Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Vietnam from $435

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PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the buzzing, cool, capital city of Hanoi in Vietnam. Volunteers get involved in a wide-range of project work including English teaching, childcare, working with special needs children and work with a local NGO tackling issues such as health and human rights.

Our programs operate throughout the year. We have two start dates every month so you decide when you go and how long you go for.

Questions & Answers


based on 16 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 16
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Childcare Volunteer in Vietnam

I participated in the 3 week childcare project in Vietnam, Hanoi and it was everything I wished for and more.

The support prior to arrival and whilst you’re in the country is incredible. This was my first trip long haul trip alone and because PMGY made it so easy, the whole process was stress-free.

The volunteer house was not what I expected, it was much better! It is a very large house and the CSDS team are located on the bottom floor so there are always staff to help us out if we needed it. They took the time to go through our projects with us so we had a chance to have any questions we had answered.

In regards to food at the house - I was very impressed. It is varied food choices each night and the sesame seed tofu was my absolute favourite, I miss it now I’m back home!

My project was amazing and I feel so grateful and lucky I was able to participate in this experience. I worked alongside children with special needs and practiced specific methods in helping them to train fine motor skills. I learnt so much whilst I was there and the staff (even though they didn’t speak English) were so patient and kind the whole time.

The country is beautiful and there is so much to do on your weekends off! I wish I stayed longer as we only got a chance to do a few things but everything I done I have loved - Sapa being my favourite and a must see. The local people are wonderful and kind and I have never felt so safe in a country before.

My advice, if you are hesitant, is to just do it, I promise you will not regret it. I met the most amazing people, had wonderful food, an incredible placement and some memories I will never forget and hold in my heart for a lifetime. I can’t wait to book another trip with PMGY for next year.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Wish I Could Have Stayed

Deciding to travel to Vietnam to work on this program was probably one of the best decisions of my life. My only regret is that I didn't stay longer. I was a bit worried that I would feel homesick, but the volunteer house truly felt like home.
Before I left I received the handbook which outlined everything so I felt pretty confident as to what to expect when I arrived.
The in-country support is amazing. The CSDS office is in the house, so there was always people available to talk to, or they could easily be contacted via Facebook. They helped us plan trips, and always made us feel welcome.
The accommodation was much better than I expected. The food was varied, the rooms were fairly spacious, and there was never a queue for the showers.
I did the teaching project, and taught at a local community class for young University students. They were all so lovely, eager to learn, and more than willing to take you exploring on the weekend. In fact, one of the students invited me to a Pagoda for the weekend which was an amazing experience - definitely not something that would have happened had I just been on holiday.
My only advice is to stay longer than you think you'll want to - it truly is an amazing experience and one that I definitely did not want to end.

How can this program be improved?
I didn't use the T-Shirt at all so that was an unnecessary cost.
Yes, I recommend this program

Vietnam Real Experience

This has been my fourth time volunteering with/through PMGY, and once again I am incredibly impressed by the program and every member of the staff. The real experience allows you to see much of the country and experience all your touristic needs, while at the same time making an impact and immersing in the culture. The Vietnamese coordinators (Hung and Nhung) were fantastic, and really bridged the gap between the volunteers and the locals. They were there to answer any and all questions, and were as much friends as they were coordinators. As far as the volunteering, we built a playground in the jungle, and worked at Friendship Village. Both were impactful and incredibly rewarding. Friendship village was a very cool experience, especially as an American, to be able to speak and work with Vietnamese veterans and agent orange victims in order to help relieve some of the pain that is still unfortunately persisting after the war. Would highly recommend this, or any PMGY program!

How can this program be improved?
Be more clear about the current schedule with the volunteers!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Two friends and I decided to work on the childcare program in Vietnam. We spent two weeks working in a hospital called "Peace Village" with disabled kids. Our experience was really nice, we took care of them playing games and trying to teach some English and also some Spanish. We met really intelligent and interessant kids from whom we learnt a lot! We passed a really good time with them and we have gained an incredible experience there!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Childcare program

I've spent 2 weeks in the childcare program in Vietnam. I've been working with two girls in a hospital called "Peace Village", which is a hospital for disable kids. We've been taking care of them trying to do some activites and trying to teach them some words in english. It has been an amazing experience for us, because we have learnt a lot, and I'm sure that if we have the opportunity to do it again, we will do it!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Teaching in Vietnam

