Rachel Burch – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?

To make friends, travel, explore and do something helpful for others!

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

I think our work at the day centre was really important and the children liked our visits

What did you do for fun?

Went swimming and relaxed at the volunteer house in the evenings. It was a really nice crowd and everyone got on really well.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

I think my arrival at the volunteer house, everyone ran over to hug me and say hello, it was quite emotional and a real surprise!

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Morocco is next on my list, a couple of the others had already been and said it was just as good.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just got for it, there are a lot of things online that you are supposed to worry about but it’s so easy and I think many people just need to see for themselves.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Some games for the children.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

I spent about £60 a week without trips. I went to Romania for my last weekend with some of the other volunteers.

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Jodie Henson – Review


Jodie Henson
Volunteer reviews Thailand

I wanted to thank you for arranging my placement at the school in Soiyak. The teachers very friendly and made me feel welcome there and I really enjoyed teaching the children and mixing with them. I got to learn about their backgrounds as well as their aims and hopes for the future. The behaviour of the children is a lot different to the UK and I didn’t really have any problems with controlling the class. I would prepare basic lessons plans in the evening and this did help, but I would have to adjust these somewhat to each class as the ideas would well in some class but not others.

I was very lucky with the accommodation there and had a whole bedroom with toilet and shower to myself there. I got to know the owner of the hairdresser next to the school and had an arrangement where I would teach her daughter English in exchange for a very delicious dinner which was a big plus!

I am now “back down to earth” and in the process of looking for a job. Would it be OK if I could cite you as a referee? I think some employers would like to verify how I spent my time volunteering abroad.

Please also say a hello and thank you to the coordinating team for the good advice they gave prior to my placement. This really helped and gave me just that bit more confidence when delivering my first lesson.

I hope things are going well for you both and thanks again for arranging such a great placement.

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Catherine Scott – Review


For my first trip with OV I chose Ecuador as it fitted in nicely with my travel plans from Ecuador to Peru then Argentina, Brazil and home.

It was a country which has aways interested me since I read about a local man who went round the country on motorbike for charity. It seemed to be a small country with everything in it and yet you don’t hear much about it in the news.

I spent two weeks at a nursery in Quito and then two weeks on a conservation project in the forest planting and clearing ditches. Both projects were very different. I also took Spanish classes for my first two weeks in the mornings which were invaluable to me as I only knew the basic words for hello and goodbye when I arrived. My dictionary was essential for the conservation project as no one spoke English there!

I was able to bond with the children in the nursery easily and made friends with the staff and other volunteers at the conservation project. I am still in contact with one of them and hope to revisit one day.

Overall it was a fantastic way to start a longer trip and made me more confident on my subsequent travels, I am not sure how confident I would have been if I hadn’t volunteered first.

Advice for anyone else? Learn some Spanish before you go because it’s easier to build on what you know already than start from scratch. Oh and you don’t need malaria tablets if you are only in the city as it’s so high up!

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Lauren Webster – Paraguay


Why did you want to volunteer?
To make a difference and learn about another culture.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes. I helped plant some peppers and helped the neighbour’s children with their maths homework.

What did you do for fun?
Went into Asuncion at the weekends and the iguassu falls.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
It’s impossible to say one thing, there were lots of good times with the family, living with them every day was the most enjoyable time, I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere.Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
The family were my best friends and they were really sad to see me go, they almost begged me to stay but I couldn’t change my flight ticket.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? 

Yes I think I would do another one.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Take everything you could possibly need and follow any list you get. It can get very cold in July so if you are visiting take lots of warm clothes and a good sleeping bag as they are hard to find in Paraguay or don’t work very well as I discovered in my second week after looking forward to shopping for a warm one, then hugely disappointed. Everything you bring from home is the very best luxury and you wish you brought more of all the essentials with you because at least THEY WORK.

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Brooke Simmons – Review


What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
I remember Maria she took us on lots of walks around the island and introduced us to local people we met.

Why did you want to volunteer?
Because I did not want to travel around on my own and I read reviews of other single people making lots of friends on their volunteer projects.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes I think so.

What did you do for fun?
I enjoyed the fundraiser we organised.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
We organised a swimming aerobics session with the local children in the sea which was a lot of fun.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I made friends with a couple of volunteers and we travelled afterwards for a couple of weeks. That was unexpected and added to my trip.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Yes because volunteering is not like a normal holiday or travelling around. I definitely enjoyed my volunteering more than my travelling around even though both were fun!

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Take good shoes for the swamps, I only had sandals and they got ruined so I had to buy another pair.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
£100 – £150 as the island can be quite pricey because of the tourists and there are a lot of good bars to east at.

