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Recent Blog Posts from Vietnam

Almost there!   (published in Vietnam)

July 27, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Hi there!

I haven't written a blog in YEARS and I'm terrible with remembering to post something, but I'm going to try and keep up with this. just arrived at my connecting airport in Hong Kong and am waiting for my flight that will take me to Hanoi, Vietnam where I'll be staying for the next 4 weeks as a nursing intern! it's my first trip to Vietnam and I'm feeling both excited and nervous at the same time. 

i remember feeling as if this day would never come and now we're almost there! Hanoi, here I come!!

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Almost there!
Almost there!

Your Frenly OT heading to Vietnam   (published in Vietnam)

July 25, 2017 by   Comments(0)

Hi everyone!


I've been an OT for almost 7 years (I can't believe it neither) and always dreamed about working/ volunteering abroad. Yes, it is finally happening! I will be at the Thuy An Rehabilitation Center for Handicapped People for the next 3 weeks. If anyone has any wise words of advice it would be greatly appreciated! 


P.S. If you live in NYC, it was super easy and quick (30 mins when I went) to get a work visa at the New York Consulate of Vietnam. Also to show you have no criminal record, I had to go to the NYPD headquarters to get a certificate of conduct, which takes 2 weeks to process (just a FYI).

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Your Frenly OT heading to Vietnam
Your Frenly OT heading to Vietnam

Looking forward to Vietnam!   (published in Vietnam)

January 12, 2017 by   Comments(0)

It's still about a year away until I embark on my journey to Vietnam, but I am still so excited with the planning process! I've created a pretty lengthy packing list already. I am currently a second-year (out of three years) doctoral student in Occupational Therapy in Boston. This volunteer project in Vietnam will be part of my advanced doctoral project and it will be the final thing that I will have to do before getting my degree. I will also be writing up research about how community programming can increase quality of life for children with disabilities in Vietnam. I will be at the Thuy An Rehabilitation Center for approximately 3 1/2 months! Quite a long time! 

I am Vietnamese American and my last trip to Vietnam was in 2008. That trip was 4 weeks long. I got severely ill during that trip (Montezuma's revenge) so I sincerely hope that will not happen this time. I will be apart from my husband (he lives in Denver), so this lengthy trip will be difficult for me. We are planning to have him visit maybe once or twice, depending on finances. But I know that for me, this is a very rare opportunity, so I had to absolutely take it! Thank goodness we've been together for over 8 years and have had our share of long distance communication. 

Since I do speak Vietnamese fluently, I hope to gain a lot from this experience and hopefully help in creating community programming in Vietnam and also promote my profession as it is not currently an existing profession in Vietnam. I will be in Vietnam from January-April 2018. The Tet holiday will also fall during my time there, so I also plan on doing some independent travel for about a week. Destinations TBD but would love to hear any suggestions!

I enjoyed reading all of the blogs so far! I'd love to get some pointers from ...

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Looking forward to Vietnam!
Looking forward to Vietnam!

Vietnam - the final placement blog   (published in Vietnam)

August 22, 2016 by   Comments(0)

The last week at Thuy An was challenging for all of us volunteers. It's hard to commit to the project enough to care, but not get over-involved emotionally, leaving ourselves (and the children) in bits when we leave. I've coped by hitting the database and tidying it up (frustrated ex-librarian persona made a re-appearance). It also helps that some of the volunteers will be staying on for a few more weeks, so we have a chance for some kind of hand-over and the children get some continuity.

I've bought some examples of the handicrafts made at the hospital - they try to equip the children/adults with some way of earning a living in the outside world. This lady has been at the hospital for 40 years ....

 Having bid a fond farewell to Thuy An, I've done a bit more exploring in Hanoi, including a visit to the museum of the Hoa Lo prison, sarcastically nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by American prisoners of war. That was quite a chilling experience, and my first sight of a guillotine, which was in use as recently as the 1950's, plus photographs of the results of using same.

Through one of my university lecturers I was put in touch with a couple of the senior staff at Viet Duc hospital, the main surgical hospital in Hanoi if not the whole of Vietnam. "Proper" hospitals in Vietnam are few and far between: if you are taken ill or have an accident in a rural area, you are, basically, stuffed. I had a very interesting morning being shown around the hospital, including the A&E department, and their flagship organ transplant ward. I attach a photo, partly to show the relative sizes of the Vietnamese people - I look ENORMOUS!!

My only ambition as a tourist was to see the famous Ha Long Bay, so I booked a 2 day trip (one night to be spent on a junk in the bay). It ...

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Vietnam - the final placement blog
Vietnam - the final placement blog

Vietnam 2016 - speech and language therapy (student)   (published in Vietnam)

August 5, 2016 by   Comments(0)

Blog entry no. 2: it's 2.10am, note the effect that Vietnamese coffee drunk at 7pm is having on me!!!!

I've now completed about 2 weeks at the rehab unit, and first impressions were correct: I love it. Here's a sample of the daily timetable.

5.15am. Shocked awake by the children's wake-up alarm: someone whacking hell out of a shell casing from a B52 bomber (indicative of Vietnamese sense of humour, to wake up with a bang??) Followed by happy sounds of the kids sweeping the yard and chasing each other with our metal refuse trolleys, daring each other to bang on our doors, etc

7am-ish. Having given up on getting any more sleep, get up and snatch a bit of breakfast before clinic starts at ...

8am. Over to the Speech Therapy Room, where the children have 30-ish minute slots, usually 1:1. Our volunteer translator is very helpful as mediator between me and the staff/those kids who can talk.  General interaction with the kids, trying anything (games, picture cards, pulling silly faces, singing songs, playing peekaboo, tickling them with feathers, blowing bubbles) to get and hold their attention, and elicit speech. Great fun!

10am. Over to the feeding area, to help spoon-feed those children who are too impaired to feed themselves. The kids' diet is the same for every meal: rice and tofu, with broth. Feeding is often interrupted by other children wanting a hug or to hold my hand.

10.30ish. Collapse on bed for a bit, write up notes, put the washing on etc.

11.45am Volunteers' lunch

After lunch, we wash up (cold water, outside sinks) and put away our dishes before heading back to our volunteer room for a nap.

2-4pm. Afternoon clinic.

4pm Afternoon feeding time.

4.30pm Now at leisure till

6pm Volunteers' dinner. Same as lunch - we have rice at every meal. Vietnamese ...

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Vietnam 2016 - speech and language therapy (student)
Vietnam 2016 - speech and language therapy (student)

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