Oyster Worldwide - Gap and Responsible Travel Specialists

Oyster Worldwide

About

Oyster Worldwide is a respected gap year and responsible travel organisation. Since 2006, 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
2006
Headquarters

Hodore Farm, Hartfield
East Sussex
TN7 4AR
United Kingdom

Reviews

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Amy
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The highlight of this program for me was my host family. They were so welcoming and incredibly helpful with my Spanish - I still talk with my host mum now and again! The school I was sent to had a very high level of English so even just talking to the students was helpful for their learning. You are a teaching assistant, so will always have a qualified teacher in the room with you, ready to help should you need it. My fellow English teachers were so lovely and invited us to several outings with them which we really enjoyed. Patagonia is all about the outdoors so be prepared for a lot of hiking, although the views and adventures are definitely worth it! Travelling from Coyhaique is easy and there is lots to see, either South or North. Overall, a good program but I would suggest learning a little Spanish before you go as pretty much no-one speaks any English down there!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The one thing I would change would be to put myself out there more. The people of Coyhaique are very friendly and love chatting! If you want to practice your Spanish or just talk to the locals, don't be afraid as they are happy to oblige.
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Suzanne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered at the brown bear sanctuary in Romania for a week in May 2019. The sanctuary is set in an amazing rural location in the mountains and has a welcoming dog brigade. I was impressed with the conditions provided at the sanctuary. My most memorable highlight of the project was observing the pleasure on the bears faces as they enjoyed taking a therapeutic dip in the water.
Most of the volunteer work involves food preparation and it can be monotonous at times but it can also be fun and it is important to the bears since bears need a lot of food.
We were able to observe the bear feeding process on the last day and it was an amazing experience to watch the bears come out of the forest for the food and to see the bears enjoying the food we have prepared.
Brasov is a lovely town in a central location and the standard of accommodation provided by the project was excellent.

What was your funniest moment?
Observing brown bears taking a dip in the water and seeing the pleasure on their faces as they enjoyed the therapeutic effects of the water.
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holly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Yanacocha has captured my heart with both the staff and animals playing a huge role in my experience. The other volunteers are friends I will have for life, 4 weeks living together and working in such a unique and amazing environment bonds you in a way nothing else can. We were given experiences that others can only dream of; releasing a huge boa among other animals back into the amazon rain forest after assisting with its rehabilitation in the park is definitely a highlight. Feeding the animals was always entertaining especially when the monkeys couldn't decide if it was more important for them to get cuddles from the volunteers or eat the fresh fruit we were giving them. You won't be disappointed if you chose to volunteer at this park, I already want to go back.

What would you improve about this program?
When I stayed there we had no hot water for showers although the park owners constantly had repair people out trying to fix the issue
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

April 3, 2019
Olivia - Age 19 - Gap Year 2019

January course
(looking back, I wish I could have done the November course so I would have been out there longer - But January was great too)

I honestly cannot recommend this experience more!!!! (worth the money!)
It was - no exaggeration - the best 3 months of my life

Oyster worldwide were so helpful, I booked very late and they organised it all so quickly and easily for me.

---- All about the course (see below) ----

The Ski Instructor Academy (SIA) course:

-- Instructors - So much fun and brilliant teaching
-- Skiing - AMAZING, so much available.
AND you are given a ski pass for the whole season in the area where you do the course - so can go back and ski when you are done teaching (sofa surfing or get own accommodation).
-- Accommodation - Perfect for what you need. There was a variation - a big house with loads of people, or small apartments in one building and others.
-- German side - If you want to learn, you can learn lots. If you want to scrape by, it is easy enough.
-- People - Average ages 18-22, awesome people, from all over the world and lots from the UK.
-- Exam - Well prepared and feel ready when exam comes.
-- Aprés - always good :)

Teaching after the course:
Different places to pick - Zell am See, St Anton, Salbach, and more

I went to St Anton. Loads of young people working there. Fun teaching. Great Skiing and brill aprés.

Wish I could have stayed till the end of the season
Was so sad to leave

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A.
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In December 2018 I had the pleasure to spend 2 weeks on a Big 5 Conservation program in South Africa.
I can honestly say, the weeks I spent there were some of the best weeks in my life - thanks to the place and the people there. The nature and wildlife are great. I can only recommend this trip to all nature lovers. The work you do is varied and rewarding. Sometimes, regarding the weather in the summer months, you feel exhausted from previous days, but – and I very appreciated this attitude – nobody is forced to work and you can stay back and relax enjoying the beautiful place. The volunteers feel free to go on the activities.
Personally, I tried to participate in every activity as it makes fun to work with all the people together and you learn a lot from the rangers. (Almost all the work is conducted in the nature inside the reserve and many times you go on a game drive)
When I left, I left not only this beautiful place and the (great !! and helpful) stuff there but also many new friends from all around the world. This experience was really amazing!

Oysters Worldwide provided great support and did a great job. I was feeling more than very well prepared before leaving. I received all necessary information and prompt responses for all questions I had. They kept in touch with me during and after the trip to ensure that everything’s fine. So overall, I had the feeling that they really care about you and that you get the most out of your trip.
A big thank to Oysters for providing me this unique opportunity.

