Africa & Asia Venture (AV) - gap year and summer cultural immersion programs

Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

About

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) offers adventure travel and unique immersive volunteering and work experience programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17 to 25.

You will live and volunteer in the local community with fellow participants from around the world. This offers an amazing opportunity to build lifelong friendships and share an experience that will change your life.

There are plenty of opportunities for adventure with incredible experiences in all of our 9 destinations, whether you want to go on safari, climb mountains or love extreme sports; Africa and Asia have it all.

We offer group travel programs for between 2-16 weeks but can fit around you. Whether you have an entire gap year or just the summer holidays, we have a program to suit your schedule.

Our 24/7 local management teams provide continuous support throughout your time with us, ensuring a fun, safe and secure experience of a lifetime.

Founded
1993
Headquarters

13 Petworth Road
Haslemere Surrey
GU27 2JB
United Kingdom

FREE Safari Experience when you travel to Africa with us...!!!

For a limited time we are giving anyone who applies for qualifying programs a FREE 3 day Safari experience in Africa! So hurry, hurry, hurry...!!!

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) is one of the oldest gap year providers. Since 1993 AV has been offering unique immersive programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17-25. You live and work in the local community in a group with fellow participants from around the world.

Reviews

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Rupert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 3 months with a Lepcha family. To this day it is one of the most special experiences and times of my life - something I shall never forget.
I had the opportunity to live a lifestyle very different to mine at home in the UK, which I relished.
Living on one side of a terraced valley, I taught English to the children of the village. They, along with my host family, and other members of the village were incredibly kind and welcoming. I felt right at home there and often engaged in local events and activities.
I enjoyed the more simple way of life here, rising and sleeping with the rhythm of the sun, eating deliciousness food cooked on wood fires, and an hour’s walk to the closest market town.
The Lepchas are an amazing people, the lower hills of the Indian Himalayas are so beautiful, and the volunteering is extremely rewarding.
It was a great adventure, off the beaten path and I could not recommend more highly.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Not totally unfamiliar, but get used to eating chillies even for breakfast. I remember one instance very clearly, where the only thing to cool me down was water that had been freshly boiled and still hot!
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Helen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I just recently returned from my 7 week trip to Kenya where our group of 9 volunteers lived in Msambweni. AV was originally recommended by my School and I'm so grateful I discovered the company through them.
The trip was fantastic, the teaching was beneficial for myself and for the children I taught I believe. I could really see a difference in the standard of maths in particular for my standard 4 class which was fantastic. In addition, I also taught Science and PE. The staff at the school were also very friendly and helpful.
The village itself was extremely safe and everything we needed - including a small market, small restaurant and the beach were all within a short walk. The house we got to stay in was also very nice and it was amazing and always fun to stay with what had become such a close group of people that I can now call friends.
The weekends were also amazing for breaking up the school term with activities such as staying at a hostel and an airbnb in Diani, the more touristic area 40 minutes drive away should anyone feel like a more western meal or western ingredients from a larger super market. The Safari trip we went on in Half term through some of Kenya's largest National Parks was also an irreplaceable experience.
All of this was made possible by AV and their help when it came to questions, recommendations for safari companies and hostels, and also a guide next door in the village itself to help with local issues. The company could not have been more helpful.
Thank you again for the experience, the only thing I would change is I wish I could've been out there for longer had I not had commitments to return to at home.

What would you improve about this program?
More opportunity to branch out into construction/painting and more physical endeavours. 1 more fan in the house would be a lovely luxury as well.
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Harry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My AV experience in Tanzania was a life-changing one and has had a huge influence in where I am today and how I got here.

The crazy and wonderful experiences of travelling through, some of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer, making new lifetime friends (AVs and Tanzanians), swimming the beautiful Indian Ocean, safariing in the likes of the Maasai Mara and climbing Kilimanjaro were all adventure that will live with me forever.

It is hard to believe that AV can give you an opportunity to do something even more special than all of those adventures put together… but it does. Living amongst a local Maasai community in the foothills of Mount Kili and being given the trust and responsibility to teach their wonderful children (aged 8-9f or me) is just that. The emotions, the sounds, the laughter, the bonds, and the chaos were the biggest adventure of all. I think of my pupils often, and cannot thank AV enough for giving me this opportunity.

AV provided a week long training bootcamp at the start to prepare us (Swahili classes were… interesting) and were close by if called upon (not that we needed it). Not only this, but they helped us to invest in the schools in which we worked (i.e. building a new classroom, buying supplies, painting walls). I couldn’t recommend the company more if you want this incredible experience to take with you through life.

