Volunteer Abroad

Involvement Volunteers International

Now that my volunteering program has ended, I find myself nine weeks later, with a dizzying array of thoughts running through my head – foremost, did I actually help?

Sarah, a friend and fellow volunteer I met during my experience in Fiji, recently wrote a fantastic blog post on her website, Enrichmentality (please go check it out!), discussing questions all volunteers really should ask themselves, prior to and during their service.

How can I help? Why I am I doing this? Am I really helping?

In truth, my past two months involved a variety of situations – from enriching, memorable, and deeply moving to just plain unpleasant. I’ll admit, there were moments I weeped for the pleasant chill of an air conditioner, consistent internet access, hot showers, and many other mundane first-world luxuries I’d taken for granted. There were numerous occasions I had to question my own integrity; times I had to let go of all conceit and give selflessly; other times I had to walk away from a despairing circumstance, escorted by the pain realising there was nothing I could do.

Did I help? Am I at all a better person than I was nine weeks ago?

Did I develop more contempt for the ants scurrying across the table than integrity for others, simply based on my longing for the world I came from?

I like to think my head’s in a significantly healthier place now than it was before travelling here, but this experience wasn’t entirely about me.

Elisabeth (USA)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Aug 5, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

Global Crossroad

I volunteered at three different locations: at an orphanage, a temple, and a preschool. At the orphanage, I had the opportunity to run around with a group of 3~5-year-olds. Even though they have very caring employees who live with the kids, I sensed that the kids were deprived of love. I felt this way on the first day I volunteered there—most of the kids asked for a hug in spite of the fact that we have just met for the first time. My interactions with the kids convinced me that the kids need as much attention and love as possible. I was fortunate enough to be able to give a small amount of attention and love, but I believe that each kid needs more care and love, which can only be provided by people.
At a temple, I taught English to monks of different ages. I faced some challenged since I did not speak sufficient Sinhala and they had different English fluency. My program coordinator asked me to mainly have some conversations with them in English, so that they can practice speaking. At first, they were shy, but eventually they started speaking to me in English. I would not say that it was the most productive English class, but I still cherish the time I spent with the monks.
Lastly, I also volunteered at a preschool. The kids there were very well-behaved. My job mainly consisted of playing with them and teaching them different colors in English. I do not remember any struggles with these kids. I had a very pleasant experience just interacting with them and communicating with the teachers.

What I described above is just a glimpse of my time in Sri Lanka. The more I immersed myself deeper into the Sinhala culture, the more meaningful experience I had. Also, words cannot possibly describe how kindly my host family, the Ferreira family, treated me over the course of my volunteering. My sincere and huge appreciation goes to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, the kids and teachers who allowed me to volunteer with them, and the warm Ferreira family.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Aug 4, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Involvement Volunteers International

Thanks heaps!
Highlights;
Working in a rural community and helping out the school and meeting some great people both local and other travellers.

Team, food and accommodation;
Everyone was friendly and helpful and they answered any questions that were asked. It was great to talk about the current project and the direction of where the school was heading.

The food was good, understanding it was a rural town there wasn’t too big of an expectation. All the food was tasty and filling.

The accommodation was perfect, clean and in a good area away from noise. It helped being with other respectful volunteers.

I think the program that is being run is good and keeps everyone busy, very happy with my time there.

Kind Regards

Jarrad Lawrence

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Aug 2, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

NGO Abroad

I found the team at NGO Abroad to be excellent - they were professional, and also patient and personable. They had a wealth of knowledge about various programs in various countries (and a wealth of patience with me while I chose) - and when I did choose, a wealth of knowledge about everything from necessary vaccinations, travelling, and what to expect from day to day life when I arrived.

I volunteered on a cervical cancer awareness-raising programme that was being newly implemented. My role was to develop and help deliver sensitisations in rural communities, with visual aids either hand-made by myself and other staff, or kindly shared with us by other local sexual health services. Later, my role also involved helping to arrange the provision of free screenings by visiting and speaking with other local organisations with the resources to provide this service. As all these activities are all funding-dependent, a portion of my role also involved helping to complete funding applications. At the time of my departure, the organisation was planning to continue conducting sensitisations, but the provision of more screenings to members of rural communities was on brief hiatus until more funding was available.

My host home was safe and welcoming, as of course were the staff at the NGO where I volunteered, who ensured I knew my way around, and checked in with me regularly to see that I was doing ok. I felt very well looked after,and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to lend my efforts to their work, and experience their beautiful country and culture.

I am hugely grateful to the team at NGO Abroad for providing such a personalised, thorough and affordable service, and for their patience and generosity of spirit. They will be my first port of call when I next intend to volunteer abroad. Thank you guys so much!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Jul 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Thank you. This was an amazing trip and probably the most rewarding experience of my life. I really enjoyed every aspect of it. Here is my feedback:

Highlights of the trip:

The cultural experience and being able to live with locals and having the opportunity to experience the local life style. I also really enjoyed my teaching project. My highlight was teaching my grade 6 class and being able to notice an improvement in their English during my 2 weeks. This really made me happy to see that I have made a difference.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

The coordinators at Green Lion were very friendly and always helpful if I needed help with something. Some of the coordinators’ English wasn’t that good but communicating with them was still no issue. The food was mostly at high standards. I enjoy Indonesian food so this was no problem for me, I only would have liked more choice for breakfast. The accommodation was overall good, the bedroom was cleaned regularly and the bathroom was in good condition.

