVHQ works with a local provider to run their programs. The onsite staff, Anna and Leigh, were very supportive and always around if I had a question. I had a staff member meet me at the airport (along with a few other volunteers) and make sure we got to our housing. Once at our housing they gave us a map of the surrounding area, made us lunch and gave a couple of tips for crossing the road (harder than you might think when no one obeys the traffic lights!). Overall there was enough support for me to feel safe, but also the freedom to explore on my own and be more independent if I wanted.

Value:
Full disclosure, IVHQ waived my fees for volunteering in Ho Chi Minh as part of the Go Overseas paid PAID vacation program. However, when talking to the other volunteers they noted that they had chosen IVHQ because it was much cheaper than other volunteer programs. Besides housing we also got meal tickets (3x day) and entry into Independence Palace, The Vietnam War Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels during culture week.

Fun:
This is a fairly subjective category but I would say it is hard not to have a good time in Ho Chi Minh. There are about four different programs going on through IVHQ which means there are lots of other international volunteers around to make plans with. Leigh (one of the program staff) recommended loads of fun weekend trips (I went to Mui Ne-- a definite must!). The project itself was more rewarding than fun. We worked hard -- chopping vegetables, setting tables, washing dishes, etc. -- but the local staff and people we got to interact with while serving made it all worthwhile. One of my favorite parts was actually the culture week where we got to explore the city, learn the language and make some authentic dishes. I think the more you know about a culture the more you can appreciate it. Another highlight was a dinner that Leigh put together where all the volunteers got to meet local students who were learning english. We all had a blast trying to communicate in broken Vietnamese/English and the night ended in singing and dancing.

Safety:
We lived a bit on the outskirts of town but there was never a time I felt unsafe. We all stayed in bunks with 6 - 8 other volunteers and they locked the gates at night after 11. As long as you use common sense (not carrying around valuables, let friends know where you’re going, etc). you should be perfectly fine!

Overall:
This was my first time in Asia, and a developing country. Volunteering with IVHQ was a great way to travel on my own, learn about the culture, and meet other people. As I mentioned earlier, I also highly recommend it as an alternative to your typical vacation for a working professional. Getting out of the country and traveling alone gave me a chance to get outside of my comfort zone in a way its really hard to do in "real life". Feel free to email me at any time if you want to learn more about my trip! [email protected]

How can this program be improved?
One issue that some volunteers came across was that the onsite staff was not aware of what program they were doing once they got there (medical, orphanage, etc). This lead to some initial confusion and also means that some volunteers worked on programs they weren't necessarily vetted for.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mallory, It's great to hear from you. Thanks for leaving your thoughts from your experience in Ho Chi Minh with IVHQ. We are glad we could provide you with a meaningful and memorable vacation. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Aubrey
10/10

Good Morning, Vietnam

One of the greatest stories I have from my time in Ho Chi Minh is a simple one. Within the first 30 minutes of meeting my fellow volunteers, we were planning a weekend trip together to the beach town of Vung Tao, Vietnam. We were frantically looking at websites and listings to book a cheap hotel, when I paused and looked around the room at everyone... from Ecuador, Portugal, England, Germany... All corners of the world. I remember saying to my new friends: "Can you believe it? We didn't know each other an hour ago, and I feel like I've known you my whole life." It was a beautiful moment, and just the beginning of some beautiful friendships.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would have been the amount of time I spent there. It was not clear to me that the entire first week is a culture week, so I only got to be at my placement for one day. I still enjoyed and loved every single second, but I wish I could have stayed longer and made more of an impact.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Aubrey, Thanks for sharing a snippet from your experience volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City with IVHQ. It sounds like you were able to share your experience with a truly special bunch of people. It's great to hear that you spent your free time exploring Vietnam with your new friends - that's what travel is all about. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Francisco
10/10

Volunteer at Ho Chi Minh

My experience volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City was definitely amaIng.
Every aspect of the program was great. Starting from the staff members of the Green Lion, they are all very nice, helpful and very knowledgeable. Anna is great support the while time, Leah provided the best introduction to the culture,food and showed us many points of interest in Saigon, Dung was also a great support for the volunteers and organised many activities to maintain the group together.

The accomodation and facilities are good, comfortable bed, wifi, a common area for meetings or just to interact with other volunteers. Te food provides also succed my expectations, the students from the Saigon tourism school cool as part of their program and there's many of options to choose from.

The program itself was very nice, is very satisfying to see the progress of students after you have teach them something. At the beginning they can be a bit shy but after some words with them, the words will flow.

How can this program be improved?
I found the program great, starting with a great introduction, followed by the volunteer experience. I suggest to the team maybe to increase the amount of hour at work. Maybe 2 shifts a day? There's a lot of spare time that could be use to help to the ones that need the most.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Francisco, Thanks for your review. It's great to hear that you felt supported by IVHQ and our local team while in Ho Chi Minh City. It sounds like you had a really positive experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Victoria
10/10

IVHQ - Ho Chi Minh City

Since coming home from my trip, everyone has been asking me how it went. My answer every time is that I loved every aspect of. I will never forget the experience, the people, or the memories I made. Everyone at Greenlion was friendly, accommodating, and felt like family. The volunteers were all wonderful and extremely welcoming as well. The services provided from the school was impeccable. I was fortunate enough to sit in on a few different volunteer programs. I was on the medical placement and the experience was definitely eye opening. The daycare was really fun and went by really quick. Teaching English was by far my favourite. The students were lively, engaged, and fun to work with.

An experience that really stood out to me was during a daycare shift. I am fortunate enough to be one of the volunteers that was able to fluently understand and speak Vietnamese. At the daycare, the children are mainly exposed to English speaking volunteers. It is already hard for those with special needs to communicate, so imagine trying to communicate with a foreigner! I was working with a young girl in a wheelchair and she looked really uncomfortable and she was un-cooperative. I looked her in the eyes and asked her in Vietnamese, are you okay? Are you hurt? I immediately saw her body ease and her eyes showed she wanted to say something, but physically she couldn't. She smiled.

I had volunteered with hopes of making a difference, and I felt like my time and presence was truly appreciated. Volunteering has definitely made a difference in my life thanks to IVHQ.

How can this program be improved?
I would offer more guidance to volunteers that just arrived. On my first day there, I was shown the dorms and the living arrangements, but felt a little lost after I was shown my bed.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Victoria, It's great to hear from you and we are glad to hear that you had such an unforgettable experience volunteering in Vietnam with IVHQ. Thanks for sharing your review and photos. We hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Christopher
9/10

Vietnam Volunteering

When I signed up for this programme, I was expecting it to be a mundane two weeks of volunteering but what happened was the exact opposite. During the first week, the local volunteer organisers showed us around and taught us about the culture of Vietnam. It was also during this time that I met some really fun and interesting people, whom I spent my next 2 weeks with. The culture week was designed so that you could easily make friends with the other volunteers as you have lots of free time to get to know them. Over the weekend we travelled to other parts Vietnam and I had one of the best experiences so far with these people.

In the second week, the volunteering officially begins and I was teaching English around 5-7 hours a day which sounds a lot but because the work I was doing was so meaningful, it felt really rewarding and was worth all the time and effort I put in.

To conclude, I feel like this programme has the perfect mix of work and play. I spent a lot of time volunteering but I also had a lot of fun with some really cool people. 9/10

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Christopher, thanks for your feedback! We are so stoked that you had a meaningful experience volunteering for two weeks in Vietnam. Hope that you join us again on another program in the future. Thanks for being an IVHQer.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Andrea
10/10

An Amazing Experience

I was in the Teaching English and Special Needs programs for six weeks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here is the short version of my review for anyone who isn't into reading longer reviews:

This program is fantastic. The staff are nice. The food is good. The volunteers feel helpful. If you can handle heat (which you get used to) and a dorm room with bunk beds, then prepare yourself for a wonderful time in this program. Ho Chi Minh City opens up to you with this volunteer experience, and you truly get to see the local and cultural side of Vietnam.

Now for the longer review:

During my time in this program, I was involved in Teaching English and Special Needs Daycare. Both have their distinct advantages. In the Teaching English program you work with Vietnamese students at the Saigon Tourist and Hospitality College in their English classes. You assist the teacher in their lesson, which can mean anything from helping with pronunciation, to simply having conversations with them for the whole class period. The students are incredibly nice and are excited to get to know you. Several times, other volunteers and I have gone out to dinner or to amusement parks with our students and had a fabulous time hanging out with them. The Teaching English program is also conveniently located downstairs from the dorms.

