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!!!!

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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….

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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.

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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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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.

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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

X

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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.

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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

Volunteer reviews her time in Kenya, Mexico & Thailand

FUNDRAISER FOR A CHILDREN’S CHARITY TOOK 5 MONTHS OUT TO VOLUNTEER AND TRAVEL

A Charity Fundraiser took 5 months out from her job to work with poor, homeless, and deprived children in Kenya, Mexico, and Thailand.

Lisa Helmsley, who works for a children’s charity as a fundraiser in the U.K managed to get 5 months off from her job in 2009, and spent much of the time volunteering abroad, and working with children.

Lisa spent April volunteering at a Street Kids project in Mombassa in Kenya, June preparing food, and looking after children and babies at Orphanages in Mexico, and July teaching English at a school in Thailand. In between she managed to travel around the Countries that she was volunteering in.

She really enjoyed the experience of working with the children, and felt that her time spent in 3 different countries had helped her to learn a great deal about their cultures, and communities.

She felt that the experience that she had from her work in the U.K was a great help, but added that she had learnt a lot while caring for children from other cultures as well.

She described the local people that she met in each country as ‘just fantastic’, and said that she would love to volunteer again one day. In fact Lisa had previously volunteered with Original Volunteers before in Peru some 3 years ago, and it was this experience that made her decide to volunteer with us again.
She added that she has recommended Original Volunteers to many of her friends and work colleagues.

Lisa has now settled back into her work, and life in the U.K, and we wish her well with her fundraising activities in 2010.
If you are considering taking a break from your working life, and have an understanding employer who would be prepared to let you do so why not contact us on 01603 859689. It could prove to be a life changing experience.

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Teaching in Thailand as a volunteer

4 days after I left I landed on the island of Koh Tao and fell in love twice, first with the island and secondly with Diving. I am currently studying my D.M.T so I can become a Dive Master.

The last time I was in Thailand you asked me to write something in your book and I was unable to complete it. So I hope this will be good enough:

When I left for Thailand it was my first time on a plane by myself. I did not know what to expect, was anyone going to meet me at the airport, am I actually going to get to teach?

Then my story as a volunteer in Thailand Began.

After safely being picked up at the airport I met one of the coordinators at stupid o’clock in the morning, and you could not ask for a nicer person to meet after being awake for 36 hours and the sun was rising.

I felt safe and I new that this thing was real “OH MY GOD!! I have to teach Thai children how to speak English.”

All I wanted to do was to Teach in a school down in the South of Thailand. When I arrived I was very happy immediately I could not stop smiling the kids were amazing.

These Children have characters that put a smile on your face Almost! every day. I was teaching at the same school for just over 2 months and you truly become connected with these individuals.

I came to Thailand on a spiritual journey and teaching was the greatest foot hold to help me on my journey.

I had the idea that I would continue teaching once the school holidays were complete, I left for the south. My Ideas slightly changed. I have now found a great passion for Diving.

This passion for diving has kept me in the same place for the past nine weeks. (Oh yeah, open water was my greatest fear.) This adventure would not have been made possible if it was not for the amazing children, the experiences that took place, the people I met, the fun I had and most of all the hard work, commitment and passion that the volunteer coordinators for making all this possible.

So Thank you very much.

Nicholas Jon Vale

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Annie Reviews her time in Thailand

I don’t really know what to say or where to start, Volunteering in Thailand has left me speechless! When I first arrived I was so nervous about being in another country and teaching English without a lot of knowledge of what I really needed to do. There were many times in that first day when I thought to myself I just want to go home! But I am so happy that I stayed!

The coordinator makes you feel automatically welcome and when we arrived at the school the director had invited us to his home the night before and we had an awesome time on his farm, eating dinner, quad biking and meeting his family. We were made to feel completely at home and were very excited to go to his school the next day, although constantly feeling nervous and apprehensive. However, there was no need, all of the teachers and students were so welcoming and so excited to see new volunteers, that we did not get a chance to feel scared. They went out of their way to make us feel a part of their school community. I have nothing but good things to say about the school we were at. It truly was a beautiful area and beautiful school. The children were a pleasure to teach, so eager to learn, a credit to themselves and the school.

With regards to teaching, you just have to be yourself and go in there with lots of ideas but no plans! You have to figure out for yourself how much they know and where you want to take them. They will hang on your every word so never be worried about not keeping their attention! I advise a lot of english games mixed with a lot of learning. Listen to your coordinators, they are so right. Stick with teaching them sentences and get them talking as much as possible because that’s what they struggle most with. By the end of our time, one of our classes were joining sentences with ‘and’! It was the most satisfying thing to see! A real sense of achievement that you may have really made a difference to their lives and future.

The people of the town are so lovely and welcomed us equally as much as the school had. They really do make you feel like a celebrity, so so special! The people at and around the school really did make my experience. I thought that the teaching side of it would be my least favourite part of it, but I can honestly say it made my entire trip. The children really did change my perspective on things, they were all adorable!
If you get the chance to attend an English camp at the school when you are in Thailand, it is a must. You get the chance to meet other volunteers, of which I made some really good friends and had an awesome time. You also get the chance to sing the YMCA over and over again which is brilliant. Although I can’t honestly say that the children learn loads of english this way but it gives them an environment to open up and try speaking english with others providing a platform for them to hopefully develop their english in the future. It’s a pleasure to see the smiles on their faces throughout the day!

The hardest and only negative thing I have to say is when you have to say goodbye to them children. I poured my eyes out! It was the hardest thing of the whole trip. You really do grow to love the children and their whole culture. I have only been home 5 days and miss Thailand soo much! Hopefully, one day if I can get the money together I will come back, and come back through this programme. They will do all they can to ensure that your experience is everything it should be, I am so jealous of anyone reading this because you have all this to come! I wish you the best of luck Thank you to everyone!!

Annie xx

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Volunteer Student Reviews Nepal

STUDENT ‘MORE CONFIDENT, AND AWARE OF OTHER PEOPLE’ AS A RESULT OF TRAVELLING AND VOLUNTEERING

A student from Surrey who was a volunteer in Nepal during a year spent traveling felt that the experience had made him ‘ more confident, and aware of other people’.

Matthew Block stopped off in Nepal to volunteer at a School, and an Orphanage for 3 weeks in July 2009. He really enjoyed the experience, and felt that both his year spent traveling and his experience of volunteering abroad had made him ‘ more confident, and aware of other people’.

His time spent there was divided between teaching at a small school, and working, and helping out at an Orphanage. He found the local people ‘easy to get on with’.

He said that he chose to volunteer in Nepal with Original volunteers as he was pleased to find out that the money for his accommodation was going directly to people in Nepal rather than to a company in the U.K.

He added that he has recommended the experience to other people, and that he would like to volunteer again at some point in the future.

We wish Matthew well with his studies, and hope to be able to arrange for him to volunteer again one day.

If you would like to volunteer while taking a year out traveling then why not contact us on 01603 859689.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies