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Projects Abroad

I gained a lot of both knowledge and experience by volunteering with Projects Abroad. I was able to observe and sometimes assist doctors in a clinic, participate in workshops, and spend some time with other volunteers. I liked specifically about Projects Abroad that I was able to choose the dates I went there and came back. Not only do they have a plethora of programs to choose from, but you can choose a program that is focused on something specific. For example, I chose a program focused on medicine. I also liked that we did some sightseeing in the evenings and weekends. Although I picked a program focused on medicine, we did not just learn about medicine. I saw some tourist attractions and did fun activities with other volunteers.
The staff was very supportive of the volunteers. They helped us and explained everything as best they could. Also, the house I stayed in during my time in Peru was great. I was provided a clean, nice bedroom and bathroom with everything I need. A tasty and sufficient breakfast, lunch, and dinner were also provided everyday by my host family. The other volunteers in my program were very kind and I got along with them as soon as I met them. They have made the program more enjoyable. We still keep in touch.
All in all, volunteering abroad with Projects Abroad is a great way to go! I made unforgettable memories and got some once in a lifetime experiences.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Sep 3, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
9

Vina Volunteer Service

Volunteering at Mai Chau was an amazing experience for me. I joined the Vina Volunteer Services which led by a group of young people who are full of energy and passion. The registration process was informal. I was a bit concerned about the safety before my arrival. I realized my worry is unnecessary. Mr. Nam Nguyen greeted me at the airport who is friendly, thorough and very well managed. The plus is that he speaks English very well. He explained the projects and provided valuable information. We had a pleasant and friendly conversation.
The next day I was transposed to Mai Chau. I was stunned by the view as I stepped out from the bus. I was surrounded by the green (rice fields) the blue (sky) and the smoky mountains (fog). The view was breathtaking and colorful. It is the true beauty of nature.

Ms. Xuan, the host of this stilt house where I stayed during the volunteer was waiting for me. Her husband helped me to carry the luggage to my room. Ms. Xuan is such a friendly woman. She speaks very little English but she tried everything to make sure I was comfortable and had what I need. A lunch was already prepared for me. After a long ride, I had no appetite to eat but the welcoming from Ms. Xuan and her husband, plus the fragrant from rice, I just couldn’t resist.

My assignment was to teach English in Mai Chau Elementary school. I was a bit nervous on the first day. I have no background of teaching so didn’t know what to teach or how to start. The kids speak minimum English but they were energetic and adorable. I bought some art supplies from home and so decided to let them do some art works. The works came out impressive. Their ideas were about friendships and loves. Some wanted to express their loves to teachers, some wished their parents didn’t have to work too hard, and some prayed the friendship could be forever. I touch them English words during the exercise. I biked to the school every Morning. I enjoyed spending time with these kids and I hope they had a happy moment with me too.

During the stays, Ms. Xuan was kind enough to show me around the neighborhood and explain the daily works of the farmers. I find it is interesting of learning the culture and tradition from others. I witnessed an arranged marriage when I was there. The boy’s family wanted him to settle down with a marriage. The girl that they wanted for arrangement lives on the other side of the valley. The distance is about 2 hours ride motorcycle. So, that early Morning, the boy’s family, (myself) went to the girl’s family for offering a deal. Two older woman did the talking. One told, they were negotiating. After a long conversation, the family members walked out with smile. Both families had reached a happy deal. The girl who was just turned 18, prepared a big meal to all members. I congratulated her. She looked shy and said “Thank you” with her pretty smile. I wished the happy deal brought the happiness to the couple forever.

Throughout these activities, I definitely earned many memorable experiences and they have changed me in the positive way. I believe, big contribution is great but small contribution makes the difference. Although this organization is small, the experiences I gained are great and the tasks were more than volunteering. I wanted to thank Vina Volunteer Service for giving me this opportunity. I truly hope the beauty of Mai Chau, both nature and the people will soon be recognized by the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Sep 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I was sent out to the small town of Ewuaso to work alongside a modernized Masai family. I assisted with the herding of the cattle, along with many others. My main job while I was there, was to learn as much as I could about the Masai. Questions were answered in the form of one of the sons, who of which I worked with to herd the cattle. He taught me about the different Masai age groups among men, as well as the value of family and the cattle. The mother taught me about how many of the Masai are converting over from indigenous beliefs to Christianity, and how many of the women are dealing with emotional issues from the polygamy beliefs of the traditional Masai. It was a very interesting visit, and I learned a whole lot. I will be going back in the future.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Aug 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I arrived in Kenya and was immediately picked up to my satisfaction even though the airport pickup fee was a bit high. I made it to Kibera, near Nairobi, where I stayed for a night at the country coordinator, Barnabas' home. The country coordinator and everyone else was very welcoming and courteous and made me feel at home.
The next day, I was driven to Maasai land where I stayed with a host family for four weeks. I helped with the family jewelry business and I learned a lot about how to make keyrings, bracelets, bangles, and necklaces. I also learned a lot about the Maasai culture, customs, and clothing. I even learned some Swahili during my stay.
I was very sad to leave but I can say that this has been an experience that I'll never forget. I made lifetime friends and connections with people across the world. Helping others, I have discovered more about myself and the people of Kenya.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Aug 31, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Frontier

Having been to Mafia before I was apprehensive to come back. However seeing how the project has developed has been great. A much stronger collaboration with conservation organisations such as M.I.M.P and Sea Sense shows the lengths that people go to to ensure that Frontier contributes to the conservation of the environment.
Life on the Frontier camp is a good change compared to living at home, always being outside is a refreshing change compared to the average indoor lifestyle. Food on camp is varied and so tasty and is much needed after an active day diving.
The projects which are run cover a wide range of areas. The terrestrial and marine projects survey multiple sites across the island while the teaching program helps to teach English to the locals.
There is a great variety of dive sites which home a huge variety of wildlife which is a pleasure to see. Being able to collaborate with the Marine Park and go outside the bay to survey sites was a privilege, the change in habitat compared to the inner bay is good to see.
All of the staff be it Scientific or Teaching are all great at what they do, being an intern I was able to get to know all the people on camp really well and I've not met a group of nicer people and I'm going to be really sad to leave.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Aug 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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