Projects Abroad

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9.1 / 10 after 300 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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.

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I volunteered as a part of the nutrition team for a full month in Samoa. It was such a great experience. I had been given many tasks to achieve throughout the week and I could add whatever I wanted to do throughout the community. I taught nutrition education in schools, pregnancy centers, nursing homes, and got to come up with the lessons each week with my team. I also did some home nutrition counseling and got to teach Zumba class (which was very fun!!). We were given money to buy whatever supplies we needed to make the lessons great. Projects Abroad wanted to reach as many people and truly make an impact. The staff were so encouraging and helpful throughout the entire experience, even when I was nervous and going out of my comfort zone. They really wanted me to learn as well from this experience which was something that I really wanted.
During the weekends, the volunteers all got together and we would explore the island. The staff were so helpful in giving us ideas of how to get around the island, the best places to go and stay, and how to be safe. Without the staff, the volunteers would have been lost but they were amazing. The home accommodations were different for everyone, but my host family was so nice and made food that I always liked. Overall, my experience was life changing and I would 100% recommend it.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 31, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: lizgrove1
Age:
23

This volunteer trip to Sri Lanka was extremely eye-opening. We had many opportunities to explore different sections of the hospital like the emergency care unit, paediatrics, the labour ward and the surgical theatre. My personal favourites were the labour ward and the surgical theatre. While the other sections were interesting at times, they tended to move at a slower pace. I am personally interested in pursuing a career in the OB-GYN field, so being able to see live births and interactions between doctors, nurses, mothers and babies was really amazing. Sometimes, it was difficult to communicate to doctors or nurses because of certain language barriers or because they were simply too preoccupied with their work. However, we were often very impressed by the hospital staff's kindness and welcoming attitude towards us as well as their patience when they took time to explain what they were doing or a certain patient’s condition.
After our time in the hospital, our co-ordinator took us out around the city we were staying in (Panadura, just one hour south of Colombo). We visited markets, temples and even the beach. The beach was absolutely breath-taking. Some of the sunset pictures I took are definitely Instagram-able and the water was just perfect. We spent one weekend during our trip visiting a city named Kandy. We visited baby elephants, watched a traditional dance show, ate some delicious food and visited other attractions around the city. Back in our host city, we attended two educational seminars about the healthcare system in Sri Lanka and traditional medicine amongst Indigenous people in the country. We also helped out at two medical camps where we measured the BMIs, glucose levels and blood pressure of individuals in the community as well as helped a pharmacist prescribe certain patients with medication.
Projects Abroad staff are also very kind. Before I even left, my volunteer advisor answered all my questions and concerns and I felt very prepared. However, at the airport in Toronto, my flight got delayed which messed up the rest of my connecting flights to Sri Lanka. I had to completely re-organize my flights myself and the staff did not respond to their emergency phone lines when I called to try and notify them about the delay. I felt like Projects Abroad could have done more and should have been more prepared for the situation. Regardless, I still made it to my destination safely, just a little late.
At the host family, we were treated very well. The woman and her husband who took care of us were very friendly. We had delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and felt very comfortable in our rooms.
The other high school students on the trip were also very friendly and we bonded very quickly. One problem we encountered was that some of the students did not speak English very well. We were still able to communicate somewhat, but they struggled in the hospital when they tried to interact with hospital staff. I think individuals who attend a Projects Abroad trip must either speak English fluently or speak the language of the country they are travelling to fluently. This will ensure they will get the best out of their experience and not miss out because of language barriers.
This trip really helped me decide what I want to do with my future. Being a high school student applying to university in just a couple of months, there is a lot of pressure to decide what program I want to be a part of. Going to Sri Lanka and meeting doctors, seeing patients, helping patients, asking countless questions and writing pages and pages of notes really showed me that medicine is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It was incredible and unique first hand experience that I do not think I could have received anywhere else. I truly recommend this program for any high school student. But make sure you can handle the sight of blood.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 31, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
17

Volunteering with Projects Abroad has given me a new perspective on life! I traveled to Africa in 2017 and spent time in Ghana working in the medicine program. Projects Abroad's staff has made the transition very smooth and seamless with their detailed web pages and a great support team who answered all my questions and prepared me for my project.

