Cambodia

Frontier

So I think it’s fair to say that the people in Cambodia are equally as special as the place, and when I say people I am referring to the frontier team and staff; right from the offset I’ve been well equipped with information and help when needed before entering the field which to be honest I didn’t think could be topped. However the entire time I’ve spent here I’ve felt as if I am part of a family, from the first day where I was meat on the pier by my frontier PI greeted with warm welcomes and smiles I felt right at home.
The frontier team here have taught me so much about marine conservation in Cambodia, they’ve both supported me and supplied me with the information i need to help make a change out here on the island of koh rong samloem. so thanks to Jenn and Gen for making my time here so special, and I can only hope that those who volunteer out here after me enjoy it just as much as i have.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Apr 26, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Hi! My name is Julia an I'm interested in doin a project with frontier while I'm 17. I was wondering if you would be willing to talk to me about your experience? If so you can just email me : juliarose385@gmail.com

Frontier

There is no way you can spend too much time in Cambodia, you are surrounded by like minded people whilst being completely immersed in an amazing culture. The project itself tackles a very important conservation issue that will directly and indirectly have affects onto a global scale. The staff members always have a positive outlook and have made my time here even more incredible. Anyone partaking in a project like this will undoubtedly make friends for life like I have.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Apr 26, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

Over all, the South East Asia trip with Frontier was amazing! Both the team leader Rachel and the assistant Kelly we're excellent and great at their job. I never felt like I couldn't go to them with a question or a problem. If any of the volunteers didn't want to take part in the assigned activities there was always something more to do.
Travelling through Thailand and Vietnam was worthwhile just because there's so much to see. Having the volunteering section in Cambodia between the travelling parts was nice to break up the otherwise long 10 week journey.
The only real problem was the initial organising with Frontier. I'm not sure if it was down to my personal co-ordinator but I received many emails about insurance or flight information even when I had sorted it all out and told him. Because I am taking part in the fantasy gap year, I need to know all the new information as soon as possible but it seems that it's not on top of the list!
The actual trip was amazing and I couldn't recommend it any more highly to other travellers who want to see south east Asia with a group of like minded people.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam
Posted: Mar 17, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
6
Value:
8

Comments

Hi Caitin, We are very glad to hear that you had such a great time on the South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail! Thanks for your pre-departure feedback, we are always trying to improve our service so constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. All volunteers should receive their project field briefs one month ahead of time, so please contact your volunteer coordinator if this wasn’t the case as I’m sure they would look into this for you. Also, if you have any questions or queries at all about your upcoming trips, then please contact your volunteer coordinator who would be more than happy to help! Safe Travels! The Frontier Team

Frontier

I know it is ridiculous when you see a review with full stars on every aspect of the project, but honestly, I am having THE time of my life on the Cambodia Marine Conservation (CMM) project. The island on which the project is held, Koh Rong Samloem, is just like an image of paradise, with it being a 2 hour boat ride from mainland to the village of M'Pai Bai, there is very little development and a strong Khmer community. I have been on the project for six weeks now, and as the Frontier house is in the centre of the village I feel like part of the community, everyone is so helpful, friendly and welcoming, making you feel like part of the village right away.

The house is basic yet spacious, with 3 bunks and a large floor area, a gas cooker, toilet and bucket shower, many hammocks strung up on the porch and a dining table in the yard. As it is such a remote island there are no water connections or electricity mains, so part of the daily work is to collect water from the two wells in the village and the electricity is run through a generator connected to a restaurant/bar so is on for a few hours each evening (so it is possible to charge up your phones/ipods/kindles etc, I was prepared and bought a solar charger but it isn't really being used so don't feel like you need to spent the money/ be deprived of electronics)

The project itself is amazing, the first week is mainly lectures and learning on the fish, coral and invertibrates that you will be studying on the surveys, moving onto survey techniques and eventually getting onto spot tests and actual transect data collecting. The two reefs that are studied are beautiful and you always find something new on each transect (I never thought I would get so excited when spotting the first Barramundi Grouper the project had seen). We are also currently doing community work as well as studying the tidal patterns, jungle creatures through pitfall traps and I am carrying through my own research project in Giant Clams for my BTEC Qualification. The staff are so friendly, helpful and great fun to live with; I am currently the only volunteer on the island but feel very comfortable, I have learnt so much and have been made to feel like a real part of the project. Having a local staff member also means I have been able to learn Khmer and more about the Cambodian lifestyle.

