|Dates:||June 29 – July 16|
July 16 – August 2
|Arrive:||Los Angeles, CA|
|Depart:||Los Angeles, CA|
|Grade||9th, 10th, 11th & 12th|
(Students Grouped According to Age)
*Airfare for group flight from Los Angeles additional.
Video by ARCC Student Grace Crema
Learn More About Us
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- Construct and Install “Clean Water” Filters in Cambodian Villages
- Teach English to Primary Students at a Local School
- Sail Turquoise Waters on a Junk in Vietnam’s Halong Bay
- Watch the Sun Rise over Ancient Angkor Wat, a World Wonder
- Learn to Bargain in the Famous Siem Reap Night Market
- Retrace History of the Khmer Rouge Era in Phnom Penh
- Float Down the Mighty Mekong on a Boat at Sunset
- 30 Hours of Community Service
Project Clean Water
Despite an abundance of water in Cambodia, access to clean water sources is very limited. Due to lack of infrastructure development, nearly half the Cambodian population drinks water that is unclean; the results have been devastating to public health. The focus project of our Vietnam and Cambodia service program is to use cement and natural materials to construct bio-sand water filters and then install these filters into the homes of rural community members in Kampong Speu.
Delve into a region rich in history, culture and beauty, as you explore some of Asia’s most famous locales in this summer service program in Vietnam & Cambodia. Step back in time in Phnom Penh as you take in relics from the Khmer Rouge era and journey to the Royal Palace and take in the beautiful Throne Hall. Partner with a local organization to improve the lives of community members. Beat the sun to enjoy a sunrise at the wonder of Angkor Wat. Become teachers and form fast-friendships at a local orphanage and school. Cross the border into Vietnam and head to Halong Bay and board a junk for a two-night excursion atop the turquoise waters of this stunning bay, trying your hand at kayaking and venturing into hidden caves. Your trip comes to a close in Hanoi where you navigate the windy streets of the Old Quarter and reflect on the cultures, history and experiences you have lived in the past two weeks.
Acclimatization & Phnom Penh Exploration
We begin our Vietnam & Cambodia summer service program in Los Angeles and board our flight to Phnom Penh, where we jump right into our adventure with an introduction to Cambodian culture. Once the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh is a city that balances the past and the present. No visit would be complete without taking in the relics of the Khmer Rouge era and promenading along the mighty Mekong River.
Village Service & Angkor Wat
Traveling into Cambodia’s countryside, we make our way to our first service section. For the next several days we lend our hands with constructing much-needed infrastructure for the clean water project taking place. We use cement to mold bio sand water filters, then travel to local communities to install the filters. Having fully immersed ourselves in Cambodian culture through our village stay, we then continue on to Siem Reap, where we experience a breathtaking view of Angkor Wat at sunrise.
Teaching English to Cambodian School Children
Next we make our way to a small school where over 100 students eagerly await the arrival of their new “teachers.” This community service project brings us directly into the lives of Cambodian youth. We arrive with much-needed supplies for their rural orphanage and for two days we offer our help by teaching English to the children. When lessons are done, we have the opportunity to play with the children who have so graciously welcomed us into their home. Our efforts are rewarded by the smiles and laughter of our new Cambodian friends.
Sailing in Halong Bay & Final Days in Hanoi
Bidding our Cambodian friends farewell, we cross into Vietnam, where we embark on a two night excursion on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, where more than 3000 islands jut out from the emerald waters. Hitting the water for some kayaking and exploring untouched islands, we spend our nights on deck of the junk and camping on our own private island. Soaking up our last few days together as a group, we relish the breathtaking views around us. Leaving Cat Ba Island and Halong Bay behind, we head to the bustling, lively city of Hanoi, where we explore the Old Quarter, sample the traditional Pho and bring our Southeast Asia adventure to a close with a Final Feast under the stars and depart our Vietnam & Cambodia summer service program with full hearts, eager to share the memories we’ve made over the last 18 days.
