Nine volunteers, one mission: to impact a community. On June 16th, 2009, these nine volunteers took a step into the unknown to teach and to work, but also to learn.
From all over the country they came. Young and old (not THAT old), the work done by these nine awesome human beings can only be defined as a success.
For five weeks, the group taught English to over 350 students, ranging in age from five to thirty. Using traditional methods of instruction, as well as music, poetry, art, athletics, games, debates, and plays, they gave 350 students an opportunity to better their lives at no cost. 200 of those students were taken on a day long trip to explore nature, learn, play, and relax. At the end of the five week session, not one student wanted it to end. They had never had so much fun and learned so much at the same time.
But the classes had to end; it was time to do some volunteer work. For the next two weeks, the nine volunteers, plus over fifty of their students, visited two orphanages and a local fishing village, doing a variety of projects, including but not limited to fence rebuilding and painting, gardening, purchasing and distributing school supplies, cleaning, playing with children, and teaching. Evidence of their hard work will exist at these orphanges for years to come, and because of ETA4′s volunteers, 110 children in the village now have the necessary supplies to receive an education.
Some raw numbers: 9 Volunteers. 350 students. 2 orphanages. 1 boat village. 5000 new vocabulary words learned. 50 new songs. 2 concerts. 20 baseball matches. 2 basketball tournaments. 3000 laughs. 4000 smiles. 150 notebooks, 300 pens, and 150 rulers. 80 flower plants. 25 cans of paint. 8 weeks of work, play, heat, rain, happiness, discovery and productivity. This is the impact of 9 people with 1 mission.
Their story can be your story. Visit the volunteer page to find out how.
Our flagship program in 2010, Hue has been and continues to be the base of operations for ETA4 in Vietnam. In 2010, we had 11 Volunteers instruct over 400 students for a 5 week period, followed by 1 week of volunteer work at 4 different orphanages.
The group had to overcome heat, rain, and exhaustion to hold the program for the students. Check out the photos and videos to learn more!
It seems as if our 5 weeks of teaching English ended in a blink of an eye. The very last week of our program here in Hue was filled with emotional goodbyes between our teachers and students. Our teacher volunteers have built bonds with their students that they didn’t expect to have. Our teacher volunteers kept our last week of the program highly energized with fun games, songs and its artists’ history, hot debate topics, sports, among other activities in and outside of the classroom to remind the students that learning English could be really fun!
- ETA4 Hue Volunteer
BIEN HOA, VIETNAM
ETA4′s first venture into south Vietnam was definitely a success. With the help of an awesome volunteer organization (Tinh Doan Viet Nam), 8 volunteers were able to instruct over 350 students at 4 locations, including 2 orphanages, a middle school and a youth center. The volunteers also engaged in meaningful volunteer projects with the group, including some manual labor!
All in all, the program in Bien Hoa was filled with “firsts” for the group. I am very proud of the team for adapting to every challenge that came our way, and for stepping up and getting the job done, even if they felt tired, sick, or even a little grouchy. We taught over 300 children at 4 different locations, spent hours at different orphanages, hospitals, and youth centers, built a basketball court, cleared a ton of debris, laughed, cried, and had some fun too. Best of all, we built a connection with a community of people who are similar to us in so many ways, a connection that will last infinitely longer than the 4 weeks we spent there. I am so proud, and I can’t wait for next year!
- ETA4 Bien Hoa Volunteer
ETA4 embarked on its inaugural trip to Taiwan on June 30, 2010. In collaboration with The Alliance, the volunteers participated in a 4-week summer camp style program in Taitung (台東). The camp was made up of 150 students of aboriginal descent or low income background and led by 7 ETA4 teachers, 30+ Taiwan’s Medical Educators for Humanity, and several Alliance members. The 7 teachers held a full-fledged schedule Monday through Friday teaching English via arts, sports, and music at the facilities of Chih-Peng Middle School (知本國小) and Taitung University (台東大學). In addition to learning English, the students and volunteers also had the opportunity to visit various aboriginal cultural centers in the area. By the end of 4 weeks, the children displayed confidence in speaking English and a passion for pursuing the language. One student writes,
All I want to say is: I appreciate each teacher from the bottom of my heart. Because of you, I could learn English in an easy and a happy way. I’ll keep studying English and I hope someday I can travel to the U.S.A by myself. I think, nothing is impossible to a willing heart!
– Jenny, 14
The third year of the Hue program experienced, by far, the most growth – over 800 students registered for the 5-week course! By dividing the sessions into morning, afternoon, and night, the 8 ETA4 volunteers were able to accomodate all who wanted to learn. Through skits, songs, dances, games, sports, art, debates, stories, creative writing, and other activities, ETA4′s teacher-volunteers were able to engage the students in useful instruction, something they absolutely desired. Through two different talent shows (6 in all, counting all the sessions!), ETA4′s students were able to show off their incredible skills both indvidually and within their classes.
ETA4 volunteers, with the help of many, many students, also made an impact in the community, visiting two different orphanages, providing one with new paint for the entire upstairs section – which included 7 bedrooms!