In short, my teaching experience in Vietnam was really great. Having decided that I wanted to backpack SE Asia, I also decided to do a little voluntary work before travelling. After some careful research on different program providers, I found PMGY. Their office in the UK was incredibly helpful in answering all my pre-departure questions and helping me sort out my visa. The project itself was great - I was teaching English at a vocational college for disadvantaged students, and really did feel like I was making a meaningful difference (I would assist the teachers and had about 3/4 hours of teaching time per day). To sum up, I can't recommend PMGY enough - they are helpful, efficient, friendly, and provided me with an unforgettable teaching experience in Vietnam.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Volunteer in Vietnam

I have recently spent three weeks volunteering and working in Vietnam with PMGY - I would say it was the best experience ever but I have also volunteered twice before with PMGY Sri Lanka which were equally as amazing!!!

Starting with an efficient and welcoming airport pick up after a long flight, i was welcomed so warmly by all the local team in Vietnam to the volunteer house. The house was always a fun place to be round and kept clean throughout with great local Vietnamese (and the odd western) food included throughout!

A neighbourhood tour, Vietnamese lesson within orientation and a breathtaking city tour around Hanoi all in my first couple days meant I was familiar with my surroundings instantly and got to know my fellow volunteers and workers and superb local team straight away!

My project itself was one of the most rewarding things I have done to date! Teaching English to children with learning disabilities was so rewarding and inspiring to see the children's willingness to learn. Although a bit daunting and challenging at first to me, a local co-ordinator was on hand to help with any translation issues and I really grew into the project as we even taught the children a dance performance routine to perform to the whole centre where the project was based!

Of course the social side was immense too - from karaoke nights, embracing football matches with the local people, too chilling at jazz bars or drinking "5 dong" beer as well as a simple game of cards or 'spoons' in the house - it had it all.

And when it comes to weekends, Vietnam has it all too - chilling and partying in Hanoi / trekking in sapa / visiting one of the wonder worlds in Halong ba - I did this all in three weeks as well as much more!!!

And lastly, before I left for Vietnam the support I got from the UK office was brilliant (as it had been for my last two times volunteering with PMGY Sri Lanka) They respond so quick and personally to any concerns or issues I have and are always keen to hear from volunteer experience so they can help enhance the programme for future volunteers. The Facebook groups they maintain provide a great forum for volunteers to share concerns and network
amongst each other and even forge friendships before embarking on travels!

PMGY Vietnam was unbelievable, unforgettable and unmissable - but I didn't expect anything less after PMGY Sri Lanka was all of the above too!

Yes, I recommend this program

Make an impact and enjoy a great social scene

I had an incredible time volunteering for 4 weeks at a climate change research institute in Hanoi, Vietnam. I spent a long time working out which company I wanted to go through so if you're hmm-ing and haa-ing I'd say PMGY are a really good choice because:

1. They offer a greater variety of good quality work placements - not just childcare or teaching. And the partner organisations are expecting you so your time is put to good use.

2. You're guaranteed to make friends - in Hanoi everyone stays in a house together (about 30 people mostly 18-25 yr olds) so it's really social. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and inclusive and you get to know everyone really well because you eat all your meals together and organise weekend trips in large groups. Don't worry if you're volunteering by yourself - most people are!

3. It's cheap. You get food and accommodation paid for (at a fair price) but the real value comes in the fact that you've got a ready made group of people to make your time so much more enjoyable.

In terms of my actual experience. I was staying in Hanoi, which is a great place if you want to experience life in a quickly expanding Asian city. There's loads of bars and restaurants so plenty to keep you occupied in the evenings and it's particularly well located for weekend trips (e.g. Halong Bay, Sapa, Phong Nha, Ba Be, Ninh Binh).

At AMDI (the climate research institute I was based at) I spent most of the time helping them with reports. I learnt a lot about the effects of climate change in Vietnam and what's being done to try and adapt to these problems. It was quite specific but I'd recommend it if you're thinking about working in the environmental sector. The people in the office were incredibly welcoming, always chatting to me and inviting me to stuff outside of work. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful team.

Overall I had an incredible experience and it was just so easy to organise because PMGY did it all for me. I especially loved being in a house with like minded people from all over the world all doing different placements.