After this great experience I want to continue with travelling and volunteering around the world and now I first check if Oyster offers something I'm looking for.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready. Be prepared. Take everything easy. Be open-minded :-) !

Programs

Displaying 55 - 58 of 58

Alumni Interviews

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

Edward Griffiths

From seeing new places to caring for endangered animals, Ed loves to travel and is always looking for a place to explore next.

Edward Griffiths

Why did you choose this program?

From a very young age, I have always wanted to travel and have had a passion for animals, particularly our primate friends. Coming across the Oyster Worldwide website, I was instantly taken in by the range of places you could travel and projects you could take part in. Whilst various projects caught my eye, I was most attracted by 'Volunteer with monkeys and baboons in South Africa'. Oyster provided lots of information about the project and throughout the process maintained good communication.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Oyster answered any questions or queries I had and told me everything about the project and country, from waking up, sleeping and going to bed, that I may need to know. A lot of this included preparation before departure, such as required injections and a 'kit list'.

As an under 18 traveller, Oyster informed me on what documents I would need to travel to South Africa and what injections I would need. With this information, I went to my local doctors/ pharmacy to get the required tablets/injections and arranged for a lawyer to sign the relevant documents. As you would expect with any trip, I had to ensure I had all the kit I needed, but Oyster made sure I knew what I needed.

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

Volunteers really help the centre that I went to in South Africa and, truly, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. It can be very hard work, but it is very rewarding and an amazing experience. Also South Africa is an amazing country and those staying out there for a longer period should make the best of what the country has to offer. There all sorts of amazing places you can visit or activities you can try, such as visiting Kruger National Park.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day would start off by waking up at 6:30am and commencing work at 7am. We would do two hours of work before breakfast at 9am. This work would include cleaning enclosures or food preparation for all the animals (chopping up the food and feeding). Work would continue at 10am to midday and also from 2:00 to 4:00pm. This work could include bug catching (for the bushbaby), weeding, cleaning food, cleaning crates, unloading food trucks, harvesting (chopping grass with machetes), monitoring and afternoon food preparation.

At midday, we would go on the 'baboon walk', where we would take the baby baboons down to the river to sit and play with them. We would have one hour for lunch and once a week we could go to town to buy whatever food and drink we would like for that week. Before dinner, participants liked to spend time in the baboon and vervet monkey enclosures (sit with the animals), relax and shower before dinner at 6:00pm.

During our free time, volunteers would often spend time in 'the hide', a place to relax and have fun with each other. As a tradition, on Friday evenings volunteers have the chance to go out for dinner to take a break from the centre and have a fun night and on Saturday nights we would have an authentic South African meal made on a Braai (South African BBQ).

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

As both my first time travelling alone abroad and my first time travelling outside of Europe, I was slightly apprehensive about the journey there. However, ultimately it was stress free and reasonably simple. I was also slightly anxious about travelling to a country with an entirely different culture, unsure if I would manage to settle in.

However, everyone there was very welcoming and we had a lot of fun together. Since leaving the project, I have kept in touch with other volunteers. When you join the volunteering team at Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, its like joining a whole new family.

What did your project mean to you?

Home in England, I'm in college Monday to Friday, and working weekends. Going to South Africa and experiencing a new culture and a hands on experience with baby baboons and vervet monkeys, especially when you see the importance of your hard work, was truly special.

On multiple occasions, such as when I was sat in an enclosure with five monkeys down my top, or on a walk with four baboons clinging on to me, I was struck by a moment of disbelief to where I was, doing what I was, and a feeling of how fortunate I was to have this opportunity. The weather, the people, the food; it was all an unforgettable experience and something that I was enjoying so much, despite it all being so different to my home comforts.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

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

Olivia Cassidy

After Olivia's first experience on her ski season, she is just waiting for the next opportunity she can get to head out traveling again and meet new people.
Olivia Cassidy

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it allowed me to Ski a lot and improve my skiing massively whilst also meeting new people and having the time of my life. I knew I always wanted to do a ski season, and this just seemed like a MUCH better way of having one than being a chalet host - and I think everyone who was on the course would agree.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I organized mine through Oyster Worldwide (at very late notice). They were amazing and so helpful, especially seeing as I asked to book it literally 2 weeks before. All I had to do was give them my details and make the payment. It was all so smooth and easy. They then sent over all the information I needed and before I knew it I was on the plane to Austria.

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

Don't stress about the German side of the exam if you haven't done any before. By the time the exam comes, you are very familiar and you are given a lot of help.

The same goes with the skiing aspect too. We had people on my course who had only done one week of skiing who managed to pass with lots of practice and hard work.

Also, don't over pack!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The training weeks on my course were 6 day weeks. We would meet on the mountain at 8:30 (taking a short bus). Then we would ski all day until 3 with an hour for lunch in the middle. Then there was often some aprés after the day of skiing, except on days when we had a lecture regarding the theory side of the exam. Then nights would either be in your accommodation, having dinner out, or going out in Kaprun. Then on Sunday was a free day skiing!!!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Honestly, I was most worried about who would be there and whether I would make friends. But after as little as an hour I realized that there wasn't anything to worry about. Everyone is friendly and fun and all looking for the same experience. One week in and you feel like you have known them for months.

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