Service Corps Tour to Vietnam
April 2 – 14, 2017
Registration deadline: February 2, 2017
Registration is now closed
Join us in April 2017 for our first Service Corps tour to Vietnam! This program is meant to give participants an experience in Vietnamese history, heritage and identity, the challenges facing the indigenous populations of Vietnamese today, along with a service project, where the group will contribute to a Hanoi based non-profit organization.
“The horrible experiences during the war and the suffering of everybody on all sides inspired me to do something that would be a living symbol of peace, reconciliation and hope.” —George Mizo
The project is at Friendship Village, a holistic, self sufficient community for Vietnamese Veterans and victims of Agent Orange, 11 kilometers from Hanoi. Service projects will be diverse: interacting with the vets, playing with and interacting with disabled children, helping teachers in special education classes, assisting with feeding at meal times, working in the organic garden. The village was founded in 1988 by an American Vietnam veteran, George Mizo, who wanted to repair the damage the war did to both the Vietnam people and Vietnam-American relations.
Day 1: Sunday, April 2nd
Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport you will be escorted directly to your lodgings at the Silk Path Hanoi Hotel. Depending on your arrival time you can enjoy lunch with the group, partake in a walking tour of the area, or simply rest and relax after your long journey, before enjoying our Welcome Dinner in the evening.
Day 2: Monday, April 3rd
Orientation, Market Tour and Vietnam Cooking Class Day
The morning will be devoted to a detailed orientation where you will learn everything you need to know about the days ahead. Our staff will go through all the program specifics, give you a primer on the Vietnamese language and outline any cultural dos and don’ts you should know about. After lunch at a local restaurant it’s off for a tour of a local market and a Vietnamese Cooking Class where you can try your hand at preparing and cooking a variety of local dishes.
Day 3: Tuesday, April 4th
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hao Lo Prison, Site Visit and Planning/Prep Day
This morning you will visit two of Hanoi’s must-see attractions. First up is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an impressive granite edifice which is host to the Viet Minh leader’s embalmed body. Later in the morning you will visit Hao Lo Prison Musuem, which was built by the French and later used to incarcerate U.S. prisoners during the Vietnam War. In the afternoon the group will pay its first visit to the project site at Friendship Village, before returning to the hotel for project planning and preparation.
Day 4: Wednesday, April 5th
Duong Lam and Thay Pagoda Day
Day 4 of your Vietnam adventure is dedicated to sightseeing, with a distinct historical flavor. First up is a trip deep into Vietnam’s past at Duong Lam Ancient Village. Here you can wander the narrow streets and take in the architecture of old Vietnam. Some of the ancient houses here date back 400 years and give a unique insight into Vietnam’s past. In the afternoon you will visit Thay Pagoda, a stunning Buddhist temple dating back to the 11th Century. This is one of the oldest temples in Vietnam, and is kept in pristine condition by the monks who live there.
Day 5: Thursday, April 6th
Volunteer Day 1
Now that you’ve taken in some of the amazing sights in and around Hanoi, it’s time to start your volunteer work. You will spend a full morning at Friendship Village, where you can try your hand at a host of service projects. In the afternoon you can enjoy some free time, before rejoining the group in the evening for a relaxing lakeside dinner and traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show.
Day 6: Friday, April 7th
Volunteer Day 2
In the morning you will return to Friendship Village to continue your service project work. After lunch we continue our cultural tour with a visit to Bat Trang Pottery Village. Here you can see artisans using skills and techniques dating back hundreds of years to produce world-renowned ceramic and pottery products. You can even try your hand at making your own creations from wet clay or paint your own designs.
Day 7: Saturday, April 8th
Halong Bay Day 1
Now it’s time for something really special. With your volunteer work done for the week you will depart for Halong Bay on Saturday morning. The emerald waters and limestone islands of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are among the most stunning sights in Southeast Asia and you will get to see it all on our unforgettable two-day boat tour. After checking into your cabin you can enjoy welcome drinks before lunch as you sail through the bay. After lunch you can visit Cua Van floating village by kayak or local rowing boat and enjoy a spot of swimming and snorkeling, before rounding it all off with a sunset party on the sundeck, a cooking demonstration and dinner.
