I have used Original Volunteers on two occasions now to book projects to Thailand and Ghana and I highly recommend this company if you would like to be involved in volunteer projects.
For those who have concerns about what company to choose when volunteering, my honest opinion is that Original Volunteers offer rewarding experiences and are very good value for money in comparison to other companies out there.
Original Volunteers were very supportive in their pre-travel advice, communication with them was excellent and they have always been happy to answer my queries. Everything ran very smoothly from beginning to end on both trips.
Admittedly I was very nervous at first, I had never travelled alone before. Once out in Thailand an airport transfer was arranged and the accommodation hostel had a very friendly vibe. I was happy and settled from the very first evening, I met some wonderful people, both locals and other volunteers, and every day from then was a new adventure. The hostel helped to create a good rapport among the other like-minded volunteers. Meals at the accommodation cost from £1-4.
With regards to the teaching itself we had lots of resources to use, and as with any volunteer company you are expected to be able to think on your feet and use your initiative. After all, you are not there to be spoon fed, but to have a challenging experience. Throughout the trip our taxis to our volunteer placements were arranged for us, and we even had very affordable mini buses take us on weekends away and then drive us back! Generally we worked 4-5 days a week and then travelled on weekends.
The weekends included, boat trips, island hopping, a full moon party and plenty of time on the beach relaxing. My experience in Thailand was easily the best few weeks of my life and the following year I used the same company to volunteer in Ghana.
I expected a similar experience here and in regards to the company’s organisation and efficiency I received exactly that.
I was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members I called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given all the information we needed and we were given answers to all our questions. We spent the rest of the day being shown around the local area and gathering supplies, which mainly consisted of drinking water and snacks.
The next day is when the volunteering began; the days usually began with a meeting where we all discussed what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. I taught in a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. If you plan on teaching for your whole trip I’d recommend thinking of some lesson plans before hand and take any equipment you might need. Most of the schools have little or no equipment so taking stationery is a good idea.
For a weekend trip a bus was organised for us and we arrived at a small beachfront community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind. They organised beach parties to bars, live music, bonfires and nice food.
Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was a very thought provoking and educational trip. The next day we visited Kakum National Park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk, which was a 350m walkway suspended high in the trees.
In summary, I genuinely recommend Original Volunteers, they are affordable, supportive and very reliable. Working and traveling in a foreign country proves your ability to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks, and to adapt and confront new challenges. Thank you OV!