Projects Abroad

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9.1 / 10 after 305 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 have just returned from my amazing Medical Mission trip to Mongolia and I would like to thank Projects Abroad. The trip was everything I hoped for, though a little surprising in some aspects, and your help enabling me to have this experience means a lot to me. From the very start, with my 36 hour “delay” and over night stay in Beijing, I knew this would be an interesting experience and a trip I would never forget.
Apparently Mongolia has certain wind drafts that make it difficult to land airplanes in the Chinggis Khan Airport, so flights from Beijing to Ulaan Baatar are frequently delayed. Fortunately for me, my flight originally scheduled for 7 am Saturday was delayed until 7pm the next day. This meant I was only a bus, airport train, and underground subway away from spending an entire day in Beijing. I was able to see the Temple of Heaven where emperors prayed each year to the heavens for a good harvest, Tiananmen Square , the Forbidden City, and the Lama Temple Buddhist Monastery…all without a visa for China. Having seen a city I never expected to visit on this trip, I was then ready to begin my two week mission in Mongolia.
I don’t really know how to start talking about Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia other than to say it was interesting. The first day I was there I saw Mercedes, Land Cruisers, BMW’s, Hummers, and Lexus cars that I never thought I would see in Mongolia, but the rundown, rusted apartment buildings the cars maneuvered through quickly assured me that I was indeed in the right place. However, the apartment I lived in was fairly nice and clean besides the fact it was on the 7th floor with no elevator and had some mold lining the stairway walls all the way up. I noticed this all my first day there and once I had a feeling of what the city looked like, I was ready to go to work in the hospitals.
With my previous experience I was able to help a lot, including removing sutures from a man’s eye. I was also able to observe many interesting things in various hospitals and clinics. To start, due to a lack of money, the Shastin’s State Hospital of Mongolia only has one Stryker drill for a neurosurgery department that has nearly ten surgeries every day. But as if this isn’t bad enough, the drill was broken. So the craniectomies I observed were either done with a hand saw, a hammer and chisel, or just cauterization through the skull. Once the surgeries were then completed, the skin flap was sutured closed directly over the brain tissue without a patch or other protective material. This is because a skull flap/patch costs about $800 in Mongolia, and the average annual salary is only about $1000. In addition to brain surgeries, I saw a tonsillectomy with only local anesthetic, many cholecystectomies, hernia repairs, heart surgery, vaginal births, a couple of c-section births, and a premature baby die helplessly on a table in front of me. I am very fortunate to have had so much experience at Little Co of Mary Hospital because that offered me many chances to make comparisons to western medicine/surgery that I would have otherwise been unaware of.
In addition to my medical work during the weeks, I went with several other volunteers and our supervisors to spend the night in a “ger” in the Terelj National Park on the weekend. The wide rivers, endless mountains, and actually fresh air (completely unlike Ulaan Baatar) was incredible and the whole trip would have been worth just going to this national park. We ate cooked beef with a nomad family for dinner in a ger, I got to ride a yak , and then at 4am the next morning me and another kid decided to climb on top of the biggest mountain for sunrise. We could see forever in every direction and after several hours of sitting on top, we returned to camp and then headed back to the city.
Overall, visiting both China and Mongolia made this an amazing trip and again I really want to thank you very much for helping me have this experience. I feel I have gained much insight into the ways of a completely different culture, lifestyle, and style of medicine very unlike our own, and I will carry this awareness forward with me as I embark on my life’s journey into the world of medicine.
Sincerely,
Alex Seyferth

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Posted: September 30, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I am Alex's mother. When he was in CHina, he and many other passengers were taken by Air CHina to a hotel in Beijing because of the flight delay. He did not have a visa. Although he had no choice in this, I do not want him to get into trouble for having been in China outside the airport without a visa.

