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What Are the general rules of the medical mission?

  1. Observe schedules:

    • Always be on time

    • Follow your team leader’s instructions

  2. Dress code:

    • Always wear your name tag during mission activities

    • Long pants are obligatory for females during clinic

  3. Notify your team leader 1 day in advance if you need to be excused from scheduled activities for a legitimate reason.

  4. Management is not responsible for you beyond medical mission scheduled activities.

  5. Always be cheerful, polite, friendly, and helpful.  

  6. Poor manners, inappropriate language, and fighting/quarreling are not tolerated.

  7. Alcohol and other illegal substances are prohibited.

  8. Do not enter the hotel room belonging to a volunteer of the opposite gender after curfew.

  9. No driving, riding, or even sitting on motorcycles.

  10. Do not bring people into the program without approval from management.

  11. Non-married couples under 25 years of age are assigned to student teams and will not be allowed to room together.

  12. You must stay in your assigned hotel room through the entire mission (you must inform management in advance if you stay with your family locally).

  13. You must travel on your team-assigned bus (a team W volunteer cannot travel in the student team bus and vice versa).

  14. COVID-19 Policy:

    • All summer camp participants must be fully vaccinated with the covid vaccines. 

    • Vaccinations must be up to date (the original vaccination series which can either be 2 shots of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson. It must be followed by at least one booster, and the most recent covid vaccine which just became available in 9/2022).

    • You must be able to show proof of vaccination at the time you apply. Proof of all the required shots must be provided at least 30 days prior to the camp.

    • All participants must have a covid negative test, done between 2-3 days prior to leaving for Vietnam.

    • Each individual must bring 2 covid tests to the camp which are to be used for testing if you have flu symptoms or become ill.

    • Masks must be worn at all times during training sessions, while traveling together on the bus, and while working at the clinic. Facial shields are highly protective and are recommended but not required.

    • Anyone who tests positive must report to the team leader, the student leader, and the VNHope staff immediately. You will also be required to stay in isolation for 7 days. After the isolation period, you must wear a mask and face shield to participate in all events for an additional 7 days.

  15. Mission rules are strictly enforced.

  16. Team W members will be on patrol duty with a breathalyzer every night.

  17. Violations will land your name in the BLACK BOOK.

    • First violation will result in an individual or team penalty.

    • Second violation will lead to an immediate expulsion and deportation of the volunteer on the next available flight.

    • Even if the second violation occurs on the last day, an expulsion will be on your record, which would disqualify you from a Letter of Recommendation and prevent your participation on any future medical missions.

What should I pack as a volunteer?

Vietnam during June and July is simply hot, humid, and generally dusty.  Keep this in mind when you think about what to pack. Below is a list of suggestions from past volunteers, both from our adult and student teams.



  1. Scrubs or lightweight pants for clinic days

  2. Shorts—knee length for guys to wear during clinic days. Girls are not allowed to wear shorts on clinic days, but may wear them during free days

  3. Hot/humid weather outfits (light cotton/rayon material) *

  4. Pajamas

  5. Undergarments

  6. Socks

  7. Dressy outfit(s) for the Gala

  8. Hat

  9. Cooling towels (available at sporting goods store-brands like Frog Toggs, Mission or just use a wet hand towel)

  10. Swim wear

*Please note: our hotel usually offers laundry services, or there’s always laundry services available around town.  It is typically a certain cost per weight (cheaper) and they do a fair enough job. You don’t have to over-pack.



  1. Comfortable closed toe shoes for clinic days, such as walking or tennis shoes (you’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking)

  2. Flip flops

  3. Dressy shoes for the Gala


Personal medications:

  1. Any over the counter or prescription medications you usually take

  2. Sunscreen (at least SPF 30)

  3. Insect repellent (20% – 30% DEET)

  4. Lip balm

  5. Neosporin

  6. Hydrocortisone cream 1%

  7. Claritin or Zyrtec

  8. Pepto-Bismol

  9. Imodium

  10. Ibuprofen/Tylenol


Personal care:

  1. Sunglasses

  2. Band-aids

  3. Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, cleanser etc…)

  4. Feminine hygiene products

  5. Hand sanitizer

  6. Travel Kleenex (some bathrooms in VN don’t provide toilet paper)

  7. Baby Wipes

  8. Shampoo/body wash (the hotel will provide or you can purchase in VN too)


Items for clinics:

  1. Pens and notebooks

  2. Stethoscopes (we have some to provide, but if you prefer your own, bring it)

  3. Disinfecting wipes for furniture


Collections for donations:

  1. New and gently used stuffed animals

  2. Small stickers

  3. Chewable children vitamins: SOLARAY brand children vitamin is preferred (no gummies as they melt)

  4. Sunglasses  with UV protection from Dollar Store or 99cent stores

  5. Eucalyptus Oil (they are available at stores in Little Saigon, or on Amazon – Eagle Brand 24mL)

Technology /Devices:

  1. Laptop (not required, but most students bring theirs)

  2. Phone. Unlock your phone and you can purchase SIM cards (click for more details  under “staying connected”)

  3. Camera

  4. Surge protector

  5. Ear phones or head phones



  1. $40-$50/day (this depends on how much you shop)

  2. Protein bars or other snacks (Note: chocolate and gummies will melt)

  3. Backpack

  4. Neck roll pillow

What visa is needed? should i apply for one?

  • A visa is mandatory for entering Vietnam.

