Volunteer Abroad

Reach Out Volunteers

PLEASE NOTE: The activities listed in my review could be subject to change. They are included just to give you an understanding of what you could be doing. Thanks!

I volunteered with Reach out Volunteers in Cambodia during December 2017. I did the program Essential Cambodia and Elephants which is a two week program based out of Siem Reap, Cambodia. During this time you volunteer in a local village (I did Chonlorng Village which is on the outskirts of Siem Reap) in my first week. During the second week we volunteered at Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary helping to care for elephants and other animals there.

The first thing I would say about my experience is that it was incredible and I had the best time. It was my first volunteer abroad trip and I must say I am incredibly pleased with the experience and I really feel like you are contributing positively to the local community. I went to Cambodia for the elephants but I came away with a deep appreciation for Cambodia, the people, the culture and a deep respect for the country that I didn't previously have before.

The first week: Volunteering in Chonlorng Village

During my first week we volunteered at a local school started by ROV in January 2017. At that time they had 50 students and now in January 2018 they have 215 kids and counting. All of the classrooms and school facilities have been built by local villagers and ROV volunteers. One aspect I really enjoyed was the fact that on the construction projects the main people in charge are the local villagers helping to provide employment for them. As a volunteer your main job is to assist them.

During my time we started the construction of a jungle gym for the kids. Our week included mixing concrete, chiseling, sanding, nailing the gym together, digging holes and just general construction. Also during our time we were given the opportunity to help teach the kids. At the school they primarily teach English to the children. In Cambodia to have a good financial future it is essential you can speak English. I discovered a new found love for helping teach kids that didn't previously exist. These kids are some of the most studious, thoughtful and engaging kids I have ever met.

The local teachers in charge are local villagers and you are their assistant although they do leave you to teach the kids by yourself or with another volunteer. One thing I really liked is that your program fee pays the local teachers, buys the building materials, pays local villagers to cook you and other volunteers lunch.

At the end of the week you say goodbye and can choose to make a donation to the school (school supplies are mainly what they require and schoolbooks). It is also easy enough to buy school supplies in Siem Reap so if you don't have anything prior to going, don't stress I was in the same boat.

One thing to know with ROV is that construction is a large part of any program in Cambodia. If teaching is more up your alley I would recommend picking the four week teaching course with them. There was a girl in our group who did that and she absolutely loved it.

The Second Week: Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

We spent our second week (monday-friday) at the sanctuary where we helped dig elephant holes, clean enclosures, garden, help with building the local dams, getting food for the elephants from the forest, preparing the food for elephants, visiting the monkey sanctuary, free rein with the rescued dogs and the two big highlights of feeding the elephants and going on a forest walk with them!

While your interaction with elephants is limited I think it was actually really good because it meant that these elephants really could focus on what's important- relearning wild behaviors after the horror's they have been through. I would also really recommend the staff at the sanctuary they were phenomenal and really helped make the experience incredible.

Pros:

-The in country support and my team leader were sensational and I couldn't have asked for better. My team leader was the best, he was on hand to provide support when required but wasn't overbearing. Best of all he was constantly upbeat and caring.
-They are a non profit
-Meals three times a day even on weekends with a $5 limit. In Cambodia that limit is generous and you can get amazing meals from $1.50 US, it just depends on what you choose to eat, western food is significantly more expensive.
-Airport transfer to and from and all accommodation included in really nice places.
-Good, friendly communication with the main office prior to your program beginning should you have any questions.
-There are some really awesome add ons
-You get the chance to go to Angkor Wat, the Cambodian Circus and a couple of other things all included in your program fee prior to going which is awesome.
-A lot of local people are employed by ROV through being the main people in charge, the local Tuk Tuk drivers that we use everyday, the teachers at the school, team leaders who are local Cambodians, the people who cook you food. It really is reaching out and not just helping the young children at school.
-You have a decent amount of free time in the evenings to browse the markets, go out in the nights and experience the nightlife etc. The markets in Siem Reap are also really interesting and a must do!
-You can add on other programs as well easily which is great.

I'm sure I probably missed a couple of things but these are the main things I could think of!

Cons:
-Compared to a lot of other programs with other organizations they are quite expensive.
-The communication about your team leader could be a little better prior to the program beginning (I am unsure perhaps if because I changed my date, I may have missed something).

