• Vietnam

Program Details

Guesthouse Hostel


Starting Price
Price Details
The program fee includes:
*Local transportation
*Travel insurance
*Most meals
Apr 20, 2017
Feb 08, 2012
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About Program

Sports for Social Change is a three-week summer exchange program that uses sports, specifically soccer, as a tool for youth empowerment, leadership development, and community building. American university students join a cohort of student coaches from Cambodia and Vietnam to lead a weeklong soccer camp in Vietnam and a two-week camp in Cambodia.

There is limited access to organized sports, especially for girls. These soccer camps enable local youth to develop an interest in sports and develop team-work, conflict resolution and other social skills. The program promotes cross-cultural friendships between students of two Southeast Asian nations with a long history of war and distrust.

Since many of the campers are girls at risk for human trafficking, coaches teach valuable life skills and encourage campers to excel in school. Student coaches act as role models for campers, while also experiencing their own group cultural exchange, community living and leadership development.

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from VIA Programs.

Program Reviews

8.67 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 33.33%
  • 7-8 rating 66.67%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Forestry and Fun in Hue

Hue is a fantastic city for a volunteer post, and that's why there are many volunteers from all over the world that come here! There are about 35 foreign volunteers and several English speaking Vietnamese NGO workers in this beautiful, ancient capital city. So there are many chances to socialize and learn about different areas of the globe!

The environment at my post, Tropenbos International, is both professional and laid back. The employees are extremely hard-working, kind, and helpful, though also fun to joke around with. There is not always English Resource work to do, so the volunteer should be open to bring or create their own activities and/or ideas for projects that relate to Tropenbos.

The downtown area is not very big, so getting around on either a bicycle or moto is easy. The furthest one has to ride (unless visiting tombs and other places the countryside) is 15-20 minutes.

The people are friendly, the food is fantastic, (the best in Vietnam!) and the environment is safe. Though I will say if you have any kind of environmental allergies, Hue is not for you. The weather here is unpredictable, and the rainy season is very humid and wet, forming mold everywhere (clothes, cabinets, etc). There are laundry services with dryers and cleaning products at the supermarket, but dealing with the mold can be gross and difficult.

Hue also has many comforting convieniences. There are 2 big supermarkets and a few smaller grocery stores, hundreds of cafes, lots of cheap local restaurants, a couple Western style bars, a French bakery with buttery delicious treats, hot springs, and many more awesome places to hang out. There are also tons of stunning, ancient tombs, pagodas, and other building to explore as well. The city is a major education center in Vietnam, so you get to meet tons of interesting people from all over the country (and other countries too!).

11 people found this review helpful.
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Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A life-changing experience

Before arriving in Cambodia, I had no experience of this country and no plans to visit here. However, after being here now for more than 18 months, my husband and I are completely in love with it and planning on making it our home.

My VIA post is with a Cambodian organisation which works with the villagers, helping them become more self-sustaining in various fields (rice growing, health, gender awareness, mining advocacy and much more). My job is to edit (and sometimes write) reports which we send to donors to show them how we've used their money and the plans we have for coming programmes.

While there are some challenges in working with another culture, I have learned patience and tolerance in dealing with situations which have arisen during my time here. I have also found myself connecting with people who barely speak a word of English and discovering how a smile can speak volumes and a gesture can say more than words.

Highlights for me included visiting indigenous people in the provinces and writing reports about how people live on mining sites in far-reaching areas of the country. While they often included long car or bus rides over bad roads, there was usually something special at the end, and I've met people that I would never ordinarily met -- as well as seen parts of the country which would not be seen by casual travellers to Cambodia.

Without VIA, I would not be here. The people representing this organisation have all been solid, smart, fun and insightful and have become more than just colleagues over the years. VIA has provided a safety net in having a real person to talk to at times when that was important, as well as the ease of having a representative introduce me to local areas, and not just those which a tourist would see.

I know my work at my NGO has been appreciated as I am continually thanked when I offer support and show my colleagues better ways to write or communicate.

And, while I will continue to live in Cambodia with my husband and have lives outside VIA, I will always remember the special role it played in opening up a new world for me and introducing me to a country and people I have grown to love.

9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing opportunity in a wonderful country

Life in Phnom Penh is never boring, and as my wife and I close in on two years living here we still feel the same about this wonderful country: we've never felt so alive.

We came here to volunteer with two separate NGOs - me with a group lobbying the government on oil, gas and mining policy; my wife, with a group providing support to Cambodians, many of them poor rural farmers.

What we got out of the equation - thanks to the insight, support and guidance from VIA - is a long-term home. When our second year concludes with VIA and our NGOs at the end of July, we are remaining in Cambodia.

It's our home, now.

Cambodia's a country of sensory overloads. Traffic, movement, noise, music, laughter, smells (mostly wonderful, but some not go great). And everywhere you turn, wonderful, engaging and smiling Cambodians who are only too eager to connect with a stranger from another culture.

It is an incredibly welcoming, hospitable and stimulating place to live.

It is not always comfortable (it's hot hot in the hot season and drenchingly wet during the rainy season), but temporary discomfort is nearly always followed by uplifting happiness in Cambodia. Things change quickly, on one level, but on another, they remain the same over centuries.

It is humbling to live in a place so different from other places we have visited and lived. And having VIA support has helped us get to know this country in a thorough, intimate way that would otherwise take years go accomplish. Having VIA in your camp is like having a personal TripAdvisor for your new adopted country.

Life here can be incredibly simple (lunch in a street side hang bai for $1.50) or astonishingly complex (a six-hour bus ride turned into a 12-hour marathon due to a breakdown). And what normally would be conflicts in the west are often deflected with a warm smile and a shrug from a Cambodian who is usually more than eager to help you out.

Personal barriers disappear here. Just yesterday, I spoke in Khmer to a tuk tuk driver and remarked that he was wearing a jacket in 80 degree heat. "You are cold because you are Cambodian," I told him. "I am hot because I am a foreigner and I am fat."

We clapped each other on the back, laughed and headed off in direction directions.

VIA helped make all this possible by providing support for language instruction, guidance about living in the Cambodian culture, and tips about where to go (and not to), what to eat (ditto) and how to best sink roots in our new home.

The program provided accommodations for a few weeks until we could find our own apartment (easy to do) and get our bearings, and VIA's staff was always available to answer questions and help us deal with problems when they arose.

We've found everything we could have hoped for in our new home: great food, amazing people, proximity to other incredible countries and cultures, and a lifetime of experiences that make us happy - every single day - that we found VIA and moved to SE Asia.

10 people found this review helpful.
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