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Projects Abroad

This summer, I spent 5 weeks volunteering with Projects Abroad in Samoa. I volunteered with Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG). I taught a classroom of 20 children aged 4-11. Having never taught before, I was nervous, but the Projects Abroad staff and the other volunteers provided an enormous amount of support. The Projects Abroad staff provided resources and facilitated conversations with other volunteers in which they shared their experiences and offered ideas. The Projects Abroad staff organized weekly socials in which we experienced Samoa together. These socials consisted of events like preparing an umu (a traditional way of cooking in Samoa), zumba class, and going out to dinner together. My host family was amazing! My host mother also worked with SVSG, and that connection provided another level of familiarity and comfort with the organization. As a vegetarian, I was nervous about being able to eat enough food, but my host mother experimented with her favorite traditional dishes and made vegetarian versions. My host siblings were so welcoming and I enjoyed playing rugby and soccer with them in the yard. The Projects Abroad staff was there for me during my entire experience. On my first day, they showed me around Apia and pointed out the main bus station which I would be using to commute to my placement. The Projects Abroad staff hosted workshops during my time which included a cultural workshop and a goals workshop. It was great to meet other volunteers from around the world and travel with them around Samoa during the weekends. My favorite things to do included hiking Mt. Vaea, snorkeling at Pololo Deep, and exploring the island of Savai'i. I would recommend this experience to anyone looking to volunteer abroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Samoa
Posted: Aug 4, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

This summer, I went on a 2 week volunteer trip to South Africa at the ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office in Cape Town. I didn't know what to expect, coming in as a high school student from Indiana into a program normally reserved for college students. Of course, I couldn't take on clients or perform any of the legal work, but the work I was able to do exceeded all of my expectations. For two weeks, I performed Human Rights work that involved travelling across Cape Town to different schools, townships, and juvenile detention centers, performing recreational and educational activities with the kids. ProjectsAbroad also granted me the opportunity to design and present my own educational presentations on a variety of topics to help troubled youths between the ages of 5 and 17 dealing with very difficult situations.

The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly throughout the program. At the beginning, all of the general ProjectsAbroad staff were incredibly welcoming and informative about every aspect of the program in which we were about to participate. Before coming to Cape Town, Coordinator Flora Mbambi gave me all the advice I needed about any belongings I needed to take with me and what I should expect. On the first day, I learned immediately about my duties, was introduced to the stunning city of Cape Town, and made some new friends. After my introduction, I met the two staff members with whom I would spend the majority of my work days: Ricardo, my supervisor throughout the trip, and Shuan, the head of the social justice area of the Human Rights Office. Ricardo was incredibly helpful in helping me to settle in and in teaching me all about Cape Town; He even showed me many of the local attraction in the short time that I was in town. Shuan was hilarious and incredibly helpful in guiding me through all of the social justice programs. The ProjectsAbroad staff also did an excellent job in organizing the weekend Garden Rpute Safari Tour for me.

Finally, I would be remiss not to include my incredible host family experience. My host mother was Faye, an amazing and sweet woman who has been hosting kids for the past decade. She would cook breakfast and dinner every day for all 5 of her volunteer kids, although she has hosted up to 30 at once. She made us incredible local food of every variety each day, and refused to let us pass it up. She helped to show the new volunteers different parts of Cape Town and was very gracious every time any one of us had a request. With Faye, it was almost as if she was our real mother.

I'll never forget my experiences in South Africa. My time there has changed and shaped who I am. I would recommend ProjectsAbroad to anyone looking for a valuable volunteer experience and the chance to see beautiful places, help underprivileged people, meeting great friends, and take memories with them that will last a life time.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Aug 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Frontier Tenerife Whale and Dolphin Project

Upon my arrival at the volunteer house in Tenerife I was welcomed in straight away by my fellow volunteers and Xiana,my project co-ordinator. Many of the volunteers had been there for a few weeks before. I was the first male on the project and couldn't wait to get started.

My first day consisted of household tasks such as preparing the house, cooking duties and the project briefing. To learn the different species and what I would be observing furthered my excitement even more. Although the project was new,it had already had a very good amount of planning and preparation behind it from the volunteer co-ordinator and Tracey who was a volunteer but was now working as a project assistant to Xiana.

