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High School
For students currently in grades 9–12

Vietnam

Service & Cultural Exchange on the Central Coast

June 28 — July 24
July 3 — July 29
$7,390 + airfare

Vietnam

Service & Cultural Exchange on the Central Coast

June 28 — July 24
July 3 — July 29
$7,390 + airfare

Travel to Vietnam and immerse yourself in a coastal community on the South China Sea during this summer service program for high school students. Collaborate with local government representatives and community members as you engage in construction-based service activities, and build lasting connections with your Vietnamese hosts. Experience the distinct cultures, foods, and architecture of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Hoi An on weekend excursions with your group. Cap the program with a cruise amidst the towering limestone cliffs and lush islands of Ha Long Bay.

• Lend a hand constructing houses for Vietnamese families
• Teach English and participate in language exchange with local children and teens
• Swim and relax at beautiful beaches in the afternoon
• Explore Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter and breathtaking Ha Long Bay
“We became a family in a week—united, honest, loving, and caring. Everyone in the group accepted and respected each other. I made lifelong friends and was so sad to say goodbye to all of them.”
—Sofia M., American School Foundation, Mexico City, Mexico

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles and fly together to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Ho Chi Minh City — 2 days

Settle into your accommodations in the center of Ho Chi Minh City as you get to know your group and learn about Vietnam’s history, food, and culture. Hold an in-depth group orientation on your time in Vietnam, with particular focus on your time in the host community and the service projects you will complete.

Host Community — 13 days

Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, and travel to your host community along the central coast by private bus. Settle into a comfortable, family-owned guesthouse that will serve as your home base throughout the program. Each weekday, help to construct simple “compassion houses” together with local foremen in an area where some of the most intense fighting of the Vietnam War occurred. Bicycle to and from your work site along small roads that wind through neighborhoods, rice paddies, and shrimp farms. Participate in Vietnamese/English language exchanges, build friendships with local children and community members who visit the work site each day, and spend afternoons relaxing on beautiful beaches. During your stay in your host community and take several multi-day excursions to explore further afield.

Ly Son Island — 2 days

Take a break from your service projects and hop on a ferry to Ly Son where you will explore the beaches and many Buddhist temples scattered throughout the island. In the evenings, walk to local food stalls to try delicious Vietnamese crepes or a flavorful fruit smoothie.

Hoi An — 2 days

Travel by private bus to Hoi An, a small, historic city on Vietnam’s coast, famous for its ornate Chinese temples, tailors who can make clothes to order overnight, and beautiful beaches.

Hanoi & Ha Long Bay — 5 days

Fly from central Vietnam to Hanoi, the capital city, and explore the fascinating Old Quarter with its narrow streets, tiny shops, and night markets. Cap your experience with a three-day, private cruise on Ha Long Bay to explore sea caves and floating fishing communities, and go for a kayak ride or a swim in the warm, calm waters.

Return — Travel Day

Fly with your group and a leader from Hanoi to Los Angeles, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Itinerary

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

Departure — Travel Day

Meet your fellow high school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in Los Angeles and fly together to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Ho Chi Minh City — 2 days

Settle into your accommodations in the center of Ho Chi Minh City as you get to know your group and learn about Vietnam’s history, food, and culture. Hold an in-depth group orientation on your time in Vietnam, with particular focus on your time in the host community and the service projects you will complete.

Host Community — 13 days

Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, and travel to your host community along the central coast by private bus. Settle into a comfortable, family-owned guesthouse that will serve as your home base throughout the program. Each weekday, help to construct simple “compassion houses” together with local foremen in an area where some of the most intense fighting of the Vietnam War occurred. Bicycle to and from your work site along small roads that wind through neighborhoods, rice paddies, and shrimp farms. Participate in Vietnamese/English language exchanges, build friendships with local children and community members who visit the work site each day, and spend afternoons relaxing on beautiful beaches. During your stay in your host community and take several multi-day excursions to explore further afield.

Ly Son Island — 2 days

Take a break from your service projects and hop on a ferry to Ly Son where you will explore the beaches and many Buddhist temples scattered throughout the island. In the evenings, walk to local food stalls to try delicious Vietnamese crepes or a flavorful fruit smoothie.

