Vietnam Part 2 of 5: Peace House

Here is part 2 of my Summer in Vietnam series! I will apologize ahead of time for this part of the series.. It’s a bit scrambled and super long because it’s impossible to sum up >___<

Peace House in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh

The entrance is behind the curtain and this is our living room.

Stairway

View from the roof

To the left of the tracks, we would walk on the other side of the fence and turn left into the alley to find our house.

Every morning until 9am, if I peaked my head outside our front door, this lady and the man in the white hat had their little shop open and sold Pho, which a lot of the volunteers would get in the morning for only 10,000 dong (16,800 = $1 USD).

To start off, Janeemebe found the program that we went on for us =D We went through this online website called International Volunteers Headquaters (IVHQ), where we signed up, chose a country, paid a fee, and chose what kind of living situation we wanted to be in; the two choices were either home stay or dorms, and we chose the dorms. (Btw, if you are curious about this IVHQ thing and are considering it, please let me know if you have questions!). After we do all that IVHQ finds us a program in that country, in our case, it was Vietnam; the program was called Volunteers for Peace Vietnam (VPV). From there VPV does the rest of the work and volunteer coordination.

For those that don’t understand what the Peace House was, here goes! The Peace House was the living space for all the international volunteers to stay at. Instead of a dorm though, it was more of a house with 3 floors, and 2 bedrooms on each floor that would accommodate 4 people per room (remember, houses in Vietnam/Asia are more about building upward than horizontally). Jane, Em, and I stayed in 1 room together, sharing it with another volunteer. Not only were the accommodations more that we hoped for, we had a cook come 6 days a week and cook delicious food for us twice a day; she was suppper nice too =D

The Peace House is an amazing place to meet incredible people. Why? because you know those people WANT to be there, paid to be there, and are doing it for a good cause; it’s not like school and such where you run into punks that are full of themselves or are there only because they are forced to. The Peace House was a place where people around the world united to work to better society. People would be rotating in and out of the house often because volunteer increments ranged from 2 weeks to months. What was beautiful was that it was easy to talk to everyone even though everyone was new :]

After we ended our days of volunteering and would return to the Peace House around 4-5pm for dinner, everyone would plan activities together like going to karaoke, bowling, shopping, go to beaches, or even weekend trips with tours and exploring Vietnam. For the most part, everyone was around our ages, which made it even easier to get along. There were people from Australia, England, Ireland, France, Singapore, Canada, and a lot from the USA. Not only were there international volunteers, but also local Vietnamese volunteers and the staff that made the Peace House even more amazing. How often do you get an opportunity to meet people from around the world and do something like this??

Bowling! Bowling alleys in Vietnam are better than the States.

Group of newbies! This was taken at District 1 (which is the foreigner and rich district) during our city tour.

1 of the Karaoke nights

This was taken as a last group photo as Em, Jane and I left the Peace House 😦

Everyone in the Peace House was kind, funny, and thoughtful. The time we spent there was way too short and went by incredibly fast because there was also something to do and someone to talk to everyday (especially since the 3 of us had each other). Departing the Peace House was pretty rough since that meant that our volunteer time and days at the Peace House was over ;__; I will try my hardest to stay in touch with people.

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12 thoughts on “Vietnam Part 2 of 5: Peace House

  1. yay! you should have put up a karaoke pic! and van’s not in any of the pics :-/ but good job summing it all up. what about big c? haha ok ok no more complaints… very good!

  2. Hi, was wondering if you could let me know more about your experince with IVHQ, was considering going through them but a bit hestiant without any reccomendations. and email would be great! Thanks! Clare

  3. Hey I know this is an old post but, I was also considering using International Volunteer HQ but I couldn’t find very many reviews aside from their website. I even found some negative ones saying it’s a scam. Do you recommend it? Do you have any links that prove it’s legit? A reply would be much appreciated.

  4. Danielle: hey! Thanks for stopping by. I went with 2 of my friends and I personally didn’t find it to be a scam. There were undoubtedly people who did not enjoy their time there as much as us, but I wouldn’t call it a full on scam. IVHQ, as I stated in the blog, is a separate program than the actual volunteer place. They are a placement company that you pay a fee to, but in comparison to other placement companies who demand higher fees, it is quite reasonable. I’d like to emphasize that my time there was amazing though, and my friends completely agree.

  5. Hey, I’m planning to volunteer with IVHQ in Ho Chi Minh city next month and am also staying at Peace House- thanks so much for this information! If you could e-mail me some more information about Peace House and Ho Chi Minh in general, that would be much appreciated. My e-mail is skapinkpanther@hotmail.com. I know almost nothing about the place and would love to hear from someone who’s been there and done the program. Also, were you teaching English or doing other volunteer work? Thanks again.

  6. Hi ya, I’m glad I found your blog online, as i am currently researching going to Vietnam in Nov and doing the teaching english programme for a few weeks and similar to Franni above I would love some further detail of what you thought of IVHQ, the volunteering experience , what a typical day would involve etc. At the moment I am trying to decide whether i will do the volunteering in HCMC or Hanoi, so any info on HCMC would be appreciated as there isn’t many reviews at all online about IVHQ. the same reply email if you still have it to Franni will do perfectly, as i just really want to know from someone who has experienced first hand. my email is edwinaryantynagh@hotmail.com

    thanks a mill 🙂

  7. Hi there,

    I too will be volunteering with IVHQ in Hanoi and was wondering if you had information on anyone who did placements with the local NGOs versus at the orphanages. This is the first post I have come across for IVHQ Vietnam and I’m glad you explained the accommodation because I was quite curious!

    1. Hey, unfortunately, you’ll notice if you read through my post about my trip, my volunteer time was in Saigon and not Hanoi, so your living conditions could be very different. The program only offered us those 3 locations to go to at the peace house I was at, but seeing that this was about 4 years ago, things definitely could have changed. I know that a lot of the staff we were there with left after a couple years, so there’s a new staff that could potentially open up new doors. Glad these post could help out!

  8. Hi,
    I am interested in going through IVHQ for volunteering in Vietnam, I am undecided on Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. If you could email me it would be greatly appreciated. My email has been entered in the email box so hopefully you can see it.

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