I have tried to think of a fault with the project/ Frontier as a whole, but honestly I can't find one. Everyone is so informative and helpful both before and during the project, and the research being undertaken is interesting, fun and as it is being carried out in paradise, who can really call it work?

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Mar 15, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I took part in an orphanage program in Cambodia through IVHQ and it was truly the most rewarding, inspiring and incredible experience of my life.
IVHQ were in constant contact from the minute I signed up, and I never once felt unsure or uneasy about the process or the program, and the IVHQ staff always answered any questions I had within 24 hours.
Whilst on the program, IVHQ was in touch with me to ensure I was having a good time, and to answer any queries I had.
The program itself was amazing. I volunteered with 3 other girls with whom I have formed life-long friendships. We were placed in a beautiful village called Krang Lovea, in rural Cambodia, and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful, welcoming orphanage to work in.
The children were incredible and we all came away from the trip feeling as if we had really made a difference in the children's lives, and that we had formed a second family with them.
3 Months on I am still in contact with the children in Krang Lovea, and I love catching up on their news and hearing how they all are.

I couldn't recommend IVHQ highly enough. From the moment I registered for the program to the minute I stepped on the plane home, I felt fully taken care of and safe. I am already planning my next volunteering adventure with IVHQ!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Feb 27, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Hi Greta, thanks for sharing your feedback - we're pleased to hear you had such a rewarding experience in Cambodia and felt supported throughout your program. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ, we look forward to have you joining us again!

Frontier

I did the Southeast Asia Eco-Trail with volunteer placement teaching English in Cambodia and it was definitely the trip of a lifetime. I will say that the registration and pre-departure logistics are more difficult if you're not a UK citizen(can't get frontier insurance, medical kit, easy background check, and changes in conversion rates can increase your program fees significantly) but the HQ staff were helpful in most cases. Once on the trail the trail leader did an amazing job of taking care of all our logistics, complaints, and various medical issues, great for people with not as much travel experience and it really freed up our time to soak up as much of each city as we could in a limited time period. The placement in Cambodia was at a somewhat understaffed school but the volunteer coordinator still made time to take great care of us and we all fell in love with our wonderful students and bonded with the other Cambodian teachers. While on the trip it is kind of difficult to tell directly where your money goes because prices for food and accommodation in most of the cities seem low enough that you could do the same trip by yourself cheaper but I think it was definitely worth it to have so much done for you and the support of the staff especially if you don't have a lot of prior travel experience in the region you are visiting. Overall, great gap year trip, got everything I wanted out of it and more!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Dec 30, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Frontier

I chose Frontier through word of mouth as I knew they had a vast selection of volunteering opportunities and were rated highly overall on the internet. After my initial skype call with them, I felt immediately reassured that I had chosen a reputable company. They offered me very clear advice about which project I may be most suited to and I felt they were thorough and professional by proceeding with a telephone interview that each potential volunteer must undergo. I ended up opting for the 'teaching in Siem Reap' project as I wanted to work with children and gain a qualification. Frontier's online profile is easy to complete and they upload all the necessary information needed for your specific project.

I arrived in Siem Reap on July 29th and was rather nervous as this was my first trip abroad alone. I was met promptly by Michael, a volunteer coordinator for the teaching project who was very friendly and chatty. I felt instantly reassured that I had chosen a safe company to travel with.

The volunteer house was basic but comfortable and in a very good location. The rooms were bunk bed dormitories with a shared bathroom. I was pleased to be living with other volunteers as this proved to be very social. Breakfast and lunch could be easily made at the house and we were often able to 'request' certain food items before the 'weekly shop'.

On my first night I was taken to the bike shop as each volunteer is required to rent a bike for the duration of their stay. This is necessary for travelling to and from school each day and short trips around the city at the weekends (although you can take a Tuk Tuk for a fee). Following this, I had dinner at the 'night market' area of the town with all the volunteers and Mike. This was a great chance to meet the other people and ask them questions.