How can this program be improved?
The house is a little out of the way, it would be nice to be in the old quarter.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Fantastic and insightful time volunteering at a NGO in Vietnam!

PMGY is a great company that provides a professional and amazing experience! I had a fantastic and insightful time volunteering at a healthcare/public health NGO in Vietnam last summer! Que and the rest of the team are so lovely and helpful! If I have the time to go again with PMGY, I will! There is something for everyone as they provide a wide variety of projects to take part in. If you're thinking about it, go for it! You'll have a wonderful time!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Teaching in Vietnam

My time in Vietnam put my whole life into a new perspective, I'm so grateful that I got the opportunity to live and work in Hanoi. PMGY provided great pre-departure support, always easy to contact and very helpful. Any worries future volunteers have, don't have them! Yes, it can seem like a daunting idea at first, especially if you're not experienced in travelling. However, just go for it and I promise you won't regret it.
I worked at the University of Industry teaching English, and the students were all amazing people that I was greatly moved by. Many had taught English to themselves, many traveled over 2 hours just for the opportunity to study. I met some truly inspiring individuals that I hope to stay in touch with for a longtime.
I lived in a home with the CSDS founder's family. They were incredibly welcoming, friendly and fun to live with. I immediately felt at home, thanks to their cute little daughter who always wanted to play. Living with the other volunteers meant that there was always something to do in the evenings and weekends; I made so many friends and learnt so much.
If you're thinking about teaching in Vietnam, do it!

How can this program be improved?
More funding so the price could be lowered.
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer 2015 PMGY Vietnam

I have spent 2 months volunteering with PMGY in Vietnam and everything has been absolutely fantastic. Long story short - I decided to stay for a whole year. I did the Real Vietnam Experience in July and I am currently working on the teaching project in Hanoi. I fell in love with Vietnam and CSDS the day I arrived, so it only took a me few days to decide that I wanted stay, and I will be starting a 9-month long NGO internship in October.
The application process with PMGY was very straight forward and my entire trip (incl. flights and visa) was booked within two days - special thanks to Philip who had to deal with everything so quickly and did an excellent job! The volunteer handbook contains all the information you need, but if you have any further questions someone is always there to answer them immediately.
When I arrived at the airport there was a driver who took me directly to the volunteer house. I felt very welcome and comfortable from the first moment, as the environment was very family-like and every member of staff kept making sure I had everything I needed. I also attended several orientation meetings that were very well structured and offered all necessary information.
The volunteer house is an amazing place, always full of friendly people who make me feel like I'm at home. The rooms are lovely and clean with 4-6 beds. Before I left England I thought that 2 months in a shared room would result in an inconvenient lack of privacy, however when there was a time when I had the room to myself for a night, I quickly realised I how unnecessary my worries had been. In fact, all I could think about was the silence and the unusually empty house, and I could not wait for the new volunteers to arrive. I have met many interesting people and made loads of friends, so here is a special thanks to CSDS who made this even easier by creating such a wonderful home-like environment with lots of care and support. A very important member of staff is 'the nanny' - the lady who cleans the house as well as cooks also happens to be a domestic goddess and so far I have loved every single meal she prepared. There is always a large selection of food and if you have any special dietary needs or allergies you usually get an extra dish to make up for the things you cannot eat.
My first project 'The Real Vietnam Experience' was definitely the best 4 weeks of my life. Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh and Hai Duong - all absolutely stunning places I plan to visit again next year. The entire project was very well organised and there is not a single thing I could complain about. The dedicated leaders and local supporters made this trip a memory for life and a reason to come back soon. My second project is teaching English to university students at a local community class where I teach two 2h-long lessons every day. All students are very focused, enthusiastic, and keen to learn, and often ask for help when it comes to applying for jobs and writing cover letters or CVs. I can always tell that I have made a difference in someone's life when I hear about a new job offer or a passed IELTS test; which is also why I would recommend this project to anyone who actually wants to contribute to the community, as well as have one of the most wonderful holidays of their life. You do not need to have any teaching qualifications or previous experience, you do not even have to be a native speaker. As long as you are confident about your language skills you can get all the teaching materials from CSDS who also make sure there is at least one other teacher and a local supporter in the classroom with you, in case you need any help.
Overall, I have had an incredible summer and I am very excited to spend my industrial placement year here in Hanoi (Thank you very much for organising my internship, Que & Philip), and I would definitely recommend PMGY Vietnam to anyone who is considering volunteer work.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Vietnam 2013!

