Projects Abroad

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9 / 10 after 235 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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The Projects Abroad operation in the Galapagos was a waste of our money, time, and abilities. If you are a young college student with low expectations and looking for a reason to getaway from home, then this placement is perfect. If you truly care about adding value to the conservation or education programs in the Galapagos, then look elsewhere.

Our three weeks there consisted of very little value-add work; most of our time was spent standing around, doing busy work, or working only a fraction of what we were promised.

Some examples: pulling weeds ‘outside’ the greenhouse on a plot of land where they do not grow anything and where volunteers had uselessly weeded three weeks earlier. Another example: 15 volunteers on a tortoise weighing project that only needed 4-5 people; everyone else stood around for 5 days. Then, after we spent 3 weeks measuring 50 tortoises, the park ranger quietly told me that none of the measurements actually get permanently recorded. Another example: two volunteer teachers were signed-up for teaching English, but when they arrived to the Galapagos, schools were on Summer break. Another example: a volunteer English teacher was given a group of kids where the age range started at two years of age. Most students were too young to even say their name in Spanish, let alone English; so she spent her volunteer time as a babysitter. Another example: for a simple beach clean-up, they had us work on a clean beach versus a garbage laden beach just down the road. Despite everyones recommendations to maximise our efforts on another beach, our young 19 year old Projects Abroad manager decided to cut short the work day. We can go on and on with examples.

We have been in marketing and brand-building for 15 years, have multiple degrees, and in our opinion, for Projects Abroad to be marketing this program to prospective volunteers is a travesty. We spent a lot of money, and all we wanted to do was work hard and lend a hand in building a strong conservation project in one of the most ecological sensitive areas in the world. In return, we were under-utilised by Projects Abroad staff and chastised for wanting to do actual conservation and education work.

Look elsewhere. In our opinion, there are far better organisations that you can connect with and where you can add true value to this incredible part of our planet.

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Posted: May 10, 2016
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: Rontru
Age:

My experience with Projects Abroad in Mexico was great! It gave me the opportunity to met likeminded people from all over the world and make friends for life. Projects Abroad set me up with an amazing host family. They were so welcoming and taught me about Mexican Culture while improving my Spanish.

The Projects Abroad staff was very helpful during my time there. They showed me around the city, organized group activities and were there to answer all my questions.

For my project I worked with a local organization that promoted community rights. Here I was able to learn about local issues as well as use my skills to help their projects. The project was everything I was looking for!

Overall I loved my time with Projects Abroad and in Mexico!

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Posted: April 18, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8
By: nbeaton
Age:

Overall, I would recommend this program for college students looking to give back over spring break. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, explore a new country and give back to the less fortunate. The staff was very welcoming and helped me adjust very well to this new culture. I was situated in an apartment with my roommate who I requested to be with. The apartment was just what we needed, nothing luxurious. I think that that made the experience that much better. The food was amazing, it was fun to taste all the different food of Belize. We were taken to all different restaurants on the island. The work that we did there with the local preschool was very fun. We were able to interact with the kids and we were also able to paint a mural on one of the outside walls of the preschool. Another day we worked at a food bank and walked dogs from a local shelter. We also had free time, we were allowed to explore the island or just rest. it was the perfect balance between work and downtime. If you are interested in an alternative spring break, go through Projects Abroad!

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Posted: April 13, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
19

Our week-long alternative spring break trip was focused on public health in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was a bit nervous to travel by myself, especially because I didn't know exactly what I would be getting myself into at first. The PA staff had been in contact with me prior to my departure, but I feel the online guide could've been more useful and pertain to my trip specifically, instead of encompassing all trips as a whole. Once I landed, I felt incredibly safe with all the staff members, as well as my host family. I never once felt that my safety was in danger, even at our different outreaches or at night. Rosa, a staff member, was with us the entire week helping us get settled in, attending every outreach, giving us a tour of Guadalajara, and so much more. At our outreaches, we interacted with local doctors to perform head to toe assessments and administer medication. I was able to be as involved as I desired and utilized my Spanish quite a bit! PA gave me a week that I will never forget through incredible programming, a wonderful staff, and a fantastic host family.

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Posted: April 4, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: mreetz
Age:
20

I was quite nervous traveling to Thailand to participate in a marine and land conservation project for four weeks. Turns out I had nothing to worry about! With a very well structured program and fantastic staff, Projects Abroad made sure my trip was the experience of a lifetime! There was a healthy balance of structured programming as well as free time to relax or explore Thailand in my own way. I loved how the staff also helped volunteers plan and coordinate adventures on the weekend during our free time. I climbed a 500m peak with all the other volunteers and our dive instructor on one bright Saturday, and on another weekend we met up with a different dive instructor to go to the Krabi night markets. They really do go above and beyond.
The structured programming was incredible too. I wouldn’t say it was 100% fun, but it was definitely 100% rewarding. The days the volunteers got to do scuba diving and survey the coral reefs were indescribable. The Fridays we spent in schools educating children about recycling and ocean ecosystems were amazing as well. One of my favorite moments of my journey was teaching a group of Thai school children how to count to five in English, and them teaching me how to count to five in Thai.
The land conservation consisted of beach clean-ups and planting mangroves (trees that grow in saltwater). There were some long, hot days, but all the work we put in was making a difference for the community. And in the end, that is what the whole trip is about -- Going somewhere and making a difference. Project Abroad gives you the ability to make a difference, and along the way you will make new friends, experience new things, and have the time of your life!

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Posted: March 12, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: martinz
Age:
22

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