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The Village Experience

About

The Village Experience is a socially pro-active business dedicated to uplifting impoverished communities in the developing world through efforts in international tourism. Our trips to the developing world focus on cultural education, humanitarianism, and adventure. They are designed to give the traveler a real, off-the-beaten path, village experience.

Headquarters

United States

Reviews

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Julie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the opportunity to travel with Kelly and Ann-Marie of The Village Experience during a winter term class last January and I was incredibly impressed with their knowledge of the area and understanding of the Ugandan culture. We experienced a variety of activities and learned a lot about the cultural and lives of the Ugandan people. I would greatly recommend this program to anyone looking for a safe, fun and life-changing travel opportunity.

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Betsy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Traveling with TVE has enabled me to experience giving back and understanding cultures on a level I never imagined would be possible! I really enjoyed all the time we spent working with Vamos Adlante; our group had the opportunity visit one of their medical clinics, partake in their elderly food distributing program, and spend time with students at one of their many schools! Kelly, TVE's trip leader, was an excellent resource for helping myself and the other passengers in really debriefing and processing everything we were experiencing on the trip. I cannot wait to zipline through the jungle on my next trip to Guatemala with TVE!

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Renee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We traveled with the Village Experience to Kenya in Jan. 2011. Our accomadations were amazing. We stayed in beautiful tents right in the heart of Kenya ! Working with TVE's projects throughout this country was very rewarding! We voluntered in IDP camps, Women projects, Street Kid's projects and even helped open up a new school completely funded by friends of TVE. Our Safari in the Masai was unforgetable. We had the best Guides and Drivers! We will be going on another TVE trip soon !!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Julie Crothers

First, tell us a little about yourself and your trip.

Julie: My name is Julie Crothers and I am 23 years old. I traveled to Uganda, Africa during my senior year as a student at Franklin College. Our two-week trip through The Village Experience was in January 2011. Today, I work as an education reporter for a newspaper in central Indiana.

Why did you decide to volunteer with IVHQ in Ecuador?

Julie: I decided to volunteer with The Village Experience as part of a study abroad trip during January term through Franklin College. During the course, we talked a lot about the lives and struggles of the Ugandan people and the challenges associated with poverty that they face on a daily basis. We spent several weeks in the classroom studying the history and culture of Ugandans prior to leaving for our two-week trip.

Ugandan children

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Julie: During my time abroad, we worked with several organizations including Building Tomorrow, a company based out of Indianapolis with partners in Uganda. Alongside the company of a dozen or so Ugandans, we worked for three days to help build a new school for the children of a rather remote village. We also visited with groups such as Bead for Life, a fair-trade paper company and visited a school and home for orphan children who had lost their parents due to war, famine and disease. Although we were able to stay in a hotel throughout our trip and even went on a safari and trip down the Nile River, the things I will remember from my trip for many years to come are the volunteer opportunities and the people we met along the way.

What advice do you have for future volunteers?

Julie: The best advice I had for future volunteers is simply to set aside your fears and go. Before this trip, I'd barely left the state of Indiana, let alone traveled to another country. I was nervous and I must have packed, unpacked and repacked my suitcase a hundred times in the month leading up to my trip, but the opportunity was unlike anything I've ever experienced and it helped me grow as an individual while also giving me a much better understanding of the similarities and differences between my life and the lives of those around me. Never have I experienced such incredible joy than I did among the men and women I met in Uganda.

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Julie: This trip did more than just help me expand personally and professionally — it stirred up a feeling down deep in my heart for humanity and helped me to realize that there's something out there that is bigger than my greatest worry and better than anything I can imagine. As a journalist, I spend a lot of time talking with people about their problems and interviewing families about loved ones lost, but nothing compares to the stories I heard from the men and women I met in Africa. They have a love greater than themselves and an all-consuming joy for life. They face many troubles, but with a positive outlook and hope for the future, they are able to overcome even the most challenging situations. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not reminded of the strength and resilience of the Ugandan people.