I spent some invaluable time with my host family as they taught me about the culture in Ghana and day-to-day life here. Everyone was extremely friendly and working at the hospital proved to be the greatest experience of all. I got life changing hands on experience working at multiple wards and made solid long lasting connections with many of the doctors, nurses and staff. The leprosy camp outreaches gave me a chance to develop solid connections with the camp residents and learn their life stories.

On our free time, we traveled around the localities, historic landmarks, and eat local foods. I met people of all different ages, backgrounds and countries and have developed some strong bonding with them. Volunteering abroad teaches you to appreciate and be open minded about everyone and every culture, as it throws you out of your comfort zone.
It helps you build confidence, empathy and expands your mind to the greater beyond. Especially, in the medicine program it teaches you to cope with adverse environments and develops your patience to empathize with your patients.
But let's not forget, this entire journey is never walked alone, as the great management from both off and on-site staff of the Projects Abroad has laid out a solid road for me to complete my project.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

"In terms of my internship, it’s been an incredible experience. There isn’t much speech therapy going on in the school, so this is why volunteers like myself are necessary! The students I worked with were amazing. Joe* is an 8 year old boy I worked one-on-one with. He has autism and severe ADHD. He is nonverbal and clearly not much has been established for him in terms of speech services because other than pointing and gestures, he cannot communicate at all. There are no communication boards, PECS systems, or any other alternative forms of communication for him. Behavior is a big issue as well. Although they reprimand the kids, there is a lack of corrective feedback and DRI. The kids get yelled at but behave more out of fear than because they know right from wrong. So corrective feedback is essential in therapy but culture differences and lack of training in the field contribute to that.

The other children are Jake* (16) who has autism, Jesse* (16) who has Down Syndrome, Isa* (11) who I has cerebral palsy, seizures and feeding difficulties, Andy* (7) who has autism and Griffin* (8) who has autism as well. All of the children in my classroom were nonverbal except for Isa* who speaks very little, and mainly repeats echolalia. The kids are awesome though and so sweet. The teachers definitely do their best given the circumstances and genuinely care about the kids. Each day is very routine, and they even adopted the visual schedule system which is great for children with autism"

This is an excerpt from my blog that I kept over the course of my internship in Ghana. The Projects Abroad staff was unbelievably supportive through my transition into African life, and are some of the most friendly people I have ever met. I am currently a senior studying Speech Language Hearing Sciences at Loyola University Maryland in the USA, and felt that this internship was the perfect opportunity to gain some real life work experience before applying to graduate school. I thoroughly enjoyed going to work every day and the children and staff at the school are all incredible.

I highly recommend going through Projects Abroad if you want this type of immersion experience. They help book flights, provide information such as how to obtain a visa, what to pack, and what to expect once in Ghana. When I arrived, a staff member picked me up directly at the airport, sporting his green Projects Abroad shirt for identification, and brought me directly to my home stay to help me settle in. I never once felt unsafe or nervous, and felt very comfortable in the care of Projects Abroad. My housing accommodation was awesome, the friends I made through volunteering were amazing, and one of the staff members is even willing to write my letter of recommendation for graduate school. Regardless of how much experience you have in the field, or how comfortable you are with traveling, I am here to tell you that I managed just fine and I traveled this journey alone. Luckily, I had the supportive Projects Abroad staff to help me navigate through it.

Thank you Projects Abroad! Volunteer with them, you'll be glad you did!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: sierraq
Age:
21

I volunteered at the refugee project in Italy for my school's practicum for 4 weeks and it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I went into the program not really having much of an idea of what would be expected of me or what my jobs would entail. I quickly found myself doing things I had no idea I could do, such as teach english and fitness classes (thank god for Google!) My first week in Italy I got my bearings around town and my duties. The second week I began to make connections with the refugees and the locals alike. My third week I really deepened those connections, and my fourth week I began to see all my hard work come together as I saw some of the changes I had made in Camini and the people in it. Overall, the experience was an emotional rollercoaster with many highs and lows. But I'm so glad for the lows because the highs wouldn't have been as high. I made connections with people I never would have had an opportunity to make otherwise, not only with the refugees but with the locals and the other volunteers as well. Camini truly stole a place in my heart and I hope to go back one day.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: yeagern
Age:
29

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