Volunteer Abroad

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

This past summer, I went to Costa Rica with Global Leadership Adventures. My program was called Beachside Service Adventure and consisted of 10 days in Parrita. There were about 60 people in my group (mostly girls only like 10 boys) and we were split up into mentor groups of like 8-10 ish.

M y group worked with a startup plant nursery which was amazing. We worked with two locals, Nicholas and Mau who's nursery it was, and spent our service time basically hardcore gardening in the rainforest. One day we were clearing the land for the nursery and we got to be super cool with machetes and hack through the jungle brush which was awesome. Other groups did stuff like paint a mural at a school, build a tire playground, plant trees at a farm, build a garden at a school, etc.

One of my favorite parts was our nightly mentor group talks. Since gla does focus a lot on leadership we did discussion groups about leadership in our lives and how we can be a leader in our community and we talked about globalization and the relationship between developed/developing countries and some economics so it was really cool to get kinda a crash course foreign policy and how it applies to us kinda thing. And we totally had to open our minds to new ideas which was cool

Honestly the best part was just being immersed in the culture like eating rice and beans and drinking pineapple juice we ate SO MUCH fruit it was amazing

I thought the GLA people were really cool like every program has to have a native who works as an advisor so we actually had two: one woman who has just finished up in the peace corps and one woman who was from Parrita. They were really organized like being at the airport was stressful at first but once you find the GLA people they take care of you the whole time which was great and my parents weren't stressed at all

I would recommend on program length so I did a 10 day but I would recommend the 14 day ones just cause I really started to form close bonds right as we left and didn't really get the chance to develop those friendships. If you have any interest in the peace corps or mission work it's so great cause a lot of the staff did the peace corps or at least extensive volunteering so you get tons of cool people to ask lots of questions.

If you're nervous about doing GLA I'd definitely recommend the programs in Latin America/Caribbean. I know my parents were a lot happier knowing I was in the same time zone and it was easy to call me and my flight wasn't too bad. Plus it's less of a culture shock than, say, Thailand. I would definitely say whatever program you do, find someone who did that one before because there were a lot of confusing things just cause they can only fit so much in a brochure.

One of the lasting effects of GLA on my life is I feel a lot more down to earth and focused on nature and being in the present and I worry way less about social media or texting or television now which is nice.

-Miranda Wilson, GLA Ambassador

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Nov 27, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My name is Natalie, I have traveled to Caye Caulker, Belize from Ontario, Canada. I have come here to take part in the Frontier volunteer dive program for 3 weeks. Being a part of the frontier dive program here in Belize has been an incredible experience ! I have done many dives previous to this program but they were always for recreational purposes. The purpose of the dives done with fronteir is to collect data. Its a really different experience while dving and I have really enjoyed it ! We partake in surveys such as coral transects, coral collonie counting, lobster surveys, lionfish surveys, seagrass surveys ect. I have gain alot of knowlede while being a part of this program, I like that now when I go diving and Im looking at the underwater world I know the species I am observing and I have an understanding of how life under the sea works. There are other volunteers here that I work alongside who are a part of other progams such as mannatee conservation and beach conservation. Dagny, our principal investigator has done a wonderful job of mixing the three programs together so that I and the other volunteers are able to work together and be a part of extra things than was planned for us. For example we have planted mangroves which is a part of the beach conservation program. I now have my own mangrove nursery growing on the north island of Caye Caulker named « Nat`s Nursery ». I hope one day I can return to see it completly grown over. We live on the northern point of the north island. It is very quiet and peaceful here, One of my favourite spots is the hammock at the end of our dock. I like to lay out there at sunset with my island best friend, fury, the camps dog. Back home in Canada I often begin my work day just before sundown and late into the night. The island life is much different. Here we begin our work in the morning and we always finish at sundown. Which gives us the evening to wind down and relax with friends or in our own space. Its so nice to have time for me, sometimes at home it feels impossible to just relax and take time for me. I only have a few more days to be a part of this program which is very upsetting. The project coordinators and my fellow volunteers have become like a family to me (fury included) but I am most definitely satisfied with my time here on this islsnd and I will be leaving feeling like I`ve made a difference in Belize just as Belize has made a difference in me.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Nov 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Home stay – It was terrific! Our family were very welcoming and catered a lot to our needs during our stay there. We had an amazing start of the trip with them briefing us through some historical, cultural, social, political and economic situation in Fiji. It was very important for us as first-time foreigners visiting Fiji. The house was cozy and we definitely felt at home during our stay.

