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AFS

I'm going to the US this summer from Japan. Guess what I still don't have a host family. We were supposed to leave in August 10th. People who already where placed just went to the US a few days ago. There are still many people who don't have a host family and are stuck in our country. Are new departure date is September 8th. I just can't stand that people who are stuck like me and people who are already in the US have month difference in this exchange program. It's just not fair. If you're not placed to a host family until August you have to leave in late September or even October and still come back to your home country on the same date with people who went on August. Actually there where like 4 people last year who even couldn't go on September. I gave tons of phone calls to AFS Japan and even USA but they tell us nothing because of some kind of treaty made between the two countries. Students who are stuck on their home country are having the worst summer vacation ever. We can't see Facebook because we can see the posts of people who are already having the time of their lives already. It's just too harsh to watch. I know it's hard to find a host family because it's all volunteer work. But it's clear that they should fix this situation. I couldn't believe that they've been doing this for years. Their must have been a lot of people who had the same feeling like me. I just hope now that I have a nice host family soon. I

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Japan
Posted: Aug 17, 2016
Overall:
2
Support:
1
Value:
2

Original Volunteers

My time with Original Volunteers in Ghana was easily the best few weeks of my life, everything ran smoothly, I met some wonderful people both locals and other volunteers and every day was a new adventure.

First of all I was a little nervous about walking out of the airport into a strange place not really knowing what to expect, but straight away I saw a guy with a big Original Volunteers sign and my name written with it, so I walked over and he explained in good English who he was, showed me his ID and off we went onto a 3 or 4 hour journey into the Hills of Kwahu. It was late when I arrived and the other volunteers were sleeping so after a very warm welcome from 3 more staff members we called it a night. In the morning the other new volunteers and I were given a proper welcome, all the information we need was given and they answered all our questions, we spent the rest of the day getting shown around the local area, gathering supplies, mainly drinking water and snacks.

The next day is when the volunteering began, the days usually begin with a meeting where we all discuss what we will be doing and what we want to achieve. We had a good mix of teachers and builders so we split into our groups and headed off to work. We spent the first couple of weeks building a new class room for a small community in which the school was falling to pieces. As a volunteer builder you don’t need to bring anything special or have any special skills but it is hard work.

I did some teaching at a school called Sunrise where I met so many lovely children and teachers, it was an amazing experience. I had no teaching experience and no idea what to expect. The children have a curriculum but there’s no need to stick to it, the subjects are up to you within reason of course. I taught lessons on planets, simple maths and some simple English lessons. If you plan on teaching for your whole trip I’d recommend thinking of some lesson plans before hand and take any equipment you might need. Most of the schools have little or no equipment so taking stationary is a good idea.

Usually weekends are free time so we travelled to various places around the country, The first place we went was Mole National Park, it was amazing, we stayed in a hotel in the middle of the park surrounded by all kinds of animals, we saw elephants every day and every kind of monkey imaginable, the only crime I saw in Ghana was a Baboon stealing my Hobnobs.
There is also a nice pool and well stocked bar, friendly staff and quite nice rooms.

My other favourite place is Kokrobite, a small beach front community with a few hotels and a very nice atmosphere, this is the place to come to unwind, there Is a western owned hotel called Big Millies, they organise beach parties with bars, live music, Bon Fires and nice food.

Another great place to visit is Cape Coast, we spent two days there and visited the old Slave Castle which was very interesting and taught me a lot. The next day we visited Kakum National park where we had a mini jungle trek followed by the Canopy walk which is a 350 M walkway suspended high in the trees, I highly recommend this as it gave a unique perspective of the rain forest.

There is so much more to do in Ghana it’s impossible to fit it all into one trip but whatever you do you will love it.
I was so sad to leave Ghana I have been back once already and I will going again next year, I genuinely recommend Original volunteers, they are cheap, supportive and reliable.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Africa
Posted: Aug 16, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

I spent 4 weeks taking part in the Conservation project in Thailand with Projects Abroad. From the moment I arrived, I found a staff member waiting in the airport. On our way back to the volunteer complex, she explained many sights that we passed, and gave me clear expectations for what would happen when I arrived - we will go over some paperwork, I'll take you to your room, here is your PADI instruction booklet to learn by this day, etc.

