START DATES

11TH JULY & 1ST AUGUST 2018

PRICED FROM

£850 + £149 REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

4 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

17 YEARS OLD

PMGY PMGY REAL VIETNAM EXPERIENCE

Have the time of your life on this 4 week adventure to Vietnam. Combing grass-roots volunteer work with undoubtedly the best travel itinerary around. Vietnam is utterly sublime and totally compelling. Its history, strong cultural identity and breath-taking natural beauty means travelling here is addictive.

 

Experiencing rapid change in the last 40 years, it’s a country that delicately balances the old and new. Vietnam is a proud nation, and rightly so. Not many countries can boast such a diverse range of natural wonders, nor a profound culture that has overcome such tragedy.

 

PMGY’s Real Vietnam Experience offers travellers the chance to see all of the highlights that Northern Vietnam has to offer in a group dynamic, as well as the opportunity to make a positive difference and experience meaningful cultural exchange through volunteering.

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Learn to speak Vietnamese and converse with the warm, friendly locals
2. Take in the incredible sites of Hanoi including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
3. Overnight train journey to Lao Cai in a private cabin – such a fab way to travel
4. Trekking through cascading rice terraces and tiny hill tribe villages from Sapa
5. Dinner and an overnight stay with a local hill tribe – simply unforgettable
6. Sail along the Ngo Dong River through the magical Tam Coc cave system
7. Teaching English to enthralled Vietnamese children – very satisfying
8. The star studded sky on your overnight cruise in the spectacular Halong Bay
9. Kayaking, swimming and dinner on the gorgeous Cat Ba island
10. Visit the extraordinary Ninh Binh province and the beauty that entails it.

EXPLORING VIETNAM

Vietnam will intrigue and excite, especially with all there is to see and do in Hanoi. However it will no doubt be the country’s striking landscape that will most impress.

 

From the remote upland region of northern Vietnam to Ha Long Bay’s labyrinthine network of limestone outcrops looming dramatically out of the Gulf of Tonkin – this will be a 4 week trip never to be forgotten.

 

Your group will travel together visiting some of the best destinations Northern Vietnam has to offer, as well as some of the hidden gems most visitors never see! A PMGY coordinator will accompany you throughout your stay, so you’ll get the chance to learn so much about the country’s rich culture and inspiring history. Further details on your travel experience can be found by clicking the itinerary tab above.

VOLUNTEERING

For your volunteer placement, you will have the chance to experience two different placement settings across your time with us on the Real Vietnam experience. Both settings are based in traditional Vietnamese communities. The Friendship Village is located around 15km outside of Hanoi and the Hoa Binh placement is around 80km outside of Hanoi.

 

The group will live at the Volunteer House whilst working at the Friendship Village. When volunteering in Hoa Binh, volunteers will live in the heart of the community village in a home stay style environment.

 

The placements are under-resourced and often overcrowded. Your role at the project is primarily to teach English to the children, but particularly in Hoa Binh there are opportunities to get involved in hands-on work.

 

You will have a curriculum and textbook to shape your lessons around, but volunteers are encouraged to work together to plan lessons. Through a more fun and interactive lesson plan you will encourage the usually very shy students to be more open and confident. The opportunity for these kids to learn from and interact with native English students is a unique experience.

 

Hoa Binh province in particular, where you will be placed in your second week of volunteering, is by no means on the tourist route, so the children have had very little, if any, interaction with foreigners.

 

You will volunteer for around 6 hours a day: usually with a long lunch break in between. Where possible volunteers will be paired up, but there may be times where you lead activities independently. We will have local coordinators close by throughout to support you at your volunteering project.

 

We encourage volunteer in Vietnam participants to prepare as much as possible for their teaching programme overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60-hour Online TEFL Course for just £99.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (HAN) on the selected Wednesday start date.

 

Day 1 (Wednesday) Welcome to Vietnam

 

You will be met at Noi Bai International Airport by a member of our local team who will take you straight to the Volunteer House.

 

There are no activities planned for today, as people will be arriving throughout the day. You can spend the day relaxing and getting to know your fellow travellers – and if you fancy it, you can explore the local area.

 

Day 2 (Thursday) Orientation Day

 

After a good nights sleep, you’ll start your orientation period to prepare you for the upcoming weeks. The whole purpose of the day is to give you an insight into life in Vietnam and for you to get to know your fellow travellers. Our team will teach you all about Vietnamese culture, transportation and cover issues of health and safety.

