Kieren Brown – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To have a safe way of visiting other countries and a chance to make friends with like-minded people.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes, absolutely, we organised fun games at playtimes and an after school club.

What did you do for fun?

Sit around the fire chatting in the evenings, played pool.

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

The visit to the hot springs was a good afternoon.

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

Yes I would definitely go back if I have the time.

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

Just do it, it’s not like other types of travelling and you meet lots of great people.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Snacks from home can be important treats if you are away a long time.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 a week was plenty but if you do safaris then you need to budget for that.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Be openminded and have a go at everything!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Claudia Allen – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To experience another culture and help others.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes I think we made a difference in the short time we were there. We painted, fixed some windows and laid a cement floor. We also walked the children home after school and helped them with their maths.

What did you do for fun?

The volunteer bar in the evenings, especially when new volunteers had arrived that day.

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

Building work, it was something I had never done before.

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

Yes but probably I would like to try another country next time.

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

Just go for it, you get so much out of it more than you think you will. I learnt so much during my stay I will never forget.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Strong shoes for walking around the local area, flip flops will just break on the hills.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 – £60 should be enough.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

The children love cuddles!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Kate Driver – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
The Original Volunteers programme suited my budget and I wanted to see if I could teach as I would like to do some more teaching projects in the future. My friends had done the same programme and said that learning how to teach was really useful.

What did you do for fun?
Went into town in the evenings and Phuket for my last weekend , swam, visited the islands, went to a few beach parties.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The most memorable was arriving at the school for the first day and walking into the teacher’s room to a room full of smiling Thai teachers.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I am not sure I would do this one again because I think I have seen and done everything I wanted to here. I might consider another project in Africa and do some more teaching.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
If you want to learn how to teach and have some incredible memories then Thailand is a good project to start with.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
£20 per week is enough when you are at your school. I did quite a lot of trips and tours and spent £300 in total.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

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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Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

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

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.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Daisy – Blog post with photos

My name is Daisy and I travelled to Cambodia with Original Volunteers this summer; and I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve ever made! I will never forget the fantastic, life changing trip I had.

When we first arrived it was quite a shock as me and my friend Tabby sat in silence as the taxi driver drove us to the project; he drove like a mad man! We later realised that this is how everyone drives in Cambodia!

Here are some of my experiences with some photos, hope they’re helpful to others.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Amy Martin – Blog post with photos

I have recently come back from the Cambodian project through original Volunteers and wanted to take the time out to say how fantastic it was.
After arrival in the capital, we drove for about 2 hours into the Cambodian countryside until we arrived at hope school. As we drove through the gates I noticed the 3 classrooms on site and another building. I was greeted by all the volunteers who were so friendly and happy to show me to me bed.

Here are some photos and the rest of my story….

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Rose Trott – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to visit Asia and many of the other companies were too expensive. I found this project online by accident whilst searching online.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
The work done by the volunteers is truly astonishing. There are not a lot of resources but the books you use are really good and help the children to learn English really quickly. The project director explained that if the children can learn good English they will have a chance to get scholarships like he did to good colleges in the capital and perhaps even University. It was incredible to think that we were all a part of that for the children.

What did you do for fun?
We stayed at the school most evenings, a few went into town to the bars. But it was just as much fun at the school. There were about 20 of us when I was there but I heard there are far more in the summer so I don’t think you really need to leave the school for entertainment elsewhere.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I think you need to have an open heart – you can’t just sit back and watch and expect everything to be like it is as home.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
If they really want to help then you have to just do it. Some of the volunteers were there just for the beach and did not get involved too much on the teaching side of things but I think you can miss out on a lot in that way. One of the girls was crying when she left, it is an emotional rollercoaster and like nothing else I have ever experience. It would have been easy to cry as well when I left because you are also leaving LOTS of new friends amongst the other volunteers too!

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
A mosquito net!!!!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Connor Lane – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to be able to travel on my own and make friends at the same time. I have travelled around Europe before Interailing but it’s hard to make friends when you are at different hostels each night.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes we definitely made a difference to the children. They seemed to love having volunteers around and they were easy to make friends with from day one!

What did you do for fun?

Bars, cafes and the city centre. I was surprised at the number of bars in the city and we worked our way round quite a few!

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

Teaching the children at the school new sports and games. British bulldog was quite popular and I managed to pass on some basketball techniques to some of the girls.

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

Yes but not to Merida as I have done this one now!

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

It’s a great way to travel on your own without all the hassle of moving around between places with taxis and buses when you don’t speak the language. In Merida everything felt like home because you have people there to help you out if you need anything.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

You have to give it 100% and not holdback because the time goes so quickly, my 3 weeks felt like 1!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Aisling Fletcher – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
I always wanted to visit Mexico and thought volunteering would be a good option.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I worked in a few different projects so not sure how much of a difference I made to the children, but it was great doing different things in totally different places.

What did you do for fun?
Evenings in the city centre listening to the street music.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Not really, although it was funny teaching English when you can’t speak Spanish but I managed it okay in the end.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
There were twelve of us in the volunteer house so it wasn’t hard to make friends as you all live and work together.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Yes I would definitely do another project, probably Thailand or Cambodia if I can save the money.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Clothes for hot weather! It gets really hot there, everything sticks!

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Teaching is the best type of work even if you’ve never done it before, maybe playing outdoor games a close second.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Saira Khan – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
I am studying for a PGCE and thought it would be a good idea to get some teaching practice in a classroom.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes, at the girl’s home in particular there was a girl I got close to who was having problems at school and I was able to help her with some basic maths.

What did you do for fun?
Went to the ruins at chichen itza which was amazing. Not like anything I’ve seen before. It was super hot.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The children were adorable and so friendly when we arrived each day. They really looked forward to us coming. I took some colouring pencils and glitter pens which were appreciated which was nice.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
With the other volunteers you can’t not make friends. I am still close with a couple and we meet up every so often.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I want to visit Africa but not sure about the jabs and everything I would need to organise for a trip like that, Mexico was easy to organise, I did everything in a week.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Insect repellent – I used lots.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Try a few projects before deciding which one you want to do. Although I chose Mexico to teach, spending time at the girls home was a real unexpected surprise so I went a few times during my time there.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas