Minjung Rachel Song - Nursing School Elective in Vietnam
When I decided to go Vietnam to volunteer, I was worried about everything. I was anxious about cultural differences, food, people, and more. Also, since I was going to Vietnam by myself, safety was a big issue. During the flight, I thought about the worst scenarios that could happen to me in Vietnam. When I arrived, I met one of the staff members from Projects Abroad and as I was having a conversation with him, I was relieved. He was very welcoming and respected my cultural background; he also made me feel excited about the new journey! After I was dropped off at my accommodation and introductions were made, I went to an induction and I learned about my placement and what to expect. The staff member who did the induction was willing to help us and I felt welcomed and happy to be in Vietnam.
My Nursing Placement
Every week, a staff member asked me for my feedback and I always felt that my concerns and opinions were heard - I felt safe. I was very surprised with my Nursing Placement. Although not everyone was able to speak English, they asked me lots of questions and a translator helped me to engage with them. A few doctors were able to speak in English and they were willing to teach me about the Vietnam health care system and they asked me about Canada’s health care system. I was able to see lots of differences in practice. Some of the practices were very interesting and I thought maybe I could discuss some unique skills I saw in Vietnam to one of the nursing professors in Canada. Some staff members from my placement also took me to some great places in Hanoi so that I could eat and hang out with them.
Every day, I made new friends and experienced new things. All the worries I had were gone and now I wish I had extended my project date. I felt safe at my placement and in my accommodation and I thought all of the staff members were willing to listen to the volunteer’s concerns.
If I could go back in time, I would have learned more Vietnamese. I wish I knew more simple words so I could communicate more easily with people. Furthermore, I would have done more research about the Vietnam health care system. If I had done more research about Vietnam’s health care system, I could have understood it even better.
Overall, my time with Projects Abroad is very positive. I felt safe and satisfied and I’m willing to visit Vietnam again if I can. I love everything about Vietnam and I wish I could have extended my projects to a few months so I can get to know the Vietnam health care system more. I enjoyed my project and I think it was worth it.