Projects Abroad

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8.9 / 10 after 119 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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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.

Program:
Location:
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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Location:
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!

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

It is hard to put a price on an experience that will 1) forever change you and 2) continuously help you in life. That is what Projects Abroad gave me. I went to Liberia, Costa Rica when I was 18 years old, I am now 23, and this opportunity has continued to follow me!
The program Projects Abroad was well placed and I was with someone most of the way there. I was picked up at the airport by a staff member and driven to the buss station where I was handed off to a close family friend who would be going the same route as me. Once I arrived in Liberia another representative was at the station to drive me to my host families home. I was able to walk to the school I would work at as well as any stores that I may have wanted to go to.
The teacher I was shadowing would hang out with me and show me around. I also made friends with a local church group in the town square are started spending my free evenings with them once they came to my host family and introduced themselves.
I am now the Child Care Assistant Director at a local YWCA and provide Respite care to children in need in my community and while Projects Abroad may seem unrelated it gave me the chance to hone my skills at adapting to different people and situations both culturally and personally different than myself. To have been able to go to a different country where I didn’t know the language, the exact currency change, or some of the major customs and leave with a deeper understanding of both world that I am both apart of as well as the world I had only read about was a truly life changing experience. I had more growth as a person and human being in two weeks than I ever thought possible. Even now I am able to reflect back on that time and center myself as an adult in this moment. To be able to use a memory from five years ago to help me focus my current ambitions and goals is truly profound.
To anyone who wants a unique, life altering and exhilarating life experience look no further than Projects Abroad.

Life IS what YOU MAKE of it. Make it an experience that will last you a 1,000 life times.

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Location:
Posted: January 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
8
Value:
10
By: kearls
Age:
23

spent three months in Liberia, Costa Rica, volunteering as an English teacher in a public arts experience. i choose Costa Rica because I wanted to improve my Spanish skills and the country is beautiful. I had the most amazing time! My host family did not speak any English, but I arrived knowing enough Spanish to speak with people. I was the only volunteer living with this particular host family which was a bit disappointing because I would have like to live with another volunteer. he only downside to my housing was that I lived on the edge of Liberia, far away from the other volunteers and I lived in the only house without internet.The family was very accommodating and cook vegetarian meals for me.
I work at Colegio Felipe Perez with students from the ages of 13 to 18. They often had problems maintaining focus in class but they were happy to practice with a native English speaker. They always invited me to sit with them during the breaks or in assemblies. One of my students even taught me traditional Costa Rica dances so I could perform with her at the English Festival. I had a lot of repsonbilities in the classroom. I helped my teacher grade exams, created activities, and even taught the class by myself if my teacher had a meeting. I even got to help stand up for the rights of students in my school. When I first arrived, the school didn't have access to potable water or clean bathroom facilities. They administration needed more money from the Department of Education to fix the problems. Off and on for two weeks, classes would stop and we would march around the "barrio" or the town in protest. I also was able to experience Costa Rican culture as the school would host assemblies on holidays and showcase traditional dances and songs. The kids were all really talented.
I also worked at the Parque National Barra Honda for my final week. The park is famous for the many limestone caves in the area. As part of the project, I got to go into the caves and see the amazing formations. I also helped to clear trails and work on the construction of a waste recycling system. The volunteers lived in cabins in the park. The bathrooms were a bit dirty but it wasn't too bad. The staff was amazing and they always made an effort to come over and chat with the volunteers in our down time. I really wished I could have stayed longer as I did not get to work on the butterfly or bat project.
I also had an amazing time traveling on the weekends with the other volunteers. We really had the chance to see all of Costa Rica, but we arranged it ourselves. We would either take the public buses or rent a private bus, neither of which were that expensive. I traveled to Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side, to the cloud forest of Monteverde where I went bungee jumping, to Jaco and Manuel Antonio, and to the numerous beaches on the Nicoya Pennisula. All of our crazy adventures exploring the country bonded us together and we still keep in touch even though we live all over the world. I am so glad that I took the time to work and live in Costa Rica. I had the most fantastic time!

Program:
Location:
Posted: January 6, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8
By: clqbuck
Age:
18

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