At Hue Help, we strongly believe that learning English assists upward social mobility. Vietnam is a fast-growing economy, where the ability to speak English is invaluable. Unfortunately however, it is those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder that often get left behind. We put our volunteer teachers in places where they are both appreciated and needed – offering native-speaking English language teachers to those who typically cannot afford such a desirable service. In a world of growing international dependency, providing spoken and written English language skills to disadvantaged people just starting off in life will significantly help them make a better future for themselves in a competitive job and education market.
About the Area
Thua Thien Hue is located in the central region of Vietnam, bordered on the north side by Quang Tri Province, and on the south side by Da Nang City. With a population of nearly 1 million stretching over one City and eight Districts, Thua Thien Hue is still one of the poorest provinces of Vietnam. Hue is the most important city of the province. Harboring strong cultural traditions, it is also considered a centre of education in central Vietnam.
However, educating the poor in the area is still a huge challenge, and one that has been recognised by local authorities and NGOs alike. Our programme of providing English language tuition focuses on orphans, disadvantaged youths and young adults and those with disabilities. We work with schools and community centres where a lifetime of substandard and interrupted education is common practice.
Who is this programme for?
This programme has been designed for those interested in an inexpensive voluntary position, looking for a range of teaching experience (from children to young adults), and of course those who want to experience Vietnam by immersing themselves into the local community. Some of our projects do not have a syllabus, so we also need our volunteers to be imaginative classroom planners. We are looking for hard-working, enthusiastic, independent volunteers that are interested in other cultures and consider themselves adaptable to new situations. Volunteers are not required to have special skillsets, but having special skills will give the volunteers more opportunities to contribute to the community.
Where will I work?
On the next page, you can find a current list of our growing number of partners to which we send our volunteers. Before you arrive, the volunteer coordinator will send you a list of potential placements available during your programme’s stage, and you will have the opportunity to voice which placements you think you’d suit best. After this, the volunteer coordinator will assess the strengths and interests of all the volunteers in the group and will work towards reaching a unanimous decision. You will have the option to focus on just one or many different placements, ranging from non-profit organisations, public secondary schools, vocational training centres and children’s shelters. Our goal is to give our volunteers the opportunity to have a multi-faceted service experience within the local Hue community.
What will Hue Help provide me with?
We do not charge our volunteers any application fees. However, we still can provide…
- Pre-departure resources to ensure quality preparation.
- Support for obtaining visas and permits.
- In-country orientation and introduction, as well as support throughout the placement.
- In-classroom support from our local volunteers and staff.
- Discounted accommodation in the Hue Help house.
- A Hue Help staff discount at a number of restaurants and bars in Hue. Typically the discount is between 10-20%
What are the requirements to volunteer?
- You must be between 18 and 60 years at the start of the placement (inclusive).
- You must be prepared to stay- at least- for one complete stage (3 months).
- You must have obtained a university degree or five years’ relevant experience.
- You must be able to obtain a criminal record check that is sufficiently clear.
- You must be able to have all documents legalised and notarised/certified.
- You must pass a working visa health check ($85 to $150 in Vietnam)
- A TESOL/TEFL certificate (or equivalent) is preferred and highly recommended.
When can I come?
This programme has four 3-month stages per year and you will be invited to apply for one of those time periods. When writing your application, please make sure that the specified dates coincide with the following stages:
- Stage 1 – First week of January-Last week of March*
- Stage 2 – First week of April-Last week of June
- Stage 3 – First week of July-Last week of September
- Stage 4 – First week of October-Last week of December
*Stage 1 teaching schedules are often interrupted for up tp two weeks due to the Lunar New Year Tet Celebrations. Potential January-March volunteers should be prepared for this.
NOTE: To give us sufficient time to apply for your visa and register you as a volunteer, you must submit your application no later than eight weeks before your desired start date.
Where can I stay?
We encourage our volunteers to stay in the Hue Help house, which is well located and very fairly priced. You can find out more about the house on our accommodation page.
How much does the programme cost?
As previously stated, we do not charge any application or administration fees for our programme. However, we are also not able to offer any financial assistance and volunteers must come with enough funds to support themselves throughout their placement. The costs below should give you an idea of how much it costs to volunteer with us. You can convert Vietnam Dong (VD) into your currency here
Accommodation in the Hue Help house – 2,500,000 VD/month for a single room.
Accomodation in a cheap hotel – 4,500,000 VD/month.
Food – 60,000-200,000 VD/day (this depends on where you eat!)
Set-up costs (bicycle, sim card, map) – 1,000,000 VD
Also to consider are logistical costs, namely:
Document certification and legalisation; and the medical check in Vietnam. These costs vary according to type and origin of documentation, and the hospital which the volunteer will choose to have their medical check.
Note- these prices are rough and are likely to fluctuate slightly.
How do I apply?
To apply for this programme, you should first email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability. If we have vacancies for the stage you are interested in, all you need to do is click here to apply online!
