Latest Program Reviews

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University Studies Abroad Consortium

This program was very disorganized. From the moment I got there, nothing went smoothly. The housing office was slow to respond to questions and concerns, despite the fact that they expected quick responses. They also promised no student would be assigned to a housing arrangement without internet, which was a lie. They also did not place students in accommodations with Germans, in order to practice their German skills. It was also very hard to meet Germans. USAC students are kept separate from Germans and most other international students. We could apply for a language partner, but there was a very long waiting list, and some students did not even get a partner until then end of the semester. Some students were assigned partners that lived in other cities, so it was very hard to find times to meet. The language instructions goes very fast, and it is hard to absorb everything they try to teach you. The town was actually very nice though. It is a medieval town that was not destroyed during World War II.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Jan 31, 2010
Overall:
4
Support:
3
Value:
6

Global Crossroad

Global Crossroad facilitated both of my volunteering & internship programs in Nepal. The local team was very helpful in meeting my expectations and made it a very fulfilling experience. The accomodations at the hostel upon arrival was acceptable but could be better by providing wireless internet service and warm showers to adjust to the local conditions. The local coordinator was very attentive to my needs and responded quickly. I enjoyed the company of the host parents that was selected for both of the programs and I will return to Nepal in the near future.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Jan 30, 2010
Overall:
7
Support:
8
Value:
7

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ was amazing. At first I was a little leary about the program. Yet, when I arrives in Cusco someone was waiting for me. They were very organised with my arrival. During my time spent there I had a lot of independence but also, if I wanted I could have been provided for by the program. I liked having the ability to explore by myself. Another important factor is the the other volunteers, they were a big help. I would recommend this program to anyone!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 29, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Comments

Hi, I also am thinking of heading to Cusco this summer. But the lack of straightforward volunteer reviews I can find online scares me. I would love to get a more detailed version of your opinion and what you did there. My email is trudylei92@yahoo.com if you could help me out! Thank you so much!
Did you hear of positive experiences from conservation/environmental volunteers?
Hi, I'll be heading to Cuzco for the educating program, and i†'s my first time with International Volunteer HQ. I'm a little worried about how organized and safe the program is and was hoping you could give me a little more insight please. Would appreciate it a lot, thanks!

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

It truly was a life-changing experience. I saw things that I had never seen before by myself, which I felt was a big positive. It allowed me to be fully immersed in the culture, so that I was the only American or European around. I improved my language skills greatly (went from fairly good spanish speaker to nearly fluent) and developed close relationships with my coworkers and host family. Supervision was existent, but not omnipresent. I was emailed once or twice by an affiliate program in Guatemala. This is also contributed to being immersed in the culture. I almost felt as if I were a Guatemalan in the last few weeks of the program. For value, this program was amazing. Many of the other programs that I looked at costed three or four times the amount of the ELI program. This is a program for those who truly want an experience different from that of the Western world

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jan 28, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Comments

would you recommend using ELI to plan a volunteer trip, or would you go with an organized mission trip?

Global Vision International (GVI)

Going to a foreign land by myself where I spoke only a little of their native language was a terrifying idea. Perhaps thats why I wanted to do it so badly. There were three things that I wanted to do last summer: volunteer, travel, and meet new people. GVI met my criteria and provided me with opportunities far and beyond what I could have imagined. Like I said, going by myself to a new country was scary. I had my packets of information from GVI telling me what I was going to be doing, where I was staying, who I was staying with, but in reality, I didn't truly know until I experienced it first hand. From the time I was picked up at the airport to the time I was dropped back off there 4 weeks later I felt nothing but hospitality and kindness. Dom, Doreen and all the GVI staff go out on the limb to make sure you have everything you need. My host family welcomed me with open arms and provided me with food, a shower, a place to sleep, and above all else, love. I looked forward to mealtime not only for Angela's delicious and diverse foods, but also for her and Duilio's conversations. My Spanish was flawless, but it was enough for us to be able to get to know each other and talk about our two very different cultures. They are used to hosting volunteers who have little Spanish speaking skills and were very understanding when I could not think of the right word. One thing I really appreciated was them trying to help me improve my Spanish. They would speak slower so that I could understand and then correct me if I said or pronounced something wrong. This is just one of the many things I am grateful of Angela and Duilio for.
My first week in Guatemala I stayed in Antigua where I took Spanish everyday from 8am to 3pm. GVI has a close connection with a good Spanish School in Antigua and that is where all volunteers go for lessons. The lessons are one on one with a tutor. It was a very relaxed atmosphere where we sat outside at coffee tables, coffee and tea were provided and the tutors had a sense of humor that made learning fun. For that first week I had the evenings to do as I pleased and usually spent this time with other volunteers exploring Antigua. We discovered everything the market had to offer and spent some time there. It had just about everything you could think of including food, clothes, jewelry, cd's, etc. Most things were beautifully hand made and the costs were extremely reasonable, even before bartering if you choose to do so. Besides the market there are many other things to do in the area like local coffee and macademia nut farms. Some require a short ride on the chicken bus but I think that is something everyone should experience anyway, just be smart and go with a friend.
Every weekday morning all the GVI volunteers met at the same cafe before heading off to the schools or spanish class. Hearing about the schools in Itzapa and San Andres Jesus made me eager to get there and see everything for myself. When week two rolled around I was more than ready to get going. Even after a week of being in Guatemala, I felt yet again a sense of fear. It just hit me that I was going to be teaching my own class! Dom explained to me that he would teach the first few days or so until I felt comfortable enough to take over. As we I was going to be doing the first few days or so until gave me material to look through and he taught my class for the first few days while I observed and got to know the kids a little bit. Immediately upon my arrival in Itzapa I felt welcomed. Elena, a very active woman in the community, greeted all the new volunteers and she served us lunch everyday. I was showed around the school and then the kids finally started showing up. I had never met them before this but nonetheless, they ran up to me and gave me huge hugs! You just don't experience that in the U.S. I quickly learned how grateful all of them really are and it encourage me to do the same. I guess in a way, teaching them taught me more than I could have imagined.
My 4 weeks there went by extremely fast and it was very hard to say goodbye to my class, my host-family, and of course the other volunteers and friends I made along the way. I would recommend volunteering in Guatemala to anyone and I can only imagine that all of GVI's programs are just as amazing as those based in Guatemala. I will leave you with this quote, "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely," Rodin. If you want to do something, don't put it off, just go do it and don't hold back. Be open minded and don't take anything for granted. Talk to people, get to know them and learn their culture, it will only help you grow as a person. And help. Help those who do not have the same opportunities as you and show them kindness and care. You will get even more in return. That is the best advice I can give anyone.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jan 28, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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