Hoi An — 2 days

Travel by private bus to Hoi An, a small, historic city on Vietnam’s coast, famous for its ornate Chinese temples, tailors who can make clothes to order overnight, and beautiful beaches.

Hanoi & Ha Long Bay — 5 days

Fly from central Vietnam to Hanoi, the capital city, and explore the fascinating Old Quarter with its narrow streets, tiny shops, and night markets. Cap your experience with a three-day, private cruise on Ha Long Bay to explore sea caves and floating fishing communities, and go for a kayak ride or a swim in the warm, calm waters.

Return — Travel Day

Fly with your group and a leader from Hanoi to Los Angeles, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_SVNMA_Adnor Cruz Nunez
Adnor Cruz
View Bio
2023_SVNMA_Hong Bui
Hong Bui
View Bio
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Featured

Leaders

Meet some of our featured leaders. Please note that these may not be your leaders for the program. 

2023_SVNMA_Adnor Cruz Nunez
Adnor Cruz
View Bio
2023_SVNMA_Hong Bui
Hong Bui
View Bio
Loading...
About the Destination

From lush, green, rice paddies to vibrant, fast-paced cities, Vietnam is a unique country with incredible natural beauty, herb-rich cuisine bursting with flavor, and a warm and inviting culture. Although impacts from the Vietnam War can still be felt in this socially conservative country, Vietnamese culture is incredibly warm and welcoming, making it a memorable and enriching place to visit.

Language

Vietnamese is the main language of Vietnam. Local people are eager to learn English, a language they see as key to economic development. While some adults and students are proficient, most villagers speak only Vietnamese. Creativity, enthusiasm, and positive energy help to span the language divide.

Climate

The climate on Vietnam’s central coast is tropical. Temperatures during July range from 80–90°F (26–32°C), with moderate humidity. Coastal winds and frequent bursts of rain cool temperatures throughout the day, as does an afternoon swim in the ocean.

Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is a central feature of local culture. Common dishes combine noodles, rice, fish, shellfish, chicken, and vegetables in stir-fries, soups, and salads. Seafood is especially popular along the Vietnamese coast.

About the Destination

From lush, green, rice paddies to vibrant, fast-paced cities, Vietnam is a unique country with incredible natural beauty, herb-rich cuisine bursting with flavor, and a warm and inviting culture. Although impacts from the Vietnam War can still be felt in this socially conservative country, Vietnamese culture is incredibly warm and welcoming, making it a memorable and enriching place to visit.

Language

Vietnamese is the main language of Vietnam. Local people are eager to learn English, a language they see as key to economic development. While some adults and students are proficient, most villagers speak only Vietnamese. Creativity, enthusiasm, and positive energy help to span the language divide.

Climate

The climate on Vietnam’s central coast is tropical. Temperatures during July range from 80–90°F (26–32°C), with moderate humidity. Coastal winds and frequent bursts of rain cool temperatures throughout the day, as does an afternoon swim in the ocean.

Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is a central feature of local culture. Common dishes combine noodles, rice, fish, shellfish, chicken, and vegetables in stir-fries, soups, and salads. Seafood is especially popular along the Vietnamese coast.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your travels in Vietnam, you can expect to work on a construction project building “compassion homes” for families selected by the local community, as well as work on other projects as dictated by the community’s needs, such as teaching English to local children and teens. The focus of this student travel program in Vietnam is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared community service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in the group’s projects on a rotating basis. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn how to make a favorite Vietnamese dish, organize a sports tournament with your local contacts, or interview community members about the history of the community.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous and you can expect to spend most of each day outside engaging in physical construction labor, biking, swimming, or walking. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. You must be comfortable riding a bicycle to participate in this program.

Accommodations

Accommodations in Vietnam are varied, ranging from simple guesthouses in our host community to large hotels and private boat cabins on our weekend excursions. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

We begin each day with a simple breakfast at our guesthouse. Lunches are often our heartiest meal of the day, and are prepared near our work site by local community members and eaten family-style. During excursions, meals are eaten at our accommodations or in small restaurants.