 

We’ll go through all the relevant safety protocols such as emergency procedures, staff contact details and do’s and don’ts whilst in Vietnam. You will meet a variety of the team across the day who all take different leads during the induction day.

 

The orientation sessions will finish with a Vietnamese lesson where you will learn important words and phrases in preparation for your volunteer placement. Depending on timings and how the day runs, it may be the case that the Vietnamese lesson runs into Friday morning.

 

Day 3 (Friday) Exploring Hanoi

 

It’s now time to explore some of the fascinating sites that Hanoi has to offer. The guided tour will start by visiting the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) where you can learn about the philosophy of Confucius – whose principles shape traditional Vietnamese culture. Next stop is Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’, which offers a fascinating insight into the “American War” (as it’s know by the Vietnamese) and the treatment of US POW’s.

 

We will also spend time exploring the Vietnam museum of ethnology. The museum, first opened in 1997, focuses on the 54 officially recognised ethnic groups that exist in Vietnam. it is recognised as one of the finest modern museums in Vietnam.

 

We’ll then take you around Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter and the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake – a cultural and social focal point in Hanoi. The Old Quarter is definitely the heartbeat of Hanoi.

 

Day 4 (Saturday) City Tour Continued

 

Any trip to Hanoi wouldn’t be complete without visiting Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Museum. Ho Chi Minh (HCM) is the founding father of the unified Vietnam and the adoration he receives from the Vietnamese people is still as strong as it was 40 years ago. The mausoleum is an impressive structure, which houses the body of Vietnam’s iconic former leader in an open coffin. The whole experience is very surreal but undoubtedly moving. Visiting the museum will give you the opportunity to learn more about HCM and the war.

 

We will then pay a visit to the infamous One Pillar Pagoda, which is a historic Buddhist temple in the heart of Hanoi. Built in 1049 as an expression of gratitude by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, It is regarded as one of the most iconic temples across Vietnam. The temple is designed to resemble a lotus blossoming from the muddy pond which is a Buddhist symbol of purity.

 

Day 5 (Sunday) Cooking Experience and Hanoi Night Market

 

Today you will have a cooking class at the Volunteer House. We’ll take you to the market in the morning, so you can directly pickup the ingredients yourself and try out some of the Vietnamese you have learnt so far.

 

The evening time is the moment all you shopaholics have been waiting for as we head back into Hanoi’s bustling old quarter. Our local team will take you to visit the popular Hanoi night market where you can pickup some traditional Vietnamese gifts, souvenirs and clothing. Remember to leave some room in your suitcase as the markets in Hanoi offer some fantastic bargains!

 

Day 6 (Monday) Duong Lam Ancient Village

 

It’s now time for a full day exploring one of Vietnam’s national relics. Located in Son Tay Town, around 60km west of Hanoi, the ancient village has a history of around 1,200 years for you to explore. The village gate, communal house, banyan, well and houses dating back hundreds of years are all important factors classifying Duong Lam as an ancient village and are incredible features to see first hand.

 

Buildings here are made up of only laterite and mud (two materials abundant in the area) and make for fascinating viewing! The village also represents a place that is important to scientists who study resident communities in ancient agriculture.

 

Having a full day at the village to embrace such an iconic part of the national cultural heritage of Vietnam is not to be missed!

 

Day 7 (Tuesday) Cultural Exchange

 

Today will be spent having Vietnamese lessons in the morning to further prepare you for your volunteer placement. Our local team will also arrange a cultural exchange with local Vietnamese students. This is a fantastic opportunity to interact with young people from a completely different culture than your own.

 

That afternoon its time to make the short journey across to the Thang Long Theatre where we will enjoy a water puppet show. Water puppetry is a tradition that originated in the 11th century in the villages of northern Vietnam; when the rice fields flooded the villagers would entertain eachother in the form of puppet play!

 

The show is a central attraction in Hanoi attracting many tourists and makes for a great spectacle!

 

Day 8 (Wednesday) Train To Sapa

 

The morning and day time is free for volunteers to explore further before heading to Sapa in the evening time. Recommended things to do during free time are:

 

– Take a day trip to Le Mat ‘the snake village’
– Cool off in Ho Tay Water Park
– People watch at one of Hanoi’s popular Bia Hoi stands
– Shop away in the markets around the Old Quarter
– Packing and preparing for Sapa

 

Whatever you plan to do in your free time, our local team can assist you with making any travel arrangements.

