Latest Program Reviews

Over 300 Programs and more than 3,000 Reviews

Cultural Embrace

I signed up with Cultural Embrace during the summer of 2008 for their work New Zealand program. I was told I would receive "Guaranteed Job Placement and Housing Assistance" when I paid them a US$665 fee. Being naieve, I paid it thinking they would deliver what they promised. That was not the case. I showed up in New Zealand and was told there was no Job Placement Guarantee, and to get a newspaper and start looking. They also strongly encourage the workers to get a cell phone, which is an astronomical cost. I ended up leaving the company and going off on my own. I have voiced all of my concern to the company, via Katy Larkin and Emlyn Lee, and she stands firm with her fist clenched around my money and her back turned to my dissatisfaction. I would not advise anyone to use them for working abroad services.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: New Zealand
Posted: Nov 30, 2008
Overall:
0
Support:
1
Value:
0

Comments

Cultural Embrace has been responding directly to the participant with the comments listed above, as well as through Better Business Bureau(which BBB dismissed this case), but I would like to take this opportunity to explain our Work in New Zealand program and services (for this participant and future candidates' sake). Firstly, CE's Work in NZ program is a Job Placement Assistance that offers our participants up to 12 months of offers and access to job center's in New Zealand. We have other programs and destinations that 'guarantee' job, teach, work, or volunteer placements, but assistance for NZ. Our Kiwi partners will help organize job leads, interviews, and contacts through on-line job databanks, and local listings. Although most of the positions available on this program are hospitality or non-technical skilled jobs, you are still required to act professionally during the application and interview process, and during the job duration. In regards to this "astronomical" cost for a local cell phone in NZ it is NZ$100 equivalent to US$60...which seems comparable or even cheaper to what US charges for a new mobile phone service. This participant mentioned in her BBB complaint that she did not receive the airport transfer service that CE offers, but it also the participant's responsibility to follow through with instructions. For example, this participant received the airport pick-up voucher in Cultural Embrace's pre-departure cultural kit. When our Coordinator, Katy, followed up before she left to see if she had any questions, this participant said she did not receive the voucher, so Katy sent her another one electronically (email). Right before her departure, she said she was having trouble and couldn't print the voucher, so Katy contacted CE's local partners to inform them that this participant would be arriving and to be prepared for her arrival without a voucher. Upon arrival to Auckland, New Zealand, this participant still misunderstood the airport pick-up procedures and contacted the emergency number that we gave to her in her pre-departure kit, and our local partners instructed her of where to find our airport shuttle “Airbus Express”. While this participant claims we are just ‘fist clenching’ her program fee of US$665, (which does not meet up to the time and energy that we (CE and our local partners in New Zealand, have spent to consult her)), we have met our services of what the Work New Zealand program entails. From our interpretation to the comments above, our partners in NZ offered her job leads and assistance (yes, that may include picking up the local paper and looking through the classified section!) but it is ultimately up to the employer to accept the applicant based on skills, experience, qualifications, attitude and interviews. I admit, it is getting more competitive out there with a global recession, which supports another reason why you should use a program provider, like Cultural Embrace. Candidates will need to step up to the plate, be sharp, and ready to take the world on (no pun attended). My advice for those that are looking for a job abroad: write a resume/cv that will stand out, interview well and put yourself in the hiring manager's shoe (why would he/she hire you over a local--someone that knows the local culture, and can work long term?) and follow through after your interview with the employer. An old school thank you note or email does make a difference, especially in the customer service industry. We hope our participants and future candidates understand that using a program provider, like Cultural Embrace, open doors and windows to make this world a smaller, friendlier, and more peaceful place. CE's goals are to alleviate the stress and anxieties before, during and after your time abroad. We want to pave a smoother road for you to explore your world and to guard your safety, health, and well-being. But you have to be realistic, because there will still be speedbumps and potholes throughout on your adventure...but isn't that the beauty of traveling?

Frontier

This seemed like the trip of a lifetime but Frontier were awful. The location and camp were great but the boats didn't work, we ran out of water and the staff members had to punt round to the next village (which took them about 4 hours) to get some, we ran out of fuel and only one of the compressors worked (to fill up the tanks to dive) and that broke down fairly often too. one of our huts was burnt down when people were in it. People got quite ill due to the poor nutrition as well. Once we returned to the mainland that was it too, no help, advice or support until you went home or carried on travelling. We were effectively abandonned at the harbour. I recommend travelling, just not with this company.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Nov 28, 2008
Overall:
2
Support:
3
Value:
3

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I volunteered with IVHQ in Cusco (I was one of their first volunteers there) and it was fun. It was really worthwile and the other volunteers and myself had a lot of fun. If yore thinking about it - DO IT!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Nov 25, 2008
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Comments

Hi, i am thinking about doing the cusco program as well..i am planning on traveling alone and was wondering if you found it to be a problem considering you have to fly to lima and then to cusco? also wondering about the living situations..any help would be great

Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

Many problems with food and we were constantly out of lunch and dinner supplies. The house adviser was clueless on how to run the house. Some rooms had mold problems and were not insulated so we were not able to keep warm at night. The project leader was uninspiring as was the work projects (raking and weeding). Not fully briefed on first day and did not live up to the website! I would recommend it if things change, however, at this point I would not.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: New Zealand
Posted: Nov 24, 2008
Overall:
5
Support:
8
Value:
4

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

For the record, I went to Tanzania recently and loved it. I know Daniel Radcliffe (the head of IVHQ) had just been back and the program was everything I expected and more. They had just done some major changes there and had completely new staff and a volunteer house... pretty cool. The orphanage I worked at was amazing and I would highly recommend this program to anyone. Some advice for abroadreviews.com Please try and add some sort of moderating function for this..... I didn't even have to add an email (or a name) and I'm guessing the other volunteers rubbishing IVHQ probably didn't even volunteer with them.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Nov 22, 2008
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Hi! I am currently planning a trip with IVHQ to Tanzania and I would love to hear more about your experience with them. If you don't mind getting in touch of course...

Pages