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Open Mind Projects

About

We offer amazing and challenging opportunities for overseas volunteers to contribute in a meaningful way to a better future for local underprivileged people and for threatened nature and animal species. We arrange for committed volunteers to work in aid and development projects with local colleagues, helping the people and environment of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Nepal.

OpenmindProjects is not affiliated with any government, political party, or religion. It is a privately operated organization incorporated in Thailand with local partners and projects in Laos, Cambodia, and Nepal.

Headquarters

United States

Reviews

Francis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

To be able to work alongside local staff and trainees from Laos and Myanmar was also a very joyful experience as well as a two-way exchange of experience.

The 3 days training was fun as well as a very efficient way to get into the team very quickly.
Everybody was very welcoming and nice, and all in all it was a very rewarding experience.

I miss everybody, and look forward to do it again soon

Keep up the fantastic job

Francis Ponce

What would you improve about this program?
This program is a very small organisation, which plans to develop further its concept of camps, going to the schools when school kids cannot move to the training center.

They therefore need resources and support, and I definitely plan to be part of these camps in teh future.
Shona
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent program and believe me, i'm not sugar coating it.

At first, Openmind Projects took me by surprise - the size of the training centre / facilities / living conditions / way of life but with every new place, environment and culture, it has its own challenges and i knew i had to learn how to adapt.

Adapting was easy for me because of the extremely helpful and genuinely nice local staffs and trainees. It didn't take long for me to feel at home.

One of my bestest experiences were the learning camps in October. They were out of the norm with engaging and exciting programs like debates and v-logs. It pushed me out of my comfort zone to patiently interact and converse with locals who speak minimal english. Despite the language barrier, it was so much fun making videos, preparing for debates, cheering them on and the best part, was to see the change in them overtime. It was very, very rewarding!

Indeed, my highlight of 2016 (:

What would you improve about this program?
Frankly, Openmind's vision to foster learning through IT is relevant, effective and it is an excellent way of utilizing IT to motivate youths to become life long learners, instil confidence to speak up in English and it gives them hope to dream big despite the current circumstances they are in.

If you come in with an OPENMIND not expecting much, you will have a great time with the locals and people you meet along the way.
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Irene
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with Open Mind projects for about 4 months and I had sooo much fun! I taught English in the volunteer center in Nong Khai for a month and in a village in Phuket for the rest of my stay. In Nong Khai i received a 3-day intensive cultural and language training which really helped in the communication with the locals and the students as well as behaving respectfully towards the locals, so if you are thinking about volunteering for this organisation, I absolutely recommend it. It a bit tiring, because for 3 days you learn so many things, but it is also very helpful. The accommodation in the training center is not great, but it is comfortable, even though it can get a bit warm at times, despite the fans. Also, the stuff of the organisation are very friendly and helpful.

While I was staying in Phuket I lived with a host family. At first I was feeling a bit nervous about doing that, as it was my fist time volunteering abroad etc. but they people from open minds talked me into it and i never regretted it.The family was very welcoming and polite and I had my own room with 2 fans! The assisted me in every way possible and they were just amazing :D In Phuket I taught in a school and helped in the promotion of the local activities for tourism purposes.

Teaching at schools was a wonderful experience and the children give you so much love and most of them are really interested to learn. Yet, it is school so there are always troubles with some. Also, Open Mind projects encourages the "learning by doing" teaching method which I found very beneficial for the students, as it helped them memorize things better! So, you have to be creative and come up with games to teach them things, which can mean as much fun for you as for them.

Also, Thailand is so very cheap! Both Nong khai and mai-khao, the village i stayed at in phuket, were very cheap. You can have an hour for massage for less than 10 euros! An extra bonus to the very low fees of the open mind projects, which are very reasonable.

What would you improve about this program?
1)It would be nice to pair volunteers when they go to secluded places, like villages, as it can get a bit lonely.

