Projects Abroad

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9.1 / 10 after 304 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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My 17 year old daughter and her friend thought this volunteer company and its turtel camp in mexico would be a great opportunity..how wrong they were. The problems started with their transfer to the camp from the airport in guadalahara. It was meant to take 3 hours but took almost sxi hours on a public bus with every other person going that way that day!!!
Once in camp they realised how basic things would be....hygiene was not high on the list, running water was limited and the camp was infested with mice. They were to be given one meal a day, not made at the camp but brought in from local village, and never warm.
Cereal was provided for the mornings but as you can imagine was not really a choice the girls considered due to the mice!!
Friends suitcase which had some dried food in it got ravaged by the mice...obviously they were hungry too!!
Although the trip was meant to let them experience protecting , rehoming and counting turtles and their eggs they actually only got ot see this happening once in the whole trip which was meant to be 13 days but they came back three days early because of the conditions.
My daughet got scratched by a local dog and only got medical attention 24 hours later as no one was equipped ( now as a nurse this really concerned me) and her friend fainted three times because of dehydration and lack of nutrition. It took my daughet who is only 5'3" some time to drag her friend who is 5' 9" inot the shade and 30 mins to get assistance as no adults were available.
When they decided to leave early the were taken to the local bus and advised that they would have to pay the bus fare as the camp had no money to pay it, no what if my daughet had had no money on her?? would they have had to walk?? ..thankfully she did but it took several calls from me to the camp to make sure she would get the money back.
All in all I would NEVER EVER...recommend this company Projects Abroad to anyone ever again. My daughter has travelled all over the world on her own to visit family, friends and to volunteer elsewhere including Russia, America the middle east and has never had such a disappointing trip.

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Posted: July 28, 2010
Overall:
0 (worst)
Support:
2
Value:
0
By: Anonymous
Age:

I volunteered to teach English for one month om Nadi, Fiji. This was my first abroad experience. Overall I can say that I am glad that I went with PA. My placement, accomocdation and support were top notch. Even the gatherings where you meet with other volunteers was good. They doa good job of ensuring that you are happy with not only your placement but your living situation as well. I had the best host family ever. They keo the home immaculate and ensured that I never missed a meal. Always provided me with nutritious and tasty menu items. From what i gather this program was one of the more expensive ones. However, if its your first time out I highly recommend you go through PA.

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Posted: July 6, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

I`d say that if money is not an issue with you & you`re not experienced with world travel, sign-up with an organization like Projects Abroad. It guarantees a bit of safety and organization in some countries that can be overwhelming.
Unfortunately, money is an issue with me (I`m a university student) and I have travelled all over the globe, so I found that Projects Abroad (P.A.) took complete advantage and profited a LOT from what I paid them.
They are very quick to ask and receive your money, but every P.A. volunteer I spoke with agreed that once they get your money things (correspondence)slow down a LOT.
My teaching placement AND accomodation details were not kept up-to-date and I actually didn`t know exactly where I was going until I arrived in India and the staff took me there. This was extremely unprofessional and prevented me from preparing adequately for my project.
There were staff there to pick me up and take me to my accomodations. I did not have to worry about taxis or buses to get to my placement.
Other volunteers that had done more than one placement with P.A. told me that there are the SAME project fees from country to country, even though the cost of putting someone up in India in someone`s home is significanly less than having your own flat in Shanghai.....and yet we paid the same cost.
The in-country staff communicate almost exclusively via cell or mobile phones and expected me to pay for an Indian cell-phone plan once I arrived so they could keep in touch. Another volunteer there had no phone and basically had NO communication from the P.A. coordinators unless he found an internet cafe (good luck in rural India) to email them. I think it`s unacceptable to take so much money from volunteers and not have solid communication methods set up for them.
Almost ANY time I was told that my P.A. coordinator was going to call me for a phone meeting or come to my placement for a check-up meeting they did not show at all or were extremely late. I had a mobile phone and they wouldn`t even call to inform me that they weren`t going to make it. Again, for such a high price, I find this unacceptable.
I contacted the director of P.A. India enquiring about the allocation of the funds I paid to P.A. After a month in India I knew exactly how much accomodation and food cost. It was a matter of a few dollars per day. After calculations, there was about $1200-$1800 unaccounted for and P.A. could not give me any details about where that money could be. Apart from the costs of the staff, administration, etc. and what little community work they do, there is a HUGE misallocation of funds.
Most saddening is that I`M trying to do something good, but P.A. was profiting. My classroom had no electricity. The students had almost NO resources. There was no paper, pictures, books, teaching aids to work with. There were just benches and a blackboard. I didn`t mind that AT ALL! The children were fantastic. But more could be done to help the school.
There is SUCH opportunity to put my money to good, but Projects Abroad is clearly just profiting from the funds paid to them.
After travelling throughout India I found numerous volunteer opportunitites (especially in DHARAMSALA) where you just need to show up and you`re good to go. Also, Lonely Planet travel guides have a `volunteer`section with resources. If you`re comfortable with travel, can book your own travel insurance (I suggest `World Nomads`), and are going to have to pay for your own flight anyway: I`d suggest looking for an in-country volunteer program that has little/no administrative costs for you to pay.
BUT if you have the money and want the comfort of having things taken care of for peace of mind, I`d go with Projects Abroad...just don`t count where your pennies go because they`re a business. And businesses like to make money.

