Projects Abroad

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8.9 / 10 after 114 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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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!

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

I first heard about Projects Abroad through my university. I was looking to complete a Poverty Studies internship internationally and Projects Abroad was one of the organizations recommended to me by my Internship Coordinator. I chose to go to Peru because I was looking to complete my internship in a place that would enable me to improve my Spanish skills while at the same time exposing me to a culture-rich environment. It is an understatement to say that I was not let down. Peru was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, and I have Projects Abroad to thank for organizing it and being with me every step of the way (especially through all my long question-packed emails) before I even boarded the plane for Peru.
When I got to Peru, I was picked up from the airport by a member of the staff and immediately taken to my host family. I had two host sisters, a host mom, and a playful dog named Tato. My home was a cute villa house with an outdoor garden, and I was lucky to have a spacious room all to myself. A little later into my stay of 2 months, I also received another volunteer in my host family, and it was so great to have another volunteer to bond with in my house. I met a lot of the Peruvian families that were hosting other volunteers, and all of them were so warm and welcoming. They always wanted to have volunteers over to their homes, and I am so grateful for memories with them of trying traditional dishes, dancing around to typical songs, and celebrating a birthday Peruvian style, which involved getting a cake in the face.
I was also very lucky because I immediately fell in love with my placements. I participated in the Teaching Program and was placed at a school called Colegio Agropecuario to teach English to students ages 11 to 18. For 8 weeks I was not just a pretend, stand-in teacher. I was a full-fledged homework writing, activity creating, lesson planning teacher, and I have never worked so hard in my life. However, I never felt abandoned by Projects Abroad, as I had a teaching supervisor who came to visit me each week at my school and tell me what I was doing right and wrong. In addition, Projects Abroad offered teaching workshops each week and they were extremely beneficial in helping me come up with ideas to engage my classes. I was never at a loss for having materials to bring to class, and it was always fun to exchange teaching stories with the other teacher volunteers. In addition to teaching, I also worked in the Sports Program on some afternoons, in which I served as a recreational volleyball coach and mentor to 10 to 11 year old girls. This was such a rewarding experience, and I came to love my girls as the little sisters I had never had.
On top of all of this, Peru is a great area to be located in and I got to hike Machu Picchu, partake in colorful festivals and celebrations, and travel to Cusco for nightlife on the weekends. The other part of my experience that I am so incredibly thankful for is the amazing group of volunteers that I came to know and love. They were such an extraordinary group of people who became some of my closest friends and whom I continue to keep in contact with even after we have all returned to our respective home countries.
Overall Peru was the experience of a lifetime and my only complaints are that the program itself was pretty expensive and that the cost of a plane ticket was not included in the overall program cost. Nevertheless I really think the price is worth it for all you get to see and do, and I do not regret it for a second!

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Posted: December 12, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: cchee
Age:
20

After leaving the information evening with Projects Abroad, I was determined to do a project of my own. My friend and I decided to undertake a dentistry project in Ghana.

Soon after leaving the plane in Ghana, we were greeted by a local Ghanaian waving and shouting our names with a projects abroad sign. We were introduced and taken to our host family, who were kind enough to stay awake until late in the night just to greet us. I was shown to my room, which was surprisingly spacious, with my own single bed, wardrobes and dressing table.

The next morning I was awoken to the heat of a Ghanaian summers day, and after breakfast I was greeted by Richard - the medical coordinator in Accra (Ghana's capital city). He took my friend and I out for a typical Ghanaian lunch and also showed us how to get to our placement in a hospital. We were taken by tro-tro, which is the Ghanaian equivalent of public bus transport. It was a great experience, although quite strange to encounter on the first day, because the tro-tro is similar to a small sized UK minibus which somehow managed to cram over 20 passengers in at a time!

Upon returning to our host family after a long, but great day out, we were welcomed to the smell of 'red red' - a popular Ghanaian dish. This also gave us a better chance to talk to our host family along with the other volunteers. We were told that we were accepted as part of the family and should see the host mother as our real mother for our stay in Ghana, which was particularly sweet of her.

A typical day volunteering consisted of observing and sometimes helping in the dental department of the 'Police Hospital'. I was not expecting to do any hands on work with any of the dental equipment as I had no qualifications, so being able to use some equipment was a pleasant surprise.

Also, once or twice a week, the healthcare volunteers all went on outreach projects to places such as orphanages and remote village schools to tend to the first aid needs of young children, which was great as I felt I made a huge impact. Also when on these outreach projects, my friend and I took toothbrushes, toothpaste, sweets (ironically!), books and pens to give out to the children. We also taught them how to brush their teeth, which was great. Even our medical coordinator took on some of our advice!

