Belize

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

This past summer I participated in Global Leadership Adventures Belize: The Initiative for Children. I had THE most amazing and life-changing experience of my life. The staff is amazing and very well-qualified/equipped to deal with any situation or emergency (should one even arise at all). The best part about this experience is that it is a totally authentic and service-oriented approach to exploring new cultures. On my particular trip we went to a poetry night a few villages over from home base, snorkeled around Tobacco Caye, and explored ancient Maya ruins.These direct and genuine interactions with Belizean culture are what sets GLA apart. Further, the service we participated in is beneficial to all involved. We got to teach the local youth English, paint their playground, and encourage them to reach their full potential. Even more, though, the service we completed changed our lives equally, if not more so, by opening our eyes to poverty, the privilege of public education, and social justice.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Oct 13, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

I spent three weeks this summer in Belize with Global Leadership Adventures and even though I had spent the summer before in Guatemala, also with GLA, this trip was one of the most amazingly scary things I’ve ever done. Not only being without family but being surrounded with strangers in a whole new country is stressful to say the least, and as should be expected, had a slightly rocky beginning, with lost bags and awkward hellos, but once we reached the Tropical Education Center, which would be our home for the next three weeks, things settled down. We played a few “get to know you” games, nothing like the boring icebreakers I was used to from past summers, and got a tour of home base, and as we did this I started to get to know the other girls I was there with.
The food was always great at the TEC, they had wonderful gluten free options and always something without red meat for me.
Our first day at the school was easy, we split into groups and organized our classrooms, children occasionally stopping in to say hello, four little girls gathered by the fence that separated their yard from the school, telling us how excited they were for tomorrow.
When we did get to the school on our first day teaching, kids were there waiting for us, happy and willing to learn. The kids I taught all spoke very good english, some were better spellers than me. My fellow teachers and I made lesson plans every night after dinner, a quick job once you get it down, we also always had a few back up games incase the kids were especially energetic. We did have a few problems with fighting, teasing, and bullying, and the kids sometimes tried to sneak out when they thought we weren’t looking but all in all they were well behaved.
The day trips we went on we always interesting, though some more than others, I would have to say our trip to the ATM caves was my favorite, but that is only available on the three week program. On the last few days we took a trip to Caye Caulker, a two mile wide island just off the coast without cars, the locals having bicycles and tricked out golf carts instead. We stayed at a pretty nice hotel with AC right by the sea, explored the island, shopped a little, and spent the whole next day snorkeling from which I earned a nasty sunburn, but it was definitely worth the pain.
All in all it was a great trip with amazing mentors, the kids were hilarious, and the other girls on the trip with me were some of the sweetest, most down to earth people I’ve ever met.
If I were to suggest a summer program I wouldn’t hesitate to say this one.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Oct 13, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My experience with Projects Abroad in San Pedro was overall amazing. I learned so much and had such an impactful time, especially living with my host family. This was one of the best parts of the trip. Learning all about my host family, their traditions and culture was so unique and made my trip so special. I loved getting to know them and they really became a key component of my time on the island. I was in the public health placement and the staff were overall pretty accommodating. Sometimes things were not done in the most efficient way, however it was a busy time with lots of volunteers and the staff is quite small. In my placement I got to assist in mobile clinics and start a community garden. Things on the island tend to be a little slower than I am used to at home, which made certain situations become frustrating, however you learn to cope with “island time.” Getting things done was not always the easiest even though all of the volunteers were very motivated. It was sometimes difficult to get the staff to let us move forward with certain projects, however we did manage to do it. I was there for a month which I think was the perfect amount of time. It takes about a week to get settled and learn everything about your placement, then you are ready to go and jump into everything for a good 3 weeks. This also allows for a good amount of weekends to explore the island and do some fun trips while you are there too. I had an amazing time learning and living in San Pedro and I would recommend taking this opportunity as the community there is so inspiring and I learned so much living amongst the incredible people of the island.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Jul 25, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
8

Projects Abroad

Despite the amazing reviews from other volunteers of Projects Abroad, I am devastated to say I have a really horrible one. I was recommended by a friend about this volunteer agent and similar like others, I was expecting a good experience with them. I am a 16 years old international student from Indonesia who lives in New York which means my parents are not in USA and in fact, I live in my school’s dorm. To fill in my 3 months summer break, I decided to enroll for a summer volunteer program and had done enough research about Projects Abroad. I was in contact with their staff named Laura before I enroll and I was told that she resigned. I called the central number to ask questions about the requirements of the project and was told to call directly the Belize embassy about the visa. The Belize embassy told me that I will not need visa to enter Belize as I have a US student visa (F4). Projects Abroad told me that everything was set and I was ready to enroll. On June 15th 2017, after nearly 4 months asking questions about the project, I finally enrolled to the Community and Conservation project in Belize. It was kind of last minute but I have it all prepared before the project started on June 19th 2017. I was in contact with the volunteer advisor, Carlos Orozco, who will prepare me for my departure on the 19th. He was the one who told me the requirements and the packing list as well as the one who connected me with the Projects Abroad Travel Team about my flight arrangements. I was planned to depart on the 18th using United Airlines from New York LaGuardia to Houston and get a connecting flight to Belize and then to Placencia. I have prepared everything and packed everything needed for my project (this means all the legal documents and the materials that Projects Abroad told me) before I departed. Projects Abroad emailed me the e-tickets and itinerary and also mentioned that I will ONLY need a copy of my passport and the copy of the e-ticket in order to board the airplane and that someone will be outside the airport in Belize when I arrived. They told me that they already have many underage volunteers like me beforehand and everything went well. I went to the airport at 3 am in the morning and was NOT allowed to check in and board by United Airlines because I was missing a NOTARIZED PARENT CONSENT (notarized not electrically signed) which is required by the Belize government in order for a minor like me to travel. I was surprised and confused as PROJECTS ABROAD DIDN’T TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT THE NOTARIZED LEGAL CONSENT. I called the emergency number of projects abroad immediately and a staff told me to wait as she will contact the center which is still closed because it was still 3 am in the morning. I had to wait in the airport for 4 hours alone and NONE of the projects abroad staffs called me. The emergency staff told me that she will try to change my flights and move me to another project which is Mexico or Argentina which my father didn’t allow me because I was left alone at that time. Projects abroad said that they never had this issue beforehand and they will try to have a meeting with the immigration of Belize as they didn’t know anything about the notarized legal consent which is a regulation that Belize government made. However, what I really disappointed in is they HAVENT CONTACTED ME UNTIL NOW. Carlos Orozco, the volunteer advisor contacted me so often before, demand me for the full payment however after the problem arose, he never contacted me NOT EVEN ONCE. My brother also emailed him (Carlos), the center email (info@projectsabroad), and the travel team however, NONE of them replied. My father had to call all the way from Indonesia to Mexico and UK to speak with the CEO as none of the staffs contacted me. I am very disappointed in how they work. They are, indeed, a big agent however this shouldn’t make them feel less responsible of this matter. For other volunteers who want to enroll with them, please be aware.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Jun 24, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Projects Abroad

