When a guest speaker came to one of my classes and talked about how she had volunteered as a professional occupational therapist abroad I immediately knew it was something that I wanted to do. As an undergraduate student in the United States I am always looking into ways to make my grad school applications more competitive. Maybe that's what I was mostly hoping to get out of my experience in Vietnam, but it turned out to be so much more than that.
First off, I cannot say enough about the Projects Abroad staff. They helped me with everything before, during and after my time in Vietnam. As a person who had never left the United States I felt completely assured that my trip would go smoothly, and it did!
More importantly though, my time in Vietnam was meanginful. I was able to work and live at a rehabilitation center for children in a more rural part of Vietnam on the weekdays.
At the rehabilitation center I lived in a simple accommodation with other volunteers and our translators. I was able to have really great relationships with the other volunteers and especially my translator, who I now consider to be a very dear friend. We have all kept in touch and hope to meet again someday.
Working with the children at the rehabilitation center was amazing. They are resilient and interactive and love the attention. I was able to learn and grow within the field of occupational therapy because a certified occupational therapist was also volunteering there. I was able gain valuable experience working with children. The staff at the rehabilitation center were willing to learn and utilize the occupational therapy techniques that we were using.
During the weekend I lived in a beautiful house in the city of Hanoi with other volunteers from other projects. We were all able to explore the city and travel around Vietnam at our own leisure. I would not trade those experiences for anything.
I would recommend traveling to Vietnam through Projects Abroad to anyone!
During the week, at the rehabilitation center