Plan My Gap Year were very supportive in sending emails and providing a hand book with all of the information needed. They were also very quick in responding to to emails with any further queries and questions.

Well, what can I say about the hospital?! I absoloutely loved it, and enjoyed working there more than I enjoyed my weekends! At first, the idea of working in a hospital was a little scary, however after the first day, even the first hour I just fell in love with the place. Going to work with a local volunteer was really useful, as sometimes there would be language barriers and other small issues which could be easily solved. I have no complaints about the placement at all, and nothing but happy memories!

The accomodations was fine, and after the addition of the toaster I really can’t think of any complaints! The wifi of course was a little dodgey, but to be honest, that wasn’t really a problem. The rooms were spacious and the beds were comfy, so, no complaints! The food was great, sometimes it did feel like there wasn’t much variety as we would have the same or similar meals quite a lot. But the standard of cooking was very good, and the food delicious!

You guys are awesome! Whenever there was a problem there would always be some one there, more than willing to help. Even late at night when we had that issue with the lock upstairs. The orientation and language lesson was extremley useful as well, as it gave us knowledge about the culture we were living in. All in all, you guys were amazing!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Vietnam PMGY NGO Volunteering Summer 2013 in Hanoi

I had the best time of my life volunteering in Hanoi, Vietnam for six weeks over the summer in 2013.

Both Plan My Gap Year’s UK and abroad team were absolutely fantastic. There isn’t anything I would have changed about the experience. Everyone was so friendly, professional and happy to answer any questions, no matter how big or small to put you at ease before you left. You really felt, unlike in many commercial organisations, that you really mattered as a customer not that you were just another source of income on a production line. In terms of money although such trips are expensive, PMGY offers the most affordable on the market. You just have to except you have to pay to volunteer and it really is worth it.

Before departure you are giving an in-depth volunteer handbook specific for you country of choice, which really did cover everything you needed to know. When I arrived I was collected from the airport and taken to the volunteer house in the suburbs of Hanoi. It was nice to live with other volunteers, who were all so friendly, as you had people right there to socialise with and go on trips at the weekends with.

The house had a lounge with a computer and TV (including some English channels), a kitchen, a general meeting/classroom/spare room, 6 bedrooms (5 of which had 2 bunk beds in, the other three), 4 bathrooms, a laundry room, an area to dry clothes and a roof terrace too. So literally everything you needed was on hand, and there is a ‘nanny’ too who cleans your room once a week and cooks a delicious lunch and dinner everyday. The food there was literally incredible. It was so fresh, healthy and tasty. Lots of dishes are prepared and you pick and choose what you want and help yourself. Always a big bowl of rice then vegetables, salads, meat, egg and fruit. And there’s lots of choice so there is always something you like (I only found one dish I didn’t in 6 weeks though, so you needn’t worry).

There is so much to do in Hanoi, in the evenings we mostly went and had a few casual drinks at a local Vietnamese place for Bia Hoi, (30p beer), but there was also a huge new shopping centre with Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC nearby too for occasional eating out. At weekends I often went to the old quarter of Hanoi, which is about a 35 min bus ride away (free because you get a bus pass during your stay) and really easy to get to. There, there is lots to do, shopping, cafes, museums, general wandering, spas etc. So it’s really nice to be close to this.

At the weekends we also travelled quite a lot (when the monsoon rain wasn’t an issue - it always seemed completely dry in the week then wet all weekend annoyingly). From Hanoi everywhere is relatively easy to get to, such as Sapa, Halong Bay, Perfume Pagoda or even flights to Ho Chi Minh or Hoi An. And prices are so cheap there you really can make the most of your free time to explore the rest of the country.

You can see how much there is to do without me having even talked about the volunteering yet! In terms of the actual volunteering the programmes all seemed great. No one was unhappy with their placement and any small issues that cropped up were always resolved quickly and easily by the amazing in country team, who I’d like to thank enormously, as they are one of the most important contributors to making the experience so great.

