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Frontier

I have been on Mafia Island as part of the Frontier team for three weeks now and I have to say, it is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever taken part in.The lovely people working on the project have made the project especially rewarding. The chance to dive, teach and conduct research for conservation purposes is an experience not to be missed. The locals are lovely and welcoming and the chance to teach both the children and the villagers has been especially rewarding. Conducting research both in the sea and in Mangrove forests has enabled me to gain an insight into terrestrial and marine habitats as well as allowing me to contribute to the conservation efforts.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Tanzania
Posted: Feb 7, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

Blog of my one month in the Seychelles:
http://kben71.weebly.com/blog/seychelles-volunteer-expedition-2014-cap-t...

I've wanted to volunteer in Africa since I was 17 so it was nice to fulfill a life long dream but if I had to do it over again I'd spend two or three months instead of just one. The training and slow dive schedule didn't give me much opportunity to contribute; only one short week of actual survey work. That being said however the rest of it was everything I'd hoped for. Anyone who's been to summer camp will immediately recognize the situation, 20+ strangers thrown into dormitories together and given shared duties of cooking and cleaning tends to make people put their best foot forward and like any closed environment you have a ready made circle of friends, kind of like high school. It helps that everyone there is already like-minded, outgoing and has an altruistic streak; in short the people are genuine and were the best part of the experience even for an introvert like me. The living conditions were better than expected and the early bed/early rise schedule actually worked well for me. I always thought I wasn't a morning person, turns out I just don't go to bed early enough. The food was not always inventive but it generally covered the four food groups and the lack of white bread and processed foods made a big difference in my energy level. I lost ten pounds due to healthier food and increased activity and would have easily lost ten more had I stayed another month. Having been home four days now and pigging out on chicken burgers, croissants and sandwiches I already miss the simpler meals of camp.
Now that I'm trained up on fish survey methodologies I'd be interested in doing another four week program somewhere if they would let me challenge the fish identification exams, do a couple fish spot dives for confirmation and then get right into survey work. Either way though I hope I get to visit with the people I met, either abroad on my own travels or if they come to Canada. I've got a couple of guest bedrooms that any of you guys are welcome to!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Seychelles
Posted: Feb 6, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
7

RCDP International Volunteer Abroad

Michael and his family were the best hosts!!!
Very caring and super delicious food!

The programme organisation though was not quite thought through since I applied for teaching at school, when they had sp[ecial work weeks so I wish someone had told me in advance!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Sri Lanka
Posted: Feb 6, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I have been in Caye Caulker with Frontier Belize for two months now and I already feel like I never want to leave again! The island is gorgeous, a little Caribbean island surrounded by coral reefs and turquoise waters. Caye Caulker is divided in two islands, the North and the South island, which are really different from each other. The project's camp is located in the Fisheries Department ranger station within the forest reserve. The forest is mainly a mangrove and palm tree forest, and is quite isolated as it can only be reached by boat. I think Caye Caulker is the perfect location for a conservation project, as during the week you will mainly stay in the North Island where you are fully immersed in nature, while on weekends you will have the chance to have some free time in town (South Island) where there are nice restaurants, bars and also a good nightlife!

The living conditions are basic but they are not as tough as I expected. At the beginning of the week we get fresh fruit and vegetables from the South Island, which means we can cook really nice vegetarian dishes and have fruit with our oatmeal in the morning. So we don't only eat rice and beans for the whole week (even if I love the rice and beans too!). Sleeping in hammocks is also not what I expected, they are pretty comfortable! The only nuisance at camp are the sand flies, but they can be avoided by wearing long trousers and long sleeve shirts. I would reccommend bringing lots of long light clothes as you will be wearing them all the time at camp, but you should still bring shorts/t-shirts/dresses for the days and nights you will spend in town.

On the beach conservation program you will do a lot of different types of surveys, including mangrove, seagrass, conch and lobster surveys as well as beach cleans in the forest reserve. On the marine conservation and diving project you will also be trained in fish and coral ID and you will be able to participate in dive surveys. Don't expect to find long, white sand beaches, as it's mainly mangrove and coral reef habitats around here! My favourite surveys so far are the conch and lobster surveys because you get to explore the local reef where you can see amazing marine life including nurse sharks, rays, turtles and all the colourful fish while collecting vital data which will help the Belize Fisheries Department understand if they are managing the marine reserve effectively. I'm really excited as Frontier will start manatee surveys in the near future, so I will be able to study these fantastic animals in their natural habitat!

Overall I would reccommend this project if you are looking to help with some great conservation work, learn some new survey techniques, see lots of marine wildlife, meet amazing people and have the experience of a lifetime!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Feb 5, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

The Intern Group

I spent twelve weeks in Medellin living with a Colombian family. I previously studied Spanish at university in the States do I did not take Spanish classes during my stay. However, living with a family that only speaks Spanish was a great way to better my language skills. I also had the opportunity to practice at my internship so I think my speaking ability has greatly improved. I felt very safe during my entire stay. The neighborhood in which all the interns live is very modern, comfortable, and easy to get around. Taxis and the metro are very cheap so it is easy to travel to other neighborhoods in the city. The social programs and day trips provided by the Intern Group give you a chance to meet many other interns in the city, and I spent three or four days a week with them. I have made friends from all over the world and that has been one of the best parts of this experience. I only had minimal complaints. One being the amount of work I was given at my job was minimal and at times I was bored with nothing to do. The work ethic in Colombia is very different than the US so that was partly the reason. Also, although my host family was alright I would have preferred to be more like a family, cooking dinner together, sightseeing, etc. Living in an apartment as opposed to a homestay, however, does lessen your Spanish exposure significantly. Overall I had a good experience!

If I could change one thing I would recommend finding Colombian families who want to have foreigners stay with them and become part of their family, not just someone looking for a paycheck each month.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Colombia
Posted: Feb 4, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
9

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