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United Planet

About

United Planet is an international non-profit organization based in Boston, MA with a mission to enhance cross-cultural understanding while addressing shared challenges to create a community beyond borders, one relationship at a time. We connect volunteers who want to make a difference with communities in more than 25 countries, where they learn, teach, work, engage and immerse themselves in an mutual exchange. For many, it’s the most fulfilling experience of their lives.

United Planet's programs are designed to be immersive, authentic, and comprehensive. The program elements encourage full engagement with a new culture, forging strong relationships and new challenges. We partner with the communities we work with to ensure the experience is important, relevant and impactful.

Enroll in our Volunteer Quest Program to Ghana, Romania, Argentina, Nepal and New Zealand before January 31st!

During the month of January, United Planet will offer $250 Travel Grants to anyone who enrolls in a program to Ghana, Romania, Argentina, Nepal, and New Zealand (valid for any duration in that country). Enroll Today!
Founded
2001
Headquarters

256 Marginal Street
Boston, MA 02128
United States

Reviews

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

I worked in a center for atypical adults. I participated in a music class, their free time, and helping with some of their other activities. I loved the people and clients I worked with! Everyone was very welcoming. It was very convenient that I lived in the same place I worked. Sometimes, it would have been nice to have another volunteer with me to explore the city and travel with. However, I feel like this experience made me more independent. It was nice to have a couple vacation days so that I could travel to different places too!
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I would suggest always having two people at the same site or at least connect the volunteers at different sites.
Default avatar
Julie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with United Planet and my month-long quest to Quito, Ecuador, was one that made an indelible impression upon my mind and heart! As cliche as it is, my life changed because of this. I was there Nov/Dec 2019. I was enriched to such an extent that I am now tentatively moving there in May 2020.

United Planet was extremely meticulous with all the arrangements and pre-departure training and information. I had some trepidation going because there was civil unrest in Quito prior to my arrival. Plus, I was the only volunteer there at that time. However, United Planet assured me that all was well. I truly believe their participants’ safety and security are of paramount importance to them.

From everything — living accommodations, assistance from the program coordinator, Patricio, the food, countless excursions, and the volunteering experience at Quintiliano Sanchez — it was all first-class. United Planet’s personalized care of their clients is unparalleled. I am so impressed by this organization, and any person interested in pursuing a quest with UP can call me for a more detailed review. 5.5 out of 5 STARS.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Chonta curo - these are fried worms I ate in the Amazon jungle
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Aisha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Really I thought just being in Japan was enough to make my heart beat, but not only that was amazing there where the people I meet and the family's I stayed with. I have traveled a lot in my life and this was my first time traveling alone, I was scared but the overall feeling of being able to be apart of this adventure just made me so happy. My host family's where so kind that I felt welcomed and reassured. Nothing about my experience was not fun, even when I missed my stop at like midnight and had to take a very expensive taxi back home. Now I only laugh about it, what can I do about it. It's now a story I can tell my friends over dinner.
The food there was the best for me, it comes in small portions but there are so many different dishes.

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

I was on a one week United Planet program in Cusco, Peru.
United planet is very well organized and everyone in the US office and in Peru was so helpful and knowledgable. United Planet helps with a fundraising page to help volunteers raise money to cover costs.
Once “in country” the experience was amazing. I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary and I never could have or would have had the opportunity in the US (or maybe anywhere) to be so up close with the animals and to work side by side with locals... and the host family was great and they picked me up at the airport.... spanish language classes arranged at a local school. Add on tours offered. Advice and tips for before and during the stay in the country. Registration with the State dept, health insurance... the list goes on and on about how much United Planet gives. It was great!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pick a good program like United Planet - trust their experience and professionalism and “Just do it”! :-)
Default avatar
Courtney
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience volunteering with United Planet was top-notch and life-changing! I felt extremely prepared prior to arriving, thanks to the excellent pre-departure assistance UP provided. I volunteered for 2 weeks at a K-8 school in Santiago. The experiences I shared with the teachers and students are unforgettable. Although it was only a two-week Quest, I feel recharged, energized and extremely grateful now that I am back home. In addition to volunteering, I especially cherish the time I spent with my host family. They went out of their way to take me to the most beautiful locales. They were able to share with me the REAL Santiago. My Chilean family made me feel safe and supported, and encouraged to venture outside of my comfort zone. They will remain life-long friends! I also really appreciate my program's director, Paul Fischer. He checked in on me often, which I appreciated!

What would you improve about this program?
n/a

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 31
United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Peru with United Planet for 1-12 Weeks
Peru
8.77 •13 reviews

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in China with United Planet for 2-12 Weeks
China
9.33 •6 reviews

Join United Planet this summer on our annual volunteer teaching...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Ghana with United Planet for 2-52 Weeks
Ghana
8.6 •5 reviews

Teach in a primary or secondary school tutoring in English, math, or...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Ecuador with United Planet for 1-52 weeks
Ecuador
9.2 •5 reviews

United Planets Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your group...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Nepal with United Planet for 1-52 Weeks
Nepal
9 •5 reviews

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your...

United Planet
Gap Year: 6-month+ Service Learning Opportunities in Denmark with United Planet
Denmark
10 •2 reviews

Join United Planet on a gap year program in Denmark! From 6 months to...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Chile with Local Communities for 1-12 Weeks
Chile
9.5 •2 reviews

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Tanzania with United Planet for 1-52 weeks
Tanzania
10 •2 reviews

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your...

