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Frontier

I have just finished spending 8 weeks teaching in Madagascar with Frontier. Overall it was an incredible experience. Having come in with no previous teaching experience, I was overwhelmed before we started but we were quickly trained so that we felt comfortable in the class within days. Though it was initially daughnting looking out at 50-60 little faces, we quickley realized how eager and excited they were too learn English. Any time we posed a question to the class instantly every single hand shot up.

Along with teaching at the primary school we also taught the teachers once a week and a local youth club three times a week. Though the teachers English was very limited, they were incredibly enthusiastic and keen to grasp the language. At the youth club there was a real range of skills. Some of the students were brand new to English wheras others were almost fluent. One of the most satisfying things was seeing some of the students progress from literally no English to being able to understand rudimentary phrases in just eight weeks. It was clear how much work they were putting in and how badly they wanted to learn English. We were also to establish a strong connection with quite a few of the students who spoke better English. They were so grateful that people were volunteering to teach them and they wanted to learn as much about us as possible.

We also had the opportunity to go out to the more remote research camp very Friday. At the camp they do both marine and terrestrial research. The calm atmosphere of camp was always a nice change for 24 hours from the bustle of hellville. While on camp we'd also teach the children in the local village. Though this was a much different atmosphere to the kids in hellville it was an equally interseting experience. Having the opportunity to go to camp each week though was definitely a big bonus.

Being based in town, we also had the chance to explore the island after school and on weeks. My two favourite things to do were go to Andilana which is a beach in the nth west of the island and arching the sunset on Mount Passo. Andilana is a picturesque white beach and from the top of Mount Passo you can see the entire island. The sunsets from Mount Passo looked like something that was right out of The Lion King.

Overall I would highly recommend frontiers madagascar project. It was truly a wonderful experience getting to teach all the children and explore the island of Nosy Be. I would also recommend staying for at least 6 weeks so you can really settle in and get into the routine.

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

Island TEFL Thailand

I don't recommend this school. I used them a while back and thought they were pretty unorganised and sloppy. Everything seemed to be on the hoof. Actually, there was a post up before by a guy called "TEFL Teacher" that I commented on. For some reason it got deleted including my comments. I don't know why. I've put it back here because it corresponds roughly with my experience:

"Don’t give them a single penny! Island TEFL is the most fraudulent company I’ve come across (and I live in Thailand), The main guy, Phil, doesn’t do any of the work but instead uses a free teaching agency and you pay Phil essentially to hook up with them when you can do this yourself FREE. Phil is a poor business man, and was consistently rude and undelivered on every request I made, all due to his sheer laziness. Sister companies include ...... and ..........., I would avoid these too, they’re all set up to make a boat load of money from vulnerable and eager travelers."

Program: TEFL
Location: Thailand
Posted: Dec 5, 2014
Overall:
3
Support:
4
Value:
2

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I was in nepal for 4 weeks. I took a language course in the first week and it was usefull because you also learn a lot about the culture. We had a really good teacher.
Afterwards me and my friend went to ashna orphanage in lamatar. I felt welcome from the very first minute. We were there for almost three weeks. We walked with the kids to school and helped them with their homework.
We also played some games and helped in the kitchen. It was a very nice experience.
The only thing i regret is that i don't know exactly what happened with all the money I have paid for this project.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Nepal
Posted: Dec 5, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7