What to Expect

Review specific program expectations here. For more general information:

Service

During your travels in Vietnam, you can expect to work on a construction project building “compassion homes” for families selected by the local community, as well as work on other projects as dictated by the community’s needs, such as teaching English to local children and teens. The focus of this student travel program in Vietnam is learning about another culture by forming meaningful relationships with local people and undertaking a shared community service experience together. You should come to the summer with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life. Everyone participates in the group’s projects on a rotating basis. To learn more about our Service programs click here.

Independent Project

Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you—learn how to make a favorite Vietnamese dish, organize a sports tournament with your local contacts, or interview community members about the history of the community.

Physical Activity

This is a physically active summer travel program. The service work and afternoon activities can be strenuous and you can expect to spend most of each day outside engaging in physical construction labor, biking, swimming, or walking. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities. You must be comfortable riding a bicycle to participate in this program.

Accommodations

Accommodations in Vietnam are varied, ranging from simple guesthouses in our host community to large hotels and private boat cabins on our weekend excursions. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals

We begin each day with a simple breakfast at our guesthouse. Lunches are often our heartiest meal of the day, and are prepared near our work site by local community members and eaten family-style. During excursions, meals are eaten at our accommodations or in small restaurants.

A Day in the Life: Host Community​

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host community.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast and bike from your guesthouse to the work site
8:00am
Mix cement and lay bricks for the house you are helping to construct
11:00am
Break for lunch at a nearby community member’s house
1:00pm
Take some downtime to learn Vietnamese with your hosts
2:00pm
Continue service work alongside the construction crew
5:00pm
Cool off with a dip in the ocean, then bike back to the guest house
7:00pm
Share dinner with your group at the guesthouse
9:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and the upcoming schedule

A Day in the Life:
Host Community​

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in our host community.
7:00am
Enjoy breakfast and bike from your guesthouse to the work site
8:00am
Mix cement and lay bricks for the house you are helping to construct
11:00am
Break for lunch at a nearby community member’s house
1:00pm
Take some downtime to learn Vietnamese with your hosts
2:00pm
Continue service work alongside the construction crew
5:00pm
Cool off with a dip in the ocean, then bike back to the guest house
7:00pm
Share dinner with your group at the guesthouse
9:00pm
Group meeting to discuss the day and the upcoming schedule
“Oli came home with a deep appreciation of Vietnamese culture and the history of American aggression in the country. He worked hard, was a team player, and built strong relationships.”
—Jessica Oski, Burlington, VT

This Program is Directed by

Portia Watson

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

This Program is Directed by

Portia Watson

If you have questions or would like to talk further about this program, please get in touch!

Enroll in two programs & save $1,000!

$800 tuition discount + no application fee

Vietnam
Service & Cultural Exchange on the Central Coast

2024 Dates
June 28 — July 24
July 3 — July 29

Duration
29 days

Tuition
$7,390 + airfare

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles

Service Hours
60–80 

Additional Info

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

 

2024 Dates
June 28 — July 24
July 3 — July 29

Duration
29 days

Tuition
$7,390 + airfare

Service Hours
60–80 

Eligibility
Currently* in grades 9–12
*Your grade as of the day you apply

Typical Group
14–16 students, 2 leaders

Group Flight
Departs from Los Angeles

 

Questions? Visit our FAQ or call us at (802) 387-5000

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Request More Info

Alaska
Baja & the Gulf of California
Barcelona
Belize
Chile & Peru
Germany & Sweden
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Montana
Peru
Switzerland
Australia, New Zealand, & Fiji
Croatia & Slovenia
Cuba
Faroe Islands & Iceland
Italy & Greece
Japan
Kilimanjaro
Panama & Colombia
Patagonia: Skiing
Spain, France, & Portugal
Switzerland, Italy, France, & Holland
Spain
France
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Tuscany
Barcelona
Tokyo
Argentina
Costa Rica
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Fiji
Hawai'i
Morocco
Nepal
Peru
Puerto Rico
Tanzania
Thailand
Vietnam
Iceland
France & Holland
Italy & Greece
Spain
France
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador & the Galápagos
Hawai'i

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