Volunteer Abroad

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

First of all, I had an amazing time in Cusco, Peru volunteering with IFRE. I volunteered at a small and local clinic, about 15 minutes by bus from my host family. I felt that in my two weeks I really learned a lot. The best part was my host family. You get place with other volunteers your age, which was nice. I love the host mom and felt at home. The Spanish class was amazing and taught by real professionals.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 30, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ was everything I imagined and more! It was affordable, organized, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The staff always answered any of my questions or concerns quickly, typically within the same day. They also made sure to provide volunteers with the adequate information needed to know before embarking on the trip. I highly recommend this experience for anyone who is interested in volunteering abroad. IVHQ allows volunteers to mix work and play. I am already planning my next trip with them!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Central America
Posted: Jan 26, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
9

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

IVHQ was everything I imagined and more! It was affordable, organized, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The staff always answered any of my questions or concerns quickly, typically within the same day. They also made sure to provide volunteers with the adequate information needed to know before embarking on the trip. I highly recommend this experience for anyone who is interested in volunteering abroad. IVHQ allows volunteers to mix work and play. I am already planning my next trip with them!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Central America
Posted: Jan 26, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
9

RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

I worked at orphanage for a week in Galle and stayed with Michael and his wife. The work was quite rewarding, with very sweet and playful children. The activities Michael arranged were also quite fun, I really felt like I saw Galle by the end of my week. The food Michael's wife prepared was amazing, and the accommodation was very comfortable. I would recommend this to do for a week to anyone backpacking through Sri Lanka.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Jan 26, 2018
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

My two weeks in Vietnam were absolutely phenomenal. Before I even embarked on my journey I felt like I was in good hands. The IVHQ company staff as well as the local staff in Vietnam were quick to respond to my emails and were extremely helpful and gave detailed useful responses to my questions. The accommodation that I stayed in was fantastic! There was always a security guard present (even thought the area itself was very safe) and at night a curfew was strictly enforced for everybody’s safety. We were all very fortunate to be staying there as we had both hot water and air conditioning, which are really quite a luxury in Vietnam! Breakfast and dinner at the accommodation were delicious and plentiful. Lunch was provided, however, it was typically served at the volunteer site.

The volunteer experience itself was very eye opening! The first week I did the medical project and the second week I taught English. I was able to help and contribute to these projects but in return I learned a lot myself and took away more from the projects than I could have even imagined. For anyone interested in volunteering with IVHQ, I recommend any of the projects. All of them are unique, yet so powerful/meaningful in their own way.

Lastly, I really enjoyed the first three days that were refereed to as “culture week.” The local team brought us to a few of the top tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minh City including the Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnant Museum and Ben Thahn Market. One of the days we got to experience a Vietnamese language class, cooking class, and we got to meet and interact with Vietnamese students. Having these few days in the beginning of the program provided me a great culture basis for the rest of my stay!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Vietnam
Posted: Jan 25, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

My 16 year old daughter went on the 14 day animal rescue program last summer. I was hesitant at first since she had never traveled alone. We then found out one of her teammates had done a trip the summer before and she and her mother spoke highly of the experience. I gave in. Jules had the most amazing experience. Everything from the service work, the cultural learning, and of course the friendships. The staff were attentive to the students and Jules expressed that she always felt safe. Jules is a vegetarian and had no problem eating on the trip. The blog posts that were supposed to be 2-3 times a week, were almost daily which was very helpful for a nervous parent. To be able to read and see pictures of what they were doing, how much fun they were having, and how happy everyone seemed eased my concerns. She would have stayed longer if she could have and is already signed up for the upcoming summer for trips to the Galapagos and Thailand.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Jan 24, 2018
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Original Volunteers

It was our first time doing anything like this so were a bit unsure when we first booked the trip. Me and my boyfriend stayed for two weeks doing building and sport coaching and me building and teaching with other volunteers at Sunrise school which we were told volunteers other years had built. The local team help you all the way during your stay, you’re never on your own, there were fifteen of us in the house for our first week and the housekeeper was so friendly and cooked us some meals. It is such an emotional experience and you want to cry at times because you can’t take the children home but it was never so upsetting that you couldn’t do your work as you are only there for a short time you need to do everything you can.
We could only do one weekend of tours because our last weekend we wanted to keep free to visit the coast on our own. The Mole safari trip and the rainforest were the two top trips nearly everyone did.
We were told to budget £5 - £12 a day, we spent about £10 - £12 a day but some volunteers spent less if they weren’t volunteering at the lake schools as most of this was just to get to the poor schools which were further away.
If we had known what a great trip it was going to be we would have definitely stayed longer. We made some great friends who we’re still in touch with. I definitely recommend anyone thinking about it to do it!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jan 24, 2018
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Original Volunteers

When I made the decision to volunteer in Ghana it felt like one of the biggest challenges of my life, especially at the age of 64. Supportive with their advice, the original volunteer home team encouraged me all the way and once I booked the flight there was no going back.

