Year of Service

Application Details


The Cardoner Project is an initiative arising from the Australian Jesuits call to mission as “companions for a faith that does justice”.  The focus of The Cardoner Project is to support young Old Boys of St. Aloysius’ College in their spiritual formation and their ongoing commitment to a life of service. The Year of Service volunteer placements are one of a number of activities which come under this project.

The Year of Service is an opportunity for an experience of service and relationship with the poor living for an extended period in a foreign culture. It is an excellent opportunity for spiritual and human formation, but it is not the best option for everyone. It carries risks and great challenges of which you must be aware before you seek selection for a placement. These risks will be highlighted for you in more detail before your departure if you are successful in this application process.

Partnership with Vietnam

At this time The Cardoner Project, in cooperation with the Catholic Diocese of Vinh in Central Vietnam, is able to offer a number of placements of six or twelve months. Preference will be given to those who apply for a twelve month placement but applications for a six month placement will be considered.

It is essential that each applicant discuss this application, selection process and the risks associated with the placement with their parents/guardians. The application requires consent from at least one parent/guardian and there is an option for them to support of the application with a separate form if they so choose. This reference will be treated as confidential and will not be shown to the applicant. A lack of such a reference will not  necessarily disadvantage an applicant.

The parent/guardian reference form can be found here. 


Successful applicants will be placed in parishes in the Vinh Diocese under the care of the Vicar-General and the local Parish Priest. You will teach English to the local children and young adults in the parish and in the surrounding areas.

To help you before you leave an intensive workshop will be conducted in teaching English as a second language between the end of the HSC examinations and the commencement of ‘Schoolies’ as possible. Some textbooks and notes from previous volunteers will be provided for you to use.


You will be responsible for your own flights, insurance, and other expenses. In practice you will not have much need for any money while living and working in the parish. During your time in Vietnam you are encouraged to take a mid-year holiday and travel. Depending on your tastes this need not be an expensive holiday. At the Information Evenings issues such as these will be covered.

Accommodation, including all meals, will be provided by the parish. You will live in the parish presbytery or similar proximate lodging. The rooms are basic and shared. Food will be more than sufficient in quantity and quality but will be in keeping with the local customary fare.


In the event of any problems that may arise during the placement the first local contact, after the Parish Priest whose English may be poor, is Fr. Vien, the Vicar-General of the Vinh Diocese. He completed his doctorate in Sydney and has excellent spoken and written English.

During your stay in Vietnam, Mr. David Braithwaite SJ, as Coordinator of The Cardoner Project, will be in contact with you via email and skype. Sometimes such communication can be limited owing to power failures and disrupted internet connections. Nonetheless, this is often reliable enough for regular contact. You are, of course, encouraged to maintain very regular contact with your family in Sydney.

In the event of illness or misadventure the closest medical clinic is one run by the Vinh Diocese. If more serious or urgent medical care is needed then Hanoi has western-standard medical hospitals to which you will be transported. Our partners in Vietnam will take excellent care of you, but you must ensure that you have sufficient Medical and Travel Insurance to cover all serious accidents and illnesses. This is your responsibility to arrange. If you need to be repatriated to Australia for medical care then your Insurer must arrange this as your parents and they deem appropriate.

Selection Process

This Year of Service Application Form, which is distinct from and in addition to the previous Immersion Application Form, is a means to assist you and the Selection Committee in making a decision. Good spiritual discernment always involves the dual focus on the needs of the individual and the needs of the mission with the latter always primarily orienting the final decision.

A final decision regarding each applicant will be made before the end of Term One.

Please take some time from your busy schedule to fill out this form with care. The contents will be kept confidential.


The Cardoner Project aims to lay the foundations for a deeper grasp of the relationship between faith and reason. These programmes move to action through a number of ongoing projects including: Weekly Student Mass, Retreats, First Spiritual Exercises, Long Table Talks, Reading Groups and Apostleship of Prayer.

Spiritual Life

The Cardoner Project facilitates spiritual development in multiple ways. Mass in the evening is offered at the Bellarmine House Chapel, which all are welcome to attend. MORE>>

Intellectual Life

The Cardoner Project seeks to deepen and broaden minds, just as it fosters deeper relationships of service and community. MORE>>


Bellarmine House is the residential program of The Cardoner Project and is based on the top two floors of Jesuit House. MORE>>


This is an area of high priority for The Cardoner Project. Helping to form leaders for a more just and Christ-centred society is what we are about. MORE>>

Our Projects

From the central location of Jesuit House in Chippendale, The Cardoner Project has been able to involve itself in a number of local volunteering opportunities. MORE>>