My trip to Tanzania with Projects Abroad was the most valuable thing I've done in my life! The support with this program is amazing. One of the best parts is that they had an office on the ground that was totally accessible to everyone in Tanzania involved with their program. You can see Projects Abroad really does great things for the community and gives back. Whenever we needed extra plants for orphanages or decided we wanted to give food to students as a gift they supplied it all happily. I always felt accounted for and listened to in this program, and the itinerary had a broad range of activities for us so I feel like I really got to know everything there was to know about my country. One of our group leaders was born and raised in Tanzania, and that was such a valuable thing because we got to learn about his country from an insider perspective. Projects Abroad was very well organized but also let us adjust our day to day based on what the group wanted/needed. I recommend this to anyone looking to volunteer around the world, and I personally can't wait to go on another Projects Abroad Trip!
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Established in 1992, Projects Abroad is the world’s leading short-term international volunteer organization. Over 8,000 people a year join our programs in over 25 amazing countries around the world. All participants receive unparalleled in-country support from our full-time, professional staff to ensure that the experience is safe, worthwhile, and fun.
Spending two weeks abroad in Sri Lanka and delving into the magical world of medicine was truly a rewarding experience! As an Indian girl, I found it quite easy to become acclimated to the Sri Lankan culture, likening much of the nation's wonderful, beautiful attributes to those of India. The heat, although quite tough to bear, really drew me into the realm of international medicine, as I got hands-on experience with the underlying challenges that third world nations face. My accommodation was with a sweet family, who served tons and tons of yummy food—my favorite definitely being the surprise dessert: vanilla ice cream! Besides the hospital work, I learned so much culture by just being immersed in a new society, where different values were followed. In fact, the other volunteers brought over their own unique tastes and I could feel my American citizenship slowly being enlarged with all these different experiences. Obviously, the highlight of the experience was definitely the shadowing within the hospital. The language barrier was incredibly difficult to beat around, but I loved every second of it—from holding the cute babies in the nursery to singing to sick children in the Pediatrics Ward to checking vitals, I was truly captivated! The best part about shadowing was that I could mentally contrast my experience with that in America, as medicine greatly differs between these two communities. Overall, I would recommend this program for any high school student looking to obtain that international involvement in a particular area of interest. Projects Abroad does a phenomenal job integrating education with enjoyment, while still leaving open area to procure more individual opportunities.
After years of contemplation, I finally made the decision to participate in a Kenya Care Project for four weeks in the summer of 2016. I can confidently say it was the best decision of my life. From the second I was greeted at the airport by two staff members to the heartbreaking moment I had to say goodbye to my host family, I received so much love, guidance, and wisdom from the people of Kenya. I lived and volunteered in a small market town called Nanyuki, which is about three hours north of Nairobi. I was a little nervous at first about living with a host family, but I quickly learned I had absolutely nothing to be nervous about. My host family was so loving, welcoming, fun, and just all around amazing people. I was provided with great living accommodations and plenty of food the entire duration of my trip. Not only did I love my living accommodations, I also had a great experience at my volunteer placement. I spent the weekdays at a home for children with disabilities ranging in age from 5-16 years old. At this particular site the children attended school and received rehabilitation. This was great for me because I was able to both help in the classroom and also in Occupational therapy. The staff was incredibly friendly and welcoming, and I could tell they appreciated any assistance I was able to give them. Outside of volunteering I had plenty of free time to explore, socialize, and relax. The possibilities are endless when staying in Nanyuki, and everyone can find some sort of adventure that peeks their interest. The other volunteers were so fun and friendly, and to this day have become some of my dearest friends. In the evenings we would hang out in the Projects Abroad office in town or relax at a coffee shop. On the weekends I participated in excursions including a day-long safari, visiting a nearby animal orphanage, and traveling back down to Nairobi to shop in the markets. Other volunteers also hiked at Mount Kenya, or even flew to Mombasa for a few days. All in all, I cannot imagine my life having not gone to Kenya through Projects Abroad. I highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunity you have to travel through this organization; I know I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I spent an incredible eight weeks in Cape Town with the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHRO). Most of my time was spent travelling to townships to meet with clients and researching and drafting legal documents alongside PAHRO’s staff. On Wednesday afternoons, I helped run educational workshops at the Bonnytoun youth juvenile detention centre. While much of what I worked on was challenging, I always had a strong support system in place. PAHRO’s staff were open to any questions and checked up consistently to make sure I was comfortable with my role. As well, I became close with several other law students from around the world who were volunteering within the same placement.
Cape Town is an amazing city, and Projects Abroad encouraged me to take advantage of all it had to offer. During nights and weekends I took part in a number of activities with other volunteers. My favourite memories include surfing at Muizenberg together every Friday, Braais at Mzoli’s, climbing Table Mountain, and Saturday mornings at the Old Biscuit Mill. I also enjoyed spending three days on the Garden Route along the African coast. Undertaking meaningful volunteer activities while experiencing Cape Town’s culture made for a trip that I’ll never forget.
I visited Nepal for a month during the summer, and it was an incredible experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life. Even before I left, Projects Abroad staff worked to make sure all my questions were answered. They booked my flights for me and checked in periodically before I left to make sure there were no problems. Upon my arrival in Nepal, a staff member was waiting to pick me up and drive me to the hotel, where I met up with other volunteers and felt comfortable almost immediately.
During my placement, which was at the Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital in Bharatpur, the staff checked in almost daily to ensure that every volunteer was having a beneficial experience and learning during the hospital volunteering. The volunteers had a meeting every week with the staff team to discuss weekly events, plan weekend trips, and make sure there were no problems with host families or culture shock in general. This was helpful because it allowed the volunteers to feel comfortable with the staff and discuss any issues that might be detracting from their experience.
Throughout my trip, I was continuously amazed by this beautiful country and its accepting, wonderful people. The other volunteers I met during my time are all over the world, and we still keep in touch. If you ever get a chance to visit Nepal, I would definitely recommend it.
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