Get out of your comfort zone, go for a volunteer trip to Cambodia and make a wonderful discovery! Lucy Wooding travelled to Cambodia to volunteer as a childcare volunteer – and enjoyed it a lot!
Volunteer in Cambodia and give a meaning to the best travel experience of your life.
Albane from France sent us this review about her volunteer trip to Cambodia. She was also volunteering with childcare:
I took care of a class of 7 children (5-6 years old) from 9:00 a.m to 4 p.m, from Monday to Friday. Sometimes I picked them up in their shanty towns at 8 a.m with the staff. It was very hard and sad to see where they live and in such poor conditions, but it was part of the experience and I simply loved their face, their excitation when the association bus (that we used to pick them up at Home) arrived in front of their living place ( we can’t call it “a house”).
When they arrive at the Day Care Center around 9 a.m, they sing and pray with a Kmer teacher. This was so cute to see them so happy to be there and to take pleasure to sing and pray (even if they lost sometimes their concentration rapidly when they saw the volunteers next to them and they guessed that they will play games after ahah).
After that, it was “shower time” for all children. So we had to make them take a shower, put soap on their body, shampoo on their haïr, and dress them up with the association “uniform” (too cute).
Then, I taught them English until lunch time (around 11 a.m). As school facilities, I had a board, some books, pens, and thats it. I regretted not to have brought with me school support for the class when I see how much they were happy to learn. Some days, when they were very excited, I had time to do some games ( often drawings) after the lesson and before the lunch time. When they ate, I helped to clean the dishes, and other little tasks to help the staff. – Albane from France
Find here the complete information about volunteering in Cambodia and how to aplly for it
So far I have had a wonderful experience volunteering in Rio de Janeiro with Iko Poran’s Urban Environmentalism program. I am half way through my two-month stay in Rio and I already know that it will be a very valuable experience for me. The project consists of work in Tijuca National Park and at a large community garden in a favela, where they grow almost every sort of common vegetable in Brazil. The people I work with in the communities are all incredibly kind and welcoming, not to mention they are doing work that makes a big difference for themselves and the environment.
Here in Rio, I have stayed in a beautiful home with the host family. The house is in an area within walking distance of some bars and restaurants and has a nice view, as well as a very comfortable living space. The family has been welcoming and make sure that I have everything I need to enjoy my time here. They also have two adorable kids and two cats, which has been great for me as well.
Overall, I recommend Iko Poran as a volunteering outlet. They offer a wide range of work that contributes to the local communities, while also assuring a fun and comfortable stay.
Paige Bird is a junior in college at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne. She is a communication major seeking a career in journalism and enjoys playing for the golf team at IPFW and spending her free time with her dog, Lucy.
I chose this program because I have always wanted to study abroad, but with being a student-athlete it is unrealistic to go away for an entire semester. I have always loved animals and travel so I decided volunteering abroad was the next best thing!
I chose Iko Poran’s Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program because it is very affordable and sounded like a fun way to help animals.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My program advisor helped me prepare to travel to Costa Rica. Being a female and traveling abroad on my own, he helped me feel safe and comfortable to make the journey. He gave me clear and direct instructions of travel and assisting me along the way, what I would be doing in my program, and had a representative meet me at one location and bring me to my final destination.
If I could give a piece of advice to someone going to the program, I would tell them to take advantage of every opportunity they get to experience the culture.
We were allowed quite a bit of free time and my favorite memory of the trip was going away for a weekend with a group of friends and doing excursions. The volunteering was fantastic, but the friends and memories I made will always be something I hold close to my heart.
View here Paige’s video from her Costa Rica volunteer trip to save the sea turtles:
What Paige is saying about her volunteer trip to Costa Rica:
I would HIGHLY recommend this volunteer experience. I did lots of research going into this trying to find the most affordable program, and Iko Poran was definitely the most affordable. I was doing the same volunteer work as volunteers from all over the world, but I was paying much less money to do so.
I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica with the turtles and I met many people and created memories I will never forget. I definitely recommend Iko Poran and the Sea Turtle experience in Costa Rica and I cannot wait until I volunteer with them again. Pura Vida!
Paige, 19 years old, Costa Rica
Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand. Experience Thailand from a local perspective & make lifelong friends.
Join the centuries old tradition of training ‘domestic’ elephants by mahouts in Thailand.
The volunteer program aims to offer a responsible and sustainable alternative to the fate often faced by elephants in Thailand. Because of the dissolution of the logging industry, many elephants are taken to urban areas to beg for money and are often mistreated. Therefore, our elephant volunteer program continues to lead the way in Surin in helping to change attitudes towards elephant care for the better.
Since all the activities are about caring for the elephants and treating them with respect, we put our strict no riding policy. Therefore, your work schedule will include walking them to the river to bathe them, harvesting and planting food, feeding the elephants, everything is based around a new approach to elephant care that puts the elephant first.
The program will bring you in touch with the elephants. Therefore, the close and personal contact with these magnificent creatures on a daily basis will be an unforgettable beautiful experience. At the same time you will see the real Thailand, the daily life of its residents. Living in a traditional long house with other volunteers, that’s rural Thai life at it’s very best!
