Projects Abroad

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8.8 / 10 after 93 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

Established in 1992, Projects Abroad is the world’s leading short-term international volunteer organization. Over 8,000 people a year join our programs in over 25 amazing countries around the world.  All participants receive unparalleled in-country support from our full-time, professional staff to ensure that the experience is safe, worthwhile, and fun.

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My time with Projects Abroad in Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was placed with an amazing host family who allowed me to strengthen my language skills and emerge in a new culture. For two weeks, I was given a variety of Costa Rican dishes including breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. I also loved that I had younger host siblings to interact with as well as other international students. The entire living situation improved my language skills in just two weeks.

During my volunteer experience, I, along with 13 others girls worked at a child care center where the children and teachers were mainly underprivileged. With our educational background knowledge, we were able to host workshops so the teachers can provide their students with a proper and meaningful education once we left. Knowing that we made a huge difference in the lives of the teachers and students alike was the greatest gift we could have received.

Working with underprivileged children is not easy but we had a great support group through Projects Abroad. We had a translator/assistant with our group at all times during the volunteer hours which helped in tremendous ways. Freddy, our translator/assistant, made our trip fun and worth it. I would volunteer in the future, especially with Projects Abroad.

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Posted: March 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
22

Overall, the Projects abroad staff was incredibly supportive, helpful, and accommodating. Not only did they make us feel comfortable and welcome as soon as we got off of the plane, but they continued to offer their assistance in any way possible and the staff member that accompanied us throughout our daily activities was amazing and certainly added to the overall experience I had in Costa Rica. I was there for two weeks and always felt safe and taken care of. Not only did projects abroad help plan activities, like dinners, trips to the beach, and other excursions before we arrived, but they also helped us plan last minute activities after we had arrived too. They were able to make last minute zip lining reservations and were easy to work in. They made sure that we were happy and could do what we wanted. Our placement in a local host family's house was great and we had no problems with our living arrangement. I went with a group of 14 girls, and they were able to house almost all of us in the same home. The volunteer placement at a local daycare was only a 25 minute drive, and they provided transportation that was never a problem. The first week we were there, we were arriving to the daycare before the children, and we were a bit confused as to what our role was. But, they quickly adjusted the time that we were picked up, and we arrived an hour later the next week. We felt a little uncomfortable in our placement at first, as we were unsure what our role was and what exactly we should be doing. After a couple days, we got the hang out of and felt more comfortable. Projects Abroad also has a lot of information on their website for people to read before they travel to their destination, it was specific and incredibly helpful to read and have a checklist provided for us of things to bring. The travel guide on the website covered all of the possible elements to expect, like what to bring, what to expect with our host family, and the general culture that we would be immersed in. The staff contacted us multiple times via email and phone before our trip in order to make us feel comfortable and answer any questions we may have. Overall, I was extremely happy with the accommodations and staff. They really care about you and want to make you happy, the projects abroad staff even attended dinners with us and truly just wanted us to enjoy our time in the country. This was my first time traveling abroad and I would definitely do it again with this organization. If you are new or nervous about traveling, this organization will make is easy and comfortable for you, as they are happy to do so.

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Location:
Posted: February 13, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
Age:
21

I had always been interested in volunteering abroad and decided on joining Projects Abroad for their 2 Week Care and Community project in Nakuru, Kenya. My parents we reassured about safety after reading through continuous satisfactory reviews, and through receiving emails and phone calls from both the Kenyan and New York Projects Abroad offices.
Upon my arrival to Nairobi, Kenya, I was greeted by two staff members who were very friendly, took my bags, and led me to a minivan with a driver, and two other volunteers who had also recently landed at the airport. We then drove to a guest house were we spent the night before our three hour drive to Nakuru. Once in Nakuru, we arrived at the house of our host mother, Miriam. Miriam had a beautiful, gated, five bedroom home. She was very kind, as was her caring housemaid, Lynette, who assisted us with anything that we needed and cooked our meals. I truly felt at home and comfortable at Miriam’s.
Our work consisted of renovating a classroom in a school that was in bad condition. We worked in the mornings to sand the walls, put in a new floor, and repaint the classroom. We would then go home for lunch, and later tend to children at care centers, such as a baby orphanage. I can’t describe how much our work was appreciated. We even took a Swahili lesson and a local dance workshop. On the weekends we visited lakes, went on a safari, and enjoyed the wildlife and souvenirs at local markets.
I was more than satisfied with my experience with Projects Abroad and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in seeing the world in a different light. My two weeks in Nakuru were exciting and adventurous, and I’ve created new friendships that I will never forget. I am grateful to Projects Abroad for guiding me through every step of the way of such an exciting moment in my life.