Any improvements to help us be better:

Overall my whole experience was always reaching my expectations and I would not have changed anything. However, I there was an issue at the airport pick up as I was waiting for 5 hours until my driver arrived, even though the coordinators were there when I arrived, and they even told me to come at 2pm. That was not the best start for me but when I got to Lovina everything was fine.

I would also suggest that the coordinators should give more guidelines to the volunteers as others and I were sometimes lost. But in the end we always figured it out.

I hope this helps, I would again like to say that this was an amazing and mind-opening experience. I have learnt a lot from the locals, fellow volunteers and also the kids that I was teaching. I will never forget this and I am looking forward to volunteering again, perhaps in a different country next time.

Best regards,

Alicia Hartung

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Indonesia
Posted: Jul 29, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I had been hoping to volunteer for quite some time, but it took me ages to find a cheap program that accepted people under 18. Then I stumbled upon GC and I am really glad I did.
This has been one of the best life experiences I've had, the projects were amazing and fun, the host family was great( and they nade some really great food) and I learned so much.
My coordinator Jonathan was great and helpful as was my host family.
There was however an incident in which they tried to charge us more money than what us advertised, but the people at the main offices were glad to help and the issue was resolved.
I would really recommend this because the projects are incredible and GC is totally legit. Also volunteering is probably the best thing anyone could ever do.Getting to experience a different way of life and help out, makes you a better person in more ways than one. I had the best time and everything was awesome!!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jul 28, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
9

RCDP Nepal

My experience with RCDP was very good. Hom answered all the questions I had beforehand by email and when there was a problem with the payment he quickly offered a solution. The organization is also very flexible. I could easily cancel my airport pick-up. The school was an interesting place to work in and the principal, the teachers and the students made my feel very welcome. I could to work that was meaningful and which I felt comfortable with (not to demanding). The hostfamily treated me as one of their familymembers and the were nicer than I could have imagined.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Jul 28, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

This is from Brian and I as we both have very similar thoughts on our experience

Highlights of the trip:

The highlights of our trip was getting to know the workers and the children at the orphanage, we both felt privileged to be welcomed into their home and learn about their lives. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, which is such a change from Sydney. We loved the fact that this trip allowed us to experience Fiji and disconnect from our lives back home. We both miss Fiji and look forward to coming back in the near future for sure and volunteering more!

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

Food and accommodation was great! We both were so grateful to be looked after so well and felt like we were extremely welcome. Brian especially loved the food and culture of the family, as being born and raised in Kenya; it felt a lot like home for him. Accommodation was super clean and tidy as well which we appreciated!

Any improvements to help us be better:

Nope – we are thankful for the experience. Thank you!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 28, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

VOLUNTEER NUTRITION AND PUBLIC HEALTH, FIJI

“From the moment you arrive in Fiji you will be struck by the natural beauty of the islands but equally moved by the genuine and kind-hearted Fijian people”…. these were the first couple of lines in my tourist guide and before landing I didn’t fully understand the meaning of these words.

Today, after the weeks spent with my host family and at the Health Centre, I realized that what makes this place so special are the people who live here. The Health Team was very welcoming and the way they take care of patients and volunteers made me feel like at home.

I didn`t have any expectation from this experience because it was my first time as a volunteer involved in a nutrition, dietetic and public health programme. I can definitely say it was a great experience, both culturally and professionally, and It has been incredibly exciting to help the local team to make a difference in the Fijian community.

I had different work experiences, but this was the most challenging one because I was not used to the environment and the different people`s mindset. Nevertheless, I helped with dietetic one on one consultations during the NCD`s and the Maternal Child Health clinics and I felt like I really could make a difference at the grass root level with the locals, many of whom struggle with diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. I also had a lot of fun delivering health talks in schools and helping the CCOHSI team during their interesting activities for the community.

Vinaka to everyone, for this amazing work experience and for making me more conscious of what I want to do in the future.

Veronica, March 2017

I found the program by searching nutrition programs in google https://www.volunteering.org.au/volunteer-abroad/nutrition-programs/

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 28, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Frontier

I have had the best four weeks of my life. The Frontier staff made me feel so welcome from the start. I enjoyed staying in the homestay and felt like part of the family. On my project I got to meet some inspirational people, travel to an island and improve my journalism skills. I would recommend Frontier to all my friends and am thinking of doing another project next year. I have not got a negative thing to say about my experience and I am sad to be leaving. The project exceeded all my expectations. At the weekends we got to travel to many different places and I have made memories I will never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 27, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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