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Projects Abroad

Almost two years ago, I decided that I wanted to do some sort of volunteer work in a foreign country. At the time, I was a pre-med student, so I settled on a medical internship. That was the easy part. After I decided what I wanted to do, I had to choose a program and a country. I googled something like "volunteering abroad," and one of the first sites to pop up was Projects Abroad. After exploring the site and reading reviews, I decided that the program was perfect for me! At this point, I had the two of the three parts needed to start my trip. I looked at the Projects Abroad map, and looked for the country that was farthest away from my home. That's how I settled on Nepal as my temporary home for a month.

I landed in Kathmandu, Nepal with an information packet and a list of contact numbers. My airport pick-up was arranged by Projects Abroad through the hotel that I would be staying at for the next couple of days. The next morning, I was met by one of the Projects Abroad coordinators, who went over my information packet with me and answered my questions. The coordinator was incredibly helpful and made me feel very comfortable.

The next morning, I boarded a bus to Chitwan, a small, rural town four hours away from Kathmandu. I was escorted by a Nepalese man employed by Projects Abroad. I was shocked when the bus finally stopped in the middle of nowhere--which turned out to be my final destination. I have to say I absolutely LOVED Chitwan, which was largely due to the amazing host family I stayed with. My host family consisted of a husband, wife, and their two sons. They were all so welcoming and helped me get used to my new surroundings.

Every morning, I walked about 8 minutes to a tuk tuk (rickshaw) stop, and rode it to the equivalent of main street in Chitwan. I then walked a short distance to the hospital where I had to opportunity to be assigned to a variety of departments. I learned a lot about how medicine is performed in Nepal and I even got to observe a few surgeries. I had an absolutely priceless and life-changing experience and I never once felt unsafe while in Nepal. Projects Abroad provided some amazing coordinators and staff who were on site to help guide me and the other amazing volunteers.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Feb 1, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

RCDP Nepal

This was the first time I traveled abroad to volunteer, and overall, it was a great experience.
Because our flight landed quite late in Guatemala City, the in-country coordinator arranged for us a night with a host family in Guatemala City before actually taking the bus the next day to Xela, where the project was located. The service with the host family in Guatemala City was excellent. The meals were great, the shelter was also great, and the family was very welcoming.
Our host family in Xela also provided us with amazing service. They made me feel very comfortable at their house.
As for the volunteering project itself, it was a little hard at the beginning to interact with the children at the orphanage because there was no staff to guide us through our volunteer work, and also the language barrier made it more difficult. However, after a few days, we started feeling more comfortable at the orphanage. The children there were very nice to us the volunteers and they were also happy to see us.
Because the volunteering project only lasted a couple hours per day, we had time to visit Xela.
The only thing I have to reproach was the slow communication before the departure, but I still received all the information I needed in time.
I recommend RCDP-Nepal to other future volunteers!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Feb 1, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8

Frontier

Taking part in the Fiji Marine Project has been an utterly fantastic experience. From day one everyone makes you feel welcome and at home. The diving has been breath taking and easily a highlight from my time here. Taking part in surveys has added something to the diving and made me appreciate the sea life even more.

The projects is able to run so well thanks to Kris who seems to work day and night to make sure our time here runs smoothly.

I would recommend bringing lots of snacks for those with big appetites and a solar charger is vital. I also suggest climbing the mountain and eating at the finely crafted table now available at camp.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I arrived in Fiji to see the unfamiliar, extremely tanned face of Kris waiting to welcome us and escort us to Beqa Island. After embracing camp life for the last 4 weeks, Kris has become as much a friend as a Principle Investigator and Dive Instructor. Life here could not be run the same without him.

The week days are intense and crazy with early mornings to allow for all the diving and camp chores, but these could not contrast more with the incredibly mellow and chilled weekends, which truly embrace the concept of Fiji time.
Kris has embraced our requests to take us to the most picturesque place on earth on countless times. The almost hour long boat trip is a small price to pay to have a BBQ as the sun is setting on the sandbar, which can only be described as paradise.

Other highlights of my stay include climbing the nearby mountain to then have unbelievable views of the surrounding coral reef, along with enjoying a tub of Mango ice cream bought from the village of Rukua which was then carried back to camp as quickly as humanly possible in the 30 degree heat before it melted.

Essentials to include when packing is some form of cookbook specifically for rice and other carb based goods to make meal time as tasty as possible. Along with a solar charger if you bring a camera, as electricity is hard to come by.

Make sure to use the finely crafted table which is now a new addition to the camp, and enjoy your time.

Vinaka!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My time at camp has been amazing, creative and revitalising. You realise how little you really need and that you can always find a solution. You can literally see the effort you put in in the ever-changing camp and know that you have made a difference. Nothing’s prefect here but the motivation and initiative of everyone here is inspiring! The camp is such a happy, warm place and I feel I could always have a home here and that’s all down to Kris and the wonderful volunteers.

The diving is so incredible! The beauty and energy of the fishes are infectious and you come to the surface excited after every single. We have had some amazing moments involving white tip sharks who don’t seem to mind getting up close and personal, its breath taking! There’s no real dangers in the water or on land on this beautiful island but there is a high level of respect you feel about the animals and fish and you feel privileged when they are willing to approach you.

A few of my favorite on land moments include the sandbar, a nearby beach that disappears at high tide but is absolute paradise, the stargazing without all the light pollution and the camp cuisine which became increasingly more creative as we used up some supplies. It is a fun experience to watch everyone find their signature dishes and I recommend bringing lots of spices, sweet chili sauce and peanut butter, although it is available from the friendly village in exchange for an hours walk!

The way of life here is friendly, basic and without excess. I feel privileged to be part of it and I hope to take some of the things this project has taught me back home with me. It is the best experience of my life so far and I fully recommend it to anyone who cares about animals, conservation and are prepared to make the best of it!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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