Latest Program Reviews

Over 300 Programs and more than 3,000 Reviews

Escuela Montalban

Nice small school, centrally located, with really helpful admin staff. Good teachers, fun lessons and a wide variety of ability levels. Good choice of extra-curricular activities on offer. A really good learning experience all round - would recommend to anyone looking to learn Spanish in Granada.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Spain
Posted: Apr 11, 2009
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

Frontier

I completed 2 projects with them. The communication between London and the field was really really bad. For example we were told to pay diving deposites in pounds by the london office, but when we arrived in the field they wanted them in dollars.
When I arrived in Livingstone, Zambia where I was meant to be met at the airport and transfered by frontier staff to Namibia no one was there. I was left at the airport with no idea where I was meant to go and ended up staying in a backpackers hostel for 3 days (which I had to pay for myself) before I heard from Frontier field staff (and only then because my parents in the UK were phoning their London office several times a day for me).
Most of the project cost money I paid didn't make it into the host contry - for the Fiji marine project we worked out as a volunteer group we had paid over £85k to be there and yet the project staff said the budget for our time there that they had been given from London HQ was only £5k. They claim to be non profit but effectivly they are not as they pay loads to another company (thats for profit) owned by the same people as Frontier for marketing services. See the facebook group: "Frontier Charity? No." for links to some websites questioning their status.
There were many other problems I experienced with them. Such as the compressor wasn't maintained and broke twice so we lost almost 2 weeks of diving as we couldn't fill the tanks.
DO NOT GO WITH THEM. There are far better organisations that run projects similar to frontier out there.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji, Namibia
Posted: Apr 10, 2009
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
0

Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

I volunteered at an orphanage for one month. There did seem to be some corruption within the African partner to GVN (ie volunteer money/donation not going to the orphanage). I loved the idea of living with a local family, unfortunately the family I stayed with was a more than just a little looney. But other volunteers did have a better experiences with that than I did. It also didn't help that I was rooming with a very negative American!
I also think that life is what you make of it and I do not regret the experience what so ever. I do want to volunteer abroad again. My experience in Kenya has helped me learn what I am looking for. And, for me it was good day if I made one of the kids at the orphanage smile.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Apr 9, 2009
Overall:
6
Support:
5
Value:
7

Global Crossroad

Global Crossroad is a terrible organization. I paid for a one-week language and culture session that I NEVER received. Yotam, the in-country coordinator is an absolute crook who does not pay the host family ANY money to house us. The children were precious and I I had an overall positive experience, but it was no thanks to GC. My host father made sure that the safari I signed up for actually took place, or that wouldn't have happened either. If you're looking to go volunteer with a great organization at HALF the price, go with International Volunteer Headquarters.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Kenya
Posted: Apr 8, 2009
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
3

Comments

Yotam was, and may still be, the ground coordinator for GC in Dar Es Salaam. I second the emotion behind this posting. I too was taken advantage of by Yotam Bonafice. He attempted to charge my friend and I an extra $10 (US) more a night for our first night's stay at the hostel in Dar. He also had my friend pay for all of the tickets to the National Museum because he didn't have the money.
Who is Yotam? when I was in Nairobi 2009 and Ian told me that he is working with Global Crossroad since 2006, I worked with Ian his wife Edith and Fredrick. I don't think you volunteered with Global Crossroad, please don't give wrong information. your information is flase and inaccurate

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Volunteered in Bangkok with CCS. Much more expensive than other similar companies, but they offer much more hand holding and have excellent orientation programs, so if this is new for you it may be worth the extra money. You are housed in a compound with other volunteers rather than staying with locals, although the staff are local.
I had two negative issues with the program. First, it didn't feel like we were really accomplishing anything. I was there two weeks and in that time was only scheduled to volunteer for 8 days out of 14, and only for about 2 1/2 hours a day. My placement was a day care that was well staffed and we were just sort of there. Once a day they would ask us to read a story to the kids, but that was about it. It felt more like we were the ones being baby sat. (Part of this was admittedly due to my limited time in country-- the more involved placements require longer stays.)
My second issue with the program was most of the volunteers seemed to be there more to experience the Bangkok scene than to actually do any volunteering good. Placements were frequently forsaken due to hangovers and late nights out. That fault is on the volunteers, not CCS, but it did kind of seem like the program was "dumbed down" and volunteering hours limited to accommodate other volunteers misplaced priorities.
All in all the program was very well organized, if maybe overly so, and the staff were great, but I left with a pretty empty and detached feeling. I had previously volunteered in Uganda for 2 weeks with Global Volunteer Network and, despite the similarly-limited time there, I left feeling much more connected with the people/culture and like I had made a difference with them (and they with me). With CCS I just left wondering why I had bothered. And considering that for my 2 week program GVN cost about $600 while CCS cost nearly $3000, it seems like I could have found better uses for my money.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Apr 7, 2009
Overall:
6
Support:
10
Value:
3

Comments

I went to Cartago and would not recommend this location at all!!! I don't know anything about San Carlos.
Not sure this will get a response since it's so after the fact, but the person who replied and who had a negative experience in Costa Rica, I'm wondering which location you went to. I'm considering going to San Carlos, and I don't want to feel like a prisoner who can't interact with the locals. Thanks!
I couldn't agree more. I went to Costa Rica and I felt that we were unable to be a part of the culture of the city and really know the people. We were forbidden to drink and if caught were sent home, so people were afraid to leave the home base, especially women on their own because of safety issues. I ended up leaving early, I am not 20 something anymore and I left my family at home for this experience and I was not expecting to sit in a homebase with other Americans and not see the real culture around me!!! This experience was NOT good and I would not recommend this program to anyone. It is much too expensive for what you get and I felt like a 12 year old in a military camp for my whole stay. If you are looking to travel and volunteer abroad and have fun at the same time I would not recommend this program.
Hi, I volunteered with CCS in India and thought it was well-run and organized. My assignment was to teach computers/teach english. The computer teaching didn't work out - you need english -- but teaching english was a gas. TheThe biggest drawback were the 20 something volunteers who provided a lot of "drama" and seemed to be more interested in shopping than volunteering. I am impressed by the program and am going back.
I had a similar experience with CCS in Thailand. The volunteers were always drunk or smoking pot. The staff was never really there....and I didn't do much of anything at my site. However, I volunteered with CCS in India which was the opposite! It was an amazing experience. The staff is amazing and I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile.

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