Belize

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

Frontier

The trip and program were great. Caye Caulker is beautiful and the work we did (snorkel surveys, beach cleaning, fish identification, helping local organizations) felt valuable. I learned a lot both from the work and from absorbing the Caribbean atmosphere. The only major problem I had with Frontier was communication. Planning the trip and getting questions answered was difficult and I had to call and email many times just to get one answer. I didn't receive the packing list until the morning of my flight, so getting ready was stressful and confusing. Once I arrived in Belize and met the project leaders, everything fell into place and I had a great experience. I would definitely participate in another Frontier program if given the chance!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Mar 23, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Frontier

I had just completed my degree in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology and I decided to go to Belize to try and gain some field experience to improve my CV. And I'm so glad I did.. Belize has some really successful marine reserves and it was inspiring to see the contrast between reefs within the reserves and outside. I learnt how to survey fish, corals, seagrass and mangroves as well as getting experience teaching fish identification to the high school kids.

We did all this whilst living in at a camp on the northside of Island Caye Caulker, which is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. However, I feel like people should be warned it's no five star accommodation, in fact its not even a 1 star, as everyone sleeps in a hammock in a shed, your constantly being bitten by sandflies or mossies and there's no internet or running water. So you only get the internet around 2 or 3 times a week when everyone goes into town and you shower using a bucket full of rain water! But now I miss my hammock and I miss showering with rain water! Plus, from the camp pier I saw Bottlenose Dolphins swimming just 2m away from the pier, we would constantly spot the Southern Stingrays, Nurse Sharks and we even got to see the Spotted Eagle Rays jumping right out of the water. So if you can handle the sometimes overwhelming amount of bites then you'll get the opportunity to see some spectacular wildlife.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Feb 22, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

My experience with ABV at the orphanage was better than I ever could have expected. As a 17 year old who had never been off the continent, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into with my trip to Belize. As soon as I got there, I saw immediately how different everything was. It was a bit shocking at first, but I kept an open mind. The kids and other volunteers at first intimidated me, because many of them were a bit reserved and they all knew each other so well. Slowly, though, I began to get to know them. So many of them have such interesting stories and wonderful personalities. From the 5 year olds to the 16 year olds, I miss each one of them dearly. I consider those people my friends, and I think of them all the time and hope to return to them soon. I never thought I could get so attached to a group of 30 + children in a span of 10 days, but I was completely wrong. Leaving Belize was so sad for me, and I wish I could have stayed longer. I can't recommend the trip to the orphanage enough. You will fall in love with those kids and be so happy that you did.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Sep 25, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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