 

That evening you’ll take the overnight train to Lao Cai. You’ll stay in a private cabin with a bed, so you can get a good night’s sleep in preparation for your arrival into Sapa. The journey takes around 12 hours.

 

Day 9-11 (Thursday-Saturday) Sapa

 

Sapa is arguably the highlight of any trip to Vietnam and one that is often overlooked. This incredibly picturesque town is surrounded by the Hoang Lien Mountains – including Fansipan, which is the highest mountain in Vietnam. The town of Sapa was a favourite retreat amongst French coloniasts in the 19th century and was nicknamed the ‘Tonkinese Alps’. Numerous ethnic minorities live in small villages throughout the valleys. The H’mong and Dzao people are the largest ethnic groups in the region.

 

The train arrives in Lao Cai at approximately 05:30. Breakfast will be provided prior to your transfer to the town of Sapa – which takes around 1 hour. On-arrival into Sapa you’ll check-in to a hotel close to the town centre where you’ll spend the night. You’ll share a room with fellow travellers. All rooms have an en-suite western bathroom and Wi-Fi is available at the hotel. After you’ve got settled in we’ll take a wander round some of the surrounding villages as well as the town centre and market.

 

There are a number of fun bars and restaurants you can go out to in the evening.

 

The following morning you’ll embark on an all day trek to the surrounding villages. The terrain can be pretty steep but is absolutely fine for people of moderate fitness. Our guides will make sure we all go at a comfortable pace. That evening you’ll have the unique experience of spending the night at a homestay in one of the ethnic villages. Accommodation will be basic but it’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. We’ll provide you with a mattress, bedding and mosquito net. After a long day’s trek and hearty dinner, you’ll have no problem drifting off at night!

 

After your night at the homestay the group will trek back to the town of Sapa where you can relax and pick up some souvenirs, before taking the train back to Hanoi that evening.

 

The group will arrive back into Hanoi in the morning, where you’ll be met by a member of our team who will take you from the train station to the Volunteer House. The rest of the day is free to chill out, explore the neighbourhood or head into Hanoi.

 

Breath-taking views throughout the trek are guaranteed!

 

Day 12 (Sunday) Volunteering Preperations

 

In the morning, our local team will give you a briefing about your upcoming volunteer work. We will tell you about the students, class size, curriculum, extra activities etc.

 

After the morning’s preparation, the rest of the day is free for volunteers to relax, prepare for placement or head into the old quarter.

 

Day 13-16 (Monday-Thursday) Volunteering – Friendship Village

 

You will start your volunteer placement on the Monday morning at the Friendship Village. You will be accompanied by our local coordinators who will help you settle into the projects. As the week progresses you will soon get into the swing of things and really begin to find your feet.

 

The Friendship Village was founded in 1992 by George Mizo, an American veteran who strived to repair the damage done as a result of the use of Agent Orange in the America-Vietnam War. It is a living, health, and educational centre for children living with the effects of dioxins that the war brought. The centre also provides healthcare to war veterans.

 

The Friendship Village complex is composed of two living quarters, two classroom buildings, a health centre, and a few other buildings used by the staff for cooking and general administration. There is also a vegetable garden, as much of the food is grown on-site.

 

The centre provides a home to 120 residents, aged from 4 to 26 years of age. The residents come from all over Vietnam and suffer from a range of disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, physical deformity, and severe mental disability.

 

Volunteers help out in a number of different ways. These include collaborating with the teaching staff as to new ideas and techniques to help the residents. In addition, you can share ideas on how to structure lessons, providing an independent evaluation of the students and updating their student profiles.

 

Volunteers can also help in giving individual assistance to the students during the lessons or undergo personal therapy sessions (if appropriately qualified). Help is also needed organising structured activities for the children during their free time, helping with feeding the children and teaching English to the staff, teachers and residents.

 

The group will volunteer for around 4 to 6 hours per day.

 

Day 17-19 (Friday-Sunday) Halong Bay

 

After a hard week volunteering it’s time to visit one of the most scenic regions of Vietnam – Halong Bay. We’ll transfer you from your homestay to Halong City by private minibus. The journey takes around 2 hours.

 

You’ll have lunch in Halong city, after which you will board the cruise ship that will take you on your voyage of Halong Bay. After checking into your cabins, usually two people per room, you can chill out on deck and enjoy the awesome scenery of this majestic spectacle. You will be taken to various sightseeing locations including some of the enchanting caves of Halong Bay.