The Special Needs program is phenomenal in a different way. You truly feel that you are needed in this program. Whether it be through aiding in recreational or educational activities or helping out with lunchtime, you know that your actions are much appreciated. The kids have so much love to give and it's an honor to be able to share in that loving environment for even a short time. This program is about a 20 minute walk from the dorm, but a coordinator always takes you, so there is never any need to worry about getting lost.

The food at this program is served in the restaurant downstairs from the dorm. You are given three vouchers for six days a week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can order a variety of meals, smoothies, juices, or even baked goods from the bakery. Although the menu varies slightly from day to day, realistically it is possible to get sick of the food. Even then, you have to take a mere few steps outside the dorms to find fantastic Vietnamese cuisine for no more than 2 USD.

The wireless internet at the dorms is okay, but with more people connected it becomes unreliable. However, there is a cheap coffee shop across the street from the dorms with fantastic wifi! Additionally, buying some 3G for your phone is incredibly inexpensive.

The staff at this program are incredibly amazing. They will go above and beyond to serve your needs. I sustained a fairly serious knee injury during my first week in Vietnam and my coordinator, Anna, promptly took me to a hospital and translated for me. This ended up being a whole day excursion, and when I realized I hadn't brought enough money with me to cover my MRI (which was 100 USD, for those of you wondering), Anna lent me the money until I reached an ATM. She stayed with me through a 3 hour wait for my diagnostic results in a cramped room, and never spoke a single word of complaint.

Additionally, the other coordinators are terrific, as well. They are eager to get to know you and show you the best places around the city. Many times the other volunteers and I would travel on weekends or to local hotspots on the accurate recommendation of the coordinators!

Many times when researching my volunteer placement I read that people had a terrible time in Vietnam. They were scammed, frightened by the traffic, or had to deal with the trials of petty theft. I hesitated in my choice of this program, but I am very grateful I took the risk because that was not at all my experience. After spending six weeks in Vietnam, I wholeheartedly love this country and am already planning a future trip.

Yes, the traffic is hectic. But the coordinators teach you how to be most effective when dealing with it. Sure, there is petty crime. If you don't wear across the body straps (backpacks are ideal) you won't encounter any of it. And to be honest, getting scammed in Vietnam is fairly hard to do. Paying twice the price for a souvenir is often the difference between paying 2 USD and 4 USD!

More than that, the dorms in this program are located in the Tan Binh District, which is not the tourist district (District 1 is the tourist district). This allows for a truly local experience.

District 1 is fun and has a great night life. It is only a 5 dollar taxi drive, or 15 cent bus ride away (yes 15 cents). However, the Vietnamese people in District 1 are sales oriented, a bit pushy, and are not afraid to follow you down the street with their wares.

In the Tan Binh District you don't have to deal with any of this nonsense. Even the market in the Tan Binh District is known for not partaking in the high pressure sales of the District 1 markets. There is a local supermarket nearby, and street food within arms reach at all times. The people are friendly and eager to decipher meaning through hand signals for a sale. As a female, I walk alone frequently during the day without worry and can do so for short distances at night. In groups at night, there is no concern for any sort of criminal activity.

I really can't recommend this program enough. If you are on the fence, do it! The country has fantastic people, history, and this program is a gem.

How can this program be improved?
Staying an extra night at the dorm is an expensive 30 USD (compared to other places, this is very high). To avoid the fee, make sure you plan your flight on the Friday or Saturday of your last week.

The wifi is very hard to work with if there are many people in the dorms, but the coffee shop across the street is very handy for this.

The rooms don't have much room for suitcases, but volunteers make do and are considerate of each others' belongings.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Andrea - Wow, what a great review, thanks so much. It sounds like you have had an amazing 6 week experience in Ho Cho Minh City taking in the culture. Thanks for being an IVHQer - we hope you join us again soon!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Josie
10/10

Great time with disabled children in Vietnam !!

Typical day ? Very simple: Breakfast with the other volunteers before everyone leave by public bus to reach the Pagoda (temple) or hospital. Once with those supers cutes and funny child, we walk around with them, play with them, dance, sing, .... and we help to feed them for lunch and dinner. It's very simple but they couldn't be more happy to see people to come play with them ! At night, there's a lot to see and visit around the house in Ho Chin Minh City... cheap tastefull restaurant, smoothies, coffee bar, market or even movies night with others volunteers.

Yes, I recommend

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