I'm really interested in volunteer work - Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand - especially working with animals. I've found some excellent websites (gapyearforgrownups, VWIS etc), but just wondered if anyone had real life experiences of volunteering that they could share with me and any tips/recommendations etc etc... would love to hear it all!
I just got back from a volunteering trip in Ghana, West Africa. I want to warn you against using companies like Global Crossroad , for which you pay them and they'll "organize" your trip for you. I paid them alot of money and (even though I had alot of fun) they were basically useless. Really check into the company if you're thinking of going that route. If you cant find any info- take it as a bad sign!
When I was in OZ,me and my mate visited this Koala Sanctuary in NSW and there were couple of girls volunteering there.Seemed like a nice "job",and I'd love to try it too someday.Though I'm not sure that how easily will you get a volunteer work in OZ?Cos WH-visa is only once in a lifetime thingie...
i just returned from a month long trip to Costa Rica with Global Crossroad. i also strongly recommend NOT going with them. not only was it extremely disorganized but the local organizing company in Costa Rica had a completely different plan for us volunteers than Global Crossroad had advertised on their website. also, Global Crossroad is a FOR PROFIT BUSINESS and none of the money you pay to participate goes towards the projects.
Oh dear... these posts have really scared me :/ I'm going to Mexico to take part in this sea turtle and costal ecology voluntary project in August, and it's also organized by a company. It's not Global Crossroad, though; they're called Projects Abroad (http://www.projects-abroad.org/). Does anybody know them? I really don't want my summer to be ruined by organizational problems and someone's incompetence...
Aren't these projects expensive? I mean, you will offer so much work under difficult conditions and pay for that? Shouldn't they be paying?
Whether you teach English to schoolchildren in Ghana, plant trees in Costa Rica or volunteer with the disabled in Argentina, you will come away with unforgettable memories of the people whose lives you have affected and the sense of fulfillment that comes from donating your time to a meaningful service project.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Volunteering can be a bit of a minefield. One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of organisations based in the UK, Europe and USA etc work with partner organisations in the various countries they operate in. So the project isn't actually run by them and your volunteer co-ordinator won't work for the company you booked with. It's worth finding out who the volunteer program is run by and checking them out as well as whoever you book with.