 

That evening you will have dinner on the boat. The rest of the evening is free time; a great opportunity to hang out under the starlit night.

 

The following morning you will set sail for Cat Ba Island enjoying a variety of activities and sightseeing during the day. Kayaking, swimming and a catalogue of breathtaking scenery will keep you entertained until you arrive at Cat Ba in the evening. You will have dinner at a restaurant in Cat Ba and spend the night at a hotel.

 

On the Sunday morning its time to say goodbye to this outstanding area of natural beauty and head back to Hanoi. It will be a transition stop at the Volunteer House to pick up supplies as that afternoon we will be heading for the Hoi Binh district for the next phase of our volunteering programme.

 

On-arrival into Hoa Binh we will settle into the volunteer accommodation and chill out for the rest of the evening – volunteering starts tomorrow!

 

Day 20-24 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering – Hoa Binh

 

On the Monday morning you’ll begin your volunteer project in a small village within the Hoa Binh district. Hoa Binh is home to the largest hydroelectric dam in South East Asia and is located around 80km outside of Hanoi. It is sure to provide volunteers with a more authentic feel to their Real Vietnam Experience.

 

In addition to English teaching, volunteers here will also have the opportunity to get hands on throughout the week. This includes anything from farming work to a range of maintenance and renovation work.

 

With the village home to hundreds of children you’re sure to be the centre of attention most days as well!

 

You will again be accompanied by our local coordinators who will help you settle into the projects. In general expect to volunteer for around 4 to 6 hours per day,

 

Day 25-26 (Saturday-Sunday) Ninh Binh

 

After a good breakfast, the group will travel by private minibus (for around 2 to 3 hours) to the Ninh Binh province for the weekend. It is an area renowned for its green valleys, imposing mountains and conservation centres as well as its impressive hiking trails and caves.

 

The first point of interest to visit in Ninh Binh will be Tam Coc, which stands for ‘three caves’. Tam Coc is essentially a miniature landlocked version of Halong Bay. You’ll be taken on a three hour boat ride along the Ngo Dong River – a river that twists and turns through the area’s three caves. You’ll sail peacefully along the river surrounded by colourful rice fields and karst towers. Keep an eye out for the mountain goats, kingfishers and monkeys, which can often be spotted from afar!

 

You’ll also have the chance to visit Thai VI Temple – really tranquil and atmospheric spot. Across the weekend there will also be the chance to take in other impressive sights and landmarks from Cathedrals to Pagodas.

 

On the Sunday evening we will head back to Hanoi.

 

Day 27 (Monday) Last day in Vietnam

 

It’s your last full day on the PMGY Real Vietnam Experience. Your day is free to visit any of the sites you haven’t seen so far and pickup any last minute souvenirs. There will also be the chance to engage in some outdoor activities with local university students. Our team will also be sure to check in with you on how you have found your 4 week experience in Vietnam!

 

That evening we’ll have a farewell party where you can say goodbye to your new found friends after what would definitely have been a life-changing 4 weeks.

 

Day 28 (Tuesday) Time to Say Goodbye

 

That’s it. Last day of the Real Vietnam Experience. It’s the end of an era – one that will give you memories for a lifetime.

 

Your return airport transfer is included in the fees. One of our drivers will transfer you back to the airport in order to catch the long flight home. Who’s joining us again next year?

 

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A TRIP

What are the programme start dates?

The programme start dates are as follows –

 

11th July 2018
1st August 2018
10th July 2019
8th August 2019

What are the requirements to join?

In order to join the programme you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You must be able to provide us with a clean criminal background check prior to your programme start date. We are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions.

 

Although you do not need to speak English as your first language, we do require all participants to have a good level of English in order to join the programme.

 

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.

What date should I arrive and leave?

You should arrive into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (airport code HAN) on the selected Wednesday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

 

The programme ends on the Tuesday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Are there any age restrictions?

In order to join the programme you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

Generally the average age range of volunteers is 17-22 but this is by no means definitive.

 

There is no upper age limit. However, we encourage anyone who is slightly older to contact us in the first instance and we can advise if there is a more appropriate programme/destination for you.

When should I apply for the programme?

For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.

 
 
It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

 
 
It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of £39 and is subject to availability.

 
 
You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual programme; this will guide you through our Online Application process.

Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?

We accept volunteers from all over the world. The majority of our participants are from the UK, US, Canada & Australia. However we have hosted volunteers from countries such as Nigeria, Bermuda & Peru in the past.

Can I go with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer at the same project (please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis).
 
