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Rustic Volunteer and Travel

In short, I told them that I had an interest in doing two sites, but that there was a chance I might not do the second site. Two days after I paid for both, they informed me that a full refund of a $1000.00 would not be a problem. 3 weeks later, the money was not wired back to my account as they stated. Then the changed their mind to that the money had already been dispersed. IN TWO DAYS??? No way. They got me back just over $350.00. Aside from that, I went specifically to volunteer, but they told me to put on the form that I was a tourist. Why is that? Something didn't seem right. Do they save some processing fee or money that way? Save some time somehow? Not sure, but what I am sure of is that myself, and two other girls who I met after they left another site didn't have a good experience. The other two were placed in a very dirty place, of which Rustic doesn't admit to. There was human feces on the floor, and bird feces on the bed, and around it. They seemed to try and justify it by saying there were only three droppings! Are you serious? Also, one of the girls wasn't able to call her husband for 4 days. He called and left messages of which they weren't returned. They could have easily informed him that she was there at the location safe and sound. But they didn't. I would NOT use Rustic for the reasons mentioned. There are many other more qualified places to get you a great experience. While they sound and were extremely helpful in answering all my questions, and I can't stress that enough, however, when it comes to money and your well being, it is another story entirely!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: India
Posted: Jun 18, 2009
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Comments

Its not possible to get a "volunteer visa" in the USA for Tanzania. One must enter the country on a tourist visa and then obtain the Volunteer Visa once in the program location at the Immigration office. This is what I did.
I and my boyfriend also worked through rustic in tanzania. It is true that now a days, tanzania government needs work permit for all volunteers. You may get arrested if you work in tourist visa. Just check with immigration services of Tanzania.
I also volunteered through Rustic (in Tanzania) and was told to get a tourist visa. Once I got there (along with a MILLION other problems) I was told that it was actually illegal for us to volunteer under a tourist visa. They were going to make us purchase another visa but the people from Rustic did't show up for over a week and a half to remedy things so we never ended up getting the new visa. I would not recommend this organization to anyone but my enemies. They are very unprofessional and cause more of a hassle for us than anything good. The host family we were staying with didn't even know that we were coming. We were not picked up from the airport and all the contact numbers we had were old so we couldnt get ahold of anyone. We had to search out our host family by asking people in their village if they knew who she was.
It is common for volunteer organizations to ask their volunteers to mark "Tourist" on their visas applications. It isn't a scam or anything like that, it just saves a lot of headaches for everyone involved.
If you can reply to this ....I was just wondering you said you would volunteer with Rustic again, but what about the bird and human stuff on the floor? Was that true? You would go back to them?
I would like to add to my previous review on Rustic Travel, since I feel it is important to include information that was no available to me. The individual who was responsible for my bad experience, and those mentioned in my previous review is no longer with Rustic. I believe Rustic took the necessary actions to remedy the problem, in addition, were very professional in helping to resolve my complaint. I believe this says a lot about the organization. I would use them again if and when I do volunteer work.

Amigos de las Americas

This program is unparallelled among international volunteer opportunities. It is a complete immersion in Spanish language and Latin American culture, and offers an incredible amount of independance and responsibility. Volunteers live with host families in Latin American towns, where they teach health or environmental classes in local schools. Volunteers also independantly lead a community development initiative which they help to design in collaboration with the host community. Support staff is very helpful, but visits only once a week. You will spend all your time with locals: your host family, local professionals or NGO coordinators, etc. You will become a part of your community. Your social life will be fantastic, and it will revolve around local teenagers who usually speak no english. In short, you will be completely absorbed, and assume a leadership role in your community. I did this program two consecutive years in Mexico and Nicaragua. You must have a basic level of spanish proficiency, but you will improve quickly. Don't miss out on this.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico, Nicaragua
Posted: May 26, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

I completely agree with everything they had to say. Having just finished up my first summer with Amigos, I have found it to be an enriching, life changing experience. The people you meet in community are the warmest, most welcoming people that you will ever meet. I found project staff to be extremely organized and approachable. Each staff member has been an Amigos volunteer so they have the experience and understanding to help and support you. I strongly recommend Amigos to everyone.

Leap Now

LeapYear India. Group travel, and volunteer projects paired with a lot of inner and personal development work. This program is not for everyone--it is a serious commitment--but you will finish this program with a clearer sense of yourself. The Staff+other students become like family. The program offers a full year of college credit (though not all universities will find these credits transferable.) I highly recommend this program, it is well worth the time and money.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: India
Posted: May 26, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

my son just started the program also. Have you heard anything further about the credits and the ability to transfer them.
my son just started the program and is going to south america. You mentioned that the college credits may not be transferable, is this a common issue or do some schools accept the credits? Any further insight would be helpful. Thanks

CEA - Cultural Experiences Abroad

CEA is the best for a study abroad provider in Spain, especially Barcelona. The staff is super helpful and in tune with the culture while also being sensitive and aware at how different and culturally shocking it can be for American students. Begonia & Curra are amazing to learn from and work tirelessly to make sure that their students needs are met.
The course work was wonderful and challenging in the immersion, and directly related to my major.
If you have the opportunity to study abroad I urge you to go with CEA.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Spain
Posted: May 21, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Hello. Can you tell me what your living accommodations were like? Did you live in an apartment? I just got accepted into the program and don't want that to be a concern. Thanks!

Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea is perfect for someone wanting to get a better global understanding. People who go to one place, learn a lot about a specific culture, but Semester at Sea allows you to study certain topics (science, art, literature, etc.) and see it across many cultures. I learned about and experiences places I would probably have note gone to alone (i.e. India and Malaysia--and they were my 2 favorite stops!). On top of all this, you have AMAZING instructors; their experience was amazing (i.e., Our history professor met Ghandi, my science instructor was on a expedition that helped map the Atlantic ocean floor, and another professor had been an advisor to the UN). Another bonus was that I got to study next to studdents from almost all 50 states and 11 different countries. Semester at Sea was the best thing I ever did, and everyone else I know who did it, feels the same way.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Worldwide
Posted: May 21, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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