NOTE: Because of the time it takes to cover the administration to send volunteers to Vietnam, you will have to apply a minimum of two months before the proposed start date of your placement.
After we receive an application, we will assess it and consider your suitability for the programme. Our volunteer co-ordinator will then contact you, and may ask for a skype or telephone interview. If you are successful, we will then notify you and send you the formal paperwork.
Questions or Comments?
We’ve worked for a long time to devise this programme, so we’re keen to hear feedback and opinions on what we’ve created. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us!
Where We Work
Here is some brief information about the current placements with which we are working. We are always looking to collaborate with new partners and projects around the area. If you would like any further information, please do get in touch.
The Children’s Shelters of Hue
We work with six of the children’s shelters in Hue city, sending volunteers when they are required. The shelters vary quite dramatically when it comes to size, area location, facilities and funding, but they all welcome the chance of having a native English-speaking guest. The age of the kids will range from 0-18 years old (and sometimes even older), but you will not be expected to teach any child under the age of five. Many of our volunteers end up spending a great deal of time in the shelters outside of their planned lessons, as the kids are always a true delight to be around and really appreciate interaction with foreigners. This work is suitable for those who are interested in giving informal/game-centered lessons and enjoy working with children.
REACH is a vocational training centre that provides free training to disadvantaged young adults (17-25 years) in and around Hue. The students here learn practical skills to help them find work in specific areas, and it is a great alternative to conventional education institutions. There are currently three classes running: Food and Beverage Services, Accommodation services, and Customer Relations Services. Acquiring skills in spoken and written English is essential for the students to find work in these areas after leaving the centre. This is an extremely successful programme usually finding jobs for over 80% of its students. REACH has a well-structured syllabus and timetable and is suitable for those interested in teaching work-specific English to disadvantaged young adults.
La Boulangerie Francaise
The French bakery is an inspired French initiative that teaches disadvantaged young male adults the art of French baking with the idea that these trainees go on to obtain respectable jobs in hotels and restaurants. The programme has been met with great success, training 40 apprentices and finding steady work for 35 of those apprentices since opening. Part of the training programme teaches the young adults English, as the apprentices often go on to work in international environments across Vietnam. They have a stable Vietnamese English teacher but we send native-speaking English teachers as well so that the apprentices can benefit from learning with foreigners. This placement should interest those who want to get involved in vocational training and find it easy to organise extracurricular activities for young male adults.
The Hope Center
The Hope Center is a vocational training centre that provides work opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people. The Center also works with a minority group, the A Luoi. Tailoring and industrial sewing have been taught over the years, and more recently the Center has opened up a handicraft division. Artisans produce a range of goods from wire products to hand-crafted jewelry, all of which are sold at their new local souvenir shop. Volunteers are needed to teach shop-keeping English to the staff, so that they can communicate with foreign customers and explain the production process. This placement is suitable for those who have a great imagination and creativity for crafts, those who are looking for work experience with mentally and physically disabled individuals, and those who are interested in understanding social enterprises.
Peaceful Bamboo Family
The Peaceful Bamboo Family aims to foster the development and integration of mentally and physically disabled children and individuals living in Vietnam. Hue Help volunteers go there to teach some basic English to the young adults, and some intermediate English to the staff. This placement may also require volunteers to participate in activities such as art workshops, gardening and making jam with the children.
Secondary Schools in Hue
Nguyen Cuu Trinh Secondary School is located in An Hoa ward, one of the poorest wards of Hue city. Most of the students enrolled in the school come from financially difficult backgrounds. However, this does not affect their willingness and enthusiasm for learning English. In this placement, volunteers will get a good range of teaching experience within a Vietnamese public school context. You will be asked to work with several local teachers and focus mostly on listening, speaking, and pronunciation. This work is suitable for those who are interested in the public education system, enjoy working with children, and who can give informal/game-centered lessons.
Recently we have started working with two other schools that share many similarities with Nguyen Cuu Trinh. They are To Huu and Duy Tan – and their students are keen and mostivated learners.
Football For All in Vietnam
The goal of FFAV is to establish open, sustainable, well-driven football structures and clubs for girls and boys aged between 6-15. Participation in sport and physical activities are an important tool for personal and social development and growth, and football activities provide a fun and healthy means for these children to develop life skills to help them cope with daily life. Hue Help volunteers have in the past assisted qualified Vietnamese coaches during training sessions at children’s shelters in Hue. In the future Hue Help and FFAV would like volunteers to teach some English to the children who play, using a curriculum that uses sport activities as a way to inspire learning.
The Hue Help house
Hue Help moved to a new home in December 2011. Connected to the office is a large house that we have set aside for the use of our volunteers. The Hue Help house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, an outside washing area, a dining area, a kitchen and a balcony. It is a perfect place for volunteers to relax, socialise and plan their lessons, and its proximity to the office is very convenient.
The house is just a stone’s throw away from the Imperial City, within the beautiful citadel walls. There are many cheap and good quality coffee shops and food places nearby, as well as a local swimming pool and a small supermarket.
