uVolunteer
93% Rating
(49 Reviews)

uVolunteer

uVolunteer specializes in providing volunteer work placements in Costa Rica, Ghana and Thailand. Our service learning projects include Teaching, Care & Community, Construction, Environment and Animal Conservation.

Our program promotes change and provides direction and purpose for our participants. Additional benefits are cultural insight, adventure and a safe environment for independent, female and student travelers.

Realize your dream to volunteer abroad and leave your mark on the country you visit.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Sergio
Male
32 years old
Spain

Pura vida!!

10/10

Agradecido por la suerte que siempre me rodea, empece el 2015 con una de las mejores experiencias que he podido vivir. nunca habia tenido mucha mano con los nunos ya que aun no soy padre y casualmente no los he tenido muy cerca mio.

How can this program be improved?

Necesitaba saber que es eso tan mágico y esa sinceridad incondicional que los niños te ofrecen, y por supuesto trabajar con los más necesitados

Ahí es donde entra la labor del equipo de Nat, Director de una organización sin ánimo de lucro donde su pasión es ayudar allí donde se necesite, es muy satisfactorio formar parte de sus proyectos tan bonitos.

Cambie de año como de país y por la tarde estaba en el pueblo caribeño que ha puesto en gran parte de moda a Costa Rica, de descendientes jamaicanos y ticos y en unas mejores localizaciones de todo el caribe se encuentra Puerto viejo! Gente feliz con mucha paz, no excesivo turismo, allí tuve la suerte de conocer a un español que volvía en el bus y tenía un hotel! Y allí que me quede algunos días, alquilando bicis, running, y viviendo ese ambiente reagee y rollo tranqui que se respiraba fue muy divertido y gracias al el pude conocer a mas españoles viviendo en el paraíso de tranquilidad con su mini negocio bar o tienda de artículos hipiees y como no cervecita esta vez seria "la imperial".

Satisfecho con lo vivido me voy directo a mi cometido del viaje, en las montañas y en centro de costaríca hay un pueblo llamado san Ramón, pueblo de poetas, mucha cultura, música en directo en las calles, el que inició la retirada del ejército, escribir poesía y mil cosas más que notas en la gente de aquí que resulta tan agradable, un acento muuuuy peculiar porque dentro de lo latino tienen el acento como las películas traducidas en castellano de la los vaqueros del viejo oeste...es fantástico escucharlos!! Tb hay que destacar del pueblo que las calles no tienen nombre de calles ni número, lo que lo hace más auténtico si cabe.

El hogar de los voluntarios se respira un ambiente muy agradable, Erik y Gabi, organizadores muestran y te orientan para lo que necesites,
La gente genial, y en la casa muy bien equipada que ofrece muchas posibilidades, como internet, televisión digital, nevera, agua caliente, y muchas cosas más que te invitan a sentirte como en casa
Mi destino para ejercer de voluntario será el cecude un kínder (guardería pública para niños marginales) donde cuidándolos y jugando con ellos te ensenan más a ti, que tú a ellos le puedas ofrecer, y eso que ningún niño supera los 6 años

De todo lo vivido hasta ahora puedo decir que lo gratificante es que 22 niños te canten junto a la cocinera la conserje, directora y la dos educadoras el cumpleaños feliz a lo guardería Costa Riquense, sin querer me salieron dos lagrimas porque ese recibimiento no tiene palabras, otro día más con ellos y ya me estaban llamando profe Sergi!! Son para comérselos,

Recomiendo a todo el mundo que realice algo parecido, es muy gratificante, está claro para ayudar no hace falta recorrerse medio mundo, pero sí que creo que si recorres medio mundo es mejor (desde mi punto actual de vista) que antes de viajar tipo turista , hacer algo que compartas y ayudes a los demás.

No sé el tiempo que me he pasado aquí porque 15 dias es como haber vivido toda una vida, nunca olvidare a San Ramon, el kínder y por supuesto al maravilloso equipo de Avic ,
Puedo decir que me voy con la batería cargada 100%...para reflexionar y valorar lo aquí vivido y no dudo de volver a realizar otro proyecto de la mano de Nat.

Un abrazo fuerte y espero poder haber compartido este viaje contigo a través de este relato.