Year 3 saw almost double the amount of students from the year before, further strengthening ETA4′s connection to the community in Hue. With another exciting year completed, ETA4 couldn't wait to return to Hue in 2012.
DA LAT, VIETNAM
ETA4′s first year in Da Lat was a great success! The volunteers instructed over 200 students in conversational English using art, poetry, songs, games, outdoor hikes and more. About 60 of the students dormed with the volunteers, which made for some very late nights – but a lot of memories as well. On the second to last day of camp, an “Olympic” competition was held between the classes. It was a blast! Purple Pandas ended up bringing home the gold.
Da Lat and its beautiful scenery was filled with adventure for the 2011 volunteers – but what made the biggest impact on them was the interaction with their students. One volunteer writes:
The last day at camp was definitely the hardest one of all. After we had finished packing our things, we hung out with the students for a few hours. We handed out gifts that we had brought from home as well as gifts that we had made for the students. When the time had finally come to hop into the taxi to head to the airport, the students once again broke down in tears, not wanting to say goodbye. Although our time here was short, the relationship we built with our students is one that will last forever.
In 2011, seven volunteers headed to Taitung, Taiwan to continue ETA4′s legacy there. They were greeted by many new and familiar faces. With the help of the Alliance and MEH, ETA4 volunteers taught English to over 200 students spanning 2 two-week programs, known as the “Taitung English Camp”. Classes started at 7 AM with traditional lessons and continued until late evening when students and teachers bonded over songs, stories, and movies. Each classroom, themed with an English-speaking country, encouraged students to understand the use of English across the globe. Students immersed themselves into their class country through role-play and in preparation for their closing ceremony presentation.
ETA4 also celebrated various aspects of arts and athletics through the new “Olympics” tournament and cultural night performances. Students lived alongside the teachers, which opened doors to a cultural understanding rarely seen in the rural areas of Taiwan. The Taitung volunteers have unanimously agreed it was a life-changing experience that opened their eyes to an entirely new perspective.
2012 saw the largest program to date, with a registration of over 950 students for the summer course! Because of the extremely large number of students, the 9 ETA4 teacher volunteers taught morning, afternoon and night sessions. Although they were very busy, they still managed time to visit 3 orphanages, compete in 2 basketball tournaments, host 2 talent shows, and spend almost every other available moment with their students!
5 weeks of fun, learning and growth was capped by the first ever “ETA4 prom”, DJed by the famous D.U.C. himself. All of the students got dressed up and got to experience a real life American prom. It was probably the best night ever!
All in all, ETA4 and the volunteers had another wonderful summer in Hue, and is looking forward to many more in the coming years.
The five year anniversary of the Hue program built on the previous year’s endeavors to create the best program in Hue yet. Taking full advantage of an upgraded youth center compound, the volunteers in Hue were able to fully realize the 3 “A”s of the curriculum. All in all, over 900 students registered with the program for 11 participating teachers. Highlights of the trip were a mini-olympics, and the second annual “ETA4 prom”.
DUC LINH, VIETNAM
ETA4′s first venture into the small village of Duc Linh contained many firsts. The quaintness of the small village allowed the volunteers to get very close to the students that they spend almost 9 hours a day with. Over 400 students registered with the program. The end-of-summer camping trip and the olympics were great ways for the students to bond with the 8 volunteers, and massive 100 student baseball games were also a ton of fun!
In 2014, 10 volunteers headed back to Hue for the 6th edition of the ETA4 summer camp. This year, ETA4 had over 1480 students register for the camp, the largest number ever. The classes were filled with eager students of all levels daily. Traditions such as the mini-olypmics and prom were staples of the program as the group continued to forge a partnership with the local youth center. ETA4 was extremely happy to continue our legacy in Hue and look forward to 2015!
DUC LINH, VIETNAM
The second trip to Duc Linh featured our largest ever group - 15 volunteers. For the first time, ETA4 recruited local Vietnamese volunteers as full-time teachers, and the results were fantastic. The teachers were able to parlay their significant English learning experience into a successful classroom environment. Over 400 students joined the volunteers on the 5-week journey of study and play. This year, we were even joined by two swimming instructors from Austrailia who taught the students some life saving aquatic tips. We are so grateful for the village of Duc Linh that has welcomed us with open arms two years in a row, and are so excited about our potential impact there in 2015 and beyond.
In 2015, 10 volunteers embarked on a new adventure: although the program was returning to Hue for the 7th consecutive year, for the first time, the program would be held at a new location - Hue Star secondary school. Over 1400 students registered to meet the teachers on the first day of classes! The group continued to grow the program, accessing new student populations and continuing to develop a culture of fun and learning. Highlights included movie nights, talent shows and of course the ETA4 prom!
DUC LINH, VIETNAM
In 2015, ETA4 volunteers held a short but sweet program in Duc Linh. With a focus on community development and engagement, the volunteers engaged in mini-projects with their students throughout the program, including a neighborhood cleanup, planting of trees in the surrounding areas, and visits to ethnic minority villages. The end of the camp featured the students and teachers partnering on the creation of a giant mural, a reminder of the impact that will last for years to come./p>