Day 8: Sunday, April 9th
Halong Bay Day 2
Your Halong Bay experience isn’t over yet! In the morning you will enjoy breakfast amid stunning views as the boat sets sail for Sung Sot Cave (also known as Surprise Cave). Known for its ‘wow’ factor, exploring this once-submerged cave is one of the highlights of any Halong Bay visit. In the late morning you can relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch on board before disembarking and making the trip back to Hanoi.
Day 9: Monday, April 10th
Volunteer Day 3
After your weekend of rest and recuperation it’s time to continue your service project work. By now you will have formed strong bonds not only with your fellow volunteers, but also with the veterans and children you work with at Friendship Village. Cherish these times, they will likely stay you for a long time to come. After lunch you have the entire afternoon to meet and connect with members of the Fulbright Association community.
Day 10: Tuesday, April 11th
Volunteer Day 4
After your fourth day of project work at Friendship Village you will spend the afternoon at Hanoi History Museum. Built in the first half of last century, this imposing building blends French and Chinese architecture. Exhibits chart Vietnam’s history from 300,000-400,000 years ago right up to the August 1945 Revolution. Highlights include bronze exhibits from the Don Son era which spanned from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD, as well as Hindu statues from the Champa and Khmer kingdoms. Afterwards, it’s back to your hotel to prepare for your final day at Friendship Village.
Day 11: Wednesday, April 12th
Volunteer Day 5
Your final day at your volunteer project! This is an ideal opportunity for all participants to reflect on their experience, exchange contacts and say fond goodbyes. The afternoon has been left free for independent sightseeing or simply rest and relaxation. This is an excellent opportunity to shop for souvenirs and gifts for the folks back home.
Day 12: Thursday, April 13th
Bai Dinh Temple Visit Day
Just one more day to go so it’s time to head out of the city and visit two of the surrounding area’s most memorable attractions. In the morning you will visit the Bai Dinh Temple in Ninh Binh province south of Hanoi where staff will help you explore the 500 La Han statues, the 10-meter-high bronze Buddha statue, and other highlights. In the afternoon you will take a boat trip to see the breathtaking caves of Trang An, another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is not to be missed.
Day 13: Friday, April 14th
All good things must come to an end, but rest assured our staff will make your homeward journey a smooth one, delivering you to the airport and helping with the check-in process.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Total Price: $2599.00 (additional $800 for single room)
A non-refundable $599 deposit is required upon registration. The full payment will be due 30 days before the trip’s departure.
Group size: 10 – 20 Participants
Admittance into the tour is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please register as early as possible to ensure you have a spot.
Tour Partner: Friends for Asia
WHAT IS INCLUDED
– Transportation everywhere listed on schedule above. This will be conducted in vans with seat belts for all participants.
– All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
– Shared Accommodation – (2 people per room). Single (private) rooms can be provided for an additional charge of $800/person.
– All activities and visits to sites listed in schedule above. This includes all tips, etc.
– International Accident and Injury insurance
– All project and presentation materials (markers, paper, etc.)
– Additional drinking water and snacks
– 24 hour/day emergency assistance
– Bilingual coordinating staff
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
– Flights to and from Vietnam
– Personal souvenirs and gifts
– Alcoholic beverages
– Medical Expenses (in the event of illness)
– Snacks, drinks, or other food that is not a primary meal or listed in the schedule.
– Visa: you are responsible for organizing your own visa and any other necessary entry documents. Click here for more information.
Registration is now closed
To register, download the following three forms (Registration, Health, and Waiver of Liability). Complete, sign, and return these forms to the Fulbright Association via e-mail or mail. The $599 is also due by the registration deadline, and you can either pay this online or send us a check through the mail.
Send to us by the registration deadline of February 2, 2017:
Checks should be made payable to the Fulbright Association for the amount of the trip’s deposit, $599. Please indicate that this check is for the Vietnam trip.
Final payments are due by February 27, 2017. This will include the remainder of the tour payment ($2000 for a shared room, or $2800 for a single room).
If you are mailing your forms and checks, they should be sent to our office in Washington, DC:
1900 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Once we have your forms and your deposit, we will contact you concerning the next steps and additional required information. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact the Fulbright Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.