Right from the beginning it was a total cultural explosion, with sights, sounds and smells so different I was mesmerised from the outset. In particular I was struck by the elegance of the women, their straight backs, fantastic hair styles and the vibrancy of the dress designs and fabric. Being older I wasn’t sure how I would cope with interacting with the rest of the much younger (in some cases three times) group of volunteers. As much as age is a state of mind and attitude it still takes considerable resilience and a need to keep up momentum to thrive and survive, which to a degree I suppose is necessary for everyone. In the warm climate all of my general aches and pains disappeared which certainly helped me to be much more agile. Rather than worry about my personal feelings I tried to stay goal focused and concentrate on the purpose of why I was in Ghana, which was mainly to work on building projects – and the rest gradually fell into place.

Like everyone else I dipped in and out of conversations and through relaxing in the open air area each day, made some lovely young friends. Whenever they decided to play a game I always joined in and found that was one of the easier ways of breaking the ice and getting to know people. There were always trips out and one afternoon a group of us went to lake Volta for a boat ride and swim. I initially had no intention of going in the water and had not taken a swimming costume. With a bit of encouragement I ended up diving into the lake fully clothed, which I think surprised a few of the younger people. One evening everyone decided to visit the Premier Inn bar in MPraeso. With some trepidation I went along and wondered how I might survive the social scene. One of the locals invited me to copy his dance steps and that was it, I was up!!!

The building work was quite arduous, especially hand mixing the concrete in tropical conditions, but with lots of water breaks I was usually left feeling I had made a significant contribution each day. I had a go at actual plastering but usually managed to drop more on the floor than on the walls, though I am sure I would have improved with practice. On one particular day the project lead, aware that I was labouring asked if any of the villagers might be able to help. The next day I turned up for work to find a dozen buckets of already collected water, at least sixteen men and two masons. They worked vigorously and had an amazingly productive day. The camaraderie was hilarious and I was very humbled by that experience. Building was interspersed with a couple of days teaching. The children loved the volunteers and I usually found myself surrounded by enthusiastic affection, playing games and singing action songs. The volunteer groups fell into a daily routine of shopping for street food each day which provided an opportunity to try out different dishes, in particular my favourite, noodles and dried fish.

Six of us travelled to Cape Coast one weekend where we experienced the canopy walk and visited the slave castle. Even though it was a seven hour taxi drive, the whole weekend was completely relaxed and included two good meals and nights out at the Oasis beach bar.

An important part of the scheme was visiting remote jungle villages, a different one each week to engage with the residents, offer support, deliver supplies and hold a wound clinic. I was extremely nervous the night before my first visit, and had to talk myself up and tell myself I would be able to make a significant and confident contribution. Villagers however were very welcoming right from the start, especially the children and that usually broke the ice for me. My part in visits would be to distribute clothing to the women; quite stressful as it was difficult to achieve an even distribution but also deeply satisfying. I sometimes made a real connection with some of the women, despite the language barriers and would have liked to talk to them on a deeper level.

My volunteering experience started as a massive life challenge. Each day when faced with doing something new I carried out affirmations, telling myself I was going to be fine and could do it. Eventually the challenge peaked and there I was doing everything like it was every day and commonplace. So my message to anyone considering a visit to Ghana is ‘go ahead and do it’, especially if you are older. I am pretty sure you would not regret it and would find the experience both rewarding and life changing.

I am determined to stay connected in a number of ways to the project. For me this makes life more purposeful back at home and having visited I know that the resources, both materially and financially go direct to source and where they are most needed. It felt really good making a big decision later on in life. I hope to make a few more in the future, especially now I can look back and realise there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jan 24, 2018
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
10

Original Volunteers

This was my first time volunteering abroad and I would definitely recommend it. Everyone was very friendly and supportive thus ensuring you feel safe throughout the stay. I worked with some of the most amazing people who were so grateful for everything we could offer. The boys in the house with us would always offer support and became friends that we could rely on for help. The only fault is the lack of information given in England before you go over as more money is needed compared to the suggested amount on the website. I loved my time in Ghana and still have links. I plan to go back and complete further projects.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Jan 23, 2018
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
6

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

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