VolunteerAbroad.ca

I recently completed 8 weeks of volunteering at the Big Cats, Primates, and Turtles program in Costa Rica. The program is located in the Costa Rican rainforest, so understandably, the living was very primitive and lacking many luxuries we take for granted back home. However, the opportunities and experiences available at this project make it well worth it. Personally, i found the living situation exiting, it added to the whole adventurous rainforest experience.
What you get out of this experience has everything to do with yourself and what you put into it. At this project, we had so many opportunities and resources available to us. If you are interested in Biology and Ecology, there are plenty of books on these topics. If you want to see wildlife, you have the opportunity to participate in several surveys a day. Surveys include primate surveys, otter surveys, bird surveys, sea turtle beach patrols, and trips to the hatchery to take temperatures and check for hatchlings. So long as you sign up for surveys, you are guaranteed to see wildlife. And often, monkeys could be spotted…and heard... at camp. If you are interested in interacting with the local community, you get that too. Twice a week we would do work for the organization whose land we are staying on. This work usually involved working at a nearby farm with some local Costa Rican farmers. This project offers so much potential to have an amazing experience, you just need to put the effort into fulfilling that potential. Sign up for surveys, educate yourself on the local flora and fauna, get to know the people, and take advantage of the resources that are offered.
I have one complaint. I came expecting to do work involving big cats, considering "Big Cats" is advertised in the project name. I was upset to see that we did very little with big cats. We did, however, do track surveys where we would look for mammal tracks, and I did see the tracks of all species of cats in the area: Margay, Ocelot, Jaguarundi, Puma, and Jaguar. Cats tend to be very elusive creatures, and even if they are in the area, chances are low you will actually see one. If you are coming to see primates and turtles, you will not be let down (so long as you come for the right season for turtles)! I saw loads of primates and turtles and we did lots of work involving these animals.
Overall, the experience was great and I highly recommend it. My two suggestions for making this a good experience for you are: don't be lazy, come to learn and do as many surveys as you can, and come knowing that many luxuries from home are not present here.. this is the rainforest.

Program:
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Dec 4, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9

uVolunteer

Ghana was the most eye opening experience I have ever encountered in my life. Upon arriving, I was not quite sure what to expect, but I knew I would not be living a posh life. I was not prepared to have everything I had grown accustomed too in the states taken away from me, but I settled in quickly. I often times found myself looking around in awe that I was in Ghana and how the people lived.

The little things added up in Ghana and they were always a result of someone wanting to help in one way or another, and that is what I will remember about my experience, the people.

Despite the amount of poverty here, I can say with confidence that Ghanians are the most genuinely nice people I have ever been around in my life. I almost wanted to ask the first few people I spoke to what they wanted because they acted like a salesman, but they were just truly being friendly. After going to the crazy market, experiencing the upbeat style of church, and eating some Ghaninan food it was time for me to start my project.

My project involved teaching 15-18 year old girls how to play basketball. The game of basketball is rare in Ghana, and most do not have access to a court or ball. The first day I started teaching the girls I thought I was starting from the basics, but I did not realize they had never even seen a basketball before. Names such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were completely foreign and the concept of dribbling had not previously been taught.
My goal was to keep it fun. As soon as the girls started to show any signs of being bored, I just let them play even if it meant breaking a few rules. The first week was very entertaining and I enjoyed watching the girls' progress in their knowledge and ability of the game. In order to help my teaching process, I taught the girls in a classroom setting in the mornings to help explain how to play the game and show them a few skills. In the afternoon we would walk about 15 minutes away to play at a local court. I had a lot of fun teaching the girls and made some good friends along the way.

Outside of teaching at the local school, I got to know a lot of people in Ghana. uVolunteer got me plugged into the community with some great people and I was able to branch out from there. The hearts of Ghanians are genuine and everybody wanted to know my story. uVolunteer did a great job making sure I experienced the culture here and setting me up with people to take me around town. I got to go to a local church, experience the food market, walk around the clothes market, eat all kinds of Ghanian food, go to local night life spots, experience the national park, walk with elephants, see monkeys steal people's breakfast, wash clothes by hand, and be chased by 50 Ghanian kids hoping to take a basketball from me.

Every day on the way to class I would walk by the kids school and hear the word 'obrony' (white man!) about 50 times. At first I did not know what to do, but all I had to do was smile and wave as if I was some sort of celebrity. The kids' faces light up and some just want wave at you. The little things added up in Ghana and they were always a result of someone wanting to help in one way or another, and that is what I will remember about my experience, the people.

I would recommend the uVolunteer program to anybody and suggest you join because it will be one of the most important experiences you will ever encounter. Be thankful for your current life, but know that you can never be truly thankful unless you live in a poor town.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ghana
Posted: Dec 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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