Latest Program Reviews

Over 300 Programs and more than 3,000 Reviews

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I spent an amazing 8 weeks in Quito, Ecuador volunteering in the health care programs. I got to visit lots of amazing places and had incredible experiences in my free time and while volunteering. The people in Ecuador are super friendly and became great friends with many people all over the country. I also grew very close with my host family and have memories that I will never forget with them. Those 8 weeks were by far the most incredible weeks of my entire life.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Dec 21, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was to be without internet access at the national park in Peru. I had such an amazing time getting back into my body's natural rhythm, waking up at 6am with the sun and going to bed around 8pm! :)
You need to bring ALL biodegradable substances: shampoo, toothpaste, and bug spray. However, you can also support the program by buying their products once you arrive. They sell all three of these products there for 40 soles.
I had a truly eye opening 2 weeks and I have A Broader View to thanks. I learned so much from being in the jungle, and it really changed the way I think about the World. I hope I can use this experience to help better my own country!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Dec 21, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Beacon of Hope Uganda

I’ve always had a keen desire to explore the world and Africa had always intrigued me.

I began searching for volunteer programs but it was not easy. I read about so many different programs but none of them felt right, until I read about the Beacon of Hope Uganda. The main reason I was attracted to Beacon of Hope Uganda was that it is a non-profit organization run by Ugandans. I have seen and experienced first-hand that the most successful community development projects are those run by natives themselves.

Isaac is the founder and main director of Beacon of Hope Uganda (He refers to himself as the “Independent Rural Development Expert”), indeed he is… he has a genuine understanding of the needs of the people in Mukono, which makes the organization sustainable.

My experience with Beacon of Hope Uganda was so incredible that it’s hard to find words to give justice to everything I gained from working with the people in Mukono. I had a countless of experiences while volunteering with Beacon of Hope Uganda that were very passionate for me.

The family was so lovely and welcoming. Despite the hole in the ground (pit latrine) which was the toilet and the bucket of water for bathing, I always felt at home. It was a special place full of comfort and love.

Most of my volunteer work was in the field. We would journey out to neighboring villages, sometimes walking for hours through banana plantations, to do community outreach. We visited the family homes of the children who attended the after-school program, where I also taught.

The most significant change was that my purpose and understanding of my role as a teacher became clearer. I no longer saw myself as a teacher with restrictions or limitations. I realized that I am a teacher not just in my classroom but in this world. I realized that teaching is about exploring, learning, and embarking on a collaborative journey of knowledge with both the people and environment that surround me. Being a volunteer in Uganda with Beacon of Hope Uganda made me realize this. Thank you Isaac and thank you team Beacon of Hope Uganda.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Uganda
Posted: Dec 21, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My 8 weeks in Madagascar on the project really tested me to my maximum. Being only 17 and never having been this long away from my family was always going to be difficult but it was totally worth it. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I feel lucky to have been able to do it.

I was part of the marine project and did my PADI courses in Madagascar and honestly I don't think there would have been a better place to do it. My instructors Gin and Pete were both great and the cost of the courses is a lot cheaper than in other places. To complete my advanced open water training we had to take a 1 hour boat ride to the small island of Tanikely which is a protected marine reserve which hasn't been fished in since 2011. Since our dive sites are not very deep, Tanikely was the where we had to do our deep dive. All I can say about it is that it was truly paradise! The water was crystal clear and the visibility was around 18m! Due to no fishing, the marine biodiversity there was insane and you saw all kinds of marine life. Huge fish, turtles, seas cucumbers, giant corals... it was just spectacular.

I didn't realize how lucky i was when I arrived as I was there during the time the whale-sharks migrate along the Mozambique Channel. That meant that on our second weekend we got to go snorkeling with whale-sharks which was truly breathtaking. After lunch on Nosy Sakatia, we went out again but to a shallow sea weedy area where we snorkeled with turtles. But they were truly massive turtles and i was surprised we saw such massive ones. All in all it was a great day.

On camp, most days would start out the same. We would wake up around 6am and leave for our dive by 7am. There's truly nothing better than an early morning dive! We would return to camp between 9 and 10 and it would usually be quite empty since the foresters would be out on their walks. It was quite nice having camp that empty for a while where you can just eat, lie in the hammocks or write down data in peace... Once we passed our species tests we would be allowed to start surveying in the water which was quite exciting. Learning the fish wasn't too hard since they have very straight forward and obvious names ( like 'scissor tail sergeant fish') whereas the invertebrates were all latin names making them a lot harder to remember.

Camp life was a new experience. We slept in wooden huts where we will have set up our mats and mosquito nets. I didn't really use my sleeping bag in the nights since almost every night it was simply too hot. The camp's floor is just sand so if you're not keen on constantly having sandy feet or walking around barefoot all the time then it's not for you. Rice and beans was the standard meal for lunch and dinner which was actually a lot better than i thought it would be since it was mixed with fried vegetables and tomato sauce although you should bring some spices or ketchup or something to give your beans some flavor since they can be quite bland. Dinner was sometimes something else than rice and beans though. Thursday nights was steak night where we would have chips and Zebu meat which are the cows in Madagascar. Monday night was omelette night and on Tuesdays and Fridays I often went to Victor's for dinner. Victor is our local boat driver and every week he would make dinner for whoever wanted to go for. His food was amazing though so I always went there. For breakfast we would eat a rice pudding or annoying else we bought in town.

All in all it was an unforgettable experience and i would highly recommend it to everyone. The people I met there have become close friends and I'm glad i was able to share my experience with them.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Dec 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

I volunteered in Sri Lanka for 6 weeks teaching English to Buddhist Monks. As it was my first time traveling internationally, Sri Lanka seemed like worlds away from my home in America. My parents and I alike had considerable amount of questions, especially about the legitimacy of a program which offers such an affordable experience in so many locations. Michael Ferreira, my host was patient and worked alongside not only my family, but my university to ensure every detail was covered and every question answered. Although you can not always plan for the troubles which may arise during international travel, like missing luggage for three weeks or delayed plane, Michael is always available to help and resolve the issue day or night. As one of his volunteers, you become an extended member of his family.

The only issue that I came across during my time in Sri Lanka was the lack of volunteer hours just working with the Monks. Although on their website it describes a nearly a full day of teaching, in actuality, teaching is typically only from 8-11, maybe 12 at the latest. Depending on your intentions this can be a great thing, leaving you with the afternoon to explore surrounding Sri Lanka. Unfortunately for myself, it was a bit frustrating as I came for a part of school was required to a certain amount of hours, as the website said they ensure between the 30-40 hours a week. I would suggest volunteering in the evening at the orphanage or perhaps working at two Temples if you must fulfill more than 25 hours of volunteering a week.

I would highly recommend this program, and especially the my host family. As you may miss your family at home, you become apart of another. The volunteers were great, from all parts of the world. I have learned here as much as I have taught. It is a challenge at times, but it was such a rewarding experience. I left Sri Lanka entirely fulfilled.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Dec 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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