My experience with Projects Abroad in San Pedro, Belize as a part of their public health placement was nothing short of extraordinary. I met wonderful people, both affiliated with the organization and the locals that I worked with in the community. Projects Abroad prides itself on supportive staff, and I can say that this is one of the strengths of the organization, as I knew that any issue or concern that I had would be solved as soon as possible. I was also extremely satisfied with the nature of my work - Projects Abroad was very up front about the tasks that I would be completing, and these tasks were followed and completed upon my arrival. Additionally, the host family Projects Abroad paired me with was so accommodating and generous. Perhaps the best part of this organization, and what certainly drew me to it, was the concept of having flexible dates. As a college student with a busy schedule, I was able to pick dates that fit my schedule, and quickly transitioned to my placement. I highly recommend traveling and volunteering with Projects Abroad!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Jun 12, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
7

Frontier

Had a great time in Belize. It's a really chilled country and the project was lots of fun. We did surveying most week days, and saw plenty of marine life, including manatees - twice!
I'd definitely recommend the project, it's on a beautiful location and don't think I would have got to appreciate an island like Caye Caulker if I wasn't doing something like this.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Jun 28, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Overall, I would recommend this program for college students looking to give back over spring break. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, explore a new country and give back to the less fortunate. The staff was very welcoming and helped me adjust very well to this new culture. I was situated in an apartment with my roommate who I requested to be with. The apartment was just what we needed, nothing luxurious. I think that that made the experience that much better. The food was amazing, it was fun to taste all the different food of Belize. We were taken to all different restaurants on the island. The work that we did there with the local preschool was very fun. We were able to interact with the kids and we were also able to paint a mural on one of the outside walls of the preschool. Another day we worked at a food bank and walked dogs from a local shelter. We also had free time, we were allowed to explore the island or just rest. it was the perfect balance between work and downtime. If you are interested in an alternative spring break, go through Projects Abroad!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Apr 13, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I had a fantastic time on Frontier’s project in Belize. I quickly got used to the simple lifestyle and laid back attitudes of everyone on the island and really enjoyed learning so much about the marine environment. I loved being able to put this knowledge to good use when I was diving and snorkelling on the reef. I would definitely recommend this project to anyone who is thinking about it, I just wish I had been able to stay for longer than two weeks!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Apr 4, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

This experience in Belize was truly unlike anything I have experienced before. I think I will be unpacking everything that happened while I was here for some time to come. I didn't know what to expect before I came here, so I was continually amazed by all that I experienced. The kids were so loving and open to us. The culture is so much stronger and more apparent in everything that is done.
I knew it was going to be hot but it was hotter and more humid than I was expecting so I would definitely recommend bringing lots of shorts and maybe a few tank tops. I would also liked to have stayed for a few days longer so that I could have more time volunteering and also get to experience some of the culture and tourism outside of the orphanage. That said, I would recommend taking any opportunity to experience another part of Belize while you're here so that you can get a fuller appreciation of the culture as a whole.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Feb 18, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had a great experience volunteering at the orphanage in Belize. I wanted to volunteer at an orphanage to gain a broader perspective of the world, learn about people less fortunate than me, give back to those in need, to get in touch with my feelings, to bond in a strenuous environment with friends, and overall, to connect to and mentor children.
I learned that there are children and people way less fortunate than me that couldn’t be more happy to be alive. Spending time with the kids dancing, playing games, and helping with homework made me really feel like I was making a difference. I laughed a lot with my friends about the things that we sacrificed on the trip. We had no choice but to ‘suck it up’ and deal with the lack of air conditioning, the slim food options, and the limited resources we had. We had fun with it.
Lastly, many times throughout the week, I found myself getting emotional around the kids. I had feelings of appreciation when they were happy with a fun and simple ice cream party. I had feelings of sadness and hurt when I thought about the kids ever being in an environment of abuse and neglect. I had feelings of guilt when I craved air conditioning. Mostly, I had feelings of happiness, love, joy, and cheerfulness when I witnessed the kids smile, laugh, and play.
I enjoyed my experience volunteering at the orphanage. I will miss the kids when we leave, and hope to keep in touch, and possibly come back to see them one day.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Nov 10, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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