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Plan My Gap Year

About

Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide the worlds most affordable, need-driven and supportive short-term volunteer programmes across Africa, Asia & Latin America. Our programmes start from just one weeks in duration right up to six months. You can join us throughout the year as we have two start dates per month.

PMGY was founded by volunteers for volunteers. We are an independent social venture, not a corporate machine. Our volunteers become part of something really special. We work together with local communities in the developing world to actualise long-term sustainable goals. We recognise that travel can be meaningful, everyone has something to give and that we can make a positive impact.

Founded
2011
Headquarters

Unit 2, Orchard Business Park
Furnace Lane
Kent, UK
TN12 8LX
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
Manouk
10/10

I volunteered this year in Bali with Plan My Gap Year as an English teacher. I volunteered with PMGY before in Cambodia and I also volunteered in India, I had such a great experience with PMGY before that I just knew I had to go again. I am so so so glad I decided to go to Bali because this one might have been the best so far! I already knew that PMGY is super affordable and helpful throughout the whole process, because I've been with them to Cambodia so choosing them again was a no-brainer for me. They answer all your questions, big or small within a few hours and I felt that they were always happy to help. Getting my visa for Indonesia was a bit more difficult than expected but I just gave them a call and they walked me through the whole process and gave me tips. They are also very clear about their fees which is really important to me, you know exactly how money goes towards covering your project and stay and I love how honest they are about this. It's something that I miss from a lot of other volunteer organizations. They also provide you with a volunteer handbook which literally contained all the information I needed, packing lists, weekend tips you name it! I felt that I was well prepared before I went to Bali also because I joined one of their pre departure webinars which gave me a chance to ask any additional questions I had.

My stay in Bali was absolutely phenomenal! If I could have given it a 11/10 I would! The volunteer accomodation is so beautiful that it almost looks like a hotel, it has a pool, an amazing rooftop terrace to watch sunset (and sunset if you want to get up really early, I did it once and it was worth it ;) ) and a lot of communal areas to chill around with other volunteers, all the rooms have AC as well! The food they did was so tasty and delicous as well, a lot of different options and also some western food once or twice a week. I am a vegetarian but this was no problem here! I've had the best fake chicken (tempeh :P) wrap here so far! The ladies in the kitchen are so nice and they are always happy to assist you if you want to cook something yourself or if you just want to cut up some fruit or whatever. Ketut (the host 'mom' ) always told us that we shouldn't go to bed hungry so we could always ask for some more if we wanted. Ketut is such a lovely lady who really felt like my Balinese mom, I was afraid I might feel a little homesick but she's is always there if you need help with anything or if you just need a chat or a hug. The rest of her family is also really helpful and nice, Indra (her son) and Rush (her husband) helped us arrange transport if we wanted to go out and they would also help with planning weekend trips etc. I felt like they welcomed me into their home which was such an nice feeling. Because the family lives next to the volunteerhouse we still had our privacy but it was nice to know that they were always there if we needed anything.

I volunteered at Akasa School which was established by Ketut to help the community, she told us that this has been her dream for years to be able give back to her local community and to teach the children English so that they can grow in life. I think it's so nice that she actually wants to give back and help, you could tell that she is so passionate about this and she is so grateful for every volunteer who comes and helps her continue her dreams! The kids at the school are so sweet and smart, they kept suprising me with how good their English was, it was so nice to see them enjoy learning and see their knowledge grow week by week! There's a lesson planning session every Monday to help all the teaching volunteers prepare their lessons and you could also get supplies like books and pencils from the local team, since I already had some experience teaching abroad I didn't really need help but it was nice to know that I could use all their supplies and printer to use for my project.

All in all I had an amazing experience and I'm already thinking of going back next summer to Bali! The island, the people, the food, the chill vibes, everything is just perfect in Bali! Because Bali is relatively small compared to other islands you can do a lot in just a short amount of time, I spent 8 weeks in Bali and got to do everything that I wanted: Canggu, climbing Mount Batur, watching the dolphins in Lovina, going to Nusa Penida and Ubud.
I got real ' eat pray love ' vibes wherever I went and I just felt so relaxed and happy exploring this beautiful island while also giving back and helping the local community!