RECOMMEND?
Absolutely I would recommend ROV despite their price and I look forward to volunteering with them further. I hope in the future they add even more programs because that would be sensational! Volunteer with ROV you won't regret it!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jan 16, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Hello, my daughter went on the Costa Rica beach side service adventure trip. Initially, my wife and I were really worried sending her to a foreign country alone. I can honestly say I was very pleased with the way GLA handled everything. I needed to get in contact with her on the trip and they quickly got her to a phone. I felt very confident in the GLA staff and program. I am so excited for her to be going on her next trip this Spring to the Dominican Republic. Thank you GLA!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Jan 15, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Globalteer

Globalteer placed me in the Trailblazer Clean Water Project. Very good, very worthwhile.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jan 13, 2018
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

While taking a winter off of work, I traveled from Canada to Sri Lanka and became connected with Michael Ferreira, the volunteer coordinator for RCDP International. Michael and his family have a lovely home with an ocean view in the small southern city of Galle, where I lived at very affordable rates for three weeks. The family was kind, friendly, and incredibly helpful and the food (3 meals a day) was amazing.
During my time in Galle, Michael helped to facilitate two projects for me to work at: one; teaching young monks English, and another helping at a local orphanage. Both projects were well organized, and Michael did his best to give me an orientation and also answered many questions I had in regards to cultural understanding, and the general structure of the programs and organizations I was working within. When I told Michael I wanted to contribute in a more sustainable way, he supported me in starting an international fundraiser and went above and beyond in providing me with the information I needed to be successful in the fundraising. With his help and the support of my international community, enough money was raised the orphanage was able to build two new classrooms to encourage a better learning environment for children. At the monastery, the young monks were gifted a brand new laptop to share and use to further their education. I really would not have been able to make any of this happen without Michael's help to contract, and purchase the services and goods.
My entire experience was wonderful. I have infinite thanks for the people I have worked with: staff and children alike, and for Michael and his family for enabling me to have this experience.
I would highly recommend these programs for anyone called to this work.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Jan 13, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Green Life Volunteers

We were thrilled with our family vacation to a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica, coordinated by GLV. The employees and volunteers at the project were welcoming and kind people. The food prepared by Maricela was healthy, delicious and vegetarian friendly. Also very local – there were papaya and plantain trees abundant in the yard!

The work with the sea turtles was life-changing for our whole family. It was an honour to help these soulful creatures. Spending so much time on these remote beaches, far removed from technology and light pollution, we felt a pure connection to nature. Also watching our son absorb a different culture and become friends with the local children who didn’t speak English was beautiful to witness.

Just be prepared for a lot of walking over different terrains – rocky hills, wet beaches, dirt roads. We literally wore out several pairs of shoes so make sure you bring high quality, comfortable footwear. We will definitely be doing a project like this again in the near future!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Jan 12, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Original Volunteers

Morocco was my second volunteering trip with OV as I had had such a great time in Ghana on my first trip. The team in the UK were really helpful and professional in helping me arrange my trip. I was collected at the airport by a really nice and helpful taxi driver and the transfer was really smooth and worked out well. He walked me personally to the volunteer house which was clean and welcoming and had all of the facilities outlined on the website. The OV team in Morocco were very kind and helpful and welcoming and were always available to help with anything. They were able to tailor the support they offered to the individual volunteers so that everyone felt looked after.

The activities were brilliant, really rewarding and made great use of the time that we had available. We played and learned with children in the schools and orphanage, painted a mural on a wall in a school and fed the homeless, among other things. The group of volunteers was very diverse but we all got on brilliantly and encouraged each other to explore and learn. The volunteer house is very well set out with separate social areas to support large and small groups. The kitchen is quite basic but provided everything we needed. The shared bedrooms rooms are large and airy and clean.

We had enough free time to explore the town and the OV team were always available by phone if we were out and needed them. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone of any age with an adventurous spirit who really wants to engage with local culture and to try to give something back. I think this is suitable for younger and less experienced volunteers as the OV team provide such fantastic support. The experience was so good that I'm currently booking two more trips with OV next year. Thank you again, OV!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Morocco
Posted: Jan 12, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

WOW! What an amazing experience that i will never cease to forget. I was apart of Projects Abroad's; High School Project in Cambodia that started on the 10th of December and unfortunately came to an end on the 23rd of December.

I had once in a lifetime experiences over there that i could never get anywhere else and nothing will ever compare to it! I had made friends I will be in contact and we are actually all planning to meet up at the end of this year! Never would i have ever thought that something like this could create the friendships it did.