Volunteer for free teaching English in Colombia, traveling to this exciting country of South America. Since Colombian people are of the kindest, most peaceful and most welcoming of the world, you will enjoy teaching English to them. While volunteering in Colombia you may visit colonial cities, the Caribbean beaches, huge mountains and the Amazonian rainforest.
If you choose to volunteer with us in this incredible program in Colombia you will be working within a small English Institute in the beautiful city Ibagué; the capital of the department of Tolima situated in Western Colombia, just south of the famous Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados. You will spend your days teaching English and practicing conversational skills; the institute offers a variety of classes of different levels and age groups, you may be responsible for teaching within different classes. You will be expected to teach 4 hours a day, Monday to Friday.
This is an incredible opportunity to gain some real teaching experience and to discover the true Colombia. Moreover, you will be living among local people and get all the benefits of a profound cultural exchange, while helping to broaden the opportunities of your students.
In this once-in-a-lifetime program all of your accommodation, plus one meal a day is completely free of charge. You also receive free Spanish classes, and normally our volunteers spend their weekends enjoying a variety of outdoor activities with all transportation included, for example rock climbing, Salsa classes, rappelling, horse riding, and partying with the local people!
Colombia has been often vastly underestimated, due to its history and problems with security in the past. But fortunately, over the last decade the security situation has changed dramatically for the positive. So, don’t to miss out on this charming country.
Colombia is blessed with natural beauty. Landscapes like the Caribbean coast and beaches, the coffee plantations on the hills, the Andean summits, Amazonian jungle make the country unique for travelers.
While volunteering Teaching English in Colombia you may take advantage and get around in the country with it’s fascinating history. Enjoy the Caribbean beaches, walk around in the city with its colonial architecture. Visit ancient ruins of La Ciudad Perdida. The archaeological site second only to Machu Piccu. But these are just a few of the many hidden treasures you will come across trekking through Colombia. You will experience a culturally rich country, and easily make friends with Colombians. Colombian people are of the kindest, most peaceful and most welcoming of the world; it is not uncommon for passers-by to welcome you in the street.
Out of a troubled history, through recent years turning over a new leaf, Colombia has blossomed. Therefore, tourism is increasing and art lines the streets. 2016 marked the signing of a treaty in a historic peace process between the FARC and the government in which they agreed to a cease fire and to surrender their weapons. Bogotá is awash with new restaurants, boutiques and other small businesses capitalising on the country’s status of peace. There is so much to discover!
Volunteering is a unique way to travel. You can take part in unforgettable cultural exchanges, gain professional experience and better understand the country where you are travelling. At the same time by giving your time and effort to this cause you get to play an important role in the lives of local people, sharing your knowledge and skills.
My experience at the turtles project was amazing. I had a lot of fun and met fantastic people from all over the world. The village is totally safe and local people are really kind.
The patrols at night were fine, you have to walk for four hours on the beach with guides, and if you’re on a lucky night you’ll get to see turtles coming slowly from the ocean, crossing the beach and laying eggs just in front of you. It’s something you want to live in your life, and something you want to protect.
I personaly taught English, Math, Music and dances, in several grades (2 to 7th)
I had a very good relations with all the school personel and the kids.
The satisfaction of helping the school is very good.
The children need a lot of love, help and support and give you their love back…
The school needs more volunteers and also financial support in order to improve its conditions.
The preparation before arrival in order to meet expectation of all sides (the volunteers, the organization arranging the program and the organization receiving the volunteers)
Volunteer teaching English in Uganda for young students at school. Since education in Uganda is considered a privilege, the young boys and girls will greatly benefit from you teaching native English to them. Though tuition is free (for up to four children and all orphans), families are sometimes unable to afford other fees or expenses, such as for equipment and books. While quality education for both boys and girls is crucial in reducing poverty and promoting gender equality, many schools in rural areas are struggling with overcrowded classes, shortage of skilled teachers, shortage of resources such as text books and support materials. Hence illiteracy rates among children of poorest families and communities are increasing and unemployment later in life can be a consequence.
“Volunteering in Uganda was one of the best experiences of my life! I would highly recommend it.” Lauren Cuscuna – USA
Teaching is an immense privilege, inspiring young minds and seeing them grow can be one of the most exciting things a person can ever do and IKPVA –Uganda has a great range of volunteering projects where you can develop your experience and use your skills to help children in Uganda.
Volunteers in this field work alongside local teachers or on their own; at preschool, they teach basic English skills, and carry out basic childcare duties; at primary and secondary, they teach core subjects, such as English, mathematics, science, and can initiate extra-curricular activities after school such as art, music, theatre, sports or gardening; they may also carryout small and manageable community groups or individual tutoring outside class for adults. Participants in our Volunteer in Uganda programs should not count on teaching resources being available and many classes may have large numbers but it is a challenge that is highly rewarding. Please note, volunteers do not need to be a qualified or experienced teacher to participate on the Teaching project.