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Volunteer Abroad Reviews

Andrew Britton
Nationality: British
Age: 25
Program: Portugal
Project: Youth Support
Date: April 2016 - 1 week

Volunteering in Portugal has re-energised me. I have new enthusiasm for my teaching job in England. I feel more confident when speaking Portuguese. At times I was out of my comfort zone, but I managed the situations better than I thought I would, therefore I am ready to push myself more when I return to work in England. The accommodation staff were great, they have lots of energy and were very happy to help me. My favorite moment from the volunteering experience was interacting with the kids at the youth club - they taught me more Portuguese in 4 days than I had learnt in 6 months! I was given the opportunity to develop my own sessions and the staff at the youth club had a lot of trust in me. The flexibility at the youth club was great so I could experience different parts of Lisbon too. It is a shame that I could only stay for one week, I was starting to build some good relationships with the kids and staff, and I will definitely return in the future.

Marianne Chapman
Nationality: British
Age: 19
Program: Ecuador
Project: Street Children Work
Date: January 2016 - 12 weeks

Met such lovely people of all ages. I would recommend staying with a host family (especially if you want to improve your Spanish). The project itself is great and the team are very enthusiastic. Quito is also a great base as it's easy to travel around from there.The altitude affects everyone differently but just make sure you have some rest and drink lots of water. It takes at least a week to adjust (depending on each person).

Joanna Bouyesi
Nationality: Australian
Age: 25
Program: Ecuador
Project: Street Children Work
Date: March 2016 - 3 weeks

I volunteered with the Street Children program in Ecuador for 3 weeks and I didn't want to leave! The children are amazing, so warm and friendly. The local organisations we worked with were extremely helpful. The weekend trips away with the other volunteers were also a highlight of my time in Ecuador :)

 

LaTanya Clarke
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Program: Ecuador
Project: NGO Support
Date: March 2016 - 3 weeks

I can honestly say, hand on heart, that it was the most fulfilling, enriching experience I have ever had and I am so glad that I did this. I wish I could have spent longer and plan on returning some time later this year! The staff are amazing and so helpful and you can see how passionate they are about the work they do with the children. The children are amazing and so full of life and friendly. It was so sad to say goodbye to them. The volunteer staff and other volunteers were great to work with and the relationships built are so genuine, you're like one big family. I would definitely recommend volunteering.

Joshua Thede
Nationality: American
Age: 25
Program: Peru - Cusco
Project: Jungle Conservation
Date: December 2015 - 3 weeks

I was a little bit cautious when I heard that it was 100% vegetarian.  But all of the meals tasted excellent and were very filling after long days of working hard and exploring.  It was cool to farm and produce our own food in a sustainable manner. The jungle lodge was just like expected and explained, no electricity or hot water, but was kept clean. Bedding, restrooms, and common areas all were very sanitary. Showering in the waterfalls, beautiful hiking trails, cuddling with a pet monkey, and preserving the rain forest: this wasn't a dream, I lived it for 3 weeks in Peru. This was an incredible experience to unplug from the luxuries of modern society, and reconnect with nature up close. Planting trees and participating in conservation efforts changed my view of the environment for the rest of my life. There were so many times when I was in awe of the fragility yet resiliency of the rain forest ecosystem and the people who were caring for it personally. My cooking, electricity use, water use, waste production, and nature observations have drastically changed since I came back from this experience. I'm now live a more sustainable life and care for the Earth on a deeper level.  Not only was I able to have a great vacation and volunteer experience, but a life-changing one.

Bri Eshleman
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 28
Program: Argentina
Project: Construction and Renovation
Date: February 2016 - 10 weeks

Helping Christina at the Jardin de Carmen was where I saw the most impact.  She was struggling devoting time to helping the children with their English homework and after a week or so, I was able to be independent in helping and creating exercises for them to practice and oral practice as well. This project in particular was well suited to me and my level of Spanish. Bring lots of bug spray. The ATMs only allow you to withdraw 2,000-2,400 pesos at a time and have a 88-92 pesos charge to withdraw. Bring as much cash as you can because few places accept credit cards, and see if your home bank charges you for foreign ATM use. Depending on the length of your stay, consider switching banks to one with no foreign ATM fees.

Alice Saville
Nationality: New Zealander
Age: 29
Program: Cambodia
Project: Teaching English
Date: January 2016 - 4 weeks

I don't feel like my entire life has been transformed; I still appreciate the comforts of home and I'm still addicted to Facebook. But a piece of me has shifted, quite significantly, and I find myself second-guessing a lot of things that I never questioned before my time in Cambodia. Being part of the lives of a beautiful group of children has opened my eyes and my heart in ways I never expected.

Melanie O'Leary
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 20
Program: Sri Lanka
Project: Wild Elephant Conservation
Date: January 2016 - 6 weeks

This program was amazing! The coordinators were great. Expect to sweat alot and walk alot but have fun doing it with new friends. I spent 6 weeks and at the end wish I stayed longer. Bring some warm clothes because it can get chilly at night specially doing night time hikes. Bring a small sewing kit - I used it 10 times and sewed so many peoples pants.

Simon Horn
Nationality: Australian
Age: 20
Program: China
Project: Special Needs Care
Date: January 2016 - 6 weeks

My favorite moments were Working with children, growing a bond with them. The other volunteers made me feel included and I made life long friends.  I loved the Chinese culture. I loved how sometimes strangers would call out and say hello and/or ask for a photo. The language barrier is very very difficult in Xi'an but be open minded, the whole process will be a shock to begin with but give yourself at least 3 days to find your feet. Just try  All the food, it's usually delicious. Breakfast is not a western one. To begin with I wanted to leave and go home everything was to overwhelming. I am glad I stayed though, I made the best decision I absolute loved the experience and I did not want to leave.

 

Mei Anne Nakamura
Nationality: Australian
Age: 19
Program: Cambodia
Project: Childcare
Date: January 2016 - 4 weeks

It's impossible to choose just one favorite moment! There were little but significant milestones experienced with the kids at my placement, which I will forever hold onto. Then, there were moments with other volunteers that just increased the quality of the whole experience! Come in with no expectations, but be open and accepting to everything - no negativity!

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