twice now in the last year I have used OV to volunteer abroad.. firstly last August I travelled alone to Morocco. Using the travel buddy list, I found a friend prior to departing to fly with, this was super useful as this was my first time travelling alone I felt a little more at ease. Three weeks was spent in the heart of Marrakech and it was amazing! The children that I got to share my experiences with literally made me smile every single day. The reward of spending time with children who have so little yet continue to smile, laugh and play with you as if they are your best friend was overwhelming. The organisation out there were great, however like anywhere, go with no expectations and put into it what you want to get out. Sessions ranged from feeding the street people, taking the street children swimming - which was amazing to see how much they appreciate a day in a pool! seven hours and they didn't get out once, and play time in orphanages. These are to name a few. I went in August so schools were closed! Overall, location wise morocco was a pleasure. The culture is so different compared to England, and I personally enjoyed that, getting lost in the Souks was a personal favourite. Also, staying in a traditional Riad was an experience, basic but you aren't there to stay in a five star hotel :) OV were brilliant overall with this trip, and i'm glad I picked this as my first volunteering experience.
I have just come back from 4 weeks in Thailand, choosing to teach English for two of the weeks to primary children. This was a difference from Morocco however I loved it! Again, the children were amazing and so willing to learn. Having them knowing little English made it a challenging task but something that was worth it in the end. Being able to organize your own lesson plans was a good as you could adapt it to your own knowledge and skills that you may already previously had. Even the teachers wanted you to help them learn English! This project tests your ability to be patient and persistent, but at the same time is so much fun! if you want to teach in the future it is brilliant for your confidence.
Overall, my two experiences of volunteering with OV have been priceless. I have gained some friends for life, memories that will last forever and more importantly been able to impact some of the most happy and amazing children I am yet to come across. If your thinking of doing, DO! you won't regret it :):)