Thailand

Projects Abroad

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!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 12, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

Island TEFL Thailand

My advice is to avoid Island TEFL at all costs. The TEFL certification course falls well short of the 120 hours advertised and has almost no real Thai students to practice on. You will be disappointed. The standard of teaching is poor too. The placement programs are also complete rip-offs. You pay about $500 or even more for just a few days of cultural orientation. Meanwhile, there are loads of placement agencies who give orientation courses for free, because they get payment direct from the school that hires you. Philip Dunne is the guy who runs the courses, and he specialises in insulting and threatening people who give him any kind of problem. Philip Dunne also runs Camp Thailand using the name Philip Roy Crabb. Philip Crabb and Philip Dunne are the same person, and the TEFL courses offered by Camp Thailand are the Island TEFL ones. Court is still out on the actual camp experience for Thai students, but definitely avoid the TEFL courses and placement programs.

Program: TEFL
Location: Thailand
Posted: Jan 13, 2016
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Projects Abroad

This summer I spent four weeks in Krabi Town, Thailand. I was part of the care program where I worked at a daycare. The kids were between 3-4 years old and were the highlight of my trip. With a Projects Abroad member waiting for me at the airport I was never unsure of what to expect during my stay. The staff is beyond welcoming and you truly feel like you are part of a family! I was brought to my host family and my 3 roommates who quickly became my second family. The family was amazing and welcomed us all with open arms. The food our family served was delicious! Perks of living with a host family is definitely getting to eat authentic Thai meals! Two of us in the house did not like seafood so they made sure to steer clear of that for us! My orientation the next day included a tour of the town (showing me where important places were such as the bus stop, atm, doctor, pharmacy, supply store, markets, etc) and an explanation of what was expected of me in the classroom. The next day a Projects Abroad member stayed with me in the classroom to help out. Instantly the kids came running over to greet me! Although we spoke different languages a strong bond was created between the kids and I. The teachers were absolutely incredible. They were so nice, helpful, and thankful for our help. At the school I taught crafts, english, morning exercise, and helped with lunch. Thai people are by far the nicest people and culture I have ever experience. I look forward to returning to Thailand to visit my students, teachers, and fellow Project Abroad members! I recommend Projects Abroad to everyone! I have made life long friends and memories that will always be with me!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Aug 17, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My boyfriend and I decided to go on the Thailand Gibbon Sanctuary project for 6 weeks in May.

While the actual trip was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to return, I would not book it through Frontier again.

I really don't think anyone from Frontier has ever been to the Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary, as they gave us a lot of information that was wrong.
They told us we would have weekends off, and trips into town 3 times a week. The work is 7 days a week and for the first 2 weeks we were there we did not leave the sanctuary at all.

Frontier would not even tell us the name of the sanctuary. They also told us that they could not tell us where the sanctuary is until we paid in full, so we could not apply for our visas or book flights until we had already paid... They claimed that this was due to their partners having issues with privacy, however when we arrived I asked Pharanee, the woman running the sanctuary, and she said that was ridiculous. As a result we almost booked our flights to Chiang Mai because Frontier told us that the sanctuary was near there. It was not. It was near Mae Sot. We assume that Frontier chooses not to give this information to potential volunteers before they have paid in full because if you visit the website for the sanctuary you can book the trip directly - for less money, and all of the money would go directly to helping pay for the food, vet visits and new enclosures for the gibbons, macaques, asiatic bear, binturong, jackal, birds, cats and dogs living at the gibbon sanctuary.

Overall, our experience with Frontier was awful. They wouldn't reply to our emails for days, or answer simple questions about our trip. We had to call a few times after our emails went unanswered for more than a week. They couldn't even tell us if the sanctuary was a registered charity (which it is - in fact, if you visit the sanctuary's website it says it is on the home page).

I would absolutely recommend volunteering at or even just checking out the Highland Farm Gibbon Sanctuary. However, I would also highly recommend booking directly through Pharanee

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Aug 12, 2015
Overall:
5
Support:
2
Value:
5

Frontier

This, like most English groups, are completely out of touch with what is going on in SE Asia.