When we first prepared the house we extensively used the feedback of previous volunteers to make sure it is as accommodating and comfortable as possible. Before we had the house our volunteers generally stayed in hotels costing between 10-15 USD per day, and we wanted to offer them a much cheaper alternative.
The rent for the Hue Help house is:
Single room: 2,500,000 VND per month
Single room with no window: 2,300,000 VND per month
Double room: 3,250,000 VND per month
You can convert the price into your chosen currency using http://www.xe.com/ucc/.
The rent includes:
• A fully furnished room with bed sheets, pillows and towels.
• Use of a shared kitchen with gas stove and fridge/freezer.
• Two bathrooms with western style toilets, two showers – and of course, hot water!
• Wireless internet and two laptops available for your use.
• A communal lounge, with comfy chairs and a TV.
• Use of a washing machine and washing powder.
• A room cleaning service one time per week, if desired.
• A large barbecue!
A small amount of the rent (900,000 VND) for your room covers some essential support costs for Hue Help programmes, including a small salary for the staff who support you during your placement. This includes all the preparation for the programme, orientation and someone on call 24/7 to assist you if needed. The total from the support costs does not nearly cover the cost of the running of the programme. Hue Help are proud to offer a volunteer programme that will cost our volunteers nothing in administration fees, but in order for this programme to survive we need a small source of funding.
The weather in Hue can be extreme. The rainy season lasts from September to February, and can be very cold and wet. April through to August is the complete opposite and can be expected to be very hot and often humid. The rooms have thick blankets for the cold days, and powerful fans for the hot days, but volunteers should be prepared for the Vietnamese climate when they arrive.
Do I need teaching experience?
It is strongly recommended that you get certified to teach English or at least gain some experience in the classroom before coming. The lack of an English teaching certification will not disqualify you from being accepted into the programme, but it may make you a less competitive applicant.
Can I do more than teach English?
We run a programme that is centered on English teaching, but we welcome individuals who are interested in offering more than just English classes. If you have skills or experience with other foreign languages, sign language, music, fine arts, photography, computers, writing, marketing, etc., we will happily find a way to incorporate your talents into the programme. Furthermore, there is also a demand for French, Korean and Japanese language teaching within some projects. If you are a native speaker or have a high level in any of these languages and you wish to teach them along-side English, you will be very welcome to do so.
How much will I teach?
Volunteers can have up to three or four different placements. Each placement typically involves teaching 3-4 classes per week, about 1-1.5 hours each class (total of 3-4.5 hours/week). With lesson planning time included, volunteers usually work 15-25 hours spread over 5 days a week.
Can friends and couples volunteer together?
Certainly! Of course, it ultimately depends on the number of vacancies we have at the time of your application. When filling out the application form, please let us know who you would like to volunteer with.
Which countries do most of your volunteers come from?
We have quite a diverse pool of international applicants every year. In the past, we’ve had volunteers from the U.K., Australia, the U.S.A, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, France, New Zealand, Finland, Spain, and Singapore.
How will I get around?
We strongly advise that all of our volunteers rent bicycles when they arrive in Hue. They can be rented cheaply for three months. Hue is a relatively small city and most destinations can be easily reached by bicycle. Placement sites are situated throughout Hue, some as far as 6km from the Hue Help house, others considerably nearer. All placement sites are within 30 minutes cycling distance. However, in the Summer months cycling can be hard work, especially in the middle of the day when it is extremely hot. Volunteers have the option of taking taxis, or motorbike taxis but should be aware that Hue Help can not cover this expense.
Does Hue Help provide insurance?
No, it is the volunteer’s responsibility to organise insurance as Hue Help does not provide this as part of the programme. But we do require that you have insurance to take part in the programme so make sure you get this organised before you arrive!
It is important to consider a few things before choosing an insurance plan. In the event that the volunteer gets into an accident or emergency, Hue Help will seek to provide support in finding the volunteer safe and immediate medical attention, but we will not be able to go into our budget to financially cover the volunteer’s medical bills. Volunteers should therefore consider: 1. Finding insurance from a company that can immediately send funds to the relevant hospital; or 2. Have sufficient funds available to them in Vietnam to be able to cover them in the case of an emergency.
Although we cannot provide insurance for volunteers, we advise volunteers to refer to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice on travel insurance options. Their website is regularly updated and is useful for those unfamiliar with different insurance options.
Note for British Nationals: We encourage all British Nationals to register with the LOCATE service of the FCO, which provides the British embassy with your contact details when you are in Vietnam, and in other countries abroad. The FCO will use LOCATE to contact you either with travel advice updates or other important information either in advance of a possible crisis that could affect British nationals (for example, a hurricane) or during an actual crisis in which British nationals could possibly be affected. They may also contact you if they have reason to believe, either from your registration details or from calls from friends and family, that you may need their assistance.
Nationals of other countries are also strongly advised to check if there are similar services by the relevant embassies or foreign offices.