We signed up our son for a placement in Guadalajara Mexico. He is young and inexperienced, so we were very concerned about the type of placement. We were assured he would be in a supportive environment, with 20-40 other volunteers. When it came time to pay the balance, we were told his placement would be in a small town, 2 hours by bus from Guadalajara, and that there would be only 3 other volunteers. This was not what we agreed to. Despite repeated requests, PA has refused to return our deposit.

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Posted: September 29, 2009
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

I have had a similar experience with my 17 yr old daughter. She went to Costa Rica to volunteer in the rain forest conservation program. We also thought there would be plenty of other volunteers there. We were wrong. There were only 3. My daughter paid for a 2 month stay. After 6 weeks all the other volunteers had left and she was going to be all alone in a cabin in the jungle-2 hrs away from any city!. Needless to say I was NOT at all comfortable with that & called to see what could be done. They suggested she go stay w/ a host family in a nearby town called Liberia. I did not want her in someone elses home but agreed as I thought this was better than her being all alone. She called & said she just weanted to come home as this was not what she had signed on for initially. So, I changed her flight, paid the substantial change fee so she could come early. Project Abroad is unwilling to credit us back any money & simply stated that they can not guarantee that there will be other volunteeers at an assignment. Interesting that this is not clearly mentioned on the website or in any of the materials. I am a single mom who could hardly afford this trip for my daughter. This trip was her reward for working hard & graduating high school a year early. Some reward it turned out to be! On another note....they feed her rice & beans all three meals every day. Sometimes she had plantains & maybe an egg, salads were avail. & dinners would have some sort of meat which she said was unedible. (and she is no princess!) She bought her own fresh fruit & other food on the weekends when she was able to leave the rain forest. All in all we are very dissapointed in the experience & will not reccommend Project Abroad!

The three month business internship program with Build Shanghai and Lister Investment & Management in Shanghai, China was the most amazing learning experience of my life and provided the best eye opening environment for anyone seeking to enter the international business world with strong insight into the Chinese market and developing future industry specific business proposals and networking contacts.

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Posted: September 19, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

@reply #1 - I'm confused with what you're saying, actually non-paid Business Internship is one of the projects that Projects Abroad volunteers can choose. I think Ali is one of those volunteers. I met fellow volunteers who did Business Project while I was in Moldova, they had only good things to say. @Reply 2- Yes, I agree it's expensive. But it's worth for all the in-country support you get especially if anything goes wrong!
This appears to be a poorly written rant. I just double checked out records and Ali was actually a volunteer with Projects Abroad.
please stop posting these kinds of fake reviews. we all know that project abroad is very expensive company and intent to make as much as profit possible. Go Ghana and find how much money goes to project, so avoid this company

The Projects Abroad team was great at giving me all the support I needed leading up to the trip. If you want to make sure you are secure at all times use this organization. At the airport I was greeted promptly and made to feel right at home right away. My host family was absolutly amazing and everyone in Projects Abroad wanted to make sure I was safe and happy at all times. The materials provided were very useful,and the staff was always available for support at any time. The program itself is a bit expensive and I the only downfall I saw was not enough money from what I paid going into the orphanage I worked at. I feel the price is a bit high, but I am glad I used Projects Abroad for my first volunteer trip to Africa because they always made sure I was comfortable and safe and healthy - so in this sense it was worth the extra cost.

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Posted: September 17, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

I lived in Accra, Ghana for a month with Projects Abroad after completing a study abroad program with my university there as well. PA was definitely the better of the two programs, and it taught me so much more than my first placement.
The staff is amazing and they offer just the right amount of support - they don't stifle you or hold you by the hand, but neither do they just throw you out there with no information.
My host mother was kind, courteous, and an amazing cook. She worked hard to make sure we were all comfortable and has hosted volunteers for many years now.
If you decide to go, make sure that you travel outside of Accra on the weekends. No one really enjoys Accra, but it is very convenient and easy to catch a tro-tro out of town for a relaxing weekend at the beach, in Volta Region, etc.
Choosing Projects Abroad was a great decision, and I highly recommend it. I'm definitely a better person for it.

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Posted: September 3, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
7
By: Anonymous
Age:

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