I chose the NGO programme and PMGY are one of the few who offer this, hence why I initially become interested in them. I would highly recommend this programme, especially for longer stays as the work was incredibly varied and never dull. The NGO I worked for were absolutely fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent working for them. The staff was all so lovely, and I really enjoyed the work. I had multiple responsibilities, big and small, but basically my job was to support the NGO is whatever way possible. My most important task was composing concept papers, outlining projects, for submission to large international organisations donors to seek funding. In addition, I was required to write reports on the NGO’s activities for distribution purposes including for the monthly newsletter. Often I edited documents too, to ensure the English was to a high standard. I also taught three mornings a week for three weeks in a summer camp to gain insight so that I was able to design a successful summer camp for the NGO to run themselves. I was also able to make suggestions which I felt might be of benefit to the NGO, which previously they may not have been aware of, this was particularly in relation to technology and marketing. As the NGO I was working for was in charge of the other international volunteers in Vietnam too other tasks included ensuring the smooth running of their programmes through answering their questions, helping with the orientation my providing tours of the local area and helping the in country team address any questions volunteers had by acting as a link between them. In essence my role encompassed multiple tasks and I was required to maintain flexibility and good time management through out. The programme would of course vary depending where you placement was, what the needs of the NGO were at that time and your own skill set.

One recommendation I would make is to stay for a minimum of four weeks. People who came for 2 or 3 often regretted not staying longer, because although its still great to go at all, you get much more out of a longer trip because you can achieve more, both in terms of volunteering and seeing the difference and in making the most of the city/country. Otherwise you just get settled then you’re going home again.

The best thing about Vietnam was how friendly everyone is there. The NGO staff, local volunteers and locals were all so genuine, quite unlike anywhere else I’ve ever visited. I felt safe the whole time I was there because everyone treated you like you’d been friends for life.

The international volunteers were great too though! It was really nice to be able to meet new people, make new friends and nice to spend time with other people who care about making a difference.

It really was the most unforgettable and touching experience of my life and as such I would highly recommend volunteering with PMGY (in particular with an NGO) and visiting Vietnam to anyone. In fact I’m already thinking about booking my next trip!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Teaching English in Hanoi

I volunteered teaching English in Vietnam with PMGY. Before I left, PMGY sent me a handbook with all the information I could need on Vietnam, but maybe could have told me a little bit more about the English teaching. I arrived in Vietnam still a little unsure exactly what I'd be doing, namely what age group I'd be teaching and what my teaching would entail. This may be to do with the fact that the teaching is organised by a partner organisation to PMGY so it is not their responsibility.

The teaching was fun but I found it a bit repetitive so by the end of my six weeks there I was spending two days a week teaching English, two days at the orphanage and one at the disabled school. It could not have been easier to change my timetable which was great.

You live in the volunteer house with around 10 - 15 other volunteers who are based in Hanoi at the various projects, the house was a lot of fun. We would have dinner together every night and go out together. You make close friends with everyone within days which is so fun.

Overall, I'd highly recommend PMGY. The volunteering is rewarding (particularly the orphange and disabled school) and the time at the house is the best!

How can this program be improved?
A more tangible benefit to the local populations and greater structure to what is expected of the volunteers
Yes, I recommend this program
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Hanoi- life changing experience

I had originally planned to volunteer for an organisation in Africa Uganda but circumstances at that the time meant it would not be safe. I began researching different organisations on the internet and came accross plan my gap year. I contacted plan my gap year for more information and was impressed with the quick response. I had my trip rediverted to vietnam and booked within a week. Philip at plan my gap year was very helpful and answered promptly to any questions I had.
I volunteered in Vietnam for two months, I quickly fell in love with the culture, food and lifestyle. I volunteered to work with disabled children. I was based at a childrens centre in Hanoi helping children with autism and cerebal palsy, such an amazing experience. My only advise would be to learn some Vietnamese before you arrive in Vietnam, basics will get you by fine. The Vietnamese will appreciate that you are trying and in return will also make an effort to communicate.
The accommodation in Hanoi was fantastic, I made some great friends from all different walks of life. There is always something to do, Hanoi is a great city. I made the most of my trip and travelled out of Hanoi at the weekends to Sapa, Halong bay, Mai Chau the list continues...all breath taking views and adventure you will never forget.
I continued my travelling after my volunteer experience to different countries but in my opinion it cannot compare to Vietnam.
Definately the best decision I have ever made...choose Vietnam you won't regret it!

Yes, I recommend this program


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About Plan My Gap Year

Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide the worlds most affordable, need-driven and supportive short-term volunteer programmes across Africa, Asia & Latin America. Our...