I went to school the next day after my arrival at 7:10am. The cycle to school can be slightly daunting at first, especially if you are jet lagged and adjusting to the heat. Luckily, it gets a lot easier and it is a great way to see the city. I think we cycled around 10km a day so expect to get fit! The first morning I followed close to the other volunteers who easily navigated their way around the traffic and after around 15 minutes we reached the school. I didn't quite know what to expect when meeting the children and Khmer teachers but I felt instantly at ease when I saw their smiling faces and welcoming nature. Because I arrived at a time when there was a large number of other volunteers, I got to experience teaching/observing all of the four classes at the school. I didn't realise we would be given so much responsibility in the classrooms but I guess the best way to experience something new is to throw yourself right into it! Luckily, having others in the same position meant there was a lot of support and advice on hand. It wasn't until my third week that I began planning my own lessons with the help of the Khmer teacher for that class. As there were around 6 volunteers at this time, we were allowed to express a preference for the age group we wanted to teach and by the time we left the school, we had all grown very attached to our classes.

The school day is usually 7:30 - 10:15am in the morning and 1:30 - 5pm (2 classes and a conversation class) in the afternoon. This means there is a long lunch break and I mostly spent this at a pool near to the house. I enjoyed having this time to relax and prepare lessons. (The children who attend school in the morning are not the same as those in the afternoon, although the classes are of similar standard). I felt that having this weekday schedule helped me to adjust to the new experience of teaching and immersed me in the Cambodian culture.

The city very much comes alive at night and so in the evenings I would mostly go out for dinner. There are some delicious and extremely cheap restaurants around the night market area (I would particularly recommend Steven's Corner, Triangle and the $0.50c shake restaurants that border the old market). The Blue Pumpkin is great for ice cream and sweet desserts. You can also watch a free Aspara dance show if you eat dinner at Temple Bar.
The night markets themselves are definitely worth a number of visits and are a great place to buy souvenirs, Cambodian clothing and home ornaments. I bought many pairs of the Cambodian patterned trousers as these are suitable for school and comfortable for cycling. Don't forget to try the street food pancakes which are delicious and only $1!

At the weekends the other volunteers and I would explore the city. We often took a trip to the day market and the supermarket and lounged by the pool. One Saturday we got up at 4:30am to visit Angkor Wat Temple and watch the sunrise. Although it's early I would highly recommend going at this time as it meant far less tourists! We were taken around a selection of the temples by a lovely tuk tuk driver. The only disappointment of the day was all the Cambodian children that tried consistently to sell us merchandise.

As I was in Siem Reap for 5 weeks, I was quite keen to spend one weekend in a different city and so three other volunteers and I took a sleeper bus down to Sihanoukville (beach town) on a Thursday night. The bus was only $13 and despite a very bumpy journey, we managed to all sleep the majority of the way there and back. We found accommodation whilst there and despite the slightly dodgy weather we made the most of our trip by exploring the town, took a boat trip to a nearby island and eating local street food.

I felt the whole experience was a great balance between being on holiday and being a teacher. Each school week was hugely rewarding but tiring too. The Cambodian people were so friendly and happy and the children were polite and enthusiastic. I really appreciated the constant support I received from Michael and Nick during the course of the trip and if I had any concerns they were more than happy to help me out. Michael was mostly at the school with us in the day and not only was this hugely useful if any issues arose whilst teaching, but it also felt like Frontier promoted a team effort and we were all working collectively. He was enthusiastic about teaching and constantly encouraged us (and cooked a couple of tasty meals for us!).

My only slight complaint is I feel that the kit list for this project was somewhat misleading. There are a number of items labelled as 'compulsory' that in fact should be labelled 'optional'. This would have saved me money had I known that I would not need to purchase a couple of the items. Also, the project is expensive and there are more costs on arrival such as the hiring of the bikes, the school t-shirt and the internet. The spending money advised in the field brief is by no means enough for 1 month and we all had to get additional money out.

Overall it was a unique experience that allowed me to learn a great deal about teaching, introduced me to an entirely new culture, boosted my self confidence and made me further appreciate those less fortunate. I feel that Frontier themselves provided excellent support both prior to and during my time away. I was lucky to be on the project with other volunteers who were like-minded and friendly. We all bonded during our time in Siem Reap and it was great to help one another with lesson preparations and teaching. I will miss the children but I know that Frontier will continue their productive work in Cambodia and I hope that more volunteers choose this exciting and immensely rewarding project!

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Sep 5, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
6

Frontier

I'm so glad that I went away for my first volunteering trip with Frontier. The in country staff were encouraging and very helpful and easy to talk to so if there was a problem you knew you could talk to someone. The project was really well organised with structured days making it very easy to settle into the project and feel comfortable in Cambodia. Overall the experience was amazing and I had such a good time. I would recommend Frontier to other people. Even looking into maybe doing another project!