I would definitely recommend the Bali Teaching program to anyone who wants the best of both worlds: volunteering and traveling!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing - the teaching program is well established and the volunteerhouse is just amazing!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Meena
10/10

I travelled to Nepal in May 2018 with Plan My Gap Year. I have volunteered with this company twice before in Ghana and India, therefore when wanting to volunteer in Nepal, I wanted to go with a company I knew and trusted.

The support from PMGY before arriving in the country is always so responsive and puts me at ease. Any questions I have are answered so quickly and their knowledge of Nepal and the projects were reassuring. As I was already travelling Asia at the time of booking the programme, Philip assisted in booking my flights for me and advised in getting my Visa.

We were picked up at Kathmandu airport as arranged (although I have been with PMGY before this is always a scary process as I always question- will somewhere be at the airport to pick me up??). The first few days were spent exploring Kathmandu and we were given 'orientation'. We were shown around the city and learnt a lot about the local culture, history and the language. After a few days in Kathmandu we were given the opportunity to choose the project we wanted to do- you can choose to volunteer in three cities in Nepal- Pokhara, Chitwan or Kathmandu. Our coordinator called Asim explained the programmes in each city and where more help was needed. We chose to go to Pokhara as there were no volunteers here and they needed help building the children's orphanage.

Everything was quite structured and it was very clear what we were doing and what was expected from us. The project was so eye opening, we were building in the day and in the evenings playing with the children from the orphanage and helping them with any homework they had to do. As the orphanage was being built it had no running water at the time therefore for the children's to wash we would walk them to the river nearby and everyone would go for a wash and swim.

Impact wise I felt as though I was making such a difference. I felt as though our presence was needed and even though some evenings there was no homework to go through or the children didn't want to play sports, some would just want to sit and chat and attempt to improve their English. I have recently seen photos of the completed orphanage and it just makes me so proud knowing I was apart of building it.

Whilst in Nepal we wanted to do some trips and explore and our coordinator in Pokhara was so responsive when we asked to do something and very helpful in arranging things for us. Some incredible things we did that was recommended to us is; rowing the lakes in Pokhara, the Panchase trek, Chitwan national park, watching sunrise over the Annapurna mountain range- we did this on my birthday and was truly incredible!!

I felt very safe in the country and although we were staying in a home stay we always had contact with our country coordinator and he checked up on us regularly. The homestay was an incredible experience, I would highly recommend that if you get the option to choose the homestay as you learn so much about the culture and you get to immerse yourself completely into the local lifestyle. All meals were provided and cooked by the mother of the homestay, dhallbatt is what we ate regularly- the traditional veggie curry and rice. Sometime's if we felt a bit tired of dhallbatt we would buy the mother looking after us some chicken and she would cook it for us- if you're not happy with something its definitely best to act on it rather than leaving unsatisfied!

If I was to advise anyone going to Nepal with PMGY, I would say go with an open mind and be pro-active!! Read the handbook- that was so useful and be flexible when you’re there, as their culture may mean things aren’t as structured as you expect them to be.

My experience with PMGY was overall extremely positive and the support from Plan My Gap Year is amazing. The company is organised and I couldn't recommend them more. I have volunteered with PMGY three times now and I will definitely be going a fourth time!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10

I had an absolutely incredible time In Ghana with Plan My Gap Year and would recommend this experience and PMGY to anyone and everyone. Philip and Josh in the UK team were so incredibly helpful from moment one. They went out of their way to answer any questions promptly, organise absolutely everything and make the booking process quick and easy. Plan My Gap Year is extremely reasonable with exceptional service. Seth, Flo, Dennis, Prince, Christie and Emmanuel out in Ghana are incredibly friendly, helpful and welcoming. I quickly felt welcomed into their big family. I took part in the medical program and was amazed by all the incredible experiences I had the pleasure of being involved with and observing. I also had the opportunity to help out in an orphanage and on an outreach program where Plan My Gap Year provide medical care to remote villagers who are unable to afford/ access it. I would highly recommend the Plan My Gap Year project in Ghana as the people, food and weather are just fantastic in every way. The people are the most open, fun and kind that I have ever met. This was to date the best experience of my life. I cannot wait to book my next trip. Plan My Gap Year is the best!!