Sergi

Default avatar
kar_she
Female
24 years old
United Arab Emirates

Costa Rica @ Turtle Conservation Project

9/10

This summer, my friends and I wanted to do something different and at the same time, something that would give back. We researched many websites and found a few good ones. We decided to chose uVolunteeer and came to the Turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.

How can this program be improved?

This summer, my friends and I wanted to do something different and at the same time, something that would give back. We researched many websites and found a few good ones, including uVolunteer. Through uVolunteer, we decided on the Turtle Conservation project in Costa Rica.
Upon arriving in San Jose, we were all a little bit nervous. The three of us has flown in together from Atlanta and it was our first time travelling alone, without school or family. Once we had landed and got our bags, we tried to exchange some money into colones. A couple of people from uVolunteer picked us up and we finally got to San Ramon after a few hours, where we stayed one night.
Early the next morning (around 5), we woke up and got ready to go to Samara, where our project was taking place. We had to take a bus, which got us to Samara in 5 hours. The drive was surprisingly pleasant as we saw a lot of Costa Rica's beautiful mountains on the way. When we got there, we were picked up by a taxi that drove us up a dirt path and to a river. At the river, we were told we had to cross, taking our suitcases with us. We waited at the river for a while, where we were met by Roy, the project manager. When we got to the camp, the people were awesome; very friendly and welcoming. The beach in front of the camp was beautiful; the ocean was so blue and the scenery was just amazing. We were introduced to our room downstairs (as the upstairs dorm was full) and we settled in. The room itself was small and dark, but within a few days it felt homely. We were shown around the camp; the hatchery, the kitchen, the eating area, the bathroom, the shower, the compost pit, the campfire area, the clothes line, the bookshelf and the other dorm.
It was very well laid out and it seemed like the camp had been running very efficiently all this time. There was really no need for electricity and it was actually quite nice not having it. Washing clothes by hand was fine, and the toilet felt just like a normal toilet. We also met Veronica, the cook, who made us rice, beans and usually vegetables or eggs for our meals. Sometimes, we would have days with pancakes or pasta.
Being our first time working with turtles, we didn't really know what to do. Adrian, who had been working there for four years, told us about the turtles and the different jobs we would have to do. He explained everything that we had to right down. We had to work usually four hours a day, unless we had other work to do. We had two hatchery shifts, each two hours long, one in the day and one at night, with one other person. My partner was Meredith, who had been there for five weeks already. I felt better with Meredith with me because she knew what she was doing and she also told me about her experience there and her life at home too. On days like Wednesday, we had to clean the camp and were assigned different jobs like cleaning the kitchen or raking.
On other days, we would have to collect fruit and vegetables from the river, either on the left or right side, which could be difficult when the things were heavy. On hatchery shifts, we would check if the turtles in the nests would hatch and if they did, we had to weigh and measure 10 and then release them into the ocean. On nights that we had to patrol, we would walk either with Jimmy, Roy, Aeneis, Adrian or Anni, and we would look for turtles that were going to lay eggs. Twice, I got to collect the eggs from under the turtles, which was such a cool experience. We then had to take down all the measurements, tag the turtle, and then make a nest for the eggs in the hatchery. By the end of the trip, I was able to make a nest by myself.
Also, Thursdays and Sundays were off and on those days, we got to go to town and use the internet, get ice cream and roam the streets of Samara. On one of the Thursdays, we got to go horse riding in the mountains and also down Playa Samara. On our way back, we went through the streets of Samara, and we even crossed the river to the camp on our horses, which was also very cool. Before we crossed, we met our friend Becky, who climbed onto the back of my horse and got a free ride! It was a little scary, but a lot of fun riding with two people. We then trotted to the camp, down Playa Buena Vista. It was a really fun and new experience. On our days off, it was also nice to contact our families and let them now how we were doing.
Usually, we would walk back to camp, instead of taking a taxi. It was a really long walk, but the view on the way is beautiful. While at camp, we would sit around on the beach, swim, play cards and read. It was so cool meeting all the volunteers from different places, all with different stories. After every meal, we would play a card game called Dishes, in which the loser would wash all the dishes. I lost once and it was horrible cleaning all those dishes! Anyway, in our free time, we also asked Roy to teach us how to make bracelets. He taught us a very easy kind and it was a lot of fun. Spending time with Roy was nice because we would eat cookies and joke about other people. Once, his little son (Joey) came to camp and taught us how to make bracelets as well!
Working with the turtles was amazing as we learnt so many new things about the different types and what to do in different situations. I hope our working there helped the organization with their goal in the conservation of turtles. Overall, it was a great experience working with the turtles and meeting all the different people. I wish we stayed there longer, but who knows - we might go back one day!