 
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

 

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.

 

In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.

 

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

 

While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
 

When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme you need to pay the Registration Fee (£149). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 
 
You’re only required to pay your £149 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 
 
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 
 
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We also accept BACS transfers from UK participants. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use PMGY’s programmes as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

 
 
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us directly on [email protected] to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers joining our teaching programmes the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. If however you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory course to teaching english abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is hugely convenient because it can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You’ve got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. An hour here and there certainly adds up over the course of the couple of months you have to complete it, so there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed you’ll not only have acquired some key skills for teaching English abroad but you’ll also gain an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules leading to a paid teaching position in the future.

 

As well as a core module in the ‘Principles of Teaching English’ which covers ‘Understanding language’, ‘Key English grammar points’ and ‘How to teach grammar in the classroom’ you will have a choice of one of three specialist modules. The ‘Survival teaching’ module is perfect for volunteers covering ‘Teaching large classes’, ‘Teaching with limited resources’, ‘Learner-based training’ and ‘Cultural awareness’.

 

The cost of the course is £99. If you’ve already signed up to one of our programmes and would like to enroll on the online TEFL course then please call us or email us.

Can I fundraise for my trip?

With PMGY the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive for your time with us overseas. The fundamentals of this structure include food, accommodation, airport pickups, around the clock support from our UK and in-country team, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our programme costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Therefore a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip.

 

We recommend setting up an online fundraising page to allow friends and families to learn more about your trip and make donations. PMGY have partnered with the online crowd funding website GoGetFunding.

 

This professional online fundraising service creates a personalised fundraising page for your PMGY trip, allowing you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415) that has been set up to help provide financial aid and assistance to the projects and countries we work with on an ongoing basis.

 

The objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty of people living in the communities we support by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient.

 

The ultimate aim of the PMGY Foundation is to enable donations to be directed towards specific hand-picked projects in countries most in need. The project donations are determined by the charities trustees during our annual overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation you can do so via our BT MyDonate fundraising page.

 

100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. Please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas.

How do I register for your online webinars?

On selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) we hold our Pre-Departure Webinars. They are well worth attending, take only 45 minutes and will provide you with some really invaluable advice on your upcoming trip.

 

There are two to choose from and it is well worth attending both:

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Programme Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching programmes.

 

You will receive an email invitation to join these sessions once you have confirmed your place the programme.

 

The first webinar is designed to cover all of the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.

 

The webinars are hosted by a member of our UK team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the world. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, good internet connection and a pair of headphones.

 

If any family or friends would like to attend the session as well then they are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

What about vaccinations and malaria tablets?

As we are not medical experts we cannot, unfortunately, tell you exactly what vaccinations you’ll need to obtain so it is vital you consult your local GP or travel clinic a few months before you intend to travel. Your local doctor/nurse will advise you as to what vaccinations and malaria prevention is needed for entry into your volunteer destination.

 
 
Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights?

You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you in arranging them. Through our close partnerships within the travel industry we are able to offer flights at very competitive rates. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries; we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use.

 
 
For peace of mind, PMGY holds an ATOL License (11262) that allows us to offer flight-based packages that are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

 
 
If you’d like to receive a flight quote from PMGY, you can submit an online enquiry by visiting the specific web-page of the programme you’re interested in joining, or by calling our office or dropping us an email.

 
 
When you apply for a PMGY programme we cannot guarantee your acceptance immediately. On receiving an application we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the programme and to assess your suitability for the specific project.

 
 
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your programme has been confirmed by us in writing. Once your programme has been confirmed you’re then free to book your flights either with PMGY or a through third party travel agent.

Do you offer travel insurance?

It is mandatory that all PMGY volunteers hold travel insurance during the entirety of their time on our programme; this includes your travel to and from the host country. Although PMGY do everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong so you must adequately protect yourself.

 
 
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy for our volunteers. The policy is specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you throughout any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 
 
Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country, to ensure you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5-week policy, not a 4-week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join any of our programmes you’ll need to provide us with a clean CRB or Police Check before you travel. We have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. We are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 
 
If you hold a current CRB or Police Check then we can accept this providing it is issued no more than 18 months prior to your programme start date. Please scan and email us a copy of this document. If you do not have a CRB or Police Check then we will outline how to obtain this in your Volunteer Handbook. The CRB or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your programme start date.

 
 
If you don’t have a valid CRB check (also known as DBS or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Disclosure Scotland (which serves all people in the UK). 

