Projects Abroad

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8.8 / 10 after 137 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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Projects Abroad was exactly the organization I was looking for when I was designing my gap year before college. It is a competent organization that is available during the most stressful parts of traveling: international flights and orientation to a foreign country. Then when you are comfortable with your new home, they give you the freedom to explore on your own volition.

My time in South Africa is a perfect depiction of that. I was in a challenging but rewarding volunteer project working at a human rights/law office that provides free services, where I grew to the responsibility handed to me. It was an incredible experience, especially my visits to two women’s shelters. Talking with them on their constitutional rights and how they can use the law in their favor was enlightening for all of us; learning what was common knowledge and what was not interested me a lot, since it aligned with what I wanted to do with my life.

But what I also remember about my time in South Africa is the incredible array of experiences I had outside of the project. From shark cage diving with Great White sharks to cuddling with a blanket and some friends at an outdoor theater in Cape Town, and the added thrill bungee jumping off a bridge after a wildlife safari, I had many opportunities to explore the Cape Town area. The perfect balance between being involved and helping the community you are in while also enjoying everything the community has to offer is what makes Projects Abroad such a good choice.

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Location:
Posted: July 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: Izzy
Age:
19

I spent 6 weeks on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador working on preserving and restoring its delicate ecosystem. That project lasted 4 weeks, and the last two weeks I spent helping teach English at a local high school.

The family I stayed with was completely wonderful. They provided three meals a day (always filling and delicious) and even had a housekeeper! I was given my own private room and bathroom that had a separate entrance from the house itself. While I did not get as close to my host family as other volunteers did, I always enjoyed talking to them and their large extended family. My house was in a fairly central location and I could easily walk anywhere in the city in no more than 20 minutes!

In regards to my volunteer experience, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. During the environmental portion, I was able to see and do things all over the island that tourists are unable to do. I fed tortoises over 100 years old, walked through and restored parts of the island that no tourist has been to before, etc. We ended each day by 1 o'clock, so I had the rest of the day to explore or just hang out on the beach with other volunteers!

The teaching experience was OK. It was very easy (but slightly boring). I helped grade homework and tests, as well as helped the teacher with punctuation and grammar rules.

The staff was extremely helpful in answering all questions I had and even helped me and my friends plan a weekend getaway to another island nearby.

I would definitely recommend the environment program to anyone interested!!

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Posted: June 27, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7
By: lms92593
Age:
21

I went to Mongolia to participate in Projects Abroad’s International Medical Internship. While there, I volunteered at Shastin Central Hospital (Ulaanbaatar) in the general surgery department. I was only there for two weeks, but I had an incredible time. I was very impressed by Project Abroad’s comprehensive website and planning. They started emailing me months before I was to go abroad, welcoming me into their family and ensuring that they would take care of me. In addition, they answered any and all questions I had leading up to the trip. A couple months before your trip, Project Abroad assigns you an advisor in order to ensure that you have an appointed person to check up on you regularly and make sure you’re on top of your packing and applying for visas, if necessary.
Once I got to Mongolia, the local Project Abroad staff spoke very good English and gave us a quick orientation about the country’s history, culture, homestay, and placement. The local staff members even accompanied me to the hospital I was to volunteer at and introduced me to their contact. I was able to see surgeries up-close and learn directly from surgeons with decades of experience under their belt, which is something that has been hard to find in the U.S. Overall the support I received from the Project Abroad staff was excellent. They were very organized and on top of all the paperwork. However, it was important to keep an open mind and remain flexible regarding any last minute schedule changes. In fact, besides what time to show up to work at the hospital, we did not know what else would happen throughout the day, which was part of the fun.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 27, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
6
Age:
22

For four weeks this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador through Projects Abroad teaching English to students ages 6-15. From the very first minute that we signed up for the project, Projects Abroad staff was incredibly helpful and supportive. The volunteer coordinator called us multiple times to make sure all of our questions were answered and we were prepared for the experience. In the country, the staff checked in with us daily about how we were adjusting and if we had everything we needed. They made it clear that they were there if we needed anything, even something as small as asking where to buy a water bottle or something as large as helping us plan a weekend trip. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and made an effort to get to know us and welcome us into their work family.

Staying with a host family instead of in a hostel was an incredible decision and I'm so glad that Projects Abroad could set that up for us. I also didn't know when applying, but found out from the staff in the country, that a lot of our program fee goes to paying the host families to help them support us while we stay with them. My host family was amazing and I never heard any bad reviews from any other volunteers. The staff also made it clear that if we weren't comfortable with our host family, all we had to do was speak up and they would help us solve the problem. Staying in a host family's house really allowed us to grasp the culture and get a much closer look at how daily life on the islands looks.

Teaching was such an amazing time! Although it was challenging that we did not have a curriculum, the kids were so great and working with them every day was so much fun and so rewarding that it made the challenge almost disappear. I really felt like we could connect with the kids and make as big an impact on them as they made on us!

I would truly recommend Projects Abroad to anyone. They facilitated an amazing experience!

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Location:
Posted: June 23, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
10
By: tebbenk
Age:
19

The Fiji Shark Conservation project was the most amazing experience I have ever had. When I arrived in Fiji I felt instantly welcome and at home. The volunteers are extremely friendly and helpful and the staff are too! The staff explain all tasks thoroughly and explain the reasons behind performing the task and how it contributes to the overall project as well. The staff made me feel comfortable asking questions and were extremely knowledgeable on all parts of the project.

Since I had just learned to dive I wasn't completely comfortable with all aspects of diving under the water just yet, but the staff helped me on my first few survey dives and I learned to be completely self sufficient under the water (although you will always have a dive buddy).

The accommodation was homey and a nice place to hang out with other volunteers after a long day of work or diving. The other volunteers were always so friendly and it was nice to just relax and get to know each other at the end of the day.

Overall, my Projects Abroad experience - from sending my application to staying in Fiji and then to returning home - was great. The staff were helpful every step along the way and the volunteers were very supportive too. I would recommend this project to anyone passionate about ocean conservation and helping save our planet.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 23, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

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