Oyster Worldwide - Gap and Responsible Travel Specialists

Oyster Worldwide

About

Oyster Worldwide is a respected gap year and responsible travel organisation. Since 2000, we have been sending volunteers and workers overseas on our exciting projects. Our friendly team is dedicated to providing a personal service, offering support through every step of your journey.

Our projects are located in 24 destinations and range from paid work in Canadian ski resorts to teaching English in Chile, from animal and welfare conservation in South Africa to working in the Australian Outback. Oyster can help you plan all of the details for the most exciting break away - we can even book flights for you! Our projects vary from just one week to up to a full year, so no matter what you are looking for, we are sure to have something to meet your needs.

Founded
2000
Headquarters

Hodore Farm, Hartfield
East Sussex
TN7 4AR
United Kingdom

Reviews

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Scott
10/10

I had an excellent time on my trip to Thailand. Oyster helped me get there and set up everything to make it all possible. I would go back for sure and definitely consult Oyster worldwide for other trips as they come up!
Oyster was very helpful and always ready to answer any questions I had. They kept in touch while I was on the trip and made sure I was having a good time and finding everything alright.

How can this program be improved?
This program was great. If it could find a way to incorporate flight prices into the cost it would make it easier.
Yes, I recommend
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Sasha
10/10

Africa pushed me out of my comfort zone. I went out there as the quiet, anxious one and then I ended up going shark cage diving in Plettenberg one weekend, getting tattoos with some of the group another week and trying new things like paddle boarding and hiking. Speaking of, the Wednesday hikes were definitely one of my highlights. I am not a hiker, I don’t climb and I don’t have the best coordination (proven when I fell on my face during one of the walks!). But the view at the top was amazing- in made the struggle up the cliff face, and my fearing death(!), all worth it. South Africa is a beautiful country; the coastline as well as the game reserves. And watching an African sunset is something that should be on anyone’s bucket list.
The volunteering itself wasn’t always easy work but it was so rewarding- we knew that we were working towards improving these animals' home. It felt good to help out the staff and work as a group with the other volunteers; proving that teamwork would get the best job done. Once, we managed to chop down 14 trees in the space of a couple hours, and another occasion had us all digging out concrete blocks, holding fence posts, and then lifting parts out of the way as a team. At the end of the day it just felt like we had achieved something, and I could say I had done tasks I never thought I would do.
Every single day, every game drive, every campfire or evening sat together watching films and every weekend, just surpassed my expectations. The breath-taking animals on this reserve stole my heart and I honestly could have watched them all day. But as much as I loved the animals, I have to say that the best part of the whole trip would be all of the incredible people that I met during my time out there. I went to South Africa with my best friend, and I came back having made a few more. Before arriving, I didn’t think that I would get so close to the people that I would meet, but when the time came to saying goodbyes, it was one of the worst things to have to do. You get to meet so many different people, from all over the world, and you go from strangers to roommates, to friends, almost instantly. These people become your family; they make you cry with laughter, talk with you like you’ve known each other forever, they are there for you when you’re down and they pick you right back up again (sometimes literally). You get to learn new things, like how New Zealanders call flip flops ‘jandals’, and you get to know some of their language and culture. In just 4 weeks I got to discover more about the world and other people’s lives. I have come back with many memories and inside jokes that no one else except the family will understand, but I know I am very lucky to have these and to have met these people.
So, if anyone has ever considered doing something like this; they want to do some good even in just a small part of the world, and want to challenge themselves, then I would 100% recommend and encourage this project. My experience gave me a confidence that I didn’t think I would ever have, and it led me to some amazing people. Thanks to Oyster, for providing me with a stress-free travel opportunity, I have some lifelong memories and friendships, and now I have more of the world to explore , for the sake of reunions!
I would happily do it all again.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe a little more information on possible weekend activities and there prices could be available before departure so that spending money can be better planned for. Otherwise it is just a truly incredible trip
Yes, I recommend
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Carolin
9/10

I participated in the program last year in autumn. Living with a host family and teaching at local schools was a great experience and a very unique one as well.

Patagonia is an extremely remote place and Coyhaique (the town where the Programme is located) is just about big enough to have everything you need. This is one of the aspects that made this experience so special - it's just a special place to be and the surrounding landscapes are gorgeous.
Another aspect that I loved was the cultural immersion, by living with a host family, being treated as one of their children and working at the schools you get the chance to really experience the culture and learn a great amount of Spanish. It took me just about a month to bump into people everywhere in the streets!
I also got to joint the national junior championship for Cueca (Chile's national dance) and travelled down to Punta Arenas and Tierra del Fuego because my younger host brother was champion of the region. That was a fascinating week!

Regarding the teaching, I was admittedly quite unlucky with the teacher I worked with. He had never worked with volunteers before and did not seem to want us there at all. However, you can always get support and the local representative is there to help you change school for example.

Finally I would also like to mention the absolutely amazing travel opportunities. If you're an outdoor fan, Patagonia is your place! We the volunteer group did a Roadtrip down south to Patagonia's most incredible landscapes. You get to walk on glaciers, do hikes with amazing views and experience the endless wideness. At times, we didn't see anything or anyone at all for hours - just a few Guanacos passing by.

Sooo I would definitely recommend this Programme to everyone who is looking for a unique experience, to learn a lot of Spanish (you should learn the very basics prior to arrival tho - everything else is a missed opportunity because you need the basic grammar!!!!!), experience real cultural immersion and loves the outdoors.

How can this program be improved?
We were the first volunteers who did not get the promised Spanish lessons at the beginning of the programme... and although it's difficult to coordinate the different levels of the volunteers, it might have been helpful :).
Yes, I recommend
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Finola
10/10

Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Nepal and spend four months teaching kids in a village in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. This was my first time travelling alone and Oyster made my trip amazing with their unwavering support from day one. Not only did I receive a highly detailed pre-departure briefing in the Oyster office but also received advice and support whenever I needed throughout my travel. Oyster also organised a representative in Nepal to aid me with any issues I may have had in the country. Not only was this representative, Basant, highly helpful he was also extremely friendly and made me feel at home straight away. This was the best trip of my life as a result of the fantastic personal support and planning I received from Oyster Worldwide. I highly recommend doing any of the Oyster Worldwide programmes as the level of care and interest they invest into each volunteer/ participant is fantastic!

Yes, I recommend
Robyn
10/10

Going away on your own is scary to say the least, but with Oyster I never felt truly alone. Different from other Gap Year companies, Oyster has a small team, all of which are friendly, passionate and experienced. They have tested the programmes, so they know what they are talking about. The programme had been something I'd dreamed of doing for ages, and as soon as I signed up, Oyster were on the phone the next day briefing me and making me feel as ease and all the more excited to go. While I was over there they were in touch whenever I needed them, always just an email or phone call away. I was only 18 and had never been away from my family. Oyster sent my parents all the information so they felt reassured. Nobody should have to give up on a dream for fear of doing it alone, and that, for me, is why I cannot rate Oyster highly enough. Since my time in South Africa, I have done a lot of other traveling by myself and no longer have the trepidation because Oyster helped me a little bit like putting L plates on a car. Oyster provide programmes where you can do some good in the world while feeling like you're in a safe environment and always have help on hand. I truly believe that anyone who goes away with Oyster will have the most fantastic time, because they always have that support in place.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can think of is making sure the lifts to and from airports are all arranged for the time your flights are, however these when I was there, were like they were because of the running of the elephant park which is understandable. Other then that, my time in South Africa was perfect
Yes, I recommend

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