They charged me a phenomenal fee for two weeks. I received absolutely none of the things promised, minus what was paid for by the rescue I was at, which cost minimal compared to what I gave them. I received no transport (where did those funds go then?), only accommodation and food, which I know the rescue paid minimal for, and did not even see any of that money.

In addition, I told them about the mishaps regarding the exploitation occurring there (which they didn't care about, since they're exploiting people in order to make money to send people there).

Go through the rescues directly, so they actually benefit. They don't care about what's going on one bit, and this part of the world suffers enough when attempting to change how animals are treated.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Jun 3, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

Thank you for your review and feedback regarding your project. Please know that we take all feedback very seriously and I hope that you were still able to enjoy your time in Thailand despite your concerns about your project costs. As a non-profit organisation, any margin that Frontier makes on its projects is not simply net-profit, a large part of this is operational costs. We aim to be extremely transparent in the matter of where our volunteers’ money goes. There is a page on our website specifically dealing with that very question. Please refer to the following link for further information: http://www.frontier.ac.uk/FAQs/Where-Does-My-Money-Go.aspx When we establish business relationships with partner organisations in various countries we do endeavour to establish those partnerships with organisations that have similar goals and objectives to Frontier in relation to conservation and community development, however it is also very important that we work with organisations that have a solid reputation and proven experience within volunteer coordination. With your help, we are now aware of the issues you have had with our partners in Thailand we are assessing the situation and will be taking the necessary actions in order to improve the project. I'm sorry you feel there were aspects of the experience that did not meet your expectations. I hope that my responses are reflective of the fact that we take all feedback very seriously, whatever its nature. Thank you again for taking the time to submit your review. All the Best, The Frontier Team

International Humanity Foundation

My name is Beatrix, I am currently volunteering at IHF's Chiang Rai Center. This center has a great potential to expand and I hope someday IHF Chiang Rai can reach out to other children. The children here are so full of life. They have such a bright futures ahead of them thanks to IHF. It saddens my heart to think what their lives would be like without IHF. I can just picture these beautiful faces with tears in their eyes because they don't have a choice but to work in horrible conditions. When I think about this, one word struck my heart. Trafficking. Trafficking is such a huge part of Thailand now and it makes my blood boil to think these children, MY children can be trafficked. But I know that IHF have played such an important role in their lives. IHF have given these children the opportunity to escape these horrible cycles and give them a better future. I wanted to volunteer because I want to help those who are in need. God has always put this in heart since I was little. Getting to know the children here in Chiang Rai has been a big blessing to me. Seeing their smiles and hearing their laughs makes my heart smile. Whenever I think about what IHF have given these children so generously, I stop and thank God for IHF and my time here with these beautiful children!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: May 11, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
5
Value:
10

Concordia Volunteers

I wanted to volunteer abroad and I came across Concordia's website offering a variety of volunteering programmes with low cost fees, so it was affordable for me as a student!! I then had the trouble of actually picking which country I wanted to go to, there were so much choice, I eventually chose Taiwan, I was nervous at first as this was my first time abroad - not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, travelling by myself, do I have enough money? How do I get to the meeting point? But Concordia reassured and prepared me enough for me to feel comfortable about going! Both the training and the helpful, friendly Concordia team have been amazing, making sure I have everything with me, giving me instructions and directions on how to get to the meeting point, what to expect, asking me how the experience was after I finished, constantly taking care of you all the way!!

Once I got to Taiwan, the staff there were so welcoming and lovely, they treated you with so much respect and cared for you, I had the best 2 weeks there!