Last year, I quit my corporate job in the UK in search of a new adventure and now find myself working for a technology start up in Toronto. I doubt I would have had the confidence to make such a life-changing decision if I hadn’t taken the amazing opportunity given to me by AV.

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Robert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Uganda is the most amazing place I've ever been. The country is beautiful, and the people are really very special. The AV package allowed me to get a really full experience of these things in a relatively short space of time. The set-up allowed me the freedom to tailor my volunteering experience to suit my own interests and feel fully immersed in village life, whilst still feeling fully supported. The free travel period at the end was a highlight, seeing some of the wonders of East Africa, whilst again feeling very supported. This is a fairly unique and very positive thing about AV.
I think AV's ethos about gap year volunteering is really positive and also realistic. As a young, inexperienced person volunteering in a third world country, you cannot change the world, but you can still have a very small and positive impact on a few people, whilst having an enormously valuable experience yourself.
My four months with AV were some of the best of my life, I can thoroughly recommend them!

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Toby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Kenya over the summer of 2016 was a truly amazing experience. AV were incredibly well organised in preparing the volunteers for what to expect and what to bring. I got to meet and great people from across the globe and the local community were very friendly and welcoming. The UK and Kenya office were very friendly and efficient, making the whole experience simple for the volunteers, in addition to keeping families at home updated with our progress. The projects at Milalani Primary School were incredibly rewarding, as was working with the community. The additional activities available were amazing, with the group going to Shimba Hills safari park, scuba diving in Shimoni Marine national park and sky diving on Diani beach. I can not speak highly enough of our guide Charles. He knew how to get the most out of us and made sure we had as great an experience as possible. The more you put into this fantastic experience, the more you get out.

What would you improve about this program?
I can not recommend this company or project high enough. It was an incredible experience. The additional activities to the volunteering work we did were mentioned on the website, but they could be advertised slightly better as there are so many excellent things on offer in the area. Once we had decided however, our guide Charles made organising them incredibly easy.

Programs

Displaying 10 - 10 of 10

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Caroline Kinne

Due to her father's work, Caroline moved seven times as a kid, attending eight different schools K-12 and living in eight different homes. Her ninth home was in Uganda with a different family: her fellow volunteers. Caroline will soon have another home in Pennsylvania, where she will attending college. This constant upheaval may seem too horrible, but for Caroline, the changes that molded her and at times nearly destroyed her are what led her to Africa and to a whole new life.
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Why did you pick this program?

The independence. I wanted to feel like I was really doing something and being a part of the community.With AV, we lived in self catered houses and were ultimately responsible for ourselves. Though we had an in country representative to talk to if need be, we were allowed to be on our own for the most part. We weren't staying in nice hotels where someone prepared our food and we got bused out each day to volunteer. I really liked the fact that it wasn't just a high school field trip.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I call it our "Ocean's Eleven" moment. My fellow volunteers and I hosted a goodbye dinner for the permanent teachers at the end of our volunteering time. That evening, as the party was starting to die down, we all found ourselves standing on the porch of our house, silently leaning on the rails. We didn't say anything, but it was as though we were all taking that same moment to reflect on the amazing thing we had just done together.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Trust yourself to go all in.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?

When I was 10, my family moved, and I went into a really bad depression. To combat it, I never really committed to any person or feeling and became numb. Whenever we moved, I didn't feel much pain saying goodbye, because I hadn't put down any roots knowing that they would be ripped up. But when I went to Africa, I committed myself to all of it, even though I knew how hard it would be to leave. For the first time in a very long time, I felt alive again. The hurt I felt at leaving showed me that I had gone all in, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Grace Mburu

Job Title
AV Manager, Kenya
Grace Africa & Asia Venture

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have many happy travel memories but going to the coast (Kenya) by train is always a favorite. Leaving the railway station at 7 pm sharp and then having dinner in the dining car and breakfast as you travel through the Tsavo National Park. Arriving in Mombasa with the bustle and noise of the station there and finally getting to your destination whether it’s the South or North Coast.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

The most underrated would probably be Western Kenya. It is a beautiful part of the country that is not explored as much as the rest. It is hard to say which is the most overrated but visitors to Kenya always head to the Masai Mara and the Coast. There are several other great parks and reserves. The area around Lake Victoria has sandy beaches and clear waters where you can swim and do various water sports.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Motivated staff combined with a great product.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have become more confident, having been given the opportunity to work in the field, leading groups.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

Recently one of our volunteer group's gave a facelift to a kindergarten over a weekend. When the little ones came to school on Monday, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They were so happy.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Being part of AV (Africa & Asia Venture) was a life-changing experience so much so that the individual in question decided to move to Africa to do more.

More Interviews

Professional Associations

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