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Raleigh International

About

Raleigh International is a youth-driven development charity with over 37 years of expertise in working with young people. We believe young people can change the world. So, we create youth-driven change that lasts. We empower young people with the skills, experience and connections to be leaders of change through our programs Raleigh Expedition and Re:Green.

Raleigh Expedition engages volunteers in creating lasting change through projects that tackle environmental issues, access to education for all, and alleviate poverty. It is one of the first UK programs to be accredited by the Gap Year Association and recognized by TeenLife as a Top 15 most popular Gap Program in 2020.

Re:Green is our new UK program designed to increase your skills, knowledge, and ability to directly address the climate emergency. Using our expertise in youth leadership and youth environmental campaigning, we partnered with a recognised conservation organisation to deliver this vital piece of work.

Reviews

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George
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Raleigh Re:Green

I had no idea that Scotland had it's own rainforest! On Re:Green I worked directly with the National Trust to remove invasive species, plant new trees and protect this beautiful environment. I made new friends, learnt more about climate activism and saw some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Because the programme was only 2 weeks and in the UK, it made it really easy to fit in alongside work, although I wish I had gone for longer now. 10/10 would recommend to anyone looking to make a difference and see some cracking views.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was constantly surprised by just how beautiful the highlands are. Being able to work in the Scottish Rainforest to help combat the climate emergency whilst also waking up every day to see wild deer, waterfalls and peaks was incredible. I wish I had stayed longer!
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Frederick
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Re:Green

When I joined Re:Green I was living in a homeless charity, not knowing what the future held for me. I didn't think I had any value whatsoever. During my trip I met some of the most incredible people who showed me who I really was and what I could achieve. Thanks to this programme I have found my calling and I am proud to say I now work for Raleigh International, the charity who brought this programme to life. Through them I have discovered my capability in leadership and I now aim to inspire others just as all those people did inspire me, so that we can all be our best selves.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
On day 8 or 9 of our 2 week trek through the Scottish Highlands, we had to cross a mile long bog infested area. It was my day leading the group. The route we had planned to take was not a viable option at that point so we had to go off course.
We spent about half a day trying to cover that mile because we kept getting stuck in impracticable areas. At one point one of us got stuck waist deep in a bogged pool. In that moment I thought we were going to be stranded in that bog for the rest of the trip.
Through teamwork and resilience only we managed to get clear of that area. After that morning the bond between all of us was truly formed.
Read my full story
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Holly
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience in Tanzania

I flew to Tanzania in February 2020, hoping to participate in a 10-week Raleigh Expedition. (My time was very sadly cut short due to the covid-19 pandemic, however I'm so grateful l got 5 amazing weeks.)
Arriving at our induction in Morogoro, I was initially struck by the warm welcome and the sense of community among the staff and volunteers. These were people who hardly knew each other, coming from many different countries, and yet everyone got along so well!
My first few weeks were spent trekking through the Iringa region, led by two local guides who were both brilliant. It was definitely a challenge, but our group managed to remain in good spirits throughout! The days were filled with stunning views, deep conversations and endless card games. On our rest day, we got to visit a Maasai village and learn all about the Maasai culture and way of living, which was really exciting!
I spent my final days in the country (before returning home due to coronavirus) living in the wonderful little village of Mtwango. We were working on a Natural Resource Management Project, which involved working alongside the villagers to plant trees for the village. We were also planning and carrying out primary school lessons and village meetings to raise awareness about climate change and the importance of replanting the trees in the future. A highlight for me was definitely living in my host home. I felt so welcomed by my lovely host mama and her daughter (who was a few years older than me). They made every effort to make us feel comfortable and at home, and I was touched by their kindness towards me when I was unwell on one of my first nights staying in their home. I'm still in contact with them now!
I made some amazing friends and experienced some amazing things- and I'm planning to return to Tanzania next year with Raleigh!!

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Sarah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Seven-week Expedition in Nepal

I couple goals I had for my gap year were to make a difference in the world, and to grow as a person. In just 7 weeks, my Raleigh expedition completely exceeded these expectations! I was fortunate to be part of a 7-week expedition in Nepal and those weeks were some of the most memorable weeks of my life. Initially I was nervous to be away from home for this period of time, but after a few days, I regretted not signing up for the 10-week expedition! Raleigh does an exceptional job of providing a balance of learning, hard work, personal growth and fun for their volunteers.
My community placement was in a 30-house village, and by the end of the 3 weeks I was heartbroken to leave. My host family was so welcoming, the food was delicious and the community was so appreciative of our work. We worked alongside members of the community to ensure they got what they wanted and they were able to teach us so many tips and tricks.
The second half of my expedition consisted of a 17-day trek through the stunning Ruby Valley. The trek was an incredibly rewarding experience. I learned just how strong I am both mentally and physically, all while walking through jaw-dropping scenery.
My top memories from my Raleigh expedition include interacting with the children at the local school in my community, playing volleyball with locals while on trek, and making lifelong connections with fellow volunteers. Overall, my experience with Raleigh completely changed my outlook on life and left me wanting more.

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Bart
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

My Raleigh expedition

After I decided to take a gab year, I realised that I had the opportunity to do something special. An enthusiastic acquaintance of mine adviced me to have a look on the website of Raleigh International, because he had a very cool experience with them a few years ago. And now I totally agree with him. I went on Raleigh expedition to Nepal in the winter of 2019. Being placed in an hostfamily in a rural community while working at valuable sanitation-and hygieneprojects is an experience I will never forget. Especially because we made a big difference and we did that as a team. Living with the community members and experience their hospitality was very inspiring. And last but not least, you also got to know a lot of nice people who live all over the world.

All in all, I would highly recommend going on Raleigh expedition.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Appreciate your time in Nepal because the time flies!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Frederick Melaert

After experiencing the harsh reality of homelessness, Freddy was given an opportunity to go on Re:Green, a programme provided by Raleigh International set in the Scottish Highlands. Freddy is now back on his feet and currently works as Year Of Service intern at Raleigh
Frederick Melaert in a field with two other volunteers

Why did you choose this program?

I was actually offered to go on Re:Green through the charity that was housing me at the time: the Amber Foundation. The two charities had already partnered up in the past with very positives outcomes.

I guess the reason main reason I actually wanted to go was for the adventure aspect of the trip. I love being outdoors, doing physical stuff and being part of a team so this opportunity was a Godsend.

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

I was extremely lucky as I was granted Raleigh's access fund, which gives young people with low income the chance to go on Re:Green. Even the travel to the programme locations is mostly taken care of by Raleigh. All I had to do was prepare my personal kit and get physically ready for the trip. Both charities were all extremely helpful in that aspect: Amber provided me with the space and equipment to train while Raleigh was assisting me with all kind of enquiries and kept checking in to see how I felt.

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

Re:Green is just as intense as Raleigh's programmes abroad. If you want to have the best experience possible I would suggest to prepare for the diversity of activities. That being said you can always rely on your team to help you out. When I first arrived I was very apprehensive of others but very quickly we became each others pillars we could lean on.

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

Well, there are two types of days. On conservation (where we help a local partner in various ways) we would wake up at around 07:30 or 08:00, and have breakfast while getting a quick briefing of the day ahead. At 08:30 we would get our kit squared away and then engage in a teambuilding exercise. At 09:00 our local partner would pick us up and take us to where ever we were working that day. After a good day of work we would pack up and be back at our living quarters at around 17:00. From then some people might prepare dinner, and others will get some downtime. Dinner was always around 19:00. After clearing up and washing up we were free to do as we saw fit.

Now on a trek, it is a very different story. We would wake up as the sun would rise, get a quick breakfast and then pack up our tents and kit in our bags. We would walk on average 15 miles a day, crossing mountains, bogs, and a few rivers all the while carrying around 25 kilos on our backs. We would always stop and set camp at around 16:00 to get a good time of sunlight, enjoying a hard-earned dinner made of ration packs ( which are actually quite nice). We would then go to bed as soon as possible.

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

My biggest fear was being judged for my situation (I was still technically still homeless then). Very fortunately everyone, staff, and fellow volunteers alike were all so considerate and understanding. They made me confident enough to actually share my experience for the very first time with people who weren't in a similar situation as mine.

Staff Interviews

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

Georgia Walkden

Job Title
Events, Recruitment and Marketing Coordinator
The Events, Recruitment and Marketing Coordinator is responsible for hosting the information events, visiting schools to deliver presentations on gap years and helping anyone who is thinking of applying to go on a Raleigh International Expedition.
Georgia Walkden

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory has to be from my Raleigh Expedition to Tanzania. My favorite phase was by far the trek. It was something at the beginning that I was so nervous about. I am not a trekker, but I loved the opportunity to see so much of Iringa, while meeting new communities everywhere we went. I did get quite bad blisters on trek but my team really helped me. We really worked together and I remember at one point they took everything out of my bag so that I didn't have to carry any weight. I was so thankful to them for that.

In order to get to our trek route, we had to travel through a national park. As soon as we entered the park, we saw elephants, giraffes and zebras! It was amazing to see the animals in the natural habitat and something I will remember forever. We had guides with us on our trek who were amazing. They were pointing out weird and wonderful things that we otherwise wouldn't have even looked twice at.

Overall, trek really helped me develop as a person and it is something that has changed my life.

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

I have definitely grown since working for Raleigh International. Before my job here, I had some experience of public speaking, but I had probably never delivered a presentation to more than 50 people.

At Raleigh, this is something I do on a weekly basis to groups as big as 200. It has helped my confidence grow massively and each time I can feel myself growing even better.

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

The best story I have heard from a returning student was from one of our Dutch volunteers. She went to Tanzania and had an incredible time and had an amazing bond with her home stay family. They welcomed her in with open arms. The following year after Expedition, she independently travelled back to Tanzania to visit her home stay family again.

She told me that Raleigh has changed her life, and going forward she wants a career focused in sustainable development. What an amazing thing to come out of a 10 week Expedition.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I have already been on a Raleigh International Expedition to Tanzania before I worked for them. I had such an incredible time that it lead me to apply for this job so I can share my experiences with as many people as possible.

If I was to go on another Expedition, I would chose Costa Rica. The opportunity to work right in the heart of the national parks would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I'd also really love the opportunity to speak with the communities members about organic composting, including how they can make their own organic composting patch at home.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Being a part of Raleigh International is being a part of a family.

Because we have been running our Expeditions for 35 years, we know what we're doing and safety is still to this day at the heart of everything we do.

When our volunteers go on an Raleigh Expedition, they're living right in the hearts of the communities. They also get the opportunity to visit incredible parts of the countries that we work in that aren't accessible to tourists.

We offer a number of different projects to our volunteers, including community, environment and adventure. The community and environment focus very much on the sustainability of the countries that we work in, and then there's our adventure project. This is all about the volunteers personal development. They will work in a team navigating their way across stunning landscapes. They will also get the opportunity to be the leader of the group for a day. They will decide things such as how far they plan to walk, where it is they want to set up camp and once they have arrived, who's doing which jobs. Who will be cooking that evening, collecting the water, putting the tents up etc. There is a lot more to trek than just trekking.

Another thing that makes a Raleigh Expedition unique is that it is available for people all over the world. As an international organisation, we have volunteers come from the UK and we have volunteers come from each country that we work in. We also have volunteers from the US, The Netherlands, Germany and Australia, to name a few. It is an incredibly international programme.

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

Safety. As I previously mentioned, safety is at the heart of everything we do. Volunteers go on our Expeditions knowing that they will be safe and will have an amazing experience.

I also think that offering a variety of lengths for our Expeditions is a great factor. Sometime volunteers want just a couple of weeks away during the summer months and we can provide them with that. I personally would always recommend going for 10 weeks if they can. Then they have the opportunity to get involved in everything.

What's great about Expedition as well is that the volunteer have the opportunity to travel before and after our programs too. Most often, they will do it after; they will make such incredibly friendships on Expedition that they will spend their time after Expedition visiting neighboring countries with each other, creating even more memories.

Professional Associations

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