USA

CSA - Center for Study Abroad

CSA rocks ! Great programs at low prices. Why pay for the expensive packaged programs when you can go Direct with CSA ? CSA is very legit, and has an A- rating with the BBB - Better Business Bureau. Since 1990, 25 years, speaks for itself !

Program: Study Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Nov 7, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My name is Timothy, and I am from Central NJ. As a junior in high school, I became fascinated with the idea of traveling to Africa, and seeing another part of the world. I decided on Tanzania with Projects Abroad, due to the country’s safety and well known safaris. I worked in a total of four different hospitals, as I was in a medical based learning group. It was so interesting to see how different medicine was practiced, and how much local doctors cared about their community. I not only had the chance to shadow doctors during my two weeks, but I also was able to distribute drugs to the community, take vital signs, and interact with all the patients. In Tanzania, all of the patients were so thankful for my time there, and trusted us fully with what we were supposed to do.
When not working, I had some of the coolest experiences. One minute I was on a van through a National Park to see the big game animals, and then another moment I watched the Maasai villagers perform their traditions.
Projects Abroad provided a supportive and entertaining staff. I never felt in any danger or any point uncomfortable with my living space. Every morning, I would go downstairs to be warmly greeted by my friendly host family and other volunteers to have a nice authentic breakfast. While towards the end I definitely missed American meat, the experience was incredible and I tried many new dishes. Projects Abroad was the perfect organization to volunteer with.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Nov 7, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

One World Center

I have been a volunteer in this organization and I can trully recommend the program. The scholl has a well organized course and people can experience a volunteer job in Brazil or Africa. Amazing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 14, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Searching online, I stumbled across the Projects Abroad website one night while investigating some volunteer programs in developing countries that focused primarily on medicine. First off, their website is super navigable and user friendly if you want quick and brief information on a myriad of different service trips ranging from the USA to the villages of many African countries. Within a day or two I was able to select, register and pay my first deposit to my choice of location and program: a 2 week high school program focused on medicine and its impact in the city of Cochabamba,
Flights can be booked through Projects Abroad at relatively cheap rates and they give you a step by step list of what you should bring and what your entire stay will be like. Arriving in Cochabamba I was greeted by a staff member with a Projects Abroad sign and was at my host family's house within the hour. The close proximity to the airport was efficient and surprisingly a very safe and protected suburb. My host family spoke 100% Spanish (just like most of the citizens and even staff, so I was also surprised by the accuracy of their background on the host families). Everyday for 2 weeks, the mother always had a breakfast, lunch and dinner fresh and ready for us at a specific time slot. One of my fellow volunteers was a die-hard vegan and the mother was even able to accommodate to his needs with extra veggies.
Lastly, the other volunteers were just as dedicated to learning about the culture and workshops that the staff provided, at least one per day, as I was. My volunteers came from the UK, Brazil, Canada and the USA so we all differed in culture as well as exposure to these experiences. Getting to know some of them in the two weeks made us so close and I can say that I'm sure I will stay in contact with them for awhile and hopefully visit.
This trip really opened me up to experiencing new things that I would never think I would try, and it is truly a worthwhile opportunity to pursue. My only regret was that I was only able to stay for two weeks.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Aug 28, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

AFS

Sadly I did not adequately vet the organization before choosing a host service. I am sure experiences may vary but my yearlong hosting experience has been terrible. Had I been diligent I would have discovered the poor reviews of the organization here prior to hosting a foreign exchange student through them. I was eager and willing to open my home to a traveling student but as the year progressed it became clear that it would be riddles with "gotchas" in which we were put in the difficult position of creating a good hosting experience and paying out of pocket for many expenses that were to be covered by the organization due to misinformation provided to the host student (and their family) prior to arrival. In the end, I have ended up picking up the tab for many many additional things after stating quite clearly before hosting that although I would be happy to feed and house a student and even take them on vacation with us to destinations throughout the US, I could not pay for items such as "cell phone" and AFS sponsored trips. I was assured that I would only be required to pay for room and board, but this was not to be the case. When I inquired about this, ultimately the representative would say "although other families choose to provide this you are in no means required too" but at this point we had all eyes pointing to us including the student and her parents explaining that they were informed otherwise. I have, of course, reluctantly covered the additional expenses not wanting the students experience to be impacted as thy have continued to mount throughout the year. To make matters worse, as others have mentioned, AFS poorly plans expensive trips throughout the year that are not covered by the exorbitant cost paid initially by the student to the organization. In most cases, again, these expenses have fallen upon us when we were told otherwise! This leaves myself and other host families to speculate as to what exactly "after airfare" are the thousands of dollars paid by the student and their family going to? Some host parents I have spoken with in regards to this have relayed thoughts that perhaps it is the AFS office in NYC, or executive and worker salaries? I will let you be the judge only relating my experience in the hopes that it will inform others before deciding on an organization. The ratings here do not misrepresent, in my humble opinion.