Volunteering – It has been a great pleasure to be able to do this voluntary service with our self-designed activities that suit the need of the students at the school. We really loved how IVI and the school, where we volunteered at, had given us so much autonomy to create our own activities and with the way we carried out our service. It’s definitely something we had not experience elsewhere and with other NGOs we’ve worked with.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

The food was great and helped us understand more about the local eating habits and lifestyle. The accommodation was cozy and comfortable. The only thing was that when the weather got cooler and no sun, there was no warm water; but otherwise, everything was great. We really appreciate the team’s effort and prompt reply to our questions and it had been very helpful for us to complete our volunteer project.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Nov 25, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Spending time with my host family, getting to know the staff outside of volunteering, and working with the children at the school site.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

Everything went well. Everyone was eager to make me feel welcome and to assist in any needs as they developed.

Any improvements to help us be better:

I was volunteering for a limited time, but it would have been nice meeting other volunteers. Suggestions for sightseeing, travel arrangements, etc would also be beneficial.

The special needs school would benefit from continued speech therapy support. If there is a way that I can be a resource in advertising such need(s), etc, I would be open to providing assistance.

Jennifer

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Nov 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks doing this program through Global Leadership Adventures this last summer. Our service in Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) was very hands-on, creating and executing our own lesson plans to inspire public school children to learn English. The cultural immersion only enhances the program through new food, beautiful temples, meeting and talking to monks, and exploring colorful markets. You create such strong bonds with your students and fellow volunteers and mentors. The whole learning experience was worth every penny, from learning about fundraising to navigating international airports by myself. I would recommend this great experience to everyone!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Nov 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Voluntering with IVHQ in Table View, South Africa was a life-changing experience. The organizing team is very helpful and friendly. Both volunteers and local children seemed very happy to be taking part of all the activities. Very recommendable!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Nov 23, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
8

Projects Abroad

In January this year, I was blessed to be able to spend two short weeks of my time in Mandeville, Jamaica. This opportunity was very rewarding and if I could I would of stayed longer! I spent my time volunteering in a local orphanage and seeing the smiles on the children's faces every morning made me realize how truly fortunate I am here in Canada. Projects Abroad was very helpful throughout my whole trip and they were always a call or text away! I would do it all again in a heartbeat and hopefully I will have the opportunity again some day!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: Nov 21, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I participated in the beach conservation programme on the Frontier Belize Project for 2 weeks in November 2017. I had a lot of fun in Belize thanks to the staff and all the activities conducted. The reef is absolutely amazing and I was so happy to learn about all the species of coral and fish and help with the important surveys Frontier is conducting there. Camp is basic but still comfortable and the location is absolutely beautiful. The only problems are the sand flies and mosquitoes but this can be overcome and it's totally worth it! Caye Caulker is also a lot of fun off the project with so many bars and beaches!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Nov 19, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Beacon of Hope Uganda

I set out for Uganda on 15th June, this was my third and shortest visit and I met with another volunteer Terry from Canada. Terry arrived after 2 days of my arrival. This was Terry’s first visit so perhaps he was even more excited than me. I arrived around 7pm and as always immigration was easy and even the officials smiled I just wish it were as easy in the rest of Africa
As on the last time, I received a great welcome from Isaac who was waiting for me at the airport.

The new BoHU House was really good and very comfortable, I shared a room with Terry when he came, and there is a nice lounge as well for eating food and recreation when you are not out on some kind of mission or adventure.

As I said I have been to Uganda already and worked with Isaac and BoHU some five or six months in all and have seen the organization grow and now blossom. Volunteering with BoHU is no everyday experience you get the real Africa, the real Uganda warts and all, and working with Isaac is a revelation the guy is an extraordinary person, truly a man and a half at least!!! You can actually see that you are helping to make a difference so any time I am there I get very excited.