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Posted: June 14, 2010
Overall:
6
Support:
6
Value:
2
By: Anonymous
Age:

Comments

Hello, Thank you for your straight up answer! I've been feeling the same way as I look into doing one of these trips! I can't understand if I pay for my ownflight and what not why I should then drop several thousand to volunteer? If I am volunteering it shouldnt cost anyone anything! Can you PM me so we can discuss some details surrounding this? I am going to India for at least six months and I leave in 6 weeks but I still have much to learn and figure out... any info you can help me with would be great! I contact you because it sounds to me like we are on the same page with all this stuff. Thanks!

Although my 1.5 month experience with Projects Abroad was expensive, I would recommend volunteering with a well-established organisation such as this one especially if it is your first time travelling abroad alone as it was for me. The experience of volunteering with the local children and living with a Peruvian family was an eye-opening and pretty humbling one. I think the home-stay is probably the best way to really get to know the culture of the country in which you're living as you can share (however much you want to) with the every day reality of your host-family. I found that Projects Abroad in Peru was good at organising social events to bring the volunteers together with monthly and weekly events such as the weekly Pub-Quiz although when it came to socialising in smaller groups I was just given a sheet on th day that I arrived with all the host-family's numbers on it for me to contact the other volunteers on my own. If you go for a placement with Projects Abroad you're mostly paying for the social side, the experience of genuine Peruvian life with your volunteering as well as your host-family and the comfort of the fact that it is a big organisation so you don't feel like you're alone. However, when on the placement, you're not given too much guidance for example, working at a nursery, you're expected to make up activities and games yourself for the kids rather than have it mapped out by Projects Abroad; it's a good way of building confidence and putting your initiative into practice but you can also feel a bit lost when you're at the school and you don't know where to start. Also - try to learn at least the basics of the language before you go as this will really help with your volunteering as well as maybe making you feel a bit less like a tourist. For first-time volunteers abroad, Projects Abroad is a good option.

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Posted: May 26, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
5
Value:
7
By: Anonymous
Age:

Projects Abroad was my connection to Espoir de Demain, the care project in Senegal. Espoirs de Demain threw me into a completely different style of work than i have ever experienced, hand in hand with Senegalese people my own age. My eyes were opened by the wonderful Senegalese volunteers as well as the little talibes we worked with. I learned how to not only look at the problem but deal with. Projects Abroad was helpful and always available. And I only experienced one of there many many programs but im sure that the placements and the staff around the world is just as caring and kind as in my new home Senegal.

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Posted: May 25, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8
By: Anonymous
Age:

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