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

Read more about our: Volunteers in Europe

Emma Harper – Review


Why did you choose to volunteer?

I had been to Kenya before for a holiday with my family.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes definitely, the boys rely on volunteers being there and helping them. Sometimes you think your hour might have made them change their mind and not go back to the streets. That is a massive deal.

What did you do for fun?

I enjoyed sitting chatting with the staff in the evenings and learning more about what it is like to live there, some volunteers went into the city to hotel bars for fun.

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

When we took the boys to the beach and organised a picnic that was great fun. Some of the boys had never been to the beach to have fun.

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

Yes I would like to go back to Mombasa, one of the other volunteers was on her second visit as her first trip had affected her a lot and she wanted to keep on helping the project.

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

Just do it and don’t let anyone put you off. The people are amazing and the boys at the shelter really need all the support they can get.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

There is no need to bring a lot of things for the boys as you can buy everything there for less. I bought some new shorts and t-shirts for the boys. They also need more paper and pens but find out before you go so you take what is needed.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 was more than enough. I spent £380 on a safari, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I could have paid less.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Don’t let anything stand in your way, the boys need you.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African 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

Sarah Chapman – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?

To help make a difference in another country with children in need. I only had a week to volunteer because of work commitments so the project fitted in nicely.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes you could see on the children’s faces how important our visits were to them. We also helped clear up lots of mud after the June floods which was hard work but equally as rewarding and the local people who had had their homes ruined were really thankful and provided us with a lunch.

What did you do for fun?

We all went around together in Varna and to the resorts of Saint constantine and st helena to spend time on the beach and eat in the hotel bars.

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

When we went to the shanty town to give out clothes and toys, we were all really shocked to see where some of the children we were working with were living. Many of the houses were in bad condition with rubbish lying all around outside, it was upsetting but at least we knew we were helping in a small way.

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

Yes if there is another one like Bulgaria. I have heard some good things about Morocco so might try that one next.

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

It will be the best experience of your life if you haven’t done anything like this before!

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Toys for the children and balls, skipping ropes and building bricks for the younger ones.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£40 should be enough. You don’t need more than that if you only stay at the volunteer house and go to projects each day.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Come with an open heart and try to connect with the kids. This is a very special project and there is a real feeling here for it to be a success!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Europe

Amanda Mullen – Review


Off to Mombasa! Well, After a long flight to Mombasa I was picked up by a really lovely gentleman, and driven through the suburbs of Mombasa. Already you can see the major contrasts between the UK, where we live and where they live. It was so different…

Here’s the rest of my story with photos and why I fell in love with this project…

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

Abigail Popple – Review


Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes, we cleaned the stables, observed the mustangs for any problems, helped with the vet visits and prepared the food for the horses.

What did you do for fun?

Went to most of the local attractions, the space centre was for me the best.

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

Working so close to the horses and seeing how they interact with people and like human company. The lady who runs the sanctuary can actually speak to the horses which was inspiring.

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

Yes I would love to do another project and stay for longer next time as I don’t think 2 weeks was quite long enough, for me anyway.

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

Just do it. You’re not on your own as there are lots of other people doing the same thing and everyone is going through the same thing. When you get there it sounds like a cliche but it does feel like home because everyone lives and works together, unlike hotels where it’s hard to make friends. I am still in touch with everyone who was there with me.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

You don’t need any if you stay at the sanctuary, it’s just when you do the attractions you’ll need about £120 a day for transport and the tickets for each one which can be expensive but most volunteers when I was there did at least one of the parks.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Ray Bryne – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
As part of my travels it fitted in nicely.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes absolutely, the project needs a lot of extra help to raise awareness.

What did you do for fun?
Sea kayaking and diving course.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Watching the sun set at a beach bar in the evenings.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would definitely do another project.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Be prepared for the iguanas to sleep when it rains.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Loose clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and good strong shoes for trekking around the island.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
The island is not that cheap compared to the rest of Honduras so take as much as you can, £100 should be enough for nights out on main street and eating out.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Go with the flow! It’s too hot.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

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

Sam Connelly – Paraguay


Who do you remember?
The family were helpful and friendly. They did everything they could within their means to support and help me with everything I needing from washing my clothes to showing me around and where everything was. I could not ever thank them enough!

Why did you want to volunteer?
I had always wanted to have a challenge where I have to face up to things on my own and problem solve. I think until my trip I had quite an easy time and I was glad I went.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
The children there were desperate to learn English and had not had a volunteer for awhile so it was nice to start the classes again even though it was not something I had thought about before travelling so I had to brush up on my own English skills and think about what I was going to teach them.

What did you do for fun?
Sat with the family and laughed constantly!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
We did a walk into town, that was an adventure trek, we walked over fields and through forests and waded through streams. The bus would have been easier but walking was more fun and I got to see lots of wildlife on the way.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
You make friends with everyone there. The family introduce you to all their family and everyone they know, it was really easy.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
Yes I think I would like to experience something else similar, I am thinking about the Kenya project. I am definitely more interested in experiences where I will be on my own with local people rather than living in a large group, although I realise being on your own is not everyone’s desire.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Learn as much Spanish as you possibly can before you go, I was still practising on the flight as it arrived in Asuncion and wish I had done more beforehand as it can take until your second week to get the hang of it. Everything sounds like one continuous word or sound if you don’t know some basic words and can split up what you hear.

 

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Shelley Nicoll – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?

I had been to Florida before on holiday with my family but I wanted to go back and experience Florida as a local.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes we made a big difference by being there. There is only so much a couple of people can do looking after so many animals. I think we played a vital role in supporting the project.

What did you do for fun?

We sat around in the evenings chatting, having fun, playing games. There’s nowhere local to go in the evenings without getting a lift but we made up for it and made friends with each other!

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

Learning to ride for the first time. I hadn’t been on a horse before the project.

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

Yes I would like to return to the States but I think I would like to visit another area next time.

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

Definitely go for it! – there’s simply too much to do! I had already done the parks when I was younger but for other volunteers who haven’t it’s a real bonus in your free time.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Old clothes are essential, some of my favourite clothes got mucky so I had to buy some new stuff, but America’s cheap to buy clothes and anything else you need.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas

Mable Fraser – Review


Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to volunteer for a long time, lots of my friends had done gap years before Uni and told me about their experiences.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes we looked after the iguanas and I was lucky during my visit to be able to release some back into the wild which was really incredible to know that you have helped look after them.

What did you do for fun?
We sat together in the evenings in the kitchen and shared stories and cooked together.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Walking in the mangroves was my favourite experience, one day we hired canoes and the staff took us round the tiny rivers.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I went with a friend but I made friends with the other volunteers and the staff. Everyone was really friendly.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise?
The kitchen!

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
Yes but possibly another project to experience different things.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
You need to be patient some times as things are a bit slower here.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Insect repellent, sun hat, suncream and lots of clothes for hot weather.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
100 – 200 per week but it depends what you do in your free time, take more if you want to go diving.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Find someone on the buddy list to travel with, that might make things easier when you get to San Pedro as you have someone to watch your bags when you’re sorting things out. Or take less luggage than I did!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Americas