Global Service in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Winter Break

This program will run during Winter Break 2021/22

Check-out our page for HCMC- Vietnam Summer 2021 if you are interested in a 4-week program.

Interested in this program? Please complete our Interest Form

Over-view of Previous Program during Winter Break 2020:

Program Dates: January 3rd -January 18th 2020.

Our group will live and work in Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon. We will experience the remarkable history and sights of South Vietnam at the same time as we work in several community-based service projects. Students will work in one of the focus areas listed below:

  • Mai Am Orphanage: Providing support, attention and care for children with no family and have been homeless.
  • Mai Tam/HIV Centre-Providing care, educational enrichment and companionship for orphan children suffering from HIV.
  • Nhat Hong Center for the Blind-English language teaching, interacting with and providing support and companionship for blind and intellectually disabled children.


Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is known for its culture and high energy. The city was once known as Saigon and was a part of Cambodia until the 17th century. Furthermore, Saigon was the capitol of Vietnam from 1956 to 1975. Ho Chi Minh City is known for its temples, museums, and it’s bustling commerce. Because much of Vietnam was a French colony from 1887-1954, there are many French cultural influences, including language, architecture and cuisine. The people of HCMC are extremely friendly and welcoming, the residents in the neighborhood where we live are excited to see our MU Students each time we visit.

Accommodations and Meals

Students will reside in shared bedrooms (2 students per room) in the Thu Duc neighborhood of HCMC. The neighborhood is safe and livable, and offers many inexpensive restaurants and delicious Vietnamese street food. We will have 1-2 group meals each week, and will discuss our experiences and service in a local coffee shop. Most meals will not be provided, but this will be at very low cost to you.


We will spend the weekends seeing some of the sights of the area. Cu Chi, is a rural area outside of Ho Chi Minh City and famous for the Cu Chi tunnels, which were constructed during the Vietnam War. You will also visit the Mekong Delta region, known for its rich agriculture and beautiful scenery.

Friday, January 3:  Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (will need to leave US on January 2) and will be met at the airport by your program leader.

Saturday, January 4:  Orientation of our neighborhood in Thu Duc and tour of central HCMC.

Sunday, January 5:  Visit the Cu Chi tunnels and group meal in the evening when you will meet your translators.

Monday, January 6:  Friday January 10:  Service at your assigned service site, Class meetings in the evening, Community nights with the locals.

Saturday and Sunday:  January 11-12: Travel to the Mekong Delta region for weekend visit

Monday, January 13 -Friday, January 17: Service at your assigned service site, Class meetings in the evening, Community nights with the locals.

Saturday January 18: Fly home ( If you leave early morning of January 18 you will arrive in US late evening on January 18)



All students will enroll in one MU course for a total of three credit hours awarded during Spring 2019. This course is designed to integrate academic and experiential learning with cultural immersion, identity exploration, and global engagement. The general undergraduate course numbers are listed below. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in other crediting may consult with their departmental advisor and the Office of Service-Learning.

SRV_LRN 3028: Global Service (3). Students will earn 3 credit hours (awarded during Spring semester) for pre-departure workshops, held during the fall semester, and while engaging in intensive service in the host country during Winter Break.

The pre-departure course will introduce students to Vietnam history, culture, politics, and issues of ecotourism and sustainability as they prepare for study overseas. While abroad, the course promotes learning through direct contact with local community members, classes, discussions, reflections, and projects while living in host country. Academic coursework will emphasize the development of critical consciousness while engaging in reflection and group dialogue.

Class Schedule – must attend all classes

Winter break 2020 class schedule provided as an example:

Monday, Nov. 18th & Dec. 2nd, 2019 at 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Friday Dec. 6th  12:00pm – 2pm. We will be meeting in our country specific groups for this final meeting and lunch will be provided.

Academic Credit

Grades earned on this program will calculate into the MU GPA and appear on students’ MU transcripts when grades are recorded by the Program Leader. Students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Additional Learning and Academic Activities

While living in the host country students will participate in multiple cultural activities. Excursions are considered to be a part of the coursework.  Course grades will be based on commitment to service responsibilities, participation in program activities and student conduct.

Program Costs

The budget for Winter Break 2020 is provided here as an example:     HERE

Application and Eligibility

Before you apply to your chosen program, please review the How to Apply page.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of a student’s academic transcript, quality and depth of the responses to the essay questions. In addition, students must have at least a 2.5 GPA and be in good disciplinary standing with the University for consideration. A personal interview may be required. Admission to a global service program is not guaranteed.

To apply for this Global Service Program, please submit the Online Application by: Applications have not yet opened. Please email to find out more, or to be placed on an email list to receive notifications about this program.

More Information

For more information, please contact Yvonne Binfield in the Office of Service-Learning. To schedule an appointment, visit MUConnect on Canvas, go to your “My Success Network”, type in “Service-Learning”, and click on the link to make an appointment with Yvonne. You can also complete our Interest Form