First day I take it easy Beatrice, the wonderful and very pretty housekeeper greets us with the most wonderful breakfast includes French toast with avocado and pineapples and really these are the best in the world Yum!!!
The next day we visit the school traveling first by Matatu and then a long Boda Boda ride on dirt roads through the countryside this is really wonderful and great fun as well.

The school is a project that Isaac started last year. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of education at the school, The teachers are incredible , and as well as education the kids all receive a meal each day for some this is the only meal they will have, these kids just melt the hardest of hearts.
I was particularly impressed with both the corn project and the upland rice project. The upland rice has only been going for a couple of months. That evening we returned to Mukono for some more of Beatrice’s good cooking Rice, Matooke, beans and cassava and rested up the next day and getting ready for the next big trip.

This was to be a first for me, Isaac has started up a series of programs going deep into the other villages where no other organization penetrates for this one we were to go deep into the forest to the down village of Mengo, here there are no Boda-Boda so we are to go by car.

The next couple days we spent in this village we set up our clinic there and the village telegraph soon spread the word. Once more we must have treated over 500 people.

By the time we had returned to Mukono and said goodbye to all our friends old and new it was time to return home.

This is just a typical 2-3 weeks volunteering with BoHU you get to work with one of the greatest people I have ever met Isaac Ssamba, who is the founder and current Chairman, Board of directors of the of the organization and you can work on many projects such as the deep village clinics and actually see the difference you make .

BoHU has since opened a school and this serves a very wide area at present we have 5 full time paid teachers and several local volunteers working there, we desperately need foreign volunteers for this as well as other work.

Please if you want to volunteer I promise you that this is the most unique and genuine experience you can have, you will make a difference and you will also have fun

Terry was so impressed by what he witnessed that he has since he returned already raised over $5000 for BoHU and its work and continues to raise more money so that he can return in 2018 and help with bigger and better programs and help set up more agricultural projects. Terry made a difference and continues to do so, Why don’t you?

Jim

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Nov 19, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Highlights of the trip:

To be honest, every single thing I did was a highlight and meant equally as much to me. The whole experience I had in Cambodia is a blessing! If I had to pick out some most significant memories and skills I acquired, it would have to be my new Cambodian high school friends and learning to do brickwork. Although I signed up for the construction project placement, I did take on a bit of teaching for an evening class because the original teacher got in a motorbike accident and I volunteered to take over in the meantime. It was due to this unexpected opportunity that I got to meet several of the local high school students, who are now friends I cherish. On the other hand, I did, as expected, learn construction skills. I had never worked with cement, trench-building, or brickwork before. But with the help of the construction coordinator and the other volunteers, we were able to accomplish a long drainage trench that would prevent puddling in the new school area.

Comments on the team, food and accommodation:

The team, food and accommodation all contributed to making this volunteering experience in Cambodia unforgettable. The coordinators and staff at the project site were extremely friendly and easy-going. Not only were they flexible with our various requests, they were also very organized in helping us arrange transportation during the weekends, and providing us any other things/assistance we needed. They made us feel comfortable by acting as our friends and often contributed to our conversations, bringing smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. Moreover, the food was both nutritious and abundant. We always had fruit and enough rice, vegetables and other dishes for everyone. They were able to provide both regular and vegetarian/vegan items based on the requirements of the volunteers. Finally, the accommodation itself was decent. The rooms were large enough for 3-4 people and the beds were comfortable. Most importantly, the owner of the accommodation is extremely friendly. Although he could not speak English, he always cared for us in his way, and showed us incredible hospitality.

Any improvements to help us be better:

I really enjoyed the program and could think of few things that need improvement. The one thing was that I did not know that we could leave the program site during the weekends and come back on Sunday evening. Many of the other volunteers left to spend the weekend in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and other places, which allowed them to combine volunteer work with spare time/sight-seeing. I think it would be good if the welcome pack could include a few sentences about this, and that the local coordinators helped to arrange the transportation/taxis, so that future volunteers could make better plans for their stay in Cambodia.

Thank you,

Angela

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Nov 19, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

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