Volunteering abroad through Projects Abroad was one of the best decisions that I have made. This program was very helpful during my initial process of finding a program. They assisted me with all of my questions, helped me to navigate their website, and even held Skype informational meetings to answer all of my questions. I was able to have a contact through the organization who helped me with the registration process, and he even helped me with formulating ideas for raising funds, through sending me a packet of ideas. I was quite apprehensive at first, but the money that I spent on travelling and volunteering abroad was well utilized. I was shown and explained where all the money was going, and my room and board were covered within the expenses. I even had the option of having my flights arranged and the tickets purchased by Projects Abroad. Letting them take care of this detail of my travels took a lot of stress out of the planning process, and I was quite thankful that I left this detail in their handling. The paperwork process that needed to be completed before travelling and serving with children in an orphanage, was a bit complicated. It required much patience and a large amount of communication between myself and the representatives, but eventually, we figured out all that had to be accomplished before my arrival. Upon my arrival, I had three square meals a day, a great orientation process, and was picked up from the airport when I arrived. I was also dropped off at the airport when I departed, and this was wonderful because I did not have to worry about arranging a taxi for the three hour road trip from Bucharest to Brasov. My driver even assisted me with obtaining all of my luggage and helped me recover from the culture shock that I experienced upon my first international trip. During my time in Brasov, Romania, I was able to learn much about the people and my service site through my experiences. The memories that I made during my experience were formed significantly by the assistance and involvement by the employees of Projects Abroad. They even helped me to communicate with the other volunteers in the area and themselves by providing me with a cell phone and minutes during my time abroad. They also arranged group projects for us to do service together, as well as other social outings and gatherings. I could really feel their care for all of the volunteers during the four weeks that I spent in Romania, as they were always interested in our safety and comfort. They regularly checked in with all of the volunteers, and even assisted us in planning our outings around the country during the weekends. We were able to live independently, explore the area, and interact with the culture, but always had the support and encouragement of the Projects Abroad staff. I loved the time I spent in service and truly appreciated all of the structure that was available within that setting. There was plenty of room for myself to make my experience my own, and to invest in the lives of those that I served with and lived with. I have made lifelong friends through my time with the other volunteers also, and I am thankful for the opportunity to have traveled through Projects Abroad.
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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.
Projects Abroad was a great program, and I would highly recommend it especially for first time travelers and those that want to get credit at their university.
I had never traveled internationally, and Mongolia was a huge leap for me. Projects Abroad got me in their system quickly. After my first advisor was replaced (she was not that great), I had fantastic communication with them. My new advisor answered all my questions, no matter how ridiculous, and made sure that the in-country office was aware of my school forms that I needed to receive credit for my time abroad. My advisor even checked in with my by phone before my trip to make sure I had everything I needed.
Once I got to Mongolia, the in-country office made me feel welcomed and prepared for all that I was to experience, and their check-ins throughout my trip were really helpful. They made sure my placement organization and my host family were taking care of me, and that I was satisfied with how things were going.
One of my favorite parts of Projects Abroad is how well they connect volunteers with volunteers while in abroad. I quickly because a part of the community of volunteers living and working there, and this helped me immensely with my transition. It was great to have fellow English speakers to talk to and spend time with.
Last year, I spent two months volunteering at Mwanayamala Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. There, I rotated through the different departments of the hospital, bandaging wounds, growing lab samples, observing surgeries, and conversing with doctors. The doctors at Mwanayamala Hospital were incredibly friendly and taught me a lot about medicine, infectious disease, and Tanzania. Several of them even took the volunteers out for lunch a couple times. Outside of my time at the hospital, I was also able to visit breathtaking beaches and waterfalls, and go on a safari with other volunteers. Although I didn't always feel safe in Dar es Salaam, because it is a large city with a certain amount of crime, the support provided by Projects Abroad was amazing. They gave me a tour of the city on my first day, made sure I knew how to make my way around town, and they were very easily accessible for any sort of assistance throughout my stay. Volunteering with Projects Abroad also helped me become comfortable with travel abroad and helped me discover my passion for service and for public health. Although Projects Abroad is quite pricy, the memories I gained and the friendships I've formed are priceless.
At the beginning of 2014, I was a bit down. I was 25, had graduated from my university 2 years previous, and had gained a decent job straight out of school. But I still felt like something was missing. After speaking with a friend, she recommended finding somewhere to volunteer. After looking around, I realized that I wanted to go to a foreign country. Finding out about Projects Abroad, I looked through the site and decided I’d go volunteer in the country of Sri Lanka (just southeast of India). Fast forward to August, and I found myself on a plane from Charlotte, North Carolina in the US to Sri Lanka! I was picked up in the capital city of Colombo by a staff member, and traveled south to the town of Panadura.
One of the first things that attracted my attention was how kind the people were in Sri Lanka. This especially holds true for my host family. From the moment I arrived in the city of Panadura (an hour south of the capital city of Colombo), they made sure I felt welcome and treated me as their own son. My host father (I called him “Uncle” as a sign of respect) took me around town and introduced me to the Sri Lankan cuisine by buying some “egghoppers”, a typical Sri Lankan pancake. My host mother cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my housemates and I for the entirety of my stay. The staff members from Projects Abroad made sure I was comfortable with my host family, my job placement, and the other volunteers in my town. Even the locals appreciated the volunteers and everyone was kind and helpful!
My job placement was at an IT Center, and Monday – Friday I would go to teach children computer skills. The children were highly receptive to the skills being taught, and if there was something they didn’t understand, the supervisor of the school was a native who spoke English as well as Sinhalese and was happy to translate! Along with teaching the children, I also did some special projects for the IT Center, to include revising the curriculum and creating a student progression system.
All in all, the experience was amazing! I’m currently thinking about where I’d next like to go volunteer, and look forward to volunteering with Projects Abroad again in the future!
Projects Abroad provided a tremendous amount of support before I left which was very helpful. This was my first time travelling to Africa so the extensive pre-departure guide book provided reduced any potential for stress.
The family that Projects Abroad placed me with was amazing. They cooked my meals, taught me about their culture, and treated me like a son. I still talk to them regularly via Facebook and I know that when I go back to Ghana I'll have a place to stay.
I was on a Microfinance internship, which was a new project for Projects Abroad in Ghana. I helped shaped the program which was a cool experience. By the end we started two businesses: a soap manufacturer and a chicken farm, both of which were set up to operate independently after I left.
I would recommend Projects Abroad to anyone looking to volunteer internationally!
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