I completed the two week medical program in India with Projects Abroad. During the first week, we went to several outreach facilities such as a family planning center, a leprosy village, and a special needs school. We were able to have direct interaction with all of the patients we met and I learned a lot. During the second week, we shadowed at a hospital and watched many surgeries. I even got to see open heart surgery! The surgeons allow you to take pictures in the operation room so I got some really great photos. This is definitely a once in a life time opportunity and I thought that the staff and other volunteers were very friendly and helpful. I learned a lot about the medical field and I was even able to take a CPR course! Every day we had lots of fun activities planned so I didn't feel like I was wasting my time. Overall, I would definitely recommend the program to anyone, because it was truly a unique and memorable experience.
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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.
During my volunteer internship at a local government hospital in Dar es Salaam I was able to have the most eye opening experience of my life. Day to day I would work under the supervision of doctors, nurses and students who were always more than willing to take time and talk you through everything that was happening in the hospital. I was assigned to work in a certain ward each week, but if I felt uncomfortable in a certain place I was free to change that schedule. The staff was welcoming and allowed me to assist in as much as possible.
My home stay was by far the best part. My family opened their arms and treated me as one of their own. This experience made me completely immersed into the culture. I ate all of my meals with the family and participated in family parties and outings.
Though the people in Dar aren't strangers to outsiders, you will be stared at and treated differently. You will have a safe and fun experience if you listen to the Projects Abroad staff on safe travels.
I had never traveled abroad before in my life, but this summer I decided to volunteer through Projects Abroad in Fiji. I had the opportunity to work at a school for special needs students while I was there for one month. The experience was absolutely amazing, the best experience of my life! Projects Abroad was also an amazing organization to work through. They are extremely supportive from the very first time you express interest in volunteering abroad. I wasn't positive where I wanted to go, but after talking multiple times with one of the Projects Abroad staff members via email I decided on Fiji. She was very honest about the advantages and disadvantages of each place. I decided on Fiji because the majority of the population speaks English. When I arrived in Fiji one of the staff members picked me up from the airport, brought me and introduced me to the host family I was living with, and then took me around the town to orient me to where I was living. The next day a staff member took me to my volunteer placement at the school and helped assist me in determining what I would do at the school and what my schedule would be. It was extremely helpful to have this to get started and oriented. The rest of the trip you are on your own, but the office is always close to your home location and you can stop by anytime. The staff members in the office gave me their personal cell phones and assured me to not hesitate to call at ANY time. This was also very reassuring. Every week the staff will put on a workshop for all the volunteers at the office so that all the volunteers can get together and learn about some things that would be helpful to use in our volunteer placements. We also had a social one night every week where all the volunteers go out for dinner together. It is not required that you do this, if you wanted to stay by yourself the whole trip you could, but I did not. My favorite times were getting together with all the other volunteers and getting to know such a diverse crowd. We worked monday through friday, although my placement was very lenient and would allow us days off if we wanted, and then we had the weekends off to do whatever we pleased. I would typically travel with other volunteers. My host family was awesome, I absolutely loved them. I had a host dad, mom, and brother who I am still in communication with via Facebook. One other volunteer also lived in the same home as I did and traveled to the same school with me. I would definitely recommend Projects Abroad, especially for the first time volunteering abroad, they are very good and quick about orienting you and helping you fit right in to the culture. The only thing I didn't like about projects abroad was the price. It was a very expensive trip and a large portion of the money went to the Projects Abroad organization itself. My host family did not get paid as much as I expected, especially considering they provided us with all of our meals, laundry, and living. Its a good organization to support, the money is helping the organization expand across the world, but it was overall a pretty expensive trip. But if I had the opportunity to do it again I would in a heartbeat!
Volunteering in the 2 Week High School Special; Spanish and Turtle conservation in Mexico was an incredible experience that I will never forget. From the moment that I was greeted by the friendly Projects Abroad staff to the moment when I was dropped off at my flight, I felt completely safe and comfortable. The Projects Abroad staff on my program were wonderful. They made sure that all 13 group members were taken care of and they made the experience that much better. Our accommodations at Campamento Tecoman exceeded my expectations. We were right on the beach, the food was delicious and there were many places to relax and take in the scenic beauty. In addition to our frequent visits to the crocodile farm and turtle research center, we also had 2 hours of Spanish lessons each day. These lessons really helped you communicate and get the full experience when we went into town. Not to mention it also boosted your confidence and pushed you to try new things. Over the weekend our group traveled to Melaque and got to experience the more urban side of Mexico as well as bond over the memories made. Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be able to collect turtle eggs, bury them in the hatchery, clean turtles, let baby turtles into the sea and make friends from all over the world, all in the course of 2 weeks. The friendships, experiences and memories made are definitely ones that I will never forget. I would definitely recommend Projects Abroad to anyone looking for a great hands on experience and I can not wait until the next time I travel with Projects Abroad.
Embarking on the 2 Week High school Special Medical Project to Nepal was a life changing experience. I flew to Nepal on an escorted flight accompanied by a lovely Projects Abroad worker and thus felt completely safe and comfortable from the moment I stepped in the Airport to the moment I arrived back home. The staff on my trip were fantastic and would go out of their way to ensure our group of 23 students from all over the world were happy and safe. Our accommodations in Kathmandu and Chitwan exceeded my expectations as we stayed in hotels with air conditioning, wi fi, delicious food, lots of bottled water and hot tap water.
The project itself was remarkable. Never did I imagine in my wildest dreams that as a high school student, I would be able to observe a brain surgery, orthopaedic surgery, a birth, an abortion, radiotherapy, and eye surgery, among other medical phenomenons. Over the 2 weeks, I spent time in 5 different hospitals shadowing doctors who were eager to share their expertise with me in their perfect English. Additionally, we enjoyed fascinating lectures from local physicians. We also visited several children's homes and got to play with the most adorable children, while learning about HIV AIDS and malnourishment in Nepal.
On the weekend, our group headed to Chitwan National Park where we explored the jungle, rode elephants and were treated to a Nepalese cultural show.I deeply cherish the friendships I made and only have fond memories of my trip. My single regret is not having spent longer than 2 weeks in Nepal and I cannot wait to travel with Projects Abroad in the future.
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