So why was my project so good? People ask and i give them the answer of well; I was surrounded by people of the same age, value, beliefs and goals. Not only was our trip full of volunteering which was so rewarding we helped to refurbish two kindergartens but we, were also tourists at the same time, we explored many local attractions and traveled all the way to Siem Reap to have a tour of the magnificent temples. So not only were we doing something rewarding we were also learning about the culture and history of Cambodia.

I would fully recommend this company to any teenager looking to give back to a community, make lifetime friends, but are also looking to learn about a new culture and country

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jan 12, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Having spent the last couple of months on this project I can honestly say it has been one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. The location of the project is fantastic, a remote Fijian Island covered in rainforest and surrounded by beautiful beaches and mangrove forests, the chance to mix with the locals and get a real feel for Fijian culture. The camp life is basic but is a welcome relief from city life and is what traveling and project work like this is all about. Getting to eat local food direct from the land was fantastic and being able to cook as a group was great and a real bonding activity. The people you live with on this camp become your best friends and you get to experience so much together.

The project itself if fantastic, the team are working really hard to survey the reefs in the area to see how healthy they are and are working with loads of important scientists and the local community to actually put their findings to good use. Diving on the reefs and helping to collect this data was so rewarding, knowing you're contributing to such a great cause. The actual diving was amazing, the water is so clear, the coral was so colourful and covered the sea floor and the fish were out of this world, 1000's of them, all different colours, shapes and sizes! Learning to dive in on the project was great and I cant wait to carry it on when I get back home. We also saw many sharks and even a turtle on the project and got the chance to collect data to help in their conservation, the great Fiji shark count was also going on while I was there and our sightings of the sharks were going towards this project as well.

I can't recommend this project enough and look forward to coming back again soon! If you want to experience real Fijian culture, dive some of the mot amazing sites in Fiji, make friends for life and contribute to a project that is really helping marine life and the environment then you should chose this one!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 10, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

This past summer, I traveled 7,515 miles from New Jersey, USA to Tanzania, Africa, all thanks to Global Leadership Adventures (GLA). Truthfully, words could never even adequately describe the experience I had. Before leaving, of course I was nervous, and also skeptical of all of the GLA Alumni I had seen raving, saying things such as "experience of a lifetime" or "life changing". Boy, was I off! It definitely is the type of thing that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand. However, I hope that in seeing my love and passion for the program, along with thousands of other teens from all around the world, that you too will be inspired to give it a go!
On the Tanzania 14 day program, you get to teach at a primary school for one week, complete 30 hours of service (doing some type of refurbishment on the school), spend a day with a host family, explore local markets, villages and communities, spend time at an orphanage, hike the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and even swim in it, tour a coffee farm, dance with locals, create traditional African art, embark on a two day safari trip (ABSOLUTELY AMAZING), try new and exotic yummy food, and SO MUCH MORE! Additionally, you make real, deep, meaningful connections with like-minded teenagers who will absolutely, positively be some life long friends of yours! Most importantly though, you learn about yourself! Whoever you are and wherever you came from, you are guaranteed to be enlightened, awakened and have an entirely new perspective on the world at large once your time is up! (My advice would be to even go for the 21 day program- 14 days are enough, but they fly!) Take a chance, take a risk and go for it! You will NOT regret it! There is no price tag that can be put on this experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Jan 10, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Visiting Nepal under the Projects Abroad's High School Special's Medicine Project has proven to be one of the best experiences I have had. The accomodation at Hotel Global in Chitwan, and Hotel Prince in Kathmandu were all very comfortable, with easy access to bottled water. The staff at both hotels were incredibly helpful and friendly, and were all receptive to feedback. The food at Hotel Prince and Global catered for the dietary requirements of volunteers and always ensured a variety of both Nepalese and Western Food. Hot water when showering made my stay at Global and at the Prince more enjoyable.

Projects Abroad ensured that the volunteers got to experience Nepalese culture by attending a dance class, and they organised for a staff teach us basic Nepalese phrases to ensured we had better communication with the locals and during placements. The staff members at Project Abroad implemented many team building exercises and icebreaker games to allow for all volunteers to interact with one another, and they always ensured to take our feedback on board by doing daily breakdowns and reflections.

The staff at Projects Abroad also ensured that we had the freedom and choice to tour around the markets and side streets in Chitwan and in the tourist area near the Hotel Prince, and were helpful in allowing us to exchange our foreign currencies into Nepalese Rupees at the best local rate. The Project was a good balance of working in local hospitals to exploring the local areas as well as ensuring sufficient time to relax and bond in the evenings.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Jan 9, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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