Cambodia

Projects Abroad

Getting to the island was so scary. I was put on a bus with no other English speakers and told my trip would be 3 hours long, 8 hours later with no food we got to a beach where I was told to get out and ushered onto a small wooden boat that looked like it would sink. Luckily I survived the trip to the island.
The accommodation and bathrooms were so unhygienic I got sick almost immediately. There's no septic system so you have to put all of your used toilet paper in a opened bin beside the toilet which is in the same room as the shower facilities. There's nowhere to wash your hands and to flush the toilet your pour water down the bowl.
I also have a pre-existing medical condition that I was told I would be able to manage over there until I arrived and found the medical facilities on the island were very basic and almost non existent. I was apparently not the first person worried about this as diving is a dangerous activity and can require medical attention. I was also worried when I found out not one staff member knew first aid.
The staff are very friendly at first then become immediately standoffish on the second day. The only time they lighten up is when they are drinking which is most nights.
I'm a young person and enjoy a drink or few but not every night. I also felt very out of place because some of the people in charge were younger than I was and were almost only interested in sleeping with the volunteers. Even though most of the volunteers were already sleeping together or had done in the past.
There are posters all over the accommodation that state no drugs on the program. This couldn't be further from the truth. Almost every volunteer was smoking marijuana and taking pills every day and would come back to the house out of their brains. Not to mention certain staff felt it okay to supply the volunteers with drugs and were happy to do it with them.
There was also very little conservation work happening at all. Volunteers could work on their "own projects" which mostly consisted of us watching movies or reading each other's books. Only a few volunteers had actually collected any relevant data while most of them had not even researched anything, we just tagged along on the dives.
I also didn't even see a seahorse in my time on the island. I was told they'd seen 4 seahorses but I find that hard to believe.
The food was very mediocre to poor quality. If you don't like rice, don't go. That's what I survived on and occasionally ate fish. The chicken was disgusting and pork often still had skin and hair attached as well as parts of bones. There were so many times when no one even knew what the meat was. There are so restaurants on the island that do amazing food though so I recommend those.
There is no interaction with the community other than the children saying hello every time you walk by. I was advertised that we would be teaching and interacting with children as well as teaching them about conservation only to find this was never a part of the program.
When I left not one person from projects abroad contacted me or even saw me to the airport. I was simply put in a taxi and dropped off.
Two weeks after I returned home the project manager emailed me and asked how I was as they hadn't heard from me, they weren't even aware that I had returned home.
For the amount of money you pay it's definitely not worth it. Apparently a girl left before I got there, she changed her flights home. I wish I was fortunate enough to do that because I would have gotten out of there in the first week.

On the plus side:
I made some amazing friends who were equally as disgusted as I was at the organisation and overall let down of the program.
I also enjoyed the experience of seeing another country and culture.

I would not however recommend this to anyone unless they are into 'cheap drugs and alcohol' and watching movies every day and going for the occasional dive.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Mar 18, 2015
Overall:
2
Support:
1
Value:
1

Frontier

I've been on Frontier's teaching project in Cambodia for the last 4 weeks and it's been absolutely incredible.

We are based in Siem Reap, and we teach at a local school for children who would not normally be able to receive English classes.

Siem Reap is an amazing town with the perfect mix of old and modern, chilled and hectic, with amazing culture, friendly people and fantastic bars and restaurants. There's never been a dull moment- there's always more food to try (the bug cafe, with tarantulas, scorpions and crickets was a particular highlight of mine), more bars to have an ice cold beer (Cambodia beer is my favourite), more markets to get lost in, more temples, ruins and museums to explore.

The teaching itself is incredibly rewarding. The children are so eager to learn and are always full of energy and enthusiasm. You quickly get to learn all of the personalities of the children and some of them can be very witty, even when they aren't speaking their native tongue. The younger grades love to play games and write on the board, which makes teaching them very entertaining!

