Exploring and Travelling Vietnam
This truly has been the most rewarding experience of my life, being part of a programme to teach English in Vietnam. I came out here to support communities through educational development but did not realise the monumental benefit the experience would also have on me! I have developed teaching skills, public speaking skills, learnt how to plan and deliver classes and socialise with people I’ve only just met. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for the incredible time I spent in Vietnam.
My initial fears surrounding solo travel and being out of my comfort zone soon subsided and I was raring to go. I had planned to stay in Vietnam for 2 weeks however I very quickly found myself considering extending due to the welcoming and friendly nature of all the staff who proved to be willing to go above and beyond for any of the participants. Furthermore, the friendly staff and pupils at the collage and my jam-packed itinerary made my two week stay seem insufficient. I soon contacted my co-ordinator and extended my program for 3 more weeks!
“5 weeks of living in beautiful Vietnam whilst helping develop the English Language skills of local college students. What an experience! I stayed for five weeks and could not be happier that I did.”
Vietnam Teaching Volunteer Program
In week 1, I opted to take part in a cultural immersion week to ensure I settled into the area in no time and familiarised myself with my surroundings. Culture week allowed me to meet people who were starting at the same time as me, as well as learning about Vietnam and the culture I would become a part of in my short time spent there. Not to mention being able to get to know the staff quickly and create great relationships early on! Throughout the immersion week, we were accompanied by a co-ordinator who took us to all the tourist hotspot and acted as a personal guide as we travelled this beautiful region.
To say that Vietnamese people are accommodating is an understatement! There are several places surrounding our accommodation that are great to hang out at including a bubble tea house, Bungo for great chocolate drinks and Nam’s. Nam’s convenience store is my favourite and became a second home to most of us. He would set out the chairs and tables for us all to sit at and even went and brought a speaker for us to play music and do karaoke.
What seems invasive from the outside is just a welcoming and gorgeous culture. I can’t count the number of times I was sitting outside and Nam or his wife invited me to eat with their family, a gesture that is not uncommon in Vietnam but warms my heart every time I think about it.
A few of the times, the other participants and I joined Nam and his family for a sit down meal where they shared with us the history of the area and why volunteer programs are so valued in Vietnam.
As part of my volunteering in Vietnam, I was based at a collage working to teach English to assist the students in developing their vocabulary, listening skills and conversational skills. Observing the progress in their English skills over the 4 weeks I was based there was immensely rewarding.
I am grateful that I was also able to teach some pronunciation lessons to assist the students with their speaking skills and help them to gain the confidence to try and to learn from any mistakes they made.
The pupils were eternally grateful for the hours I had dedicated to helping them improve their English and enhancing their educational opportunities, they expressed their gratitude with cards and flowers on the day I departed.
The relationships formed in my five short weeks were amazing, the students became my friends, the helpers and staff became my family. I cannot wait to come back to Vietnam to visit my friends and family again soon!