2) They should be clear on the visa matter, as i had a 3 month visa and i had to go out off the country to get another 30 day visa which i wouldn't have to do had they done the proper paperwork...so going out and back in was troublesome and expensive..So if you go for more than 3 months, insist that they be clear about whether they will do the paperwork cause they tend to be a bit misleading concerning that matter...
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Malin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm now back at Openmind projects for the second time this year. I was here for a month in march/april and I loved it so much I came back again in june for another two months.

I've done/still doing teaching English at the centre in Nong Khai, teaching English at a village school in Cambodia and also took part in two holiday camps in april.

Everything has been so much fun, an experience i'd never want to be without. At the centre you all live together and it didn't take long til I felt like a part of the Openmind family. I really enjoyed staying with a local family in Cambodia too, Hak and his family are absolutly lovely and it is such a great way to experience a new culture.

Thank you my openmind family for everything! x

Malin

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Henrika
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We had a new experience in Ubon Ratchathani and Samrong Hospital as nurse students. We were the first ones who did it was amazing. Our hostfamily was great! They took very good care of us, learned us thai language and important things about the rules and culture things.

Hospital staff was great! They loved us because they do not see much white colored people, so we were also the first western people for some of the thai people! They learned us about the thai style of nursing but at the same time they learned things from us as well.

Great experience overall and Openmin staff took good care of us from first beginning and all the way to the end.

This will not be my last time cooperating with openmind! I will be back helping them soon as possible :)

What would you improve about this program?
We did 4 week nursing in Krabi healthcare center and that program was not good enough for a nurse students who don't have a right to vaccinate, who don't know enough of the children care and mothernity. So we recommend the program for nurses or nurse students who have all this basics learned.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Malin Claesson

Hi everyone! I am Malin, a 21 year old girl from Sweden who decided to take a few gap years and work and see the world before university. There's nothing I love as much as travelling and experiencing different cultures.

Why did you pick this program?

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Malin: It was a bit of a coincidence. For a long time I've been wanting to volunteer somewhere, and after working at a school back home as a substitute teacher I was even more certain that I wanted to go help young people and children somewhere.

I have been to South-east Asia many times before and I really love it there. I was google-ing and tried to find a genuine, authentic and local organisation along all the big volunteering agencies and I came across Openmind Projects.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

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Malin: If you're thinking about volunteering - just DO it! Whether you want to teach English, IT or volunteer with ECO tourism you can find one or more projects with Openmind Projects that will suit you.

To travel and experience a country and culture at the same time as you actually help and give back is a great feeling. Thanks to my local friends at the organisation I got to see and explore parts of Laos, Thailand and Cambodia that I never would be able to by myself as a tourist.

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

Malin:The hardest part is that you want to do everything and there never seem to be enough time. And to leave. After I had stayed for three months at the same place with the same people we all became very close, like a family, and it was very tough to leave them not knowing when I will see them again.

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

Trip to Aay's and Khan's villages in Laos.

Malin: One of my favorite memories is when I brought the Swedish tradition midsummer to Nong Khai, this small town in North-east Thailand. Midsummer in Sweden is the happiest day of the year. Hopefully the weather is sunny and you start in the morning and keep going all day and night with different activities and a lot of food.

It was amazing to get everyone involved in making flower wreaths for our hair and we were listening to Swedish music all day. At night we danced around the first ever May pole in Nong Khai, I taught everyone how to do it just as we do it back home and afterwards we had a big BBQ.

I love the exchange of cultures that I got to experience during my time abroad. It was great to have my friends from Laos, Myanmar, Kambodja and Thailand celebrating a Swedish holiday with me that they never heard of before.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Malin: There's nothing I could've experienced in the same way at home. But most important for me was the interaction with people that have grown up in a completely different culture and environment.

To get to know all the differences between you but also despite the differences that you are exactly the same in so many ways. And to realize how little I know about things that for someone else is just casual, climbing a coconut tree for example.

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

Malin:To travel with an open mind and a lot of patience. Things will be different then what you're used to and you can never ever think that your way is the right way. Working together with a team from many different countries is sometimes challenging but also a lot of fun and a great experience.

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