Latest Program Reviews

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Global Volunteer Projects

I’m Kelly and I’m a volunteer from China. I choose to come here because I like to stay with children and make friends with others and I really look forward to experience different culture. I’ve been here for 2 weeks and I love Banda Aceh and our center very much. Aceh center is very lovely with 2 warm-hearted directors. On week days, we have storytelling class, Mandarin class, Italian class and music class aimed at different ages and levels of students. I teach kids who are under 10 years old Mandarin and they are active and focused, which makes me delighted and feel that everything rewards. Every time I teach, I feel a sense of achievement and I’m really happy to see kids like to have Mandarin classes. At free time, we make flashcards, gardening and even make a trash bin. And at day off, directors and local volunteers take us to a nearby beach and coffee shop for relax. Banda Aceh is very beautiful and people here are very friendly. I think it’s a very precious chance to be here teaching lovely kids, making friends with other volunteers and experience local culture.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Asia
Posted: Jul 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

After being here in Nepal, I'd recommend it to any one. The volunteer program staff was more than helpful for all of my concerns and questions. IFREs fee was very acceptable and the constant contact with an employ in Nepal made getting ready for the trip very easy. When I arrived in Nepal for my program which would be to help teach English near the mountain village of Lukla. There was already a person there to pick me up from the airport and take me to the hostel where the volunteers stayed. It made arriving that much easier. Kathmandu was a very interesting place with a ton of things to see. upon arriving, some of the volunteers and I went out to tour the city a bit. Everyone I met was very open and easy to talk to. When it came time to leave for Lukla, a driver was able to take me to the airport right on time. My time in mountains of Nepal was dear to me and I'm so glad I took the summer off to go help at the primary school. The kids were so fun and the teachers really appreciated the extra help. Along with teaching at the school I was able to hike in the mountains and experience some of the wondrous sights that would take your breath a way. All in all The trip was a success and the volunteering unforgettable. I can't wait to do it again.
Give me an email if you'd like to chat.
bbeckstead12@gmail.com

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: USA
Posted: Jul 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Humanity Foundation

I’m Lingna Chen, a student from The University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. I’m also a work-study volunteer at Aceh center. At this center, we teach lovely children and teenagers who desire knowledge. At our spare time, we also go out for fundraising with local volunteers. As a Mandarin teacher, I teach the younger most basic but useful sentences. I also enjoy the story telling class and the singing class. Meanwhile, I make a lot of friends all over the world. I’m very glad to be an IHF volunteer because I have gained what I really want. I chose it for helping others as well as challenging myself. During this teaching period, I think I’m more patient and creative. Also I’ve broadened my eyes and thought more about equity and efficiency. I’ll try my best to help others!

Program:
Location:
Posted: Jul 23, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

uVolunteer

This was the second time I volunteered with uVolunteer. Both times were amazing experiences. The first time was Thailand and this most recent time was in Costa Rica.
I have always wanted to go to Costa Rica I have seen pictures I even did a school report on the country when I was in 5th grade. Ever since I did the school project it was on my list of countries I wanted to travel to.
After my experience in Thailand I knew I wanted to do another uVolunteer program. When I saw that Costa Rica was a uVolunteer destination I knew I had to do it.
The community project was a lot fun. It was summer time so at first there were not that many children but as word got around it was not long before there was a line out the door of children waiting for us to arrive with our arts and crafts projects.
I will definatly do another uVolunteer project in the future.
Helen

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Jul 22, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

This is a review I've written and submitted to people who have contacted me; concerned fathers for their daughters were predominately the people who reached out to me. I was happy to submit this review to them, particularly seeing as how both myself and my parents held similar reservations about virtually any program we didn’t directly know someone who had attended.

I’m a 24 year old female, was 23 at the time of the program, and live in LA now. I've studied in both Germany and Morocco, and traveled internationally by myself many times. Because of this my parents were more willing to trust my decision; however, as the program date got closer, I became nervous that it was a scam, fraud, etc. Not the case at all. There’s a cultural difference in communication which lends them to having a rather “hands-off” approach to communication, or rather, the level of communication isn’t up to Western standards. This doesn’t mean it’s not a great program. Pranay and Amita founded the NGO together when they were 21 (they’re married), and truly believe in what they’re doing. I cannot praise the both of them enough.

They contract drivers to shuttle the volunteers to the program sites, and the in-volunteer-house cook, Puni, is not only a wonderful cook, but a wonderful person. Nobody got sick while eating at the volunteer house as the cooks are very sensitive to what volunteers’ stomachs may or may not be used to. Pranay and I had corresponded via email and arranged for him to book my first night in a hotel (he even made the hotel recommendation), and arranged transportation and paid both the hotel and driver from the airport (for which I reimbursed him for later, of course). He even had the driver from the airport phone him when I was in the vehicle, and spoke with me over the driver’s phone to let me know that this was the legitimate driver, and to which hotel we were going. This was above and beyond in my eyes.

I was pleasantly surprised at the volunteer house facilities. The rooms had ac from 11:00pm to 6:00am (I attended the summer, Jaipur program), and there’s actually a western style bathroom. There’s even a brief orientation in which they give the breakdown of cost percentages of your program fee, and how much actually goes to those in need. I don’t remember the percentage off the top of my head, but it is a large one.
I did the Women’s Empowerment Summer Program, and at the beginning of the program, everyone has a chance to change their program after learning about all of them. There are many nationalities, and I was only one of three Americans, which made the program a blast. Essentially all programs, government school, street kids, women’s empowerment, and orphanage work are all just teaching English. Just in different locations. This was such a challenge, but so very rewarding and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On another note, Pranay and Amita don’t go on weekend excursions with you, though Pranay goes on the week-long summer program excursion with everyone. He’s young (about 28) and a lot of fun. The age demographic was that of self-sufficient, early to late (mostly those out of university) 20-something year olds.

I’ve done four overseas program (none volunteer though, Sankalp was my first), and while the organization to this one is perhaps the worst, the heart of the people and customer service is the best. Other volunteers and I did come to the conclusion that, from an organizational perspective, there was a Western bias and expectation that we held. I think the existential thought most people held was “who am I to come into a culture with little-to-zero legitimacy and still think I can make a difference?” This is incredibly valid, but once you’re there and complete the program, you realize that the point isn’t to teach them English fluently, it’s not to build a curriculum (which is virtually impossible because no structure exists, nor are we there for years), but just to keep the kids and young adults interested in schooling and learning. That, rather, is what I took out of it.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jul 22, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

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