Projects Abroad

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9.1 / 10 after 292 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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Program:
Location:
Posted: August 26, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
17

I spent ten weeks in Tanzania this year for my elective rotation in my final year of medical school. I spent two weeks at Mwananyamala Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, four weeks at West Meru Hospital in Arusha, and four weeks at Endulen Hospital inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

As a sixth year medical student I was able to have a very hands on experience. This included ward rounds with doctors, working patients up for admission, seeing patients in the emergency department, practical work such as taking vital signs (blood pressure, pulse etc), antenatal care and assisting in labour in maternity, wound care and dressing, setting and casting fractures, and more! I also was able to observe different surgeries, including Caesarean sections. The extent of your involvement depends on your past experience and abilities, as well as your willingness to put yourself out there and ask questions and ask for opportunities!

With Projects Abroad, volunteers stay with host families, normally with other volunteers at the same house at the same time. I absolutely loved this. All the families were so welcoming and willing to make me a part of their home. I think this let me see Tanzania like a local as much as possible. Eating their food, using their public transport, meeting their neighbours and friends and getting personal recommendations on what to do in the area. Plus it was so lovely to come home at the end of the day at work to your host Mama giving you a big hug and a cup of chai tea to ask about your day.

I met volunteers from every continent during my projects, and formed fast friendships that have so far lasted the distance! The social aspect of volunteering with Projects Abroad can't be overstated, and local staff are great for recommendations and to help organise activities. Some examples of what volunteers get up to in their time off: Swahili lessons, cooking classes, dance classes, coffee plantation tours, exploring the area like waterholes/waterfalls and hikes, visiting markets, cultural trips to Maasai villages, trips to nearby beaches and islands (Zanzibar!) and of course safari!!!

Projects Abroad has local offices in each of their locations, with local staff available in person everyday during the week, and 24/7 via text or WhatsApp or phone call. I felt the staff were all really invested in us volunteers and in making sure we got the most out of our placements, and the social and cultural aspect as well.

Overall, I can't recommend the medicine elective enough. Particularly for students with some experience (medical, nursing, physiotherapy etc), to really get the most out of your project. The Projects Abroad staff (local and international) are truly amazing, so if you're interested or have questions, get on the website and get in touch!

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
By: amandamr
Age:
23

There are two things I’ve always remained passionate about—two things I know I’ll be involved with for the rest of my life: children and traveling. I was in my first year of university and I knew I wanted travel again, but this time I wanted to do something in which I could give back. I’ve worked in early childhood education for three years, nannied for five, and started studying developmental psychology. After researching programs online, I came across Projects Abroad and it was everything I could ask for; immersion in the culture, quality volunteer work with children, safety tips and cultural information, and an accommodating staff that worked with my sister and I to place us in the same host family. After looking through all of the countries, something stuck out about Tanzania and before we knew it, we had received all of our placement details and booked our tickets.

The volunteer placements are very organized and often you find yourself working with other volunteers from Project Abroad. They also have a child database so that volunteers are able to monitor and track benchmarks for the children at the orphanages. This allows for consistency despite volunteer turnover. I was placed at a wonderful orphanage with 50 children where I worked in the middle classroom. Every morning we sang songs and danced before we started our daily lessons. I spent five days a week with the children which really allowed for me to bond with almost all of them despite only being there a month. At any point in my placement if I had questions, the Projects Abroad staff was very responsive and helpful. My time in Tanzania allowed me to meet lifelong friends, travel to beautiful locations, and walk into work while being bombarded by hugs.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9
Age:
19

During my time at Projects abroad, I had the opportunity to both participate in the medical project, and partially the human rights project. This was not my first time going abroad, however if it had been, I would have found the support staff of projects abroad to be more than sufficient. One of the nicest things to have when traveling is someone to meet and guide you from the airport. Projects abroad staff was there from the beginning at the airport and helped to get me comfortable with the city of Cordoba. While I interacted with my mentor during the medical project every day, it was rare to actually coordinate something during my six weeks with the medical staff at projects abroad. This was probably due to being the only medical volunteer for around 4 weeks. My normal day consisted of waking up around 7 and being by the bus stop around 730. Arriving at the hospital around 830, I would then observe 2-3 operations, and ask questions whenever I liked. Afterwards I would go home where my family would have lunch ready for me. During the night, I would then be free to do as I like. Often that would be going on to participate in the human rights project, where we would interact with homeless populations. This was often one of my favorite times because it meant I was able to interact with the local population in a new way. The projects abroad staff with the human rights project were extremely active with the activities. This actually was one of my favorite parts of my time in Argentina. Other volunteers were interesting to interact with as they brought many other perspectives, cultures, and languages to the table. The time spent with them felt much like the time on my exchange. The culture of argentina was also interesting to interact with as an American, and I learned a lot about how to be more relaxed with my time. It was also an adaptation to become accustomed the food or Argentina, which is very different to that in the US. Overall, it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about my future career, and own culture during my time with Projects abroad

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 24, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
7
By: willyd
Age:
22

My experience had its ups and down. The positive parts of this experience involve getting to know volunteers as good friends, meeting people from around the world, and learning new things about yourself through being in a complex environment. The downsides include possible bad roommates, bugs, and heatstroke.
Basically what happens is that the volunteers become good friends with you, almost to the point where you can bond with some of them as if you were family if you luck out and you both are there for similar amount of time. That doesn’t mean that everyone will get along with you, and like any other place out there in the world, there is the possibility of bad roommates. For me, it was just the age difference that showed maturity gaps because I was on average at least 6 years older than the other women in the house I was staying in. If I had been there longer with them in the room, I would’ve requested a room switch, but the universe made it so that I was in a room by myself for most of my trip. I had forgotten that I’m not 18 anymore when I applied for the project, and I think being aware of this stuff is something that is crucial for someone if they are to stay there for a month, for instance.
Depending on where you get placed (work wise), you can get to know the refugees quite well. I enjoyed this part the most because I got to dance with them, eat with them, meet women who spoke 7 languages fluently, and experience many other things. As a woman, I was encouraged heavily right off the bat to work with mostly children in daycare, and I knew right away that it would not be a good fit for me. The people who work in the project are very accommodating and are eager to help you make the most of your experience. Realizing I couldn’t work with the children too much for a number of reasons (attachment being the main reason), I found myself much happier with the adult refugees and when I worked within the library. You become very attached to people in this tiny town because you are around them all the time, and when I got heatstroke, I felt very cared for by everyone despite going through the very un-fun experience of getting sick in a foreign country. There’s also the bugs, which can be beaten with bug spray on at all times. The times I forgot, I regretted it deeply. I came home with around 20 bug bites due to forgetting to put on bug spray for 2 hours on my last day there.
Nevertheless, you really get to experience a community like no other when you go on this trip, and while it isn’t perfect, and by no means a vacation, you leave with memories that make you wonder when you’ll visit again to see how much the town has changed in a couple of years.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 23, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
7
Age:
24

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