Instead of going to Vietnam on my own I decided to participate in a volunteering program. I searched for “volunteer programs” and “Vietnam” on Internet and found IVHQ. It is a non-profit organization that provides volunteer travelers with volunteering placements in developing countries. I really liked their website Volunteer HQ and affordable prices (very competitive in comparison to many other ones). IVHQ is based in New Zealand and has no offices elsewhere.
As soon as I completed an application form and submitted it, I received a welcome letter from the Executive Director – Daniel Radcliffe. After I paid $220 registration fee via PayPal I received an email from Blanche, who became my volunteer travel consultant for the Vietnam program. All their emails were very encouraging, positive and informative. She wrote:
”I am very excited to have you on our program and congratulate you on making the decision to go abroad and volunteer. It is never an easy decision to make but I guarantee you now, that your time in Vietnam will be some of the most rewarding and amazing you will ever experience. It’s great to have you on board and your skills and qualifications will make you an excellent volunteer.”
She confirmed my enrollment into the program. As requested I have been placed on the Vietnam Caring for disabled Children/Orphanage Work program for 2 months starting 15th January 2010.
Next steps were to pay the program fee, which is $920 for two months. It covers airport pick up, 3 meals a day 5 days a week, accommodation at a dorm/family and volunteer assignment at the orphanage either Saigon or Hanoi. I was encouraged to get vaccination, but I chose not to as nothing was required but optional. I had to apply for visa, preferably multiple entry. I also needed to purchase travel insurance and the best place is World Nomads.
Everything I needed to know about volunteering in Vietnam I found in the IVHQ Vietnam Information Booklet Download IVHQ Vietnam Information Booklet PDF.