Default avatar
d.charlie
Female
24 years old
Netherlands

You will never feel regret!

10/10

I chose volunteer in Ghana, last year by a few weeks. My experiences with uVolunteer were great. From the first minute I was in Africa I enjoyed it. I was teaching at a school. The children were really nice and I loved to teach there.

How can this program be improved?

My arrival and pick up was good. All the things I did here were so amazing. My family here were so great and I would love to see them again. The house where I stayed is really good and the people are so nice and took really good care of me. The project had just started so they don't have yet a lot of material. I did what I can and hopefully the children enjoyed it. I also hope that in the future there will be more material for them and a good organized schedule. I enjoyed it there so much.
On one Tuesday they had: our day. I didn't know what the meaning of it was, but it was a nice day. The children brought food with them and the children were really happy. I experienced so many different things here! And all the people there are nice. I was very quickly used to the way of living there, and I liked it so much. Kokrobite is a real nice place. It's a so different than the Netherlands but now I'm used to the way of living there.
I have seen a lot in Ghana. I traveled to Cape Coast and Kumasi and other places. I had a great time.
It is definitely a life time experience. When somebody is hesitating to come to Africa for holiday or better for volunteering, the only thing I can say: just do it! You will never feel regret, I'm sure.

Default avatar
Ana
Female
24 years old
Unites States

Positive impact

9/10

I chose volunteer with uVolunteer and went down to Costa Rica. Before arriving I was very nervous and even though I was given a great amount of helpful information I couldnt help but be a little apprehensive.

How can this program be improved?

Before arriving in costa rica I was very nervous and even though I was given a great amount of helpful information I couldn't help but be a little bit apprehensive.

Once I arrived it became clear that I was definitely not alone and help would be there for me all along whenever I needed it. The first weekend I became very familiar with the town and costa ricans themselves and their 'pura vida' lifestyle.

I was lucky enough to go zip lining the second day I arrived and it was an experience I know I will never forget! I was very excited to start working and going to bajo tijares the first day was a bit of a culture shock for me and it really impacted me because I was never familiar with people living like that.

The children were so loving and kind I could tell that they really enjoyed me being there. Over the course of the first week it was tough to connect with a few of the kids.
Some never even connected with me at all, but the ones that did really opened up and were so happy and bright despite their situations.

Some of them reminded me of my own younger cousins and I know I will never forget about them. I'm so thankful that uVolunteer gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the costa rican culture and be able to meet some amazing kids.
I hope that I made a positive impact on them because they definitely had a positive impact on me.

Anita

Default avatar
Lia
Female
32 years old
USA

Lia X

10/10

This trio came right when I needed a break from my day to day life the most. There were the struggles of planning the trip, the hot weather, the mosquitoes, and adapting to the different lifestyle. However, all those struggles were worth dealing with to be with the children and friends.

How can this program be improved?

I am not a trained teacher, so I have to admit I struggled trying to keep all the kids in line and interested at all times. The kids had so much energy and passion that I had to bring my A game to keep up with them. Some of the kids were more independent, learned on their own, and knew when to seek help when needed. Others needed more attention in specific subjects and seemed to constantly want to share stories and have discussions with me. I appreciated all of their different styles and personalities. Just when I started to get to know them better it was time to leave.

I failed to prepare myself for the goodbyes. When I was there I looked forward to seeing them the next day or the next week. When it was time to say I will not return, it was heart breaking. Most of them said their goodbyes and seemed to have not noticed that I will not return. A few asked if I will come back to be with them again. As I tried really hard to hold back tears the only answer I had was that I really want to return, but I do not know. I could not give them a promise I was not sure if I could keep. Have I become another person in these children's life that has abandoned them? Or did they understand I was only there for a temporary time and just appreciate our time together?

This separation has been really hard to deal with because I miss them so much. I must remember that I will carry the joy and happiness they have brought into my life with me every day. This chapter of my life will not bring me down, but make me stronger, happier, more grateful, and hopeful.

Lia

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