Latest Program Reviews

Over 300 Programs and more than 3,000 Reviews

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

From this past September to February, I spent four and a half months volunteering with A Broader View (ABV) during my gap year. I went to Ecuador AND the Galápagos Islands, Peru, and Colombia, participated in six volunteer programs, and stayed with four amazing host families-all of whom I'm still in active contact with! I couldn't be more pleased with my volunteer experience.

I began my journey in Quito, Ecuador where I stayed for two and a half months. While there, I volunteered at both a school for children with special needs and a catholic school teaching English as a second language. Both experiences opened my eyes to educational systems abroad and to my passion for working with children. Before going to Ecuador, my Spanish was conversational with a basic grasp on grammar. After living with a host family, taking private Spanish lessons for three hours a day, and interacting with the local people, I left with an advanced intermediate understanding of the language.

Learning Spanish was a highlight of my gap year and a gift I will cherish for the rest of my life.

After Ecuador, I went to Peru where I participated in two completely different volunteer programs, both equally rewarding in their own ways. My first was in the Manu region of the jungle working on environmental conservation projects for two weeks. I lived in a group home with other volunteers and a couple who had grown up there. Living with limited electricity and no internet access was an amazing escape from the westernized world in which I have grown up. It was also incredible meeting the locals; people who had never left this tiny region of the jungle. Hearing their perspectives and stories was eye opening.

After the jungle, I spent two weeks in Cusco, Peru volunteering at an orphanage for adolescent girls and living with a host family. The girls made me laugh so much, and it was inspiring to see the family they had formed there.

After my Christmas vacation spent in the USA with my family, I ventured once again to South America! My first stop was Cartagena, Colombia. I stayed with a host family and worked at a center helping the elderly for two weeks. I loved that I got to chance to work with people of all ages from young children all the way through the elderly. Unbelievable!

After Colombia, I flew once again to Ecuador and visited my host family from the fall before continuing into the Galápagos Islands. The Galápagos were phenomenal. I could have stayed there forever; 14 days was far too short! I lived in a hotel run by a couple who works with ABV. I worked on an ecological reserve helping with turtle rescue and preservation.

I cannot recommend A Broader View enough. I never waited more than 24 hours for an email response. Not once but twice, the coordinator helped change my placement with only two weeks notice! I had incredible support both while in the USA and abroad. I was provided everything I could have needed while away: three meals a day, wifi, air conditioning, hot water, you name it!

Bottom line: the people I met along the way are the memories I will cherish most. Every host family I stayed with made a lasting impression on me and are people I will never forget and never be able to thank enough. I am a different person after the time I spent volunteering with ABV. Without their never ending support, I wouldn't be able to speak Spanish fluently. I wouldn't have realized how much passion I have for working with children. I wouldn't have experienced cultures so different from my own. I have grown more in this past four and a half months than all my years of school combined. Thank you ABV for opening my eyes to a world I would have never had the chance to discover and an entirely different part of myself!

Program: Gap Year
Location: South America
Posted: Mar 23, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The trip and program were great. Caye Caulker is beautiful and the work we did (snorkel surveys, beach cleaning, fish identification, helping local organizations) felt valuable. I learned a lot both from the work and from absorbing the Caribbean atmosphere. The only major problem I had with Frontier was communication. Planning the trip and getting questions answered was difficult and I had to call and email many times just to get one answer. I didn't receive the packing list until the morning of my flight, so getting ready was stressful and confusing. Once I arrived in Belize and met the project leaders, everything fell into place and I had a great experience. I would definitely participate in another Frontier program if given the chance!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Belize
Posted: Mar 23, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
10

Visions Service Adventures

I’ve worked multiple programs with VISIONS and plan on working more in the future! VISIONS is an incredible program that focuses on community involvement and teaches students the importance of teamwork and the value in hard work- all while having fun, making memories and learning about a different culture. My favorite thing about working with VISIONS is seeing children grow and learn in the short amount of time they are at a program. There is so much excitement in completing a project on their own, and so much happiness in making a difference in the community they are living in. The sense of confidence and accomplishment they feel after completing a project is absolutely amazing! The hands on work and interaction with the community teaches students so much! Students get a different view of life- it is something they cannot learn at school while sitting in a classroom. VISIONS makes a positive impact in students’ lives and as a VISIONS staff leader I am honored to be part of that!

Program:
Location:
Posted: Mar 22, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

We just completed a volunteering program proposed by Global Crossroad in Peru.
We subscribed for a 213$ program per person as advertised on their website. after paying the 99$ initial registration fees, we received an invoice that mentions
- 293$ program fees, 28% more than advertised in the brochure
- 25$ per person for the transfer from the airport where it costs locally no more than 3$ to take a cab.
- Spanish classes that we did not ask for (and hopefully we noticed it, where other volunteers did not and where charged)
- mandatory travel insurance we did not ask for and for which we had no details.
- 5% surcharge when paying by credit card

We asked to remove the non-requested Spanish classes and the travel insurance as we had ours anyway. It took us 3 months to remove the travel insurance fees from the invoice.

But we missed noticing the increase in program fees and exaggerated transfer fees. indeed they are to be paid locally and do not appear in the balance due figures.

We actually realized when the local coordinator asked us for the money. We sent emails to GlobalCrossroad to review the invoice and instruct the coordinator to apply the original fees we subscribed for. GlobalCrossroad lost suddenly their reactivity and we had to wait for the very last day before our departure to finally get an answer, and a negative answer on top of that.

It's probably our fault not having noticed all the tricks included the invoice. That is why Iam warning everyone who intends to apply for programs with GlobalCrossroad that they should be very careful price wise. They will certainly pay a bit more than what they thought.

However, luckily, the project itself, managed by the local association was great. No regret about anything but Global Crossroad. Next time we will make sure to deal directly with local association

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 21, 2015
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
2

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had a great time in the program. I had never been to Guatemala (Xela) and did not know what to expect, even we got an orientation guide prior traveling and did my own research of the country and city. I went in with an open mind and grew to love the country, people and culture. Our host family was great and fed us very tasty and delicious meals. I got hands on experience in the medical field that I never could get back in the United States, the amount of babies/children at the clinic was incredible. The pace of the clinic was very fast. We saw over 100 babies/children every day. You have to be on your toes to work there.. This trip was both informative and fun. I found myself wishing the week wouldn´t end. I highly recommend this program to med students and pre-meds.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Mar 20, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Pages