 
 
This costs £25 and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Disclosure Scotland is outlined in the volunteer handbook you receive once you are signed up to the programme.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hardcopy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 
 
This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on-hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

Are there any public holidays that effect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that effect project availability and project closures in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy in the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country to country. We ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. We will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack.

 
 
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover your shoulders and thighs and for men to not take their shirts off. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with.

 
 
It’s a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions but please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take depends on where you travel to and how many travel activities you plan to undertake during your free time. If you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania, scuba-diving course in Thailand or trekking in South Africa, then you should budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find £50-£100 per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time. All of our programmes have been designed so that you have weekends off. This gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures.

 
 
Furthermore, you’re going to meet so many new people during your time with PMGY that you’ll definitely meet some travel buddies along the way!

 
 
Before booking your flights we recommend that you look into travel opportunities within the relevant country either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. If you do plan to travel extensively please factor this into your flight itinerary, as we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering as you have made a commitment to the project.

ACCOMMODATION

During your time on the PMGY Real Vietnam Experience you’ll stay at a variety of accommodations. All accommodation will include a mosquito net, should it be required.

 

Volunteer House – The Volunteer House is located within an attractive neighbourhood approximately 40 minutes from Hanoi city centre. The accommodation is basic but comfortable Rooms will be shared (four to eight per room) and all rooms have air-conditioning. The bathroom is shared and has a western style toilet and hot shower. The house has a communal kitchen with a fridge, oven and washing machine. There is also a lounge where you can hang out. Wi-Fi is also available in certain parts of the house including the communal area.

 

There is everything you need within walking distance of the Volunteer House: ATMs, supermarkets, laundrettes, chemists etc. There are also some great cafes and local bars and our local teams offices will be very accessible here.

 

When volunteering at the Friendship Village the group will be based at the Volunteer House. A taxi to the main tourist part of Hanoi form the Volunteer House costs around £7 – which can be split between fellow volunteers.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

Host Family – Throughout your volunteer placement in Hoi Binh you will live at a homestay with fellow volunteers. Accommodation will be basic but comfortable. Host families will have western bathrooms and hot water showers. Wi-Fi will not be available but there will be Internet Cafes where you can get online. You’ll also stay with a host family during your trek to the ethnic minority villages in Sapa. Accommodation in the ethnic village will be basic, but it’s only for the night and will offer you a fantastic cultural experience.

 

Living with a host family is a great way to learn more about the Vietnamese way of life and the perfect setting to stay during your volunteer placement. You’ll find the families extremely welcoming and keen for you to integrate in their traditions.

 

Every host family the group will stay with have been vetted by our in-country team.

 

Hotel – During your time in Sapa, Ninh Binh province and Cat Ba Island you will stay at a hotel. Volunteers will share a room with fellow members of the group, usually 2 to 3 people per room. Rooms will have en-suite bathrooms with western toilets and hot water showers, air-con and fans.

 

You will also spend one night on-board a boat in Halong Bay. Each room accommodates 2 to 3 people. Bathrooms are shared but of western standard. You will not be able to access the internet whilst on the boat in Halong Bay, but the hotel in Cat Ba Island does have Wi-Fi.

MEALS

You will be provided with three meals per day throughout the duration of your time on the PMGY Real Vietnam Experience.

 

Vietnamese cuisine is famous throughout the world – and for good reason. The meals provided are typical Vietnamese dishes – although the occasional western meal will be included to add a bit of variety and a taste of home!

 

You’ll eat your meals together whether it’s a buffet dinner whilst sailing through Halong Bay, a home cooked meal with your host family during your volunteer placement, or a meal out at a local restaurant in Sapa.

 

The food in Vietnam consists of a lot of rice, so be prepared!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

VOLUNTEER FEES

DURATION

PROGRAMME FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

4 weeks
£850
£149
£1079

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme you need to pay the Registration Fee (£149). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your £149 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAMME FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP & DROP OFF (24 HOURS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATIONYES
  • TRANSPORT ACROSS NORTHERN VIETNAMYES
  • COOKING CLASSYES
  • ENTRANCE FEESYES
  • PMGY T-SHIRTYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR UK-BASED EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • UNLIMITED EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • COMPREHENSIVE VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAMME INSPECTION YES
  • INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • FLIGHTS TO HANOI (£450-£700)NO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE (£14 PER WEEK)NO
  • VISA (£40)NO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK (£25)NO

 

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