How can this program be improved?
I had an absolutely amazing time, I just wish I could have been there for longer!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Arti
10/10

Peru, Cusco 🌹. PMGY have established a project so worthy of recognition and accolade, it would be a crime not to post the beauty of the project. Cusco - the Pachamama of cities in Peru and in my eyes, of South America. It was everything I could dream of and then some ....

The children of the Colibri, the project I chose to work with, inspired my life and my thought patterns. These beautiful children, wide eyed and engaging were open to visitors and volunteers from across the globe making me feel at home in their home. Their personalities and strong individual personas carried me through this project and though my Spanish weak, the universal language of children was strong and helped my engagement in trying to assist whatever requirement of education, or game playing these people of tomorrow needed!

Their influence and strong attachment to Cusco was influential on my stay and no doubt my learning from the children tripled from their input! THANK YOU Colby Robinson Pmgy!

Besides from the obvious beauty of Peru, there was something so pure about choosing Cusco as my destination. Prior to booking, feeling worried (and parents worried) I pestered Colby almost daily about the ins and outs of the place and project. Colby took it into her own hands to look after me so well and set me up with a family so honest, lovely and welcoming, I didn't dare dream about missing home! My Peruvian family were active, engaging and encouraging in everything I was in Peru for and extra. They had their own children and like minded volunteers, therefore I was never short of company in their home! I am vegetarian, eating no meat and fish, and my Peruvian Mama went out of her way daily, to cook me fresh clean food! I could not have been more grateful and not once did I feel sickly or unwell. My peruvian mother would even wake up on my early morning 3am tours to make sure I was ok!!! Therefore I could not be more grateful and in favour of Colby and PMGY for setting me up with such due diligence, safety and well being.

Also in Peru there was the 'base camp' set up, for us volunteers to touch base with (daily if you would like) and a chance to meet other international volunteers and/or participate in activities for bonding. I think the offer of Spanish lessons and other engagements was a bonus I was not expecting and a sure welcome of validity and safety in Peru.

I would rate PMGY 5 stars on the basis of the following things I felt important to me and my stay: the project cause and what it represented; the country/city PMGY have chosen to set up base in; the touching base/in country team support and project/peer engagement available they offer while in country; the family and their home; and finally the BEAUTY OF PERU CUSCO!!!! I could not speak more highly of such exquisite scenery and for a company to set up meaningful projects in such areas is a fortune.

Thank you PMGY and Thank you Colby - memories made in love.

How can this program be improved?
No improvement required everything was as it should and could be PMGY could not do more for me!!
Yes, I recommend this program
Navandeep
8/10

I took part in the medical program in India Summer 2017 for two weeks. This was one of the most rewarding, jam packed two weeks of my life! Firstly, I was thoroughly impressed with the breadth of activities available for you. A typical day consisted of a 9 am start in either the hospital, slum clinic or dispensary. I was able to learn and reinforce basic medical examinations and I found scrubbing into surgery very useful as I experienced first hand how a busy hospital is run in a developing country. Then in the evening you could explore the local town or volunteer in the orphanage or disable school, which I particularly looked forward to.
You are well looked after by Vishi, Kranti and the family with three cooked meals a day. The volunteering housing facility is equipped as well as can be for the extremely warm climate, with a fan in each room.
On the weekend you have the opportunity to visit different cities which I organised myself. I visited the beautiful Amritsar, which was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

Thank you to everyone out there who made my experience a thoroughly rewarding one!

How can this program be improved?
- Perhaps have a chaperone in the hospital visits as the language barrier made it difficult to communicate in the busy hospital with doctors.
- Weekend trips could be better supervised, with a more reliable point of contact.
Yes, I recommend this program

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