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Apr 21, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I’m very glad that I chose this program in Honduras with A Broader View, the location, and to go over Spring Break. A Broader View was a great choice because of large amount of support and information given to me before and during my stay. The location was good because it was close (a short plane trip), good weather, friendly people, and very impactful with its culture and economy. The short time period was a good choice because it allowed me to have enough time to adjust but also ensure that if I did not like the program (since it was my first time traveling abroad for medical volunteering), I would return home soon. I learned a lot in how imperative it is to be able to improvise, think on the spot, communicate in a profession, understand and become integrated within a culture, and analyze a situation to find the underlying problems. I plan to do more of this kind of work once I improve my Spanish and experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Mar 27, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

Volunteering in Sri Lanka was great! I did two weeks teaching English to children/teenage Buddhist training monks in the morning (M-F) and spent three days a week going to the orphanage in the afternoon. (By choice). It was honestly the best experience and I truly recommend it. The monks are eager to learn, they do receive free education from the government but they come to class in the morning at their will, wanting to further their lessons in English. They are the nicest boys and I couldn't have asked for a better class for my first time teaching. The orphanage was very well run in comparison to orphanages I've volunteered at in other countries. They keep track of the volunteers, there's cribs with mattresses and for other places I've seen that is amazing in itself. Michael (the volunteer coordinator) and his family were great, his wife makes excellent tea, and does so often with a smile. The food was very good and they gave us plenty to eat. I highly recommend RCDP as the programs are well run without overpaying.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Jan 22, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

AFS

Well, I think AFS is a good organization. We have received good support as a US host family. The orientations and follow up group meetings were a bit disorganized, but still helpful.

AFS totally needs to revamp their standards on hand held devices. Either the kids agree that they will not bring one or that they will give it up immediately when the arrive to the host family. Then it can be given only when the host family sees appropriate. These kids are coming with these pacifiers and failing to integrate with the host families. Taking no interest in our children is not acceptable. Taking them or trying to restrict their use is like dealing with a crack baby or heroine withdrawal. Seriously. This has been a real and serious issue for us.

We picked a kid from a city in a country we are intimately familiar with. The city was not as large as some from his home country. What we were hoping for was that we would be giving a kid a real opportunity. A kid who maybe didn't have the opportunities that some have from the 10 million large city. We had lived there and were very familiar with his culture and speak the language decently. We have similar interests that we had hoped would be a nice bridge and connection. No way. I am pretty sure this child is not interested in us and is only here for the hotel that we provide. Yes, we have assigned chores. Yes there are limits. All are an issue. My view is that I will probably never open my home again to an over privileged kid with only a sense of entitlement. He has very little curiosity, asks no question, gives little to no feed back. He avoids even simple things if they are going to involve research or work. (Like filling out a library card). He seems to not appreciate anything we have done for or with him. There is no motivation to be self motivating even when encouraged to. There is always some issue, something we are not allowing that will be held against us.

I think exchange programs are no largely relevant in this day and age. Prove me wrong kids. Prove me wrong. I have read and talked to so many people about this issue. If you can get everything you want and only what you want on you i-phone, why would you want to be challenged to explore anything else? Too bad, but really this kid is just wasting his parents money. But of course that is to be expected. He is a child of privilege and it is being proved even after 5 months in. I had hoped for an exchange. An exchange of ideas, conversations, interests and smiles. Too bad. I wish AFS could reach out to people who really would appreciate this kind of experience. Getting less well to do families is not an options, because the costs involved.

I am not only open and love other cultures, but this has pretty much been a waste of time. Sad to say, but true.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Jan 21, 2015
Overall:
5
Support:
8
Value:
3

AFS

My daughter was supposed to study abroad in Northern Italy for her senior year and had to return early because when she told the coordinator of her region that she felt like she wasn't welcomed by her host family and that her host mom was not making her feel like part of the family, the coordinator gave her a contract to sign and said to her "you don't want to go home, do you?"hmmm. My daughter tried to make things work and followed the guidlines of the program and wenr to her volunteers when she had problems,when she couldn't take it anymore living with this host family(even wanting to go to a hotel) AFS did nothing to help my daughter but just made her more miserable.
Anything your son or daughter might say to some of the volunteers will be used against them if the want to swich host families. My daughter was doing well in school, in spite of it all ,and made wonderful friends (her only support system) and had to return home early because they took a deaf ear to her and she could not take being mistreated by her host family any longer.

Program: Gap Year
Location: USA
Posted: Jan 19, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

My son went abroad with AFS, and he was not given any recourse at all. I would have expected them to give him a second chance with another host family, and in fact, he had several offers at his school, but AFS declined. This program is directly responsible for causing harm to my son. The volunteers were strange, and treated him very badly. AFS USA treated me very badly. We actually paid to put him at risk for lifelong anxieties and depression. I am thoroughly disgusted with AFS. Another student did the volunteer program, and she was not given adequate support. She had no choice but to return early. Likewise, she paid for this "experience". Out of 9 caucasians that went to Malaysia that year, 4 were went home within 3 months. Out of 22 students of Asian descent that went to Malaysia, none were sent back during this time frame.

Visions Service Adventures

I had such a good trip with Visions to the DR! I loved every minute of it and I want to do another trip next summer. We did so much with the locals that I felt a real sense of community. I would definitely recommend Visions to anyone!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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