I decided to volunteer with Projects Abroad for their new "Refugee Project" in Italy. This was a life changing experience. Every step of the way I felt comfortable and confident in my placement and the support of the program. I had the opportunity to work with newly arrived minor refugees to build relationships with them and help teach them basic business skills. During my stay we also had a boat of over 800 refugees arrive. Working along side the red cross and helping the new refugees feel confident we are there to help was life changing in every way possible. I highly recommend this project to anyone who wants to no longer sit and watch the refugee crisis from your TV and actually make an impact
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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.
I volunteered with Projects Abroad in 2016 in Mandeville, Jamaica. I am a full time college student at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, studying biology as a pre-medicine major and minors in psychology and chemistry. To graduate Tabor, I needed to complete at least forty hours of an internship. I spent a lot of time researching opportunities online and found Projects Abroad fairly quick. I studied their web page and organization thoroughly and finally decided to pick the medicine program in Jamaica. I had always wanted to travel internationally and I felt that this was a good opportunity to travel and appreciate the different views of a new culture.
As soon as I applied to the program, I felt supported and valued. My personalized webpage outlined all the tasks I needed to complete before my departure as well as what to expect from my program. I was relieved to have a local staff member meet me at the airport after my travels. My host family welcomed me and instantly made me feel like a member of the house. My room was storage sufficient and nice. All food and clean water was provided. A local staff member met me Monday morning and gave me a tour of the town, my placement, and the staff office. At my work placement, I had flexible work hours. I rotated between family planning, curative, and maternal and child health. All of the staff members were welcoming and helpful in letting me be proactive in the clinic. I took weights, heights, blood pressures, blood sugars, interviewed patients, and assisted with six week check ups including vaccinations for babies.
There were plenty of opportunities to travel the country on the weekends. The staff was helpful in answering any questions. Traveling abroad teaches you patience, resilience, confidence and problem solving. You appreciate what you have and it’s very rewarding to help those less fortunate. We may have a lot to give but they also have a lot to teach us in return. Overall, I would highly recommend Projects Abroad for volunteering/interning internationally!
I volunteered with Projects Abroad in 2015 in Tanzania, Africa. I had been working full time as a midwife and decided I wanted to work abroad to really appreciate how different things were. I spend a lot of time researching volunteering companies and I am so glad I did because I found Projects Abroad. From the minute, I sent off my first email I felt supported and informed. I was set up with a personalised web page that outlined everything I would need to know and get ready before I set off on the trip of a lifetime.
After a long journey from across the other side of the world I was relieved to have a local staff member pick me up from the airport and transfer me to my host family. My host family treated me as one of their own. I stayed with another volunteer who was able to show me around and introduce me to some other volunteers. My accommodation was different but certainly comfortable and all my food and water were provided.
A local staff member picked me up the following day and took me to my workplace and introduced me to the local staff. Each day I learnt new skills and was able to rotate through the antenatal and postnatal wards, attend some surgeries, take a patient in an ambulance and assist women to birth their babies. My hours were flexible and the staff were friendly and appreciative.
I spent the afternoons with the other volunteers. We went to the local markets, tried out local dishes in the cafes, went hiking, tried some local dance classes and attend language classes. There were plenty of opportunities to travel on the weekends and this is easily organised within the country once you arrive. I met some of the most amazing friends and we were always there to support each other. Projects Aboard organised a Thursday night social night and it was great to catch up and share stories and plan our weekend safaris. Travelling abroad teaches you patience, resilience, confidence and problem solving. You appreciate what you have and it’s very rewarding to help those less fortunate. We have a lot to give but they also have a lot to teach us!
In January 2017, I took off on a trip of a lifetime to volunteer in Philippines for 3 weeks with Projects Abroad. This was my first time travelling by myself and my first time volunteering, so I was so pleased that I chose Projects Abroad who provided me with continual support from the moment I applied up until a week after I arrived home.
I volunteered in the Occupational Therapy (OT) program in San Remegio, Cebu at a small rehabilitation centre. The rehab centre is reliant on local physiotherapy (PT) interns and PT or OT volunteers to provide therapy to local people with disabilities. Being the first OT to volunteer in San Remigio, it was a truly rewarding experience being able to make a difference to the lives of individuals who can not afford allied health services.
During my time in San Remigio, I stayed with a beautiful host family who lived only a few minutes from the beach. My family was so welcoming and I truly could not believe how hospitable they were. I had my own room (which is a luxury in the Philippines) with a comfy bed, a fan, and a wardrobe to keep my belongings. I was cooked 3 meals a day by either my host mum or my host family had a small restaurant next door where I generally ate lunch. My host family made me feel part of the family straight away and I joined them for birthday celebrations, BBQs on the beach, karaoke and weekend road trips to the city.
The best part about volunteering with Projects Abroad is all the wonderful people you meet - not only did I have the pleasure of working with the wonderful Projects Abroad staff and my host family, but I also was able to meet other volunteers in my area at organised social events and during my spare time.
Volunteering with Projects Abroad allowed me to develop new skills, see new places, experience a different culture, meet lifetime friends and make a small difference to the world!
At the end of 2015 I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Natalau Village in Fiji, and stay with a local host family as part of the care and community high school project. As soon as I arrived at the airport, one of the Projects Abroad staff from my project met me and took me to Natalau village where I was introduced to my host family. My host family where incredibly welcoming and made sure I had everything I needed. This, combined with the constant support provided by the Projects Abroad staff helped me settle into my new environment extremely quickly.
Throughout my placement I was able to participate in amazing activities including running a holiday school for the local children, painting houses in the village, visiting the mud pools, and taking multiple group trips to Nadi. Even with all of the incredible things I was able to do, my favourite part of my placement has to be the time spent with my host family and the village children. Throughout the whole project I was able to immerse myself in the local culture. The Fijian staff employed by Projects Abroad know a lot about the area and people, and knew exactly how to best show us Fiji's amazing culture.
Overall, this trip has provided me with the best experience of my life. The staff at Projects Abroad truly cared about me and made sure I was enjoying myself throughout my two week placement. They made sure we were involved in the local community, but also gave us plenty of time to rest and unwind at the end of each day. I would definitely recommend this project to anyone willing to leave their comfort zone and give back to those in need.
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