Volunteer Abroad - Vietnam, Volunteer Abroad Programs

What This Trip to Vietnam Has Meant to Me

by Codie Fraley, Greenheart Travel Volunteer in Vietnam

codie in vietnam

Current soundtrack to my travels:

Circa Survive – Holding someone’s Hair Back

Circa Survive- In Fear and Faith

Circa Survive- Stop the Car

Circa Survive- Kicking Your Crosses Down

Although it was a short 10 days, this trip has made what I believe will be a lasting effect on me. I hope to have made a lasting effect on those I met and helped as well. Vietnam is a beautiful country with beautiful people.

To be honest my first intentions of this trip were to have unique nursing experience to set me apart from the other nursing students. Surely if I raised $3,000+ to volunteer in Vietnam I would be accepted into any nursing college. But over time it became so much more than that. This became a transformative experience for me as a person and a man. I also have in mind a quote that I remember reading long ago, “the beginning of life starts when you leave your comfort zone”. This was definitely the case in Hanoi. Hanoi was the complete opposite of the US but I told myself to just go with the flow and embrace every little experience. I’ve been comparing it to the Spartans. In Spartan culture a boy would leave home to hunt a lion and return a man. Although there were no lions involved I feel as if I left a boy and I’m returning a man. I feel more confident, competent, cultured, motivated, and determined. If I could do all of this by myself is there anything I can’t do? And I feel more determined to finish college strong so I can become a nurse and one day return to Vietnam, and furthermore other countries. That is my dream after all, to travel the world and do humanitarian work with Chandler. I believe we can make a difference, and my experience in Vietnam gave me a taste of how great my career will be.

Working with the children was wonderful. The center took care of kids with mental and physical disabilities and tried to prepare them for independent life by the time they reach 18. At first I didn’t know how I’d react around mentally disabled children, but I went into it with a positive outlook and went with the flow. Almost instantly I fell in love with the kids. They were all so hilarious and just being around them made you feel so happy. They were surprisingly intelligent as well, many of them taught me Vietnamese and in return I taught them English. I also spent time helping them exercise and massaging the more physically disabled children. When the children found out I was leaving many of them were sad and gave me hugs, this was really touching to me.

So where do I go from here? Well I’m currently on my third and final flight. I’m coming home to my amazing girlfriend whom I’ve missed more than anything. I plan on enjoying every day more than I already have, cherishing the things that the Vietnamese value like friends and family and less of the material things. I want to keep pushing myself to become a better person and not let this Vietnam trip be the end. This means daily reading, starting my own autobiography, continuing with my artwork, joining BJJ with Chandler, and just spreading my light with those around me.

codie volunteering in vietnam

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “What This Trip to Vietnam Has Meant to Me

  1. We adopted my oldest daughter from Vietnam, she is now 16 ( my younger daughter is from China) . Last year my daughters and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel back to Vietnam for 21/2 weeks, one of which we had the opportunity to volenteer at an orphanage in Nha Trang for a week. It was a very happy exsperiance for all of us.So when I read your story,I could relate to it right away and it brought back some wonderful memories of our trip and working at the orphanage. Vietnam is a very special country, a country that has been through so many hardships but continues to move forward. Did you know that their moto is ” forgive,forget and move on” a wonderful moto to live by. We do hope to return as a family in a few years. My Mom and sister are both terrific nurses and I am sure you will be too. God Bless, TKP

    Posted by Tracey | May 23, 2013, 8:53 pm
    • Wow thank you so much for that. Vietnam is an amazing country and I’ll carry it’s memory with me in all that I do. And that is a great motto to live by. The people are so resilient and nothing can bring them down, something I hope to immulate myself

      Posted by Codie Fraley | May 24, 2013, 6:57 am

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