Upon looking at the rota I was very excited to see that I was on four different boat trips throughout the week observing dolphins and pilot whales. The previous year I had undertaken another project with Frontier with the olive ridley sea turtles in Mexico,so my knowledge and CV was being filled with valuable field experience which will help my career into marine biology.

Everyday on the boats was amazing! To have the open ocean in front of you, the sea breeze, amazing crew, fellow volunteers and of course the pilot whales, made me realise that this is living of the highest order. Upon returning to the house,I had to input my data and recording any photographs we had taken. This allowed us to track the different pods, recording individual pod members and hopefully stand for higher conservation methods in the future for these majestic animals of the ocean.

Even though I was only on project for a week I was amazed at how quickly everyone worked together, respected each other's cultures and backgrounds and most importantly shared a passion for marine cetaceans. I have made some lifelong friends and even though we will probably never all be together again, I believe that the best photo graphs are the ones that we create in our memories. I certainly have a bucket load of which I'll never forget.

With smiles and thanks
Damion Vincent

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Spain
Posted: Aug 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Green Life Volunteers

Janina is a very helpful and passionate program coordinator. Upon my arrival to Puerto Jimenez, she took me around the town and helped me by supplies, even took me for a dip in the ocean with her dogs. I felt as though she treated me like a friend, and that was very nice welcoming day.

The Green Life Volunteers program offers a variety of opportunities to experience life in different parts of the country as well as do work on many different projects, whatever your interests may be.

I chose the organic farming and sea turtle conservation. Life on the farm was incredible, but not for people who are squeamish about insects and animals. However, if you are looking to step out of your comfort zone and live in the heart of nature, be in awe of the beauty that surrounds you every morning and see what it is like to live simply, and with hard work, this is definitely a project you should consider. It was by far my most memorable experience to date. It is also a huge plus that my host mom is an amazing cook! The family is so kind and one of my favorite parts of being there was laying in the hammocks after dinner with everyone and talking, as we listened to the sounds of the insects and frogs in the the laguna.

The sea turtle project was really fun and a great way to meet volunteers from all over the world. Be prepared to walk at least 7 miles on the nightly patrols, along the beach. You should probably be in pretty decent physical condition before considering this project. I lost about 15lbs during my month in costa rica, and it felt great to get so much exercise! You will be served healthy meals and will eat in a family-like atmosphere with the rest of the volunteers. You will have a LOT of downtime to enjoy the beach or read, write, play music, SURF, whatever your interests are. A perfect mix of work & vacation. Keep in mind, that it's best to visit the project during "high" season for turtles. Unfortunately, during my 1 week stay in July, I did not see any turtles. Only a few tracks, with no nests... It's best to go in September- November. However, I do not regret my time at the project, because I met so many amazing people and truly had the time of my life.

I would definitely recommend Green Life volunteers to anyone and plan on returning again to try other projects or maybe the same ones. :)

Thank you, Janina for such a wonderful organization and experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Aug 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Humanity Foundation

I am a rising senior at a college in New York, United States, who is nearly finishing her volunteering time for the International Humanity Foundation in Bali, Indonesia.
At school, I am studying politics, with an international focus so traveling experiences are a huge supplement to my education. I decided to volunteer for IHF to learn more about the running of NGOs, live in a different part of the world, and contribute my time to the betterment of others.
IHF is an international NGO that has education centers (Indonesia) and children homes (Thailand, Kenya) where people can volunteer and donate money towards improving the lives of young ones in need. The IHF Bali location hosts activities and supplemental English, math and computer classes for locals in the neighboring areas. As a volunteer, I am awarded the opportunity to help teach these classes and host activities to have fun with the kids.
It has been an enjoyable experience to interact with so many sweet kids. Everyone in the community is so friendly, as it is impossible to walk past someone without expecting a greeting. I have learned that, despite cultural difference, the Indonesian children are very much similar to ones back in my country. Indonesian kids love to dance, sing, play around, and learn from volunteers, such as myself, and others of IHF. Overall, I feel that I have learned a lot from the experience and appreciate the chance to have lived in such a nice community in Bali.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Indonesia
Posted: Aug 3, 2015
Overall:
7
Support:
7
Value:
7

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