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Global Crossroad

I went to Cusco, Peru this summer to volunteer in a boys orphanage. I had an amazing time getting to know the kids and playing with them. Considering their situations, they are all very kind, loving children who appreciate each volunteer taking the time to come to the orphanage. I also got to see some other projects such as the girls orphanage and an after-school program for kids whose parents work at a brick making site. Through Global Crossroads, I was able to find my love for volunteer work and helping out. With the help of the coordinators, Angelika and Wildon, I was able to adjust very well, considering this was my first time out of the country alone. I met wonderful volunteers in Peru and had an amazing time sight-seeing while also fulfilling my main goal, helping out at the orphanage. I highly recommend this program for anyone interested in volunteer work in different countries.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Sep 2, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

My friend and i decided we wanted to volunteer abroad in Africa at an orphanage, so we started doing some research and happened upon IFRE. It gave us tons of different options in terms of places and different types of programs, so we chose to volunteer at Msamaria Center for Street Children in Moshi, Tanzania. I can honestly say it was one of the best choices i have ever made. We were welcomed the moment we stepped off our plane. They helped us figure out everything from the tours and safaris we wanted to do to finding paint for the orphanage. It was really an incredible and wholesome organization. The director Deogratius Peter is super helpful and approachable for any question, issue, or need that a volunteer may have. The volunteer house we stayed in was really spacious and accommodating and immediately felt like home. I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about doing any type of volunteering abroad, my trip greatly exceeded all of my highest expectations.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Sep 2, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I have recently got home from a three week trip in Moshi, Tanzania, where I volunteered at a center for street children through the IFRE organization. I can honestly say it was a life changing experience. The trip had a perfect balance between meaningful volunteering, incredible excursions, and a full immersion into an amazing culture.
Throughout my volunteering I always felt useful which I think is an important thing to look for in a volunteer organization. The children were all wonderful, always ready to play a game and never failing to put a smile on your face. The bonds you make with the kids are so strong and leaving was very difficult. I miss them all already! During my trip I also was given the opportunity to go on many day and weekend trips. I was able to go on an amazing three day safari and saw all of the big 5! I also got to hike through the jungle, go on a coffee tour, swim in a hot spring and lots more. Tanzania is beautiful and having the chance to get out of the city to see the wonderful Tanzanian environment was great. On top of both of these wonderful aspects of the trip, it was really fantastic being able to have the free time to explore the city and meet local Tanzanian people. Throughout my trip I was able to go visit neighboring cities, eat lots of traditional food, make many wonderful friends, and really get a taste of what life in Tanzania is like. Throughout my trip I never once felt unsafe, which as a young girl traveling alone for the first time was a definite concern of mine and my parents. The IFRE support system set up is great. The director in Tanzania is fantastic and hilarious and is always there to help with any issues, and the other volunteers I met while in Tanzania were all amazing people aswell! I could not have asked for a better experience. All of my expectations were exceeded! I would fully recommend this program!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location:
Posted: Sep 1, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I found Sankalp right here on abroadreviews.com and I am so glad that I did. I recently spent 5 weeks in Jaipur volunteering with the Sankalp street children program, and I can honestly say it was a life changing experience.

To all the parents out there reading this: I promise you this program is as safe as you can get for volunteering in India. I spent months convincing my own parents that Sankalp is a legitimate and safe organization. As it was my first time traveling alone (and as a female), I was pretty nervous too. Arriving at the airport and transferring to the house is definitely the most nerve-wracking portion of the trip, but when I got to the house and met the other volunteers, all my worries melted away, and yours will too. There are many house rules put in place by Amita and Pranay that are for your protection, there is always a security guard at the house, and if you need to talk to a local, Puni (the cook/best person I know) is always around.

As for the volunteering itself, I signed up for the summer program for the week of travel, but I added two extra weeks of volunteering because I felt that two weeks wasn't enough with the kids. I would absolutely recommend doing this if you're considering the summer program. Most people I traveled with were disappointed that they only had two weeks with the kids and wish they could have stayed longer.

The street children program is fairly well organized and the bonds you form with the kids is incredible. I miss them and think about them everyday. The language barrier is tough, especially with the younger kids, but it is definitely workable. You need to like kids though, and you need to be someone who does not get frustrated easily.

The week of travel at the end of the summer program is absolutely incredible. You can read about it in detail in other reviews or on the website, but the one thing you should be warned about is that you really should get in shape before the trek. Trust me on this one!

One of my favorite parts of this program is that it allows for so much exploration. The entire afternoon (and part of the evening) is open to go into the old city, spend lots of rupees at the bazaars (don't forget to haggle!), see the beautiful forts and temples, and interact with locals. It really is the trip of a lifetime.

If you want to hear more, feel free to email me (curlicarly@gmail.com). I'd love to give you more details or calm your parents fears. :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Sep 1, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

AFS

We are currently hosting for our third year. The first year we used different agency but found that it did not meet our needs. For example we traveled 2 hours to go to an orientation only to get there and find that the date changed and no one told us.

So after much research we choose to try AFS - WOW! We love it.

Each year we attend a mandatory Host Family Orientation. I would say that yes we feel that we went once - why do we have to do it each year. Then we think it is a great way for AFS to get to know us better and we can help those who are hosting for the first time and you never know you might hear something that will benefit you and your family.

AFS does require the students to attend a few mandatory meetings. No it is not always convenient, but we feel it is in the best interest of the students. It gives them time to talk with fellow students are experiencing the same things that they are.

There are certain Federal Regulations that agencies are suppose to adhere to, here is a link: http://www.csfes.org/NPR_Story.html

I admired AFS and their vast number of volunteers for helping students have the best experience possible. Is it perfect? Of course not, but it does seem that they have the best interest of the student in mind.

Some agencies get paid for each student they place and bonuses for the amount of time the student stays, etc. That was our last agency.

Our belief is that if they people our volunteers then they are doing it because they are wanting to help others and there is no financial motivation involved.

We have had 6 wonderful students from Scandinavian and European countries and consider all of them to be our children. We will go to visit all of them next year and look forward to being a part of their lives always.

It is my belief that all agencies have their flaws. AFS does have flaws, but I would and do recommend it to anyone who is interested in hosting.

There is a Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students. This is one of the resources I used to choose the agency that was a good fit for my family.
http://www.csfes.org/home.html

Program: Study Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Sep 1, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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