United Planet
Volunteer Abroad in Japan with United Planet for 1-12 Weeks
Japan
10 •1 review

Volunteers will have the chance to step back in time and volunteer in...

Alumni Interviews

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

Allie McCormack

Allie McCormack is from Ipswich, Massachusetts, is 19 years old, and took a year off after high school before going to Tulane University to volunteer in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. At Tulane she will be studying Public Health and International development. She loves traveling, running, going to the beach, and learning as much about people from other cultures as possible.
honduras travel

Morning: On a typical morning, I would wake up at about 6:30, eat breakfast, and then either take the bus to work or get a ride with my host sisters. I worked every day from 8:30 to 1:00. I worked at Programa de Rehabilitacion para Paralisis Cerebral (PREPACE). PREPACE is a center for about 100 children in Tegucigalpa who have cerebral paralysis, down syndrome, and other learning disabilities. Every morning I helped the children off the bus and then fed those who needed help. We typically spent the day doing music therapy, some physical therapy, and just lots of personal interactions with the kids. I usually stayed in one classroom, working with kids between the ages of 4 and 6.

Afternoon: Since I stopped work at 1, I had lots of free time. My host sisters went the La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, so I usually went there to spend time with my sisters and their friends. I made a lot of friends in this way, with whom I am still in contact. This was also a huge help with my Spanish - since I was talking every day with people my age, conversation because pretty easy for me. Sometimes we would go to the center of the city or towns a short bus ride away from the city to get coffee or go to museums or just walk around.

Evening: A typical evening was usually just coming home and having dinner with my family. After, we would always hang out and talk or watch TV. I was really close with my host sister who was my age, so it was like living with a really good friend. On the weekends we usually went out either to our favorite bars in the city or to friends' houses. A few of the other volunteers lived in Tegucigalpa or towns that were fairly close, so weekends were always a perfect chance for us to catch up and share our experiences, and since they became friends with many of my friends in the city, we always had a great group.

punta sal

Highlights: The highlight of my volunteer experience was the last day at my project, because I really saw how much of an impact I had made. Every day I just did little, everyday things with the kids - I guess there weren't really any huge, standout things that I did there. But I became so close with them, and with the teachers throughout the whole experience, that leaving really opened my eyes to how important I had been. Part of my organization's philosophy is that as a volunteer who is only going to work for 6 months or a year, we need to be helpful and important, but not necessary. I felt so helpful and important, but I know that my project will continue to do amazing things without me, as they did before I arrived.

The highlight of my entire experience was all of the friends that I made. By the time I left I had so many connections that it was nearly impossible to leave. I was one of 13 ICYE volunteers (United Planet is the name of ICYE US/Canada). The others were from England, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark. 6 arrived in August and stayed for a year, and I was one of the 7 who arrived in January and stayed 6 months. We lived all over the country, but we all visited each other all the time, and we had an automatic group to do weekend or weeklong trips to all of the amazing places in Honduras. I also took a weeklong vacation in Nicaragua, for Easter week.

I became so close with all of them, and made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. These friends became friends with my amazing Honduran friends, and all of them together are the main reason that my trip was so incredible. My friends in Honduras improved my Spanish while I improved their English. Every day I could talk in a different language about anything, to the most incredible people. They showed me the city, and the country, and taught me so much. I have friends all over the world who I can visit and talk to and maybe even travel with in the future, and I am so grateful to have had the enormous good fortune to meet all of them.

Staff Interviews

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

Jack Amico

Job Title
Marketing Intern
Collaborates with the marketing team to put out new campaigns as well as doing research and enhancing existing campaigns to make a more united planet.

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I was traveling in Japan, I decided on a whim to stay on an island that had a population under 100 people and stay with a local that offered the only year-round accommodations. Since he was a life long local, he showed me all of the great hidden gems of the island while interacting with us entirely in English that he learned from TV.

During our time there, all he asked for in return was having conversations with us to give him confidence in his newfound love for learning English.

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

While I've only been here for a short while, it has further assured me of the hard work that goes into running non-profit.

From being a volunteer in the past for another non-profit I learned this lesson, but now from a new perspective, I get to better understand what goes into making everything run smoothly. I've been given the opportunity to apply my marketing knowledge from traditional education to help a company whose values I support personally.

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

While I've been here, I've had the opportunity to read the testimonials from a volunteer who spent their time in Chile. While he was there, he made a lot of stark observations about himself and the volunteers around him just as much as he took in the culture of Chile. Some self-realizations he made were his newly developed confidence, adaptability, and independence.

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

There are few I would really like to try across Asia like Japan, Nepal, The Philippines, and Vietnam, although I would have to choose the South African Sports Coaching program. This is because my goal when traveling is always putting myself in cultures that are significantly different than my own. This program would allow me to show the culture of American sports at the same time as learning about the culture of South Africa through the lens of sports aswell.

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

Our company is unique in its goals and value to build a united planet. While world peace and cultural understanding is a widespread phenomenon, United Planet's values go further than the cultural immersion of most programs. This company is built around giving back to the communities you immerse within a multidirectional exchange of culture.

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

The biggest factor is that volunteers are not only getting value out of their quests and programs, but they also see the impact they have on these communities. It shows that absolutely anyone can have an impact on their community and it is rewarding. This goes into our new program that creates a form of exchange that can be done virtually all across the world without the financial requirements that studying abroad typically would.

Professional Associations