Frontier

Fully Verified What's this?
9 / 10 after 469 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

Frontier has over 300 projects globally, offering unlimited opportunities to volunteer abroad. You could be spending memorable days scuba diving off the brilliant white beaches of Fiji or discovering South Africa on a conservation project with lion cubs! You can learn new skills, gain valuable qualifications and make lifelong friends.

Submit a review

From the amazing wildlife to the lively local culture, my time in Madagascar was a truly magical place like nothing I have experienced before! Made even greater by volunteering through frontier! The staff were brill especially project coordinator Chris who's knowledge of the local area is outstanding and really went out of his way to help with any problem you may have.
Camp life was basic but that was just part of all the fun! Food consisted of rice and bean but if like me you have a sweet tooth you could buy tasty home made snacks from the locals in the village or just stock up of Nutella from the Saturday trip to town!
The work is tiring but fun! I really enjoyed surveying the reefs and Seagrass around camp, the sea is buzzing with wildlife and my principle investigater Kate always managed to spot a turtle!!
It wasn't all work though on Thursday night we had steak night which is a very welcome break to rice and beans. And Fridays were party night which where a barrel of laughs. I made some super friends from all over the world during my time with frontier and have left with spectacular memory's that I won't soon forget!

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 22, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
20
I have been the Principal investigator in the Costa Rica Forest Programme for 6 months now and during this time I have experienced many adventures, met many interesting people and worked with the local community, but most importantly I have been the leader of a real conservation programme. 
Every day is different here in the rain forest; some days we work with turtles releasing babies from the hatchery that we have previously saved form instable parts of the beach, other days we look for wildcat tracks. There is nothing more exciting than finding an ocelot, puma and even an jaguar track on the beautiful trails or on the beach. Looking for otter scat along the rivers, encountering birds and primates or trapping amazing colourful butterflies, there is something for all tastes at this programme. One of my favourite days was the Turtle Awareness Day in which we joined other organisations in the area to educate the locals about the importance of saving and conserving these ancient animals. 
Living in such a remote place and in basic conditions puts back into perspective what is really important and necessary to be happy in your daily life. I think sometimes we get lost in so much technology and forget about the importance of real relationships. I am really looking forward to spending the next 6 months in such a beautiful and biologically diverse place, living the Pura Vida (Pure Life) as it was always intended to be.
 
Program:
Location:
Posted: November 16, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
Age:
34

I have been on the Big Cat, Primates and Turtle project for 5 weeks as a Conservation Apprentice. It has proven to be a fantastic opportunity to gain firsthand experience with a well established NGO and to work on a long-term project in a tropical climate. I have already seen a vast array of exotic species and look forward to the many encounters I am sure to have with rare and beautiful animals endemic to Costa Rica and the Osa Peninsula.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 15, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
Age:
24

Unfortunately my 6-month stay in Costa Rica ended after a week, and ultimately the blame all comes down on Frontier’s London headquarters. It’s a real shame, mainly because the location is beautiful, and the on-site staff are super friendly, but unlike the program description on Frontier’s website, as well as the countless documents sent to me before I left, there is little-to-no research done on big cats. I applied for the research assistant position with Frontier, and it was under my impression that I was “hired” due to my various experiences working with both captive and wild big cats, and I was very, very excited. I felt I could really add something to the project, and learn some new techniques as well. Upon my arrival in Costa Rica, I was told that the big cat program (which one would assume to be extensive due to the fact the term “big cats” is the first thing listed in the program title) was not running, other than the possible spotting of tracks and markings, and hadn’t been running for months. The head staff member in country stated that the camera traps were stolen months before, and unfortunately the London office wouldn’t replace them, and that was the beginning of a recurring theme.

It seemed that most of the issues that were faced came with a reply of “London won’t fund us”, which was hard to believe seeing as the head staff member in country was paid relatively nothing, the camp was basic and the food wasn’t expensive. So where were the thousands of dollars/pounds that the volunteers were dishing out going? It was also observed that headquarters didn’t really care about the work, and that’s really unfortunate because everyone in country was passionate about conservation and research. The staff even asked headquarters to change the title of the program to be less descriptive of the work being done, but they refused (which can be assumed as a ploy to draw people in). Also, I arrived in Costa Rica and was told I didn’t need half of the equipment I brought along, and that headquarters doesn’t send out an updated list the in country staff provided. It’s all a bit confusing, seeing as this particular program seems to be one of Frontier’s most popular, and yet the headquarters don’t seem to care much at all about the program.

