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Frontier

I want to start by saying this was by far the best thing I have ever done, the experience was absolutely incredible. I arrived on camp with low expectations of the living conditions, however I was pleasantly surprised at the standard of the camp. There was everything you needed, big huts for sleeping, proper showers (not bucket showers), large communal areas, a chilling room (the dungeon), a science area, a bar, and a large cooking area etc... and many hammocks!!
The dive training I received during my first two weeks (gaining both open water and advance open water PADI qualifications) was done to an exceptional standard, and was extremely enjoyable. I definitely recommend learning to dive out in an incredible country like Madagascar! Following my dive training I received teaching and lectures about the benthic, fish and invertebrate species out in Madagascar, which was followed by excellent support to help learn these. The passion and enthusiasm towards the work the staff do out there is incredible, it encourages the volunteers to feel the same way, and want to learn and help as much as possible. This made the learning and surveying a very enjoyable process.
In regards to camp life, there's not much more I can say than it was awesome. I couldn't imagine a better bunch of staff members, they made camp life above and beyond my expectations. As well as the bunch of volunteers too, it was amazing to meet a group of people with such similar interests and would like to think I have definitely made friends for life! The food was again above and beyond my expectations, I expected rice and beans literally three times a day everyday, however this was not the case.. if you think you will lose weight on a project like this, think again. Nearly everyday there was some exciting food..eg omlettes monday, fresh fruit tuesday, pancake wednesday, STEAK NIGHT thursday, communal dinner sunday. As well as the locals who bring you round afternoon 'snacks' which you pay pennys for (Sambos, pizza, dough balls, biscuits, pancakes..). There are also optional nights to go and eat at the locals who cook for you, which costs again literally nothing in sterling. This is down to the excellent relationship Chris (project coordinator) and others have created with the local community, which really makes a huge difference to camp life, as you really feel part of the local community.
I would 100% recommend this project to anyone, the one thing I would change is... I would go for longer! I stayed 4 weeks, and felt I wasn't quite ready to leave yet! This is something I would definitely think about doing again in the future and urge anyone wanting to help in conservation to go on this project, you won't regret it!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Sep 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

I did the Program for Street Kids in Jaipur for three weeks and I have to say that it has been a truly amazing experience! Going into it I was quite nervous, as this was my first time traveling by myself, but I have no regrets in taking the leap. I found out about Sankalp here on Abroad Reviews and it fit my volunteering interests, budget, and location better than other programs I was considering at the time. Pranay and Amita took great care of us, and we felt safe at all times. They were available for most of the day if we needed to talk to them for any reason, and they helped us find good transportation to and from the airport, bazaars, restaurants, etc. We lived in a comfortable house, equipped for all our basic needs, and we were provided delicious meals cooked by Puni. There is a security guard so that only volunteers enter the home, a sign in/ out book for our little outings, as well as a curfew to ensure our safety.
The program itself is wonderful, as you get to interact and really make a difference in these children's lives. We worked for about four hours each day, and spent the time at school teaching the kids math and English, as well as playing with them during their break. They are so sweet and no amount of time with them will ever be enough! With no prior teaching experience, it was pretty cool being able to make up my own lesson plans and to find ways to make learning fun for the kids. If I had more time, I would have loved to try out the other programs, like the orphanage and women's empowerment. Since we're done working around noon, the rest of the day is free time to explore and see all the culture that Rajasthan has to offer. Many people choose to take weekend trips to nearby cities/ states as well.
Jaipur itself has a lot of places to visit, from the bazaars where you can buy exquisite handicraft goods, to the beautiful palaces with so much history. Coming from a western country, all the little things are so enjoyable, such as cows and goats roaming around in the streets, the colorful trucks, and the bumpy rides back home in an auto rickshaw.
Thank you Sankalp for providing me with such a rewarding and fun experience! I really hope to do this again :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Sep 5, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Without repeating what many have said about the project in Mada, man it was totally awesome! I'd probably advise you to leave this page now and book yourself 8 weeks on the marine project, don't even finish reading this review just stop right now and go...........if you are still reading then that's cool i'll run you through what made it such a sweet experience.

The care and depth of the work and research being carried out on all 3 aspects (marine, teaching & community) laid aside any fears of it being superficial and shallow. This was one of my particular scepticisms of travelling with an organisation as opposed to independent travel.

The staff. Yeaah the staff were awesome. I mean they radiated a passion for each of their individual areas that was infectious. Spiders, nudibranchs, turtles ect. Each of them really taking the time to get to know you on a personal level as well was sweet.

The integration into a local community that really wouldn't of been possible without the established relationships that Chris (the PM) and the other guys have developed over their time there. At no point did you feel like a tourist there on a holiday but rather a volunteer really making a difference and doing something worthwhile. My lack of the French language was probably the only thing that really held me back from becoming fully integrated into the Malagasy community and way of life. Man I sucked at French.

Above all else though the people and other volunteers you meet and hang with out there is probably the best thing. Meeting so many like-minded people out there on the same level as you is incredibly refreshing. Oh and if your slightly crazy/weird then yeah that helps.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Sep 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

The Intern Group

had previously studied Spanish in Spain and knew I wanted to go back. I looked around for internships online and finely settled on Intern Madrid because it seemed like the best program and at a really reasonable price. The people were great right from the start. I had a couple Skype sessions in order to figure out my interests and what I wanted out of an internship and got a great placement. Upon arrival I immediately felt welcomed and there were lots of great events to meet people and make friends. The people at work were also really great and made you feel included.

Thalassa was really great and was always there if you needed anything. Whether it was a restaurant recommendation, bringing you to a store or even letting me borrow her iron when we didn't have one. She really helped to make this experience a great one.

The housing was great. I had a pretty big apartment and even a balcony in my room and overall I had no complaints about it.

My work experience at the job was great. They gave me a lot of responsibility and freedom and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I just found a full time job now that I am graduating and this internship really stood out. I was able to talk about so many applicable experiences that I feel set me apart.

Overall this was a great experience. I made a lot of great friends, got good experience and fell in love with Spain all over again. I hope to be able to return and work there again some day.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Spain
Posted: Sep 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

The Intern Group

Choosing to participate in Intern Madrid was a great decision. Once I was accepted into the program, I was able to communicate with Christina, one of the program coordinators, and she was always available to answer any questions I had about the Intern Madrid process.

As soon as I arrived at the airport there was a driver ready to pick me up, bring me to my apartment and give me the welcome packet. This feature made me feel at ease right away. My apartment was very nice - right in the heart of the city and just a short walk to the metro. There were many options for restaurants and shopping and I was so close to Retiro Park which was great! I really bonded with the other participants in the program and we still keep in touch! My internship was good as well. I worked for a marketing company and everyone in the office was very welcoming and friendly. I was a little nervous about not being able to speak the language fluently, but I was able to work in English, use a translator tool and improve my Spanish by speaking with coworkers and friends.

I also really appreciate the hard work and dedication displayed by the program coordinators - Christina, Thalassa, Olga - you ladies made my experience what it was and I can't thank you enough for your involvement and support!

Additionally, I liked the structure of the program - having pre-planned included events in conjunction with an internship was the perfect set up for me. I always attended tapas night on Friday - it was a great way to meet the other participants and create lasting friendships.

Madrid is a beautiful city; so full of life and culture, and you're guaranteed to have an amazing time! I was in Madrid for two months and they were two of the best months of my life! I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a great internship and an awesome experience! :)

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Spain
Posted: Sep 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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