If I hadn't volunteered with Concordia I wouldn't have made international friends for life or had the confidence to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I wouldn't necessarily do. Challenge yourself, learn new skills, meet lovely people and just go for it! Now, I love volunteering and Concordia has given me that passion!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Taiwan, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Thailand
Posted: Apr 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

The GVI Marine Conservation in Thailand was a great experience that has changed the way I view volunteering abroad. GVI was well-structured and exciting, as there wasn't a 'typical day'.
There were a range of different activities we were involved in, including traveling to the Similan Islands where we got to swim in the clear waters and see turtles, fish, eels and even an octopus in their natural environment.
A great experience - would definitely recommend to anyone who'd looking to volunteer abroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 5, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

Island TEFL Thailand

I signed up for Philip's Program R in Bangkok for October 2014 around April or May the same year, when I was planning to quit my job and see my long distance girlfriend for our year anniversary together. The program consisted of an online, 8 lesson course for $499 and the on-site course for $795. After initial contact through email, he invoiced me only for the October course of $795. When I asked if, that if in the case of not being able to show up in October, could I just do the online course first, to which he ignored me, and I caved and payed him the $795. After which I started taking the online lessons, which were more than textbook like and not at all worth $499. They featured one long-as-hell articles followed by 3 or 4 review questions and very uninteresting videos made from a possible Walmart camera. After about three weeks and having completed two of the online lessons, I lost my job early due to company downsizing, and was no longer able to visit my long distance girlfriend for our first year anniversary together. Then when I asked for a refund, his response was very dry, simply saying it's against his "terms of agreement" even though the course didn't start for another four months. After which, I tried to get my $795 back by making a claim on PayPal, which I lost. Afterwards he sent me a threatening letter, demanding another $499 for the online textbook "course", claiming that his "Lawyer" would get my passport number from my drivers license picture and I would be in for a "surprise" when I come to visit my girlfriend. I cancelled payment and he replied again shortly, stating that his Lawyer would make sure I get detained at the airport, and "Hope you enjoy life behind bars!", "Other than KY, if there's anything else I can bring you please let me know!" And he forgot the comma after "you"; some TEFL manager. I also heard his real last name is Crabbe, like the greedy bastard from Spongebob Squarepants. Also a possible rape suspect in Koh Samui!? It's no wonder the mafia there put a hit on him and he had to escape on a fucking rowboat. Can someone please do us all a favor and just rid this fucking space occupier from our planet?

Program: TEFL
Location: Thailand
Posted: Mar 5, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Openmind Projects

I came to volunteer with Openmind Projects in September 2014 and was due to stay for a total of 6 weeks. I ended up extending my time at the Project until the 10th December 2014 as I enjoyed my time there so much.

Openmind has a way of making you feel instantly part of the family and are excellent at ensuring that you as a volunteer receive as much support and help as needs be.

From the beginning, openmind filled me with confidence and were quick at answering any questions or enquires that I had for them. They are a small organisation with a limited amount of man power so obviously at times an email would take a day or two to be replied to but this is to be expected at an organisation that does not have a dedicated administration team in a head office ready to reply to any email that may come through.

They handle this very well by always being patient and polite to each volunteer and are always ready to help where they can.

Volunteering here at the Openmind center working with the Local trainees and staff members to further the organisation itself from within has been particularly enjoyable. The team here are open about all the work that they are doing and even though you are only a volunteer they are open and encourage you to give positive feed back to help them improve. I find this very important from a volunteer organisation as without this openness you are lost.

I would very much recommend this organisation to anyone looking to come to South-east Asia to volunteer and to make a positive impact by helping wherever they can. If you are looking to get up close and personal with the culture here in Thailand or anywhere else in South-east Asia than this is really one of the best ways to do so. You will be invited in with open arms and as long as you are ready to do whatever task in front of you with no expectations then you'd fit here perfectly too.

I would highly recommend attending the 3 day cross cultural training offered free at the center in Nong Khai, northern Thailand as this is an excellent preparation and ease into the culture here in this part of the world. You are also able to learn a little of the local language and get in touch with the people that live and train at the center itself. Its a perfect middle step for anyone coming from another country who has perhaps never been to this part of Asia before or who has perhaps never volunteered before.

Overall I would recommend Openmind projects for its impact that it has on local peoples lives, for the way it makes each and every person feel like part of the family and for the way it allows a volunteer to give as much as they are willing to give while making it fun and enjoyable at the same time.

This is a small organisation that needs all the help it can get so I encourage you all to come along and do your bit!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Dec 8, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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