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Samuel Harris – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to visit Europe and do some volunteering at the same time. Some of my friends had been to Romania and Bulgaria and recommended the area.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes the children loved our visits and I nearly cried every time we arrived at the shanty town when everyone came out to meet us and walk with us up the hill. It was really special.

What did you do for fun?
Went into Varna centre to the main street to the bars and cafes. Our group’s favourite was Happy grill, massive menu!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Swimming in the evening, the sea was so warm.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Yes I want to go back to Bulgaria and meet everyone again, it was the best time of my life so far!!!! Everyone has to do it!

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Take outdoor games for the children as there is often not enough to go round.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
£50 – £70 is enough. The kayak was £25.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
It’s a good one to start with if you are unsure or nervous. The staff are so friendly and will help you with anything you need.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Europe

Sally Collingwood – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
To help the children in Thailand. I always wanted to teach too as I would like to be a teacher at some point later on.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes because we can show the children how to speak good English and help them with their exams.

What did you do for fun?
We chatted in our hostel in the evenings and went to a local bar. We also planned the next day’s lessons and helped each other with ideas which was great fun.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The best weekend was when I went to Phuket and took a boat to the phi phi islands where the beach film was made. It was crazy scenery and busy but a truly magical place. You need to go early though before the crowds get there.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would have liked to go to the Cambodia project but didn’t have time on this trip and ran out of money!

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I think Thailand is a good project to start with if you have not been to Asia before as everything is so well organised. Many of us had never travelled before away from home and we al found it really straightforward.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
You need smartish clothes for the classroom, you can’t wear shorts or anything too revealing or you won’t be able to teach. I was okay in a skirt and plain t-shirt.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
You need very little unless you’re going to do the touristy stuff. I took £300 for two weeks which was plenty, Thailand is very cheap.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Smile in the classroom and make eye contact with the children, it’s surprising how easy it is and it helps you stop being nervous.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Craig Russell – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I just finished my degree and wanted a break before work.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Some of the projects don’t have as many staff as at home so I think we helped just by being there.

What did you do for fun?
Trekking and the otovalo market, although it’s a bit touristy and you can get the same stuff for less in Quito the atmosphere at Otovalo was special and made a nice day out.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
For me day one was the best experience, just taking your new surroundings in and so many different experiences and new friends in 24 hours.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I made friends with one of the staff at a nursery I was working at. They invited me to a family party which was great fun.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
There were too many bars and cafes to mention – there wasn’t one in particular and there was a good crowd of foreigners and backpackers around to make friends with aswell.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I wanted to fit in Peru this time but my budget wouldn’t stretch, maybe next year.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
A jumper and waterproof jacket as it can get colder in the evenings and it does rain a bit sometimes.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Make friends with local people and invite yourself, they are all so friendly but you can’t be reserved. That way you get more out of the experience.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Lisa Kerridge – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
To help others and gain a valuable experience.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes I think I made a difference although I was only there for one week.

What did you do for fun?
Hung out at the volunteer house and eating at the Happy diner in Varna.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
My first day at the romany project, the children were so happy to see us when we walked in. They loved what we did with them, colouring, painting and playing with them outside.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
Everyone was so lovely and I made friends easily because we were all there for the same reasons.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
Yes I want to go back to Bulgaria as the place was so friendly and I felt comfortable all the time.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I have told all my friends about my time in Bulgaria.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Go for it!

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Michael Harris – Review


I had the most amazing time on Utila and got my diving certificate whilst I was there.

Everyone was friendly and you make friends really easily. The accommodation was basic but generally what you would expect at an animal sanctuary. I loved the iguanas and I do think some had a little personality of their own.

I went snorkelling a few times and back to the mainland to La Ceiba a couple of times to see more there.

Overall I has the best experience and would recommend it to anyone, it’s a great project in a great location and it’s not expensive either.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Alex Welch – Review


I would just like to say a big thank you for Giorgi, Giorgi and Dafinka for such a lovely time and so many happy memories. The programme surpassed my expectations and I would have happily paid a lot more for the experiences I had in Varna.

The children were adorable and the visits to eko park were really special.

Thank you again and I will be in touch soon to arrange my next visit which will probably be Bulgaria!

Best egards,

Alex

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Dion Walsh – Review


I would just like to say thank you for the most incredible trip. It was a great experience form start to finish and I would not have changed a thing!

The local team were great and I could not believe how easy it was to teach as the children made it so easy and were fantastic.

I also got a lot of support from the teachers who were wonderfully friendly and helped explain everything to the children if they didn’t understand what I wanted them to do.

Overall fantastic value and the best memories!

Dion

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