USA

Projects Abroad

Overall, the Projects abroad staff was incredibly supportive, helpful, and accommodating. Not only did they make us feel comfortable and welcome as soon as we got off of the plane, but they continued to offer their assistance in any way possible and the staff member that accompanied us throughout our daily activities was amazing and certainly added to the overall experience I had in Costa Rica. I was there for two weeks and always felt safe and taken care of. Not only did projects abroad help plan activities, like dinners, trips to the beach, and other excursions before we arrived, but they also helped us plan last minute activities after we had arrived too. They were able to make last minute zip lining reservations and were easy to work in. They made sure that we were happy and could do what we wanted. Our placement in a local host family's house was great and we had no problems with our living arrangement. I went with a group of 14 girls, and they were able to house almost all of us in the same home. The volunteer placement at a local daycare was only a 25 minute drive, and they provided transportation that was never a problem. The first week we were there, we were arriving to the daycare before the children, and we were a bit confused as to what our role was. But, they quickly adjusted the time that we were picked up, and we arrived an hour later the next week. We felt a little uncomfortable in our placement at first, as we were unsure what our role was and what exactly we should be doing. After a couple days, we got the hang out of and felt more comfortable. Projects Abroad also has a lot of information on their website for people to read before they travel to their destination, it was specific and incredibly helpful to read and have a checklist provided for us of things to bring. The travel guide on the website covered all of the possible elements to expect, like what to bring, what to expect with our host family, and the general culture that we would be immersed in. The staff contacted us multiple times via email and phone before our trip in order to make us feel comfortable and answer any questions we may have. Overall, I was extremely happy with the accommodations and staff. They really care about you and want to make you happy, the projects abroad staff even attended dinners with us and truly just wanted us to enjoy our time in the country. This was my first time traveling abroad and I would definitely do it again with this organization. If you are new or nervous about traveling, this organization will make is easy and comfortable for you, as they are happy to do so.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Feb 13, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

EarthCorps

I worked here for 10.5 months and it was terrible. You do get to learn great things about restoration and the environment. But, it is obvious that these people do not care about their employees. They treat you second rate and the host family's are no good people either. So many times I was so very hungry and I was somehow expected to survive on the pennies you are paid to perform manual labour! This is not just my story but the story of others. Earthcorps only cares about itself.
At one point there was an accident where a semi truck struck our work van full of people and earth corps refused to take us to a hospital but made us do hours of manual labour. Not only this but there was no police report filed. This only will do harm to the worker. It is obvious that we are undervalued. My body will never be the same again. Earthcorps seems like a nice place to work, but under its non profit blanket is a monster.

I've worked at terrible places for terrible people and this place takes the cow pie and makes you eat it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Feb 1, 2014
Overall:
3
Support:
1
Value:
1

AFS

We had a horrible experience with AFS. AFS charges exorbitant fees to exchange students. Our AFS student from Germany told us she paid $20,000 for her year in the US. The money goes to pay AFS staff, but they give nothing in return. Once an AFS student arrives, the student knows that she/he can find a "better" deal with a different family and can immediately dump your family for no reason. If the student wants to move to a family they think is better, AFS will immediately move them to a new family, without reason, regardless of how much it hurts your family. All that is important to AFS is the fees the student pays. They are ruthless profitteers. An AFS student we know had her teacher make an announcement to her classes that she didn't like her host family, and she was looking for a new family. AFS immediately rewarded her by moving her to a different family the same day. When I was in high school in the 1970's, AFS had a good reputation. Not any more. There is a reason that AFS receives such terrible ratings on this site and others. AFS has turned into an exploitative organization. My advice is to STAY AWAY FROM AFS!

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Nov 17, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

I have been begging AFS to refund us some of the money paid (6300 euros), as my son spent only a month abroad before he was sent home, and I have been begging them for more than a year because they claim to be a Non-Profit Organization, but without results. There is an isue that everybody seems to forget, which is, as a NGO, they receive huge amounts of money -funds- from all sorts of institutions in every country, but at the same time they charge heavy fees for their courses abroad: they have the best of both worlds. This is what I think, and this is what I explain to everybody who wants to hear it. And I am not going to give up on my claims.
Again, you signed a participation agreement to send your kid abroad. They broke the rules or did something to get sent home, you already knew you weren't going to get the money back if you read the papers you signed, did you not? Or maybe you just fork over thousands of dollars for the hell of it without knowing whether or not you'll be able to get your money back if something goes wrong.
True: We signed a participation agreement to send our kid abroad, but we never thought AFS would be so narrow minded, mean and greedy to send him back after one month abroad based only on suspicious and with no proof of their accusations, and If you follow all the comments I did about this issue you will see that I have only been begging this organisation to refund us some of the money paid, as we felt penalised as parents. And I have been begging them because they claim to be a Non.profit Organisation, which means that -theoretically- they are not going to make a profit with us. Of course, you defend them as being part of them, but we felt so cheated that we are not going to stop defending our point of view, and we are not going to give up.
Joe has a point: you better read the fine print when you deal with AFS! (Although Joe has no evidence to back up his allegation that the AFS "broke the rules or did something to get sent home") AFS's interest is in making maximum profits. They have volunteers do all of the day-to-day work. If something goes wrong, or if a kid just decides they found a "better" family, AFS will just send the kid to another family, or send him/her home and keep ALL of the money. Our student's family had to pay AFS $20,000. For what? We and the volunteers did all of the work. AFS is a huge ripoff. Beware!
Joe's response sounds like a typical response from AFS. Blame the kid, blame the parents, and then take all of their money.
Frank, I couldn't had put it better: that's exactly how we feel. They blamed us as parents, they blamed the kid, and they took all our money. Beware of AFS!

Winant Clayton

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Winant Claytons back in the 90's when I had finished my nurse training. I knew that if I went straight in to employment that I would never feel brave enough to leave that safe hub and do something for me. That's why being a volunteer with this organisation was so ideal- it wasn't too long, it gave me valuable experience and also offered the chance to travel.
I had a placement at Fountain House in New York and had really good accommodation with this. The staff there were very welcoming and I was made to feel a valued member of the team. I came away from there with oodles of confidence, which I think made me a better nurse when I came back to the UK.
I made some brilliant friends- Brits and Americans, and feel really lucky to still be in contact with some of these.
I travelled by myself for a month after and was able to stay with some volunteers from previous years- it felt like a very safe way to be able to travel alone.
I still feel incredibly positive about the organisation and how it has helped to shape my life. I'm so glad it's still around- will definitely be getting my children to look very seriously at this when they are old enough.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 15, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
10

Forum Nexus

Studying abroad with Forum Nexus has been a life changing experience. This past summer I was able to take a cross- cultural sociology class that counted towards my sociology degree, while studying abroad in Europe. Forum Nexus offers many different courses to choose from. All of the professors were terrific; each one cared about the students and has a passion for teaching. Going to class was fun and enjoyable. Whether it was banana boat riding in the Greek islands to walking around Parc Guell in Barcelona to taking a gondola ride up to the top of Mount Blanc in France. I can say I left Europe with no regrets, new friendships and memories that I will cherish forever.

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 9, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Looking for a adventure? Frontier is a great place to start. As an inexperienced traveler and a first time backpacker, frontier provided me with the flexibility to combine different projects while exploring a different region of the world. I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime travel experience to beautiful places without the hassle and stress of planning it on my own. Not only have I done and seen amazing new things, I have met many wonderfully talented people along the way. I can't wait to continue my travels in the future and must give thanks to frontier for broadening my horizons.

Cons: tended to be unorganized, when I asked questions or needed information they did not seem to know the answer or where exactly to direct me during the booking process.
Need to alter budge each year, they seem to budget according to last years trail which does not suffice when transport or accommodation prices increase. They told the trail leader they have to pay out of pocket if we go over budget which should not be the case. They should compensate for those expenses.

Program: Gap Year
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 6, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
9

AFS

My recent experience has been catastrophic I had a double placement for this current academic year. According to their web page and all interviews I had I was only required to provide “bed, meals and same care as I do to my own children”. Well that is not the case with AFS, first none of my children are in public school so I was unaware of how the public system works in this city. After I got the register in school I find out they have to use public transportation to get back and forth to school and I that I to cover that expense as well. I refused to cover that expense and the expense of the all the school fees on top of a 600 per student for a two week trip for their fall break that was mandatory. To add on the school is refusing to work with one of my student to help her accomplish the requirement need it for her to be able to graduate in her country as soon as she return. After my frustration I proceed to call the liaison and complain to her explain what was going on. AFS decided it to remove the students because they were concern that if I can afford to pay for the bus fare then if they get sick how will a pay for their medical bill…Which bring me to the second point they come with health insurance, not really you as a parent have to pay for the bill then submitted for reimbursement. They also told me that they were concern that I didn’t have enough furniture in the house, I was not aware that luxury was part of the requirements. I have 3825 sq. house and the only things I don’t have are a formal dining room and living room set. I do have 4 fully equipment bedrooms, kitchen, eat in kitchen and family room. Also I can’t understand how a company that makes 3,000,940.00 a year and are worth 11, 364,486.00 can’t take care of these extra fees. I don’t mind taking the girl into my life I already made adjustment for the utility bills, groceries, gas and entertainment bills. I did not include all the extras that they try to tell me I signed on for. Is this just me or AFS is horrible company that just sees this kids as big $ , because the fees charged to their parents are astronomical they pay for the regular year plus an extra fee in case they need to go to a private school. Well I try to change them so I can drive them every morning but they refused and told me to stop searching for school that there were going to stay in that specific public one whether they like it or no.

Program: Gap Year
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 3, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

AFS

We were a host family for a 15 year girl from Germany. The experience in our home was great, but we never received regular contact from the organization as they promised to do at the beginning of the school year. Everything seemed alright until our student went on a weekend function at a beach house. There was an incident that occurred that gave me no choice but to contact CPS. Soon after the incident, the student was pulled from our home. They removed us from the Facebook group, which I thought was a kick in the teeth. I am seeking additional help to insure that this organization is held responsible for what occurred at the beach house, and the actions they took after the incident. Avoid AFS at all costs.

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Aug 9, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Go Abroad China (GAC) ***Warning Fake Reviews***

Go Abroad China is a scam company with fake reviews and an army of Chinese press hacks.They steal your money and rip you off.

They are unprofessional and fake most of their reviews online. They only real reviews they have are made by naive interns who don't know any better. Be aware, this company will screw you three ways till Sunday for thousands of dollars. They have no relationships with internship companies and they just mass-spam your CV in the directory book to get you an internship.

They promise you the world but never deliver. Never trust these Chinese scammers and only go for a Western professional company.

Everything they say is lies as proven by bad reviews which they try to hide, but Westerners can see the truth.

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Aug 9, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Comments

Hello Rupert, We are very concerned about your observations concerning our services. Let me resolve them one by one. 1. We do not fake our reviews online. You can find reviews with real names, pictures and contact details from our participants at our website (http://www.goabroadchina.org/about-us/go-abroad-china/feedback/) and even get in touch with them. 2. We do have more than 600 partner companies across China and sign contracts with them for each intern to secure the positions and make sure that our participants are treated in a proper way on their placement. All positions on our website (http://www.goabroadchina.org/programs/internship-in-china/?m=5 ) are real and can be applied for. 3. Rights of our participants are secured with an official agreement. Invoices and receipts are provided for each payment and reimbursement is available based on our Terms and Conditions. We appreciate your feedback and will be glad if you could get back to us with more details about your experience rather than general unsubstantiated statements. We strive for improvement and providing better services to our program participants and appreciate their feedbacks. Thank you once again, Go Abroad China team

MMRF - Maya Mountain Research Farm

I interned at Maya Mountain Research Farm (MMRF) in the summer of 2008 for 9 weeks. It was part of my overseas work experience for my undergraduate degree.
Nestled in the beautiful tropical rainforest of southern Belize, MMRF's location is peaceful and beautiful. A great place to come to if you want to reconnect with nature, learn about sustainable farming methods and simply be.
Christopher Nesbitt, the founder and manager of MMRF, was quick to respond to my emails, inquiring about signing up and getting everything going. This made the whole process of finding a suitable program easier. The low cost of the internship was also appealing, considering all the other volunteer/internship programs I found were nothing under $1000/month!
I was there at the tail-end of the dry season, so I got to experience the transition into the rainy season and really see how the land changes.
I also arrived soon after a terrible slash-and-burn operation gone wrong on a neighboring farm. Several acres of MMRF forest were lost to the fire. Together with the other interns there and the local staff, we worked together to minimize nutrient leaching and took advantage of the cleared land to grow corn. We also planted several species of trees to reforest the area as part of a long-term plan to create shade and a habitat for flora and fauna to return to. This was incredibly rewarding as I got to witness the growth of the plants and crops we planted. As for the trees, I hope to see them upon returning!
In 2008, the farm was undergoing changes in management and it appears to have all been for the better. I have kept in touch with Chris and there have been many improvements since my time there with more projects having taken root: biochar and aquaponics. Above, I alluded to returning and I intend to at the start of next year. I cannot wait to get involved in these new projects, expand my agroforestry and permaculture knowledge and also take part in the Permaculture Design Course.
The the local staff, all Kekchi Mayans from the nearby village, San Pedro Columbia enriched my everyday experience and were so much fun to work with. They were so knowledgeable and happy to have us involved. I cannot wait to see them again!
I wanted hands-on, outdoor, field experience and that is what I got. So if you're willing to get dirty, sweaty and really see the 'fruits of your labor,' MMRF is the place to be. Your experience will depend on how involved you want to be. So if you are a proactive, adaptable and receptive person, your time at MMRF will be physically and mentally life enhancing. And of course, unforgettable.
Christopher knows his stuff and wants to impart his knowledge on all who pass through. Whether it be about agroforestry, permaculture or solar and wind power. He's an approachable person and passionate about what he does. I learned so much and this is the reason I am going back: to learn more and give back to an organization that has influenced me greatly.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Jun 20, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

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