When I made it clear I wanted to leave the program, due to the lack of advertised big cat research, the headquarters told me that I must vacate the site immediately (which the head staff member felt horribly about). This was the tip of the iceberg, as I hadn’t even sent in my formal resignation, and I also PAID to be there (albeit a lot less than normal volunteers but I still paid). Once home, I made multiple attempts at contacting London headquarters asking for my fee to be refunded (which was nothing compared to the flight and equipment costs I wasted), as I wouldn’t have even applied for the position if I knew big cats research wasn’t being conducted. I was sent the general “we’ll get back to you” email and heard nothing, even after threatening legal action and negative reviews. It really is all a big shame, as the location is beautiful, the in country staff are passionate, and the opportunity and potential for great research is there, but after my experience London headquarters just doesn’t seem to care. All in all, I’d say go with another company that seems to care more about its clients and true conservation versus Frontier, because after my experience it all seems like a money-making sham.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 10, 2014
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
Age:
22

Comments

We are very sorry to learn that the project does not appear to have met your expectations. It is in the nature of field research activities such as ours that people need to go into them with an open mind and with the physical capabilities to be able to adapt in a relatively short space of time to conditions which are likely to differ significantly from any they have known before. The fact that you decided to leave after less than one week does suggest to us that you did not give the project a chance, the time you were there not being sufficient for you to have formed any reliable opinion either of the work which was taking place at the time or of the work planned for the future. Turning to the project work itself, your primary concern appears to be what you perceive to have been a lack of ongoing research into Big Cats. This part of the project is a very successful aspect of the research resulting from a longstanding collaboration between Frontier and Osa Conservation which has made a significant contribution to the biodiversity and conservation objectives of the local area and resulted in a number of important scientific research papers. As you already know, the world of conservation volunteering is entirely separate from that of wildlife tourism. We can never guarantee the sighting of or research opportunities for the study of any given species. We would not be able to, nor would we feel any particular need to, since the majority of Frontier volunteers are keen to get stuck in to the important research which is underway at the time of their deployment. That said, we are fully aware that our volunteers are looking for tangible, hands-on research opportunities, something which we believe that we consistently provide. We are surprised at your position to the effect that you went out to Costa Rica purely as a result of your interest in Big Cat work, since you had originally applied for a position in Tanzania, where Big Cat work was not even part of the programme. We work very closely with our partners at Osa Conservation in our work protecting Big Cats and recently a Jaguar was spotted in a camera trap very close to our camp. Volunteers and staff have been lucky on occasion to see Jaguarundi and Puma around the camp also and we do regular scientific work on locating the scat and footprints of cats as has been documented on our website and through social media. Conservation is not just about this though. Nor is it just about counting and recording the number of species of Big Cat on the Osa Peninsular which we have been involved in. Rather it is about protecting the habitat of these crucial keystone species and allowing the population of Big Cats to grow. Through habitat protection, fighting poaching and reforestation this can be achieved. In the six years we have been working on the Osa Peninsula the population of Big Cats have stabilised and is now growing and that is a testament to the hard work of many staff and volunteers at Frontier over the years as well as the wider efforts being made in the region. I suspect if you had been able to stay longer on our programme you would have identified that. As the Project Manager for Frontier in Costa Rica I can assure you that our London office not only provides vital scientific and logistical support for our field work but ensures that we continue to undertake our crucial work protecting not only the endangered Big Cats in the Osa Peninsula but all the other myriad of unique species that are found here. Your comments do not reflect the view of myself, my colleagues or the volunteers that work extremely hard to this end. We take all feedback, whatever its nature, very seriously and regret that there were aspects of the experience which did not meet your expectations. We have tried to provide careful and comprehensive responses to all the matters which you have raised, but if you would like to discuss anything further or wish to seek clarification on any of the above points then please do get back to us. Alex Foulkes Project Manager Frontier, Costa Rica

My time here has been absolutely amazing. The tropical environment is breathtaking and something everyone should experience in my opinion. I've met so many great people and that made camp life wonderful, I wish I would have stayed a little longer but 10 weeks was the perfect amount of time to experience all that this great place has to offer. It won't be long until I try to find and set off on another adventure like this one, I've been forever changed by this experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 8, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
23

Comments

Many thanks for your review!

Pages