Vietnam, a country with a rich history, vibrant cities, beautiful landscapes and a culture that is so different from what most of us are used to. It is a popular travel destination for many. But what if you decide to stay there for a longer period of time? Maybe you've fallen in love with the country, or you're looking for ways to make a meaningful contribution to the community. One of the most special experiences you can have is volunteering – especially teaching English at local schools.

The Small Schools and the Need for English

In the more remote areas of Vietnam you will find small schools where children arrive with sparkling eyes and an enthusiasm that is infectious to learn. Although Vietnam's education system is growing and improving, many of these schools do not have the resources to hire regular English teachers. This is where the role of volunteers comes into play.

Learning English is not only an opportunity for these children to learn a new language, but it also opens doors to a world beyond their immediate environment. After all, English is the lingua franca of our time and knowledge of it can lead to better opportunities in the future.

The Process: Listening and Speaking through Games

What makes this experience so special is the way English is taught. Instead of the traditional way of teaching, the emphasis here is on listening and speaking. And the best part is, this usually happens through games!

Imagine a group of children sitting in a circle playing “Duck, Duck, Goose” while repeating English words. Or perhaps an exciting game of “Simon Says” where they not only have to understand the instructions, but also respond quickly.

Through this method of learning through play, learning English is not seen as a task or a challenge, but as something fun. The children are motivated, engaged and, most importantly, they are learning without even realizing it.

Why You Can Do This Too

Now you may be wondering, “Do I have the right skills to do this?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” You don't need teaching experience, nor do you need to be an expert in English. A reasonable knowledge of the English language is more than sufficient.

What really counts is your willingness to make a positive difference in the lives of these children. Your passion, your enthusiasm and your commitment are what make this experience so valuable, both for you and for the students.

The advantages

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering in Vietnam also offers other benefits. It gives you a deeper insight into Vietnamese culture, allows you to make new friendships and offers you the opportunity to grow as a person. It's also a great way to sharpen your own English skills, especially if you're trying to convey complex ideas in a simple way.

If you are considering an extended stay in Vietnam, definitely consider volunteering, especially teaching English. It is a unique experience that not only gives you personal satisfaction, but also contributes to the growth and development of the next generation in Vietnam.

How much time does that take?

When considering volunteering, especially in a country like Vietnam, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “How much time will this take?” The answer is surprisingly flexible and depends entirely on the volunteer's availability and wishes.

Volunteering in Vietnam, especially when it comes to teaching English, is designed to accommodate both the volunteers and the students. There are schools and organizations that understand that travelers and expats often have varying schedules. This makes involvement in such initiatives highly customizable.

Do you only have an hour to spare per week? That's absolutely fine. Your one hour can have a huge impact on students' lives, exposing them to authentic English conversation and helping them improve their listening and speaking skills. This hour can be spent playing an educational game, having a group discussion or even listening to their presentations.

For those who want to invest more time, there are also options to teach several hours per day. This allows you to build a deeper bond with the students and become more involved in their learning process. It also gives you the chance to delve further into Vietnamese culture as you spend more time in the local community.

The most important thing is to remember that every contribution, big or small, is valuable. The time you invest in helping these students will not only increase their future opportunities, but you will also find it enriches your own travel experience. In Vietnam, the flexibility in volunteer opportunities is a big plus, allowing you to shape your adventure and contribution on your own terms.

Volunteer work Vietnam