At the weekends we have been able to explore the surrounding area. Angkor Wat was an obvious highlight- nothing can prepare you for the scale and sheer impressiveness of the place. We also visited floating villages, a butterfly sanctuary and the War Museum (our guide was a child soldier in the Khmer Rouge and his account of the civil war was harrowing and tragic).

All in all, the project has been a fantastic mix of rewarding work at the school, and an amazing opportunity to explore and get under the skin of this awesome town!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Jan 29, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

Ok I have some time , so I volunteered in Cambodia through IVI www.volunteering.org.au in Nov 2014 and really liked it! I got to see a few different cities in my time there, which is a bit of a challenge with only being able to travel on weekends, but I made it work. It's drenched in the history of the Khmer rouge and it feels like such a young country because of that.

Oddar meanchey I think especially is still somewhat reeling from its occupation as the last stronghold with samraong being at its centre.

The Volunteer project is really great, everything runs quite smoothly. The volunteer housing is nice, able to house quite a number of volunteers comfortably. Typically it's 4 to a room (2 bunk beds), but I was only very with one other boy (2 for the last week) so I had a lot of space and there was never any issues having to wait for 3 other people to use the bathroom.

I was surprised to find that I was staying much longer than anyone else with 6 weeks, typically it seems most people stay 2-4 weeks at most, with the rare person staying longer. It's certainly seems more of a tourism placement than India appears to be. The volunteers were mostly younger too, 20-25 years old.

The culture week was ok, good introduction to getting used to the town and staying at the home stay. The school was the best part though, it's so nice there. It's a pleasant 15min ride from the homestay on the bikes, which we did 4 times a day, nothing too strenuous. The kids are great, there's 5 levels of which I had the top level, being the only native English speaker there so it made the most sense. The oldest they get its about 12-13 with the occasional older kid.

There isn't really any structure to what you teach, you're essentially allowed to do whatever you want. Which is daunting at first but after a few days it feels natural, and you get to know the kids quickly. Then it's all just kinda routine, get up at 7, eat, ride to school for 8, teach until 11, ride home, eat at 12, rest for 2 hours, ride back to school at 2, teach until 5, ride home, eat dinner at 6, talk, sleep, repeat. It's nice.

The Cambodian teachers are very helpful when you need to explain something but in general I had no problems with the kids. We played a lot of football which was good haha.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Dec 30, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Frontier

I can't speak highly enough of this project. The staff are excellent, the facilities are excellent, the food is excellent, and the volunteer work that you do is broad, exciting, and helpful for the local Khmer community that lives on the island. From looking after some of the new born puppies and kittens to surveying reef sites around the paradise island in the beautiful cambodian waters there are so many different things to do to aid and research the wildlife along with educate the community.
I have been travelling and volunteering for nearly 4 months now and my time with frontier in cambodia was definitely one of the best. Even though i was there in the middle of the wet season i was still able to learn all the fish, substrate, and invertebrates along with help survey every transect in House Reef. We also had the chance to have a few beach bonfires, swim on a clear night in bioluminescent waters, aid with the construction of the school playground, conduct daily bech/reef cleans and even explore different parts of the island on our days off.

overall 10/10, cant complain.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Sep 28, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Visions Service Adventures

VISIONS is a fun, simple way to enjoy your summer while impacting the world around you. This summer I attended the Cambodian program and am so glad I did. While it took me months to decide which program I would choose, my heart called for Cambodia. It was truly amazing to be incorporated into the Cambodian lifestyle and culture. The Cambodian are happy, generous, and greedy for knowledge! While teaching summer school classes at a school in our hometown Battambang, I discovered first hand just how smart and willing to learn the children are. Working projects may be scary at first but do not worry if you have never cemented anything in your life. After VISIONS you will be able to build yourself a house! Trust me! Participants, staff, and community members are always willing to teach you how to perform different jobs at the work site. Soon enough working becomes fun and you forget about the sweat and sun. VISIONS allowed me to meet people from all across the world which is something I will always cherish. This summer I meant something. I became someone. I challenge you to become someone too!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Aug 16, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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!

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