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AFS

Sadly I did not adequately vet the organization before choosing a host service. I am sure experiences may vary but my yearlong hosting experience has been terrible. Had I been diligent I would have discovered the poor reviews of the organization here prior to hosting a foreign exchange student through them. I was eager and willing to open my home to a traveling student but as the year progressed it became clear that it would be riddles with "gotchas" in which we were put in the difficult position of creating a good hosting experience and paying out of pocket for many expenses that were to be covered by the organization due to misinformation provided to the host student (and their family) prior to arrival. In the end, I have ended up picking up the tab for many many additional things after stating quite clearly before hosting that although I would be happy to feed and house a student and even take them on vacation with us to destinations throughout the US, I could not pay for items such as "cell phone" and AFS sponsored trips. I was assured that I would only be required to pay for room and board, but this was not to be the case. When I inquired about this, ultimately the representative would say "although other families choose to provide this you are in no means required too" but at this point we had all eyes pointing to us including the student and her parents explaining that they were informed otherwise. I have, of course, reluctantly covered the additional expenses not wanting the students experience to be impacted as thy have continued to mount throughout the year. To make matters worse, as others have mentioned, AFS poorly plans expensive trips throughout the year that are not covered by the exorbitant cost paid initially by the student to the organization. In most cases, again, these expenses have fallen upon us when we were told otherwise! This leaves myself and other host families to speculate as to what exactly "after airfare" are the thousands of dollars paid by the student and their family going to? Some host parents I have spoken with in regards to this have relayed thoughts that perhaps it is the AFS office in NYC, or executive and worker salaries? I will let you be the judge only relating my experience in the hopes that it will inform others before deciding on an organization. The ratings here do not misrepresent, in my humble opinion.

Program:
Location: USA
Posted: Apr 21, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Visions Service Adventures

Hey Guys!

My name's Jacob Rosen and I have done 3 Vision's programs. I started in 9th grade and am now going on my 4th program as a senior (in Highschool). I have done the Alaska, Nicaragua, and Peru programs. This summer I am going to Cambodia.

I have never found a better program that involves alll the aspects of the fun of traveling and the rewarding feeling of community service. The thing about the community service though is that it is very hard labor. I know most people think community service is picking up trash or hanging with elderly but here on visions you do some real building. From concrete work to carpentry projects like building roofs for cabins you really get the experience of hard work. That being said it isn't painful and debilitating! It's an incredible experience because you work side by side with local builders. The spanish programs allow you to practice your spanish with the local builders and they are usually younger guys so you make lasting friendships. Also, on the weekends the program plans out INCREDIBLE exploration days to see the local area, immerse yourself in the culture, and experience the local landmarks. I have truly seen the most beautiful sights in my entire life on visions. I hiked to the top of Macchu Picchu in Peru and have hiked/ ice climbed on a glacier in Alaska.

Im very open and friendly and LOOOOVE sharing my experiences. I can fill you in on details about the daily life inside the house and the other little details I didnt mention. Feel free to email me at Rosenj@ewsdmail.org or add me on facebook where we can then video chat. My facebook is Jacob Rosen.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Worldwide
Posted: Apr 19, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

Traveling to Nepal was one of the best choices I have made. While the trip challenged me in many ways, I grew to be more self sufficient and confident in my abilities. The hospital was an interesting experience that opened my eyes to how different medicine looks around the world.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Apr 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Concordia Volunteers

I wanted to volunteer abroad and I came across Concordia's website offering a variety of volunteering programmes with low cost fees, so it was affordable for me as a student!! I then had the trouble of actually picking which country I wanted to go to, there were so much choice, I eventually chose Taiwan, I was nervous at first as this was my first time abroad - not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, travelling by myself, do I have enough money? How do I get to the meeting point? But Concordia reassured and prepared me enough for me to feel comfortable about going! Both the training and the helpful, friendly Concordia team have been amazing, making sure I have everything with me, giving me instructions and directions on how to get to the meeting point, what to expect, asking me how the experience was after I finished, constantly taking care of you all the way!!

Once I got to Taiwan, the staff there were so welcoming and lovely, they treated you with so much respect and cared for you, I had the best 2 weeks there!

If I hadn't volunteered with Concordia I wouldn't have made international friends for life or had the confidence to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I wouldn't necessarily do. Challenge yourself, learn new skills, meet lovely people and just go for it! Now, I love volunteering and Concordia has given me that passion!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Taiwan, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Thailand
Posted: Apr 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

My volunteer experience was better than I could have ever anticipated. IVHQ works with you from beginning to end to ensure that you are not only prepared but happy, comfortable, and adapting well in country. Before my departure, the main staff were always eager to answer my questions to their fullest capability and ease my nerves. Once I landed in India, the staff was waiting for me at the airport to take me to the volunteer house for orientation. Every person and host i encountered was friendly and welcoming. It made the culture shock bearable and the new experiences exciting!

You are constantly in touch with IVHQ staff. By the time I went to my home stay I was already well connected with the staff and they continued to stop by every project twice a week. You always have someone to ask questions to, to help with any problems, or simply to feel connected and not alone in a new place.

Besides their mentoring, everything about my placement and experience was just simply fantastic. I taught a school where I fell in love with the kids, was constantly welcomed with open arms by the other teachers, and met so many different people from different places.

If anybody wants to volunteer overseas IVHQ is the absolute best option and best deal for your money! It's the cheapest and most amazing program out there. :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Apr 14, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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