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mission logistics

Once you're accepted as a volunteer for the VnHOPE Medical Mission, here's what you need to do next: 

Apply for Work visa

  • A work visa is mandatory for us to carry out our services during our summer medical mission.

  • VnHOPE works with Titan, a travel agency who helps us apply for our groups' work visa.  The cost is typically $100 per volunteer.

  • Prior to leaving for Vietnam, VnHOPE will provide all volunteers with a work visa.

  • For us to apply for our group's work visa for Vietnam, every volunteer must provide us their arrival and departure details.  


book your flights

  • Volunteers must arrive to Ho Chi Minh City - Tan Son Nhat (TSN) airport before noon on the first day of the medical mission (Sunday, June 25, 2023).

    • Most volunteers will arrive at around the same time if you travel on the red eye flights leaving the US. 

  • If you land earlier on the day of June 25th, you will need to meet up with the group at the airport on that day.

  • If you land later than June 25th, you will need to arrange for your own transportation to the hotel. 

  • If you land prior to Sunday, you can go directly to the hotel and wait for us at the hotel lobby around noon.   


ARRIVE in vietnam

  • Once you land at the TSN airport on Sunday, make your way to the immigration area (see map below: 2nd floor, #1.)  

  • After immigration, you will proceed to the 1st floor to baggage claim (#2), then finally to customs (#3).  

  • Once you’re done with customs, you will look for our VnHOPE volunteers. They will be wearing VnHOPE badges

  • All volunteers will meet right outside the exit gate of the international terminal

  • Volunteers will pick up their badges and help load boxes and supplies onto our charter buses and trucks.

  • Our charter buses will drive us to our hotel for check-in.


understand team structure

Mission Management Team

  • Mission Director: Dr Oliver Nguyen

  • Mission vice-Director: Dr Chris Ching

  • Patient Registration: Mrs Mai Xuan

  • Treasurer: Dr. Anh Phan

  • Mission Physicians:  Dr. Oliver Nguyen and Dr. Anh Nguyet Ho

  • Mission Administrators: Vincent Nguyen


Student Teams

  • Student Leaders:  Tramy Duong and Jeff Lin

  • Student Teams: Approximately 5 students teams with 10-13 students in each team (Teams A, B, C, D, E) led by 2 co-leaders per team

Professional and Adult Teams

  • The professional and adult team is designated as Team W.

  • Combined, the medical mission will offer the following services:

    • Registration

    • Dental

    • Optometry

    • Primary care

    • Pediatrics

    • Pain management

    • Gynecology

    • Pharmacy

    • Patient education

    • Nutrition

    • Gifts

understand work schedule

Typical Work Day

  • Our clinic days start early. We plan to have breakfast offered at our hotel and start loading the bus with supplies and equipment around 6:45 - 7:00 AM 

    • Note: Loading and unloading of supplies and equipment from and to our bus are expected at the beginning and end of each clinic.

    • In addition, we usually have to prepare for clinics the night before, with re-stocking of our pharmacy inventory.

  • All teams must board our charter buses on time, which leaves at 7:30 AM. Bus rides are about 1-2 hours long depending on the location of our clinics. 

  • Below is an example of our typical medical mission schedule, but may be subject to change.


Patient Volume

  • The number of patients we plan to visit our clinic depends on a variety of factors including how many Health Professional volunteers and students we recruit, location of the clinic, etc.

    • Typically, we plan to see about 250 primary care patients, 150 pediatric patients and 100 gynecologic patients each day we have clinic

Student Rotations

  • On a rotating basis, students will be involved in taking vital signs and checking labs. Students assist with vision screening, patient education, pharmacy dispensing, and organizing patient flows.

  • Students will also be shadowing primary care, pediatric, gynecology, and dental services.  Student team leaders will train and guide student volunteers through all these processes.

  • Rotations are subject to change depending on our local volunteer partners and the Vietnamese government, remember to be open minded about last minute changes.

Work Attire and Things to Pack

  • Since we’ll be working as representatives of VnHOPE, it is expected that all volunteers wear their ID badges.