  • If you are a Vietnamese, you can apply for a 5 year/multiple entry visa with any travel agency.  The typical cost is under $100. 

  • If you are not a Vietnamese but your spouse or parents are Vietnamese, you can also apply for this 5 years visa as long as you provide a copy of your birth certificate or marriage license.

  • If you already have a 5 year visa, please check to make sure the date of expiry is on or after July 30-2024.

  • For all other non Vietnamese, you can apply for a 1 month, single entry e-visa using this link.  The cost is $25.  If you need to have multiple entries, you can apply for multiple e-visas (be sure to apply at different times).  

  • Be sure to apply for your visa early.  When you receive your visa, remember to double check to make sure all information are correct.  If there are mistake, contact your travel agency or the consulate website for instruction. 

  • VnHOPE won't be able to assist you with any visa related issue at all, so please work with your travel agency.  

  • (If you are in Vietnam already and for some reason your visa is lost, please go to any travel agency right away and ask them to help you obtain a new visa.  Do not wait until you go to the airport, it will be very problematic and costly).

What is the correct way to provide passport copies vs headshots for visas? 

Please review the sample pictures below.  These items are necessary for governmental processing, so they MUST be precise.  Thank you for taking the time to do it right!


Is the medical mission suitable for high school students?

High school (HS) students are allowed to apply; however, they must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Unfortunately, there’s no definite answer we can provide on suitability because each child is different. When it comes to personality and maturity no 2 children are exactly alike. Therefore, listed below are the factors that parents need to carefully consider before taking their HS child on the trip.


  1. The weather is grueling during the summer time in Vietnam. Temperature is typically in the 90°s with 80% humidity. You will sweat and feel sticky all day long.

  2. The clinic work is long and hard. A normal work day is about 9 hours long plus 2-3 hours of commute time on the bus. We work 6-8 clinics during the 2 weeks period. We will work 2 or 3 consecutive days before getting a day off.

  3. Volunteers typically get up at 5:30AM, eat breakfast around 6AM, and get on the bus at about 7AM. The group will return to the hotel for dinner around 7PM. Then we all get to repeat the cycle again the following day.

  4. Since this is a medical mission operating on a budget, the hotel accommodation is basic and the food is simple. The hotel is typically 3 stars or lower (Vietnam standard). Each student will have a roommate of similar age for the full 2 weeks.

  5. HS students 16 or younger don’t have the full privileges of older college students:

     a.  They won’t be grouped together with the student team. Instead, they are part of the adult team so they can be under the supervision of their parents. This means they will ride the adult team’s bus and are only allowed to go out at night with other HS students and adults. They aren’t allowed to go out with older college students.

     b.  They will be assigned a specific task at the clinics, usually gift station or counting pills in Pharmacy. They won’t rotate through all stations as the regular student team.
    (We adopted these policies because young HS students in general don’t have sufficient maturity to be exposed to topics college students may consider casual [ie, partying, drinking, alcohol, relationships]. We don’t want parents complaining to us about the type of conversations that their young children may overhear.)

  6. HS students 17 or older will be part of the student team with only 1 restriction. At night, they can’t go out with college students. They must go out with other HS students under the supervision of adults.


We can’t predict how well your child will adapt and react to the experience. Just keep in mind that you probably don’t want to expose your child to an environment that they aren't quite socially and mentally ready for. A perceived unpleasant experience may discourage them from returning or pursuing a career in medicine. We love to have all of our student volunteers returning some time down the line, so we would like to make sure they arrive in Vietnam the first time with the proper frame of mind and realistic expectations. We find that the greatest benefits of the medical mission come when the students are in their college years trying to decide on their career path. Each summer, we average about 12-15 returning students who work their way into leadership positions.


If you have further questions, feel free to contact Paul Nguyen at

How do i go about using a cell phone in vietnam?

Here a some suggested guidelines for using the Mobifone carrier:

  • Unlock your cell phone before your departure

  • Download Viber app on your phone and ask your significant others to do the same.  You can communicate via Viber for free wherever there is WIFI, this will save you a lot of money!

  • If both you and your family are on facebook, you can make free call via messenger also.

  • When you arrive in Vietnam, we usually ask a sale person to come to the hotel and sell you the tourist sims cards and a cheap Vietnam phone (if you want one)

  • The sims card will give you a Vietnam mobile phone number, unlimited data for 30 days, 30 min of international call for 250,000 VND

  • Remove your US sims card and insert your Vietnam sims card in your phone

  • Whenever you use your VN mobile phone number to talk, the money or minutes on your account will go down, when it reaches the minimum level, you won’t be able to make any calls at all.

  • You can check to see how much money you have left in your account, by dialing *101#

  • A message will appear on your screen to let you know how much money you have left and the date your sims card will expire

  • If your phone runs out of money, you can “top up” your phone by buying a so called “scratch card” which has actual “minutes” on it

  • Dial *100*, the top up number in the back of the card, the phone will now be reloaded with the amount of money you pay for the “scratch card”

  • THAT’S IT, now you can use the cell phone service in Vietnam!


More information can be found on the following link:


Important phone numbers:

  • Le Duy Grand Hotel: 028 3930 3089

  • Emergency Rescue: 112

  • Police: 113

  • Fire: 114

  • Ambulance: 115

  • Support for children: 1800 1567

  • Information directory in English (in Saigon): 028 1080

What IS the itemized breakdown of the land costs?

Below is an estimation of a typical student's land cost breakdown. For adult and professional volunteers, the extra fees are applied to patient care donations.

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