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Posted: February 4, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
17

On July 5th when I stepped off of the plane after landing in Mexico, I already knew that I would have a life-changing adventure. When I got to the airport in Guadalajara, someone from Projects Abroad was there waiting to pick me up and bring me to my host family for the night. When I got to my host families house, Casa de Vaca, I met some very welcoming and kind people, Mr. and Mrs. Vaca and one of the staff members from the Turtle Camp, Flora, who I would be spending the next month with. The following morning my journey in Mexico began with an early bus ride to El Campamento Tecoman where I would be spending my trip. Towards the end of the three-hour bus ride from Guadalajara, I began to feel nervous and the amount of butterflies in my stomach grew and grew until the bus finally came to its last stop in Tecoman. From there the car ride to the turtle camp flew by, and before I knew it, I caught my first glimpse of my new home. The camp was everything I expected it to be; approximately 15 feet from where the monstrous waves crashed, simple thatched roof buildings, hammocks with tired, sun kissed volunteers distributed around the camp. However, a storm was arriving and the winds were strong. That night I watched the lightening and waves with the other volunteers I had just met and would grow to love. My first morning at the camp started at around six a.m. when I was thrown into the excitement of burying my first nest of turtle eggs. One of the main jobs at the camp is to go on nighttime patrols and collect turtle nests so that poachers and predators would not take them. We then reburied the eggs, hatched them, and then released them back into the ocean. Each day I spent at the camp was a new adventure. On my first nighttime patrol, I had the mesmerizing event of having an Olive Ridley sea turtle lay its oozing, slimy eggs into my hands. Although the eggs smelled weird and my hands were disgusting, it felt incredible being a part of such a momentous occasion in the cycle of life. When on patrol, you go with one of the Mexican staff members and ride on the quad bikes down the beach. It was fun and challenging trying to communicate with the staff members with my limited Spanish as we fought off poachers and got splashed by the waves. On some days, we went to a local crocodile farm where we mostly helped do farm maintenance and clean the crocodile cages and tanks. However, my first time to the crocodile farm, the farm had recently received three new crocodiles whose sex were unknown. They needed a brave volunteer to help to determine the sex of the crocs. As the other volunteers backed away, I was the chosen volunteer. They had to harness the crocs down and tie the legs to the crocodile’s torso. There were about six huge staff members struggling to keep the croc calm as I slowly approached the croc. It was terrifying and exciting as they talked me through what to do. On other trips to the croc farm we went on bird watches around the center of the farm on a long boardwalk. On other days we stayed at the camp and did maintenance work and bird watches. We did bird watches in the local lagoon, some in the paddleboat and some in a motorboat. The motorboat bird watches were beautiful as they started off with traveling under a canopy of trees that was almost like a mangrove until we got to a clearing full of birds and lily pads. During my first week at the turtle camp, there were around twelve volunteers including myself, and in that time we had to build a new house for the 25 two week special volunteers that would be arriving before my second week. The labor was filled with machete cutting palm trees and nailing them to the rood and putting up boards for walls. After all of the work, we would all go swimming in the ocean to cool down and drink out of fresh coconuts. By the end of the week, we managed to complete the building! We spent a lot of nights down at the little bar down the beach from the camp, about a five-minute walk. We would eat quesadillas and drink cokes and cerevezas and talk about where we were from, the memories from the day and watch the sunset as we played with the owner of the bar’s dogs. Weekends were incredible as we spent them travelling to different towns. My favorite of which was Melaque. On my first full weekend we went to Melaque, which was around an hour and a half bus ride away from Tecoman. Melaque was a smaller beach town, which was filled with tourist shops and delicious smelling restaurants. We spent the first day wandering around the shops and observing the locals before going to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. In the evenings after dinner we would play card games and hang around. The beach was much calmer than the ones at the camp, which made it safe to go night swimming under the stars. In the morning, we would have breakfast on the beach and spend the rest of the day at the beach and exploring more. When it came to the end of my four weeks at the turtle camp, I had made friends and memories that will last for a lifetime. Although its been six months since my project in Mexico, not a day goes by that I don’t miss all the people I met and the great times that I had. If you are even considering going on a project to Mexico, do it. You will not regret it.

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Posted: January 24, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

The best decision of my life was my semester off volunteering, and Projects Abroad made it so amazing. The staff in my country took me and all the other volunteers in and we felt like one big family. We have weekly meetings and dinners all together, then usually would go out after, and once a month we would do a Community Day and go out to a village or shelter or anywhere that needed help and just helped out... In my three months, I painted kennels at SPCA, went to a women and children's village on a holiday called Diwali, and built a fence in a village's farm to keep the pigs out. The best part was the people you got to meet while helping. They also place you in a school or whichever program you applied for (mine was a special needs school) and are there every step along the way, from meeting the other staff, to complains or concerns, or in some people's cases, a placement change. You're also placed in a host family, which I believe was the highlight of my whole placement. The families you get to meet and live with take you in and you really become a family member while you're there, and even still after you're gone! Another relationship you hold onto after you leave are the friends you make in other volunteers and natives of your country. Everyone has Facebook nowadays, so it's not hard to stay connected. One of my closest friends now, who I met in Fiji, is from Denmark, and we still talk every week, if not more! Volunteering really helped me grow and find myself while making life long friends in my staff, natives, and other volunteers! Really a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it's a easy one to get to with all the help you receive from Projects Abroad!

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Posted: January 17, 2014
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
18

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