  • It will be hot and humid (our clinical will likely not have air conditioning) so plan on wearing lightweight pants or scrubs. Short shorts are not allowed and girls are not to wear shorts on work days due to cultural norms. Guys may wear knee length shorts.

  • Closed toe shoes are also part of the work dress code.  

  • For sightseeing/field trip days, you can dress casually.  

  • Expect sweat, mosquitoes, and allergies. Plan on packing sunscreen, mosquito repellent, hats, sunglasses, cooling towels, and masks.  

  • Personal medications to consider are Ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, Neosporin, Hydrocortisone cream 1%, and Claritin.

  • Personal care items to consider are band-aids, feminine hygiene products, hand-sanitizers, baby wipes, and ear plugs (in case your roommate snores.)

  • Last, you might notice from the schedule above that there’s an end of mission gala planned.  Plan on packing formal outfits for the gala/party.


Stay connected

  • Remember to call your parents or significant others back home on a regular basis. Our management team will not be responsible for updating parents on their children every day.

  • Connect your devices with a SIM card in Vietnam. You can unlock your phone and purchase a SIM card in Vietnam. These are readily available for purchase and most phone companies offer 30 days of unlimited data for about $10 USD. You may elect to buy a basic phone in Vietnam and a SIM card for about $40 USD which will allow you to have limited call and text.

  • More information about cell phones can be reviewed in the FAQ.   

  • Additionally, we strongly encourage you to pack a surge protector 220 volts; electrical activity in Vietnam is unpredictable and surges may occur which will damage your equipment.


collect donations

  • We kindly ask that you start collecting new or gently used stuffed animals.  They should not be too large as the larger ones are harder to pack.  The children absolutely love to receive them after their dental visits or as a gift at pharmacy. In addition, small stickers are a hit as treats for our young patients after a lab test or a vision screening.

  • To stock our pharmacy with children’s vitamins, we ask each volunteer to donate bottles of chewable vitamins. 

  • Lastly, our adult patients treasure our gifts of eucalyptus oil bottles and sunglasses. 

  • Please start asking your friends and family for these donations.  We ask that you pack these donation items in a large packing box as a check-in baggage. See packing list for more details.


food and lodging


  • We will be staying a Le Duy Grand Hotel (name has changed recently), located at District 3 in Ho Chi Minh City.

    • The hotel will have WiFi and AC ​

    • Every volunteer will be assigned a roommate

    • Daily breakfast and dinner is included

      • Breakfast is usually buffet style. Load up and eat heartily! You will burn it off when you are at clinic.​

  • You will have an assigned roommate. We will be staying at  Le Duy Grand Hotel, located at District 3 Ho Chi Minh City.  The hotel has WiFi and will offer our group breakfast and dinner daily.  For breakfast, it’s usually a buffet style affair; load up and eat heartily! You will burn it off when you are at clinic. For lunch, we will be eating at our clinic site. For dinner, each student team will have their own table for meals at our hotel.  Team W is free to roam around but don’t expect to eat any leftovers from the students.  They are known to have meals around town even after they consume their dinner at the hotel.  In addition, there will be opportunities to eat dinners out, of your choice, throughout the week.   We advise that you don’t partake in street foods unless you have traveled to Vietnam previously and have built up a strong GI immune system.  Otherwise, proceed at your own risk.  In addition, only drink bottled water, and avoid putting ice  in your drinks.  The students will quickly figure out the popular destinations for coconut water, che and boba drinks among many other discoveries so ask them to share their finds with you.

surviving clinic days

  • As volunteers, our first goal is to accomplish the mission of VnHOPE: Healthcare, Outreach, Philanthropy, and Education, while participating in a medical mission to selflessly serve the underserved.

  • Take care of yourself; don’t stay up past curfew, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and enjoy your experiences.  Have a positive attitude, be flexible and go with the flow.

  • We ask that you work hard, follow ground rules, and respect your teams. Even with the most detailed planning from your mission management team, unanticipated challenges will occur.  

  • We appreciate your patience and understanding for any unforeseen inconveniences. Your second goal is to absorb this life-changing journey and to return home safe and sound!

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