On evenings, we were able to have some free time, to either sit and relax with the other volunteers, or go out somewhere perhaps to watch a film or go shopping, or just explore the local area. Once a week, a social evening was organized, known as quiz night Tuesdays. This is where most of the volunteers in the city got together at the Accra Projects Abroad HQ and chilled out, played games, had pizza and one week even got taught by professional dancers how to dance Ghanaian style! We also organized weekend outings here.

Although I only had two weekends in Ghana, I made the most of them. The first weekend a few friends went to Cape Coast to visit the National Park. We did a night walk there, and got attacked by African army ants which were really painful! Although we did see the funny side of what happened once it was over. We slept in a tree house and in the morning, we did a canopy walk in the jungle like park and then visited a famous castle and beach.
The second weekend saw my friend and i travel across Ghana, first to Lake Volta, the worlds largest man made lake, and then to another large attraction park when we were able to see the famous 'umbrella rock' and the tree with three heads. The views were amazing at this place.

Projects Abroad were fantastic in organizing my placement. I had special dietary requirements which were all tended to, and the pre departure contact was extensive, giving me confidence that I was to be taken care of very well. The organization of my placement was decided by myself and then implemented brilliantly by Projects Abroad. I would definitely recommend this to my friend and cannot wait until I can undertake another project somewhere!

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Posted: November 29, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
18

I decided to travel to Chengdu with Projects Abroad for a two week High School Special program after studying Mandarin for a year at school. I felt that it would be a wonderful experience that would broaden my cultural horizons. My time in Chengdu was everything I imagined and more! I arrived nervous, for it was my first time traveling without friends or family who would share in my experience; however, the great Projects Abroad staff really worked to ease my concerns.Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by an employee and introduced to other students who would be working with me. I was then brought to my home stay, where I was greeted by my cheerful host family, who taught me about traditional Chinese holidays and about everyday life in Chengdu throughout my time with them.
During the first week in Chengdu, our mornings were spent at the Mandarin Club, where we took lessons in language and culture. Although I already spoke some Mandarin, our teacher taught us about the local dialect, which made me even more comfortable speaking in the city. I was also very interested during the lessons about the daily, traditional, and business components of the Chinese culture. After our morning lesson and lunch at a local restaurant, we went to different types of businesses throughout the city. Throughout the trip, we worked on a presentation for China Linguist, one of the city’s major linguistic companies, which we presented towards the conclusion of the trip. We also visited multiple law firms to learn about the Chinese legal system the differences between western and eastern law.
My free time was filled with visiting local attractions and restaurants. We went to a traditional Sichuan Opera show and ate at a hot pot restaurant. My host family took me to their hometown of Leshan to see pandas and the Leshan Giant Buddha. I was able to really immerse myself within the Chinese culture during my free time.
Prior to my arrival, I was uncertain of what to expect from the local food; however, I quickly came to realize, through the urging of both my host family and staff members, that trying the unfamiliar dishes would lead to me finding new favorite dishes. Sichuan food, famous for its spicy Sichuan pepper, is quite unique, and whenever I find myself missing Chengdu, I go out to eat some.
Overall, my experience with Projects Abroad was phenomenal! The staff really helped to make my experience memorable through working to ease all of my concerns, creating interesting daily agendas filled with both cultural and business-related education, and making me feel at home while I was thousands of miles away.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 26, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:

I chose to go to Ethiopia with Projects Abroad because of the support and planning already established within the program. I knew I wanted to volunteer in Ethiopia, but finding the program to go with it was a challenge at first. I heard about Projects Abroad through friends who have used it in the past and it ended up being one of the best decisions I made. They set me up with a really caring host family, fantastic care center for children, and helped me meet other volunteers who I still keep in touch with today.

On the day of my arrival, Projects Abroad offered to pick up from the airport, take me to my host family, etc. Their accommodations to make sure you were settled in were useful for me. After they gave me a tour of the national museum, they took me to my host family. My host family's house was very well kept, clean, and most of all welcoming. My entire host family was happy to have me there and encouraged me to fully immerse myself in the culture. They tried to make my meals according to what I prefer, something not easily done in a common household in Ethiopia. Their family of five lived in one room while they allowed two other volunteers and me to have our own rooms.

My placement was incredible and I couldn't have imagined a better fit for me. I was working with at least four other volunteers at a time but we all worked in different areas-- whether it was helping in the baby room, teaching math or English, or playing games outside. The children ranged from babies to adolescence, and I know they absolutely appreciated our company. My placement was the best part of my Projects Abroad experience.

In addition to all of this, I met some other dedicated volunteers from around the world. In total, we were a group of 10 from 9 countries. The best part of this organization is that you can choose what part of the year you want to go on your trip, so people in the group came and left for various lengths of time. I still keep in touch with my friends overseas today to see how they're doing. We're all planning on going back to our orphanage in Ethiopia one day! My only complaint with the program was that I thought it was a bit expensive. The plane ticket itself is a monstrous amount and to add the extra was not an easy task. However, I absolutely think it was worth it.

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Location:
Posted: November 19, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
17

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