I felt comfortable from the moment I arrived. The complex housed approximately 15 other volunteers who welcomed me and invited me on a hiking excursion the next day. We all ate dinner together that night, where I had my first encounter with the delicious food we had regularly. While I did not have any food concerns, a few other volunteers were vegan and vegetarian, and the staff worked to ensure they had meals that would not disrupt their lifestyles.

The work we did each week felt meaningful, though I wish I could have stayed longer than 4 weeks. Our weekly tasks always involved dives and data collection, but alternated between beach clean-ups, tree planting, school visits, animal excursions, and so on. Overall, I had an amazing time and was so sad to leave the friends I had made there.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Thailand
Posted: Aug 15, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

We're happy to hear you had such a great experience abroad! We work hard to make sure our projects have a meaningful and long-lasting impact in the communities in which they serve, even for volunteers who stay for shorter periods. Thanks for all your help!

Sol Education Abroad

In May I returned to the U.S. after four months abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica, a sweet, lively town about an hour by bus from the nation's capital, San Jose. I studied with Sol Education Abroad, and I loved it. The directors made sure that we were more than tourists: at every opportunity, we talked about the social, political, economic, and cultural situations of the areas we visited. I spent my semester parasailing, white-water rafting, waterfall rappelling, hiking, and zip-lining...all while taking five classes and improving my Spanish by leaps and bounds. (Parents, never fear! I did indeed study plenty, and one of my five classes was with locals. That's right, in Spanish for Spanish speakers, dealing with the Costa Rican government structure, with Spanish tests and Spanish presentations! Was it hard? YES. Was it worth it? YES.)

My Spanish improved big time, especially since I lived with a host family. I still talk to my host mom, and I have plans to return in a few years. My host family's open arms are just a microcosm of the way that all of Costa Rica welcomed us not simply as tourists, but rather students of their language and their culture. I had conversations with bus drivers and taxi drivers and hotel clerks alike, all whom were impressed by my desire to communicate in Spanish and excited to share their opinion on the best beaches or the most beautiful can't-miss views in the country.

I could talk about my time abroad for a really long time. From volunteer work to typical meals to beach weekends with the girls to Holy Week processions that filled the streets, I can't do justice to how my time in Costa Rica with Sol changed me. Basically, I have to tell you this: just go! You won't be sorry; I know I wasn't.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Aug 15, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
8

Sol Education Abroad

In May I returned to the U.S. after four months abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica, a sweet, lively town about an hour by bus from the nation's capital, San Jose. I studied with Sol Education Abroad, and I loved it. The directors made sure that we were more than tourists: at every opportunity, we talked about the social, political, economic, and cultural situations of the areas we visited. I spent my semester parasailing, white-water rafting, waterfall rappelling, hiking, and zip-lining...all while taking five classes and improving my Spanish by leaps and bounds. (Parents, never fear! I did indeed study plenty, and one of my five classes was with locals. That's right, in Spanish for Spanish speakers, dealing with the Costa Rican government structure, with Spanish tests and Spanish presentations! Was it hard? YES. Was it worth it? YES.)

My Spanish improved big time, especially since I lived with a host family. I still talk to my host mom, and I have plans to return in a few years. My host family's open arms are just a microcosm of the way that all of Costa Rica welcomed us not simply as tourists, but rather students of their language and their culture. I had conversations with bus drivers and taxi drivers and hotel clerks alike, all whom were impressed by my desire to communicate in Spanish and excited to share their opinion on the best beaches or the most beautiful can't-miss views in the country.

I could talk about my time abroad for a really long time. From volunteer work to typical meals to beach weekends with the girls to Holy Week processions that filled the streets, I can't do justice to how my time in Costa Rica with Sol changed me. Basically, I have to tell you this: just go! You won't be sorry; I know I wasn't.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Aug 15, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
6
Value:
8

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