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RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

My name is Daniel and I from America. My experience in Sri Lanka was very unique and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I taught English to Buddhist Monks at a temple. The class size was very small which was very positive in relation to the learning process. I met lots of great people from all over the world. I suggest this program for anyone looking to travel and volunteer at the same time. My host family was very nice and the head of the household, Michael, was extremely helpful with everything that I asked for and needed.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Apr 15, 2014
Overall:
5
Support:
5
Value:
8

A Broader View (ABV)

Before the trip even began, I felt supported by my country coordinator, she through emails and knew I would have the safety of her assistance waiting for me when I arrived in Xela. Throughout my time in Guatemala, she answered every question promptly, and always made time to meet with me, take me to the doctor, address any problems that arose, and assist me in my projects when needed. She made time to bring the volunteers together so we could meet one another and was excellent to work with.
The most surprising thing I experienced was how open the projects were to the assistance of the volunteers. I was welcomed immediately and put to task with several jobs and every day was different depending on the need of the project. I have rarely encountered persons so trustworthy and genuine as those with whom I worked at the project, and was surprised at how open and receptive they were to my assistance and presence in their workplace.
The most difficult thing to experience was processing the emotions of the stories, and daily battles I encountered at my projects and even sometimes speaking with someone in public. It is one thing to hear these stories or see these peoples’ emotional strife, but the difficulty was overcoming the sensation that I do not have the power to “fix” any of these issues. My greatest strength, I finally learned, was simply to listen and lend kind words of support when I could.
Don’t overpack! You’ll find you need less clothes than you think you do (a weeks worth is fine). Bringing your own toiletries is quite helpful and once you’ve used them, it leaves you spare room in your suitcase to take home any gifts or souvenirs you might have gathered. Try to ask friends and family for funds that you can bring with you to your project. You may have a vision of what your project needs, but asking them face-to-face, or through ABV is much more efficient for your project and will more helpfully distribute your funds!
I have traveled many times throughout the world, but never quite in the manner as organized by ABV. I was quickly made to feel a part of the community surrounding me, and I was introduced to other volunteers and to my program, making me very much feel at home. Then without realizing it, Xela became my home, those with whom I worked and lived became my family, and my project was the highlight of every day.Working with children, and then adolescents at my projects, I had the fortune of gaining insight into the pain and yet the universal joy that exists within young minds. This joy allowed me to be energized when around the young persons even when my health began to fail towards the end of my 3 months.
ABV has a great way of not directing you, but working with you to accomplish tasks at projects. Never did I feel alone or without support from the ABV team as I dove into work at the projects, or interacted with the cultural community of Guatemala.I have been changed for the better because my mind flourished, and heart expanded, and my worldview broadened.
Living with my wonderful host family quickly became very comfortable, and routine. I recognized my host mother’s rules and traditions and respected her customs, and I became friends with her family. My room had two beds, was quite comfortable and roomy, with enough space for all of my things. I had a drawer with a key that I kept with me that my host mother gave me for locking up valuables, passport, etc. Every meal was delicious, although I am not too picky, I always felt safe in my home, and when I had two-weeks of two other ABV volunteer roommates, I greatly enjoyed their company.
Prior to traveling, ABV support was great. My account on the website kept me up to date with my progress in my application process, and then my placement process. I always knew who to email with any questions and felt regularly updated on travel arrangements and plans. I also felt that the website offered me ample information to allow me to make an informed decision that ABV was the right organization for me.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Apr 15, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Being a relative newbie to environmental conservation I was rather nervous before embarking on The Big Cats, Primates and Turtles project in Costa Rica and quickly discovered there was much to be learnt! However, since being on camp I have found the expansive knowledge of the staff to be exciting and they are more than willing to share their expertise and answer any and every question I have with endless patience and grace. In addition to my growing knowledge, I’ve found camp couldn’t be better. It’s wonderfully run and a fantastic location. Thus far I feel three and a half months might not be long enough! The extensive biodiversity of Costa Rica creates a wonderful ‘hands-on’ learning environment and I couldn’t ask for better teachers. Now it’s just up to me to learn as much as I can before my time is up!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Apr 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

About a week ago, I returned from my first venture out of the United States. I had traveled for 2 weeks to New Delhi, India, to volunteer and tour with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS). I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone by signing up for the program solo, but I cannot say that I was terribly nervous given the preparation and support I received from the staff at the CCS headquarters in New York.

My experience not only met my expectations, but far exceeded them. The in-country staff was incredible. They were welcoming, friendly, and attentive to our needs. They answered any question we had and provided us with plenty of information about the Indian culture. They took great care in making sure that our interests and skills matched our volunteer placement as best they could. I loved my placement teaching conversational English and interview skills to teens from low-income neighborhoods.

They also planned fascinating and educational cultural immersion activities: tours of a local mosque, hindu temple, and sikh temple, guest speakers, Hindi lessons, cooking lessons, traditional dance demonstrations, bridal preparation demonstration, museum visits, shopping at local markets.

Additionally, the accommodations were quite comfortable and clean. I really grew attached to the community in which our apartment flat was located. The food was prepared by members of the CCS staff daily and was delicious.

I feel that my experience with CCS was a well-rounded, beautiful, life-changing experience.

I definitely plan to keep up with the organization and show my support in any way I can. I want to spread the word about what an amazing organization this is so that more people can have the opportunity to share my expeience. I also hope to go on another CCS trip in the near future. I am grateful for all of the wonderful people I met in the CCS India staff, my fellow volunteers, and the kids that I worked with through my volunteer placement.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Apr 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Madagascar...its tough to put into words what makes Madagascar so amazing. The staff was top notch; they were both professional and personal. The other volunteers were awesome as well. With the atmosphere maintained on camp its nearly impossible to not make friends and have a great time. The wildlife on Nosy Be is truly incomparable to anywhere else on earth. The scuba diving there is fantastic as well. Overall, this trip was the experience of a lifetime and I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Apr 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

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