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Sep 3, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
6

Frontier

When I signed up for this project it was largely because I wanted to find out if teaching was for me. In addition it offered the me the opportunity to experience a different culture, and having done a similar type of project with another company before I liked the way they operated. Frontier was no different. The build up to my trip essentially required doing as little as possible as I was very busy with work. The online area that Frontier set up for prospective volunteers made sure that I knew what I needed to do when I had the time. It could have been improved by giving me some more information about the project however I have to conceed I didn't make any enquiries along this path.

Arriving in Cambodia was relatively straightforward. I had organised flights around my project as I was travelling afterwards. The Frontier staff in Cambodia are very welcoming as are the other volunteers. The accomodation is more than adequate although it does take a bit of time to get used to the heat. It was a large, clean house with basic cooking facilities and volunteers had the option to join in with prepared meals or cook themselves. It worked on a 6-bed single sex dorm Siem Reap is also a town which is large enough to accomodate almost any taste. There was a huge amount of cultural opportunities alongside the tourist hub that Pub St and around is. Getting around was easy, it's all releatively compact and through Frontier we'd arranged push bikes. The Cambodian people were also fantastic and really friendly, not once did I feel unsafe even in the chaotic traffic.

The school was a brilliant opportunity. I would reccomend it to anyone regardless of teaching experience as long as you have enough enthusiasm to work with the kids. There were four different classes which differntiated more on ability than age. The youngest kids however, were grouped in the office. There was then a significantly larger basic abililty class (learning words and phrases), a middle-ability class (phrases, grammar and expressing themselves) and a conversation class of older kids (detailed grammar and conversational English). I worked solely with the middle-ability set who were fantastic. I was impressed with their English but there were immediately things they needed help with which made planning lessons and teaching ideas a little easier. There are morning and afternoon classes and usually you'll do one or the other with the option to do full days. I did not do many of these however as they are extremely tiring. The kids also do performing arts, music and sport on Sundays which it's not compulsory to attend but which I would reccomend if you're interested in any of the above. Occasionally I was given some marking to do but often I could do this in the break between lessons, or if I had to, by the pool after school.

The Frontier staff were great. As they live in the same house they are almost another pair of volunteers and will join in in some activities. Every Thursday we all went to a pub quiz and on Sundays there was 6-a-side football at a nearby pitch with astroturf. They were also there if you had any questions or comments about the school or the project and would even put you in touch with people to help arrange your leisure time trips. Ultimately, I had all the support I needed for this trip as I think did everyone I was volunteering with.

On the whole it was a great experience and I would encourage anyone wanting to see Cambodia or to give teaching a go, to go on this project. Your time will fly by, as everyone stated when I was there, and after four weeks I wish I'd stayed for longer. I was more than happy with Frontier during this trip and recommend them.

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Aug 5, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
9

Comments

Thanks for taking the time to write such an in-depth and interesting review.

Original Volunteers

I travelled to Cambodia last year, arranged through Original Volunteers, and worked at the Hope Agency School for 3 weeks. The school has been built to assist the children of Cambodia with their English, with a dream that once they can speak the language, they will be able to obtain jobs within the towns and cities, in order to get a better life for themselves and their families. Without speaking English, they are forced to work the land in remote areas, in poverty.
It was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend this to anyone; groups or solo travellers alike, as it was fulfilling, rewarding and very safe.
The experience was remarkable. It was not just about the help you could give to the children, it was also about the insight that they offered to you. It opened your eyes to a whole new world.
Although I am a trainee teacher, I feel that anyone with enthusiasm and a kind heart could make a difference to the children, the project, and the whole Bakod community. Personally, I bought a lot of energy to the lessons, which assisted the children with their learning. I was patient and took the time to get to know the children outside of lessons so that I could understand their lifestyles and share my own experiences with them. The project does not merely want a teacher, it wants the opportunity to welcome a new member to its community.

Original Volunteers gave me the opportunity to reach out to an organisation that I would not have known about otherwise. The location was so remote, that without OV seeking them out, it would be impossible for them to receive the help and support that they require.
The great thing about this scheme is that it is completely safe, you have the support of the UK based OV back home, should you require it, there is complete flexibility in that you can arrange to volunteer for any amount of time, and that you are guaranteed to feel that you have truly contributed to a worthy cause.
The experience changed my life and I could not recommend it any more highly.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jul 22, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

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