“Cambodia and Vietnam was life changing. I really felt like I was making a difference.”— Julia F., Wilson, WY, ARCC Student
“Amazing trip.”— Davis H., Cherry Hills Village, CO, ARCC Student
“I don’t remember the last time I was this happy. The whole two weeks I was so content. I felt like it would go on forever!”— Ella I., Laurel Hollow, NY, ARCC Student
“The service on this trip is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Seeing the kids faces light up when they know that you are their new friend is a phenomenal feeling.”— Emma W., Short Hills, NJ, ARCC Student
“I’ve never seen such a variety of culture, geography and scenery .”— Ben I., Laurel Hollow, NY, ARCC Student
“Absolutely the best, most worthwhile service I have ever done.”— Briana S., Lake Worth, FL
Group Journal Excerpts
Below you will find several Group Journal excerpts, written by ARCC students during their summer program with ARCC:
A special day teaching
Today, Cambodians commemorated the King’s death by taking a day off from school. Back home, I count down the days until each holiday, and entertain myself in my free time with Netflix and meals with friends. Here however, even when education is scarce, kids use their holiday at school, learning and playing together. When we…
Building Bio-Sand Water Filters in Cambodia
Commemorating the Filters Built in Cambodia Today, we learned a lesson in appreciating the power of simple “things” and how these simple “things” can really change the lives of so many. Our group woke up and enjoyed a traditional breakfast at a local restaurant and then made the short trip to the headquarters of an…
Installing the Water Filters
Today was one of the best days of the trip so far! We got the chance to install two of the water filters that we made in a small village. We washed the rocks and sand that are used to purify the water in the bio-sand filters. The head of the foundation, Uncle Vic, warned…
After a short flight delay and a quick connection in Laos, there was lots of excitement as we boarded a bus that would be taking us around Cambodia. While our bus driver navigated the chaotic, busy streets of Phnom Penh, our guide started to brief our group on Cambodia and its interesting history. Our guide…
Rounding out the trip
The calming memories of thousands of limestone karsts rising from Lan Ha Bay’s blue waters fade away and we find ourselves in a sea of people once again. Hanoi’s old quarter is a thousand years old and buzzes with life as we meander these narrow streets. We spend some time for reflection at a centuries…
What is the packing list for this program?
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate and cultural differences. Please click here to view the Vietnam/Cambodia: Project Clean Water packing list.
What is the weather like in Vietnam and Cambodia?
Most of Vietnam and Cambodia can be described as hot and humid during this time. Day-time temperatures in the summer months usually fall in the mid-80’s, with an average humidity of 66% to 82%. In Vietnam, you can expect balmy temperatures, cooled off by quick rain showers. In Cambodia, you will arrive in the midst of the green season, where rice paddies glisten and afternoon downpours bring relief from the humidity.
What are the service projects like?
ARCC has been operating programs in Vietnam and Cambodia for several years, and we have built relationships with a variety of individuals, small communities and organizations who enjoy hosting ARCC student groups. On this program, we construct bio-sand water filters from cement, then install them in slum communities to very eager families, we assist in the community center and garden, and we teach English to children at a rural orphanage.
What kind of health precautions should I take before traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia?
ARCC recommends that you take some health precautions before your trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more complete information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website for Vietnam and Cambodia. Our leaders carry a full first aid kit, and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
Where do we sleep?
During this program we sleep in a variety of accommodations: small hotels and hostels, guesthouses, a community center, and a sailboat.
What is the transportation like once we are in Vietnam/Cambodia?
We use a variety of transportation on the Vietnam/Cambodia program. We travel by train in overnight sleeper coaches, private busses, and boats.
What is the food like?
We will have the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine such as noodles, curries, rice, springs rolls and fresh fruits.
How much spending money should I bring?
For the Vietnam/Cambodia program, ARCC recommends that you bring an additional $200 of spending money. You should bring this money in the form of cash (small bills are best) and also bring an ATM/debit card with you. Vietnam uses the “dong” as currency and there are approximately 21,082 dong to every US $1. US dollars can be used in Cambodia.
As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all students traveling to Vietnam/Cambodia need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least six months after you travel. Passport applications are available at the post office. If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one as soon as you enroll in this adventure. It normally takes six weeks to process a passport application.
Do I need a visa?
Yes. You will need visas to enter Vietnam and Cambodia. For Vietnam, you must purchase your visa in advance. There is a visa information section in the forms that you will receive once you enroll in this program. You can obtain a Vietnamese visa in person at a Vietnam embassy, or through the mail. For Cambodia, you don’t need to get it before departure. Upon arrival in country, you will buy a visa, which costs about $20.
What is the time difference between Vietnam, Cambodia and the USA?
Vietnam and Cambodia fall within a single time zone. While on your program, the time will be 11 hours behind New York (Eastern Time), 12 hours behind Chicago (Central Time), and 14 hours behind San Francisco (Pacific Time).
Do I really need to bring a backpack, or can I bring a rolling suitcase on this trip?
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, it is important that you bring a backpack as your main piece of luggage. During the program you will be navigating through airports, on and off buses and trains, up and down stairways and walking to various locations. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if all group members are carrying their belongings on their backs.
What kind of goods and supplies can we bring to donate for the people we meet?
We have the chance to live amongst some needy people who have the very basics for survival. With education being a tool to better their lives, basic school supplies are welcomed with open arms. Pens, pencils, notepads, calculators and books are widely accepted. Soccer balls are also an incredible way to cross the cultural border and share smiles. Because of limited space on our vehicles ARCC would ask that every person to bring no more than a gym of bag of goods to donate.