Travellers Worldwide

Program Reviews

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Line Haga
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Zimbabwe was absolutely amazing. I had never thought I would love a country that wasn't my home-country as much as this but it's true as they say: Africa has a way of getting to you.
I have often been asked what was so great about my trip and what the best part was, and to be honest; EVERYTHING! In my opinion, the worst thing about my stay at AP was that I felt we weren't allowed to do enough hard work. I miss being there so much almost every day, everything from waking up and going to bed hearing lions roar to mark their territory, to going out on a drive or a walk and seeing giraffes, zebras, wildebeests...
As I say to anyone who asks me about my experience and my trip: It can't really be explained, it has to be experienced to learn to enjoy the full meaning and impact a trip like that can have. Not only for you as a volunteer, but for the local communities, the animals... ALERT's program really benefits everyone.

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Jackie
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

First of all, I'd like to say I love the organization I am working with- Son's of Thunder. The host have been incredible to me. However, my qualms have been with Travellers Worldwide. I payed a hefty amount to this business. The program includes: lodging, transport to and from my site, administrative expenses, and program costs.

I honestly felt cheated by this organization. I was under the impression that the money I spent on this program would at least go to the organization I am volunteering for. I do not even have meals included with my program.

They wrote me a long email to explain the full charge for the program fees/administration/safety. This is a piece from the email:
"1) the cost of Financial Failure Insurance. This insurance policy acts to provide you with protection cover in case Travellers ever went into administration. Just this one policy alone runs into the tens of thousands of pounds per year. 2) Another cost included within the price you paid for your programme is for Travellers Travel & Tour Operators Combined Liability Insurance. In covering the organisation it is also working for your (the 'customer's') benefit as it gives you added assurance when you 'buy' from us."

I understand they need to pay liability insurance, but we are required to get our own travel insurance anyways.

Furthermore, I feel like after I have expressed my issues to them they seem to be less responsive or helpful to me. I asked them for a refund for days I will not be staying at my accommodation at the hostel due to personal travel (well in advance), and they told me that they could not do that for "safety reasons." They also responded that my program should include food, travel, administration and program costs (my program does NOT provide meals whatsoever, so I do not know why they said that).

My advice for travelers wanting to do a medical internship in Zambia: contact Son's of Thunder directly and ask them about lodging prices, contact a reputable hostel in Livingstone if you want to travel to and from Son's of Thunder and ask them about lodging prices (Fawlty Towers is only $8-9/night. Look up a reputable taxi driver and make your own arrangements with him/her.

I will say the in country staff has been absolutely amazing (Lameck Mponda), he has my best interest at heart.

However, if I were to do it all over again I'd prefer to save my money and do all this on my own rather than go with this organization.

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Alice
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

I am extremely disappointed…

I chose this company in good faith when I decided to go to Australia to have a rewarding working experience. As it turned out, the large amount of money to find me a training experience was no more than coffee making placement. We can say that my experience was extremely good in increasing my skills in the use of a photocopy machine. I met 2 other people who made an internship by Traveller and they were both disappointed, but they were lucky to didn't take several months as I deeply regret!

At the beginning, the staff of Travellers were nice (I mean the minimum), which is quite normal I guess as they want you to choose their company... But once I started my training, I contacted the person in charge in Australia to talk about my deception regarding my work, and she just tell me that "it's probably gonna be better after"... so I continued my internship, doing all the tasks even if it was really useless in term of experience and even for the company, until the end, by respect to my colleagues and regarding my commitment. But I have to say that doing a useless job when you don't get salary it's already a waste of time, but if it's a useless job and you also paid a lot of money for it, I just call this a big scam.

Furthermore, I was also really disappointed by the staff of Traveller and their lack of courtesy and respect. As an exemple (but I have several), I had book my accommodation by Traveller: at one point, I wanted to leave the hostel few days (for a trip) and come back after, so I informed the hostel and also the staff of Traveller of my departure (as others have done). But when I came back, Travellers staff claimed to have used my money to paid the hostel when I wasn't here, and they told me that they will not refund me those days. So I could understand this without any problem. But the truth is that the hostel didn't received any money from Traveller for those days, and the manager of the hostel gave me the bill as a proof. Traveller just lied to me and tried to keep my money instead to use for the services I paid for. When I contacted the headquarter to talk about my deception of this program, they didn't treat me with respect or even as a client, and they asked me to justified all the time, and even with the proofs that I sent to them, they never recognized their mistake and in addition they were unpleasant.

I have to say that my biggest disappointment wasn't really about the money I lost, but it was about the minimum of courtoise that I never get from this organism (staff in Australia as well as the office in UK).
So the result : I lost a large amount of money in this, no experience gain at all, and I was treated with no respect until the end. I really advice you to choose another company for professional experience, you could easily find better company and cheaper.

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Louise
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My sister and I recently completed a two week placement at CROW, and it was absolutely AMAZING!
The CROW team were fantastic and we felt at home right away
One of the best things about the experience was that every day was a new adventure, you never knew what might happen, what rescue you might get called out to help with, what animals might be brought in...
Everything was very hands on and we were able to get involved in a wide range of activities, while at the same time the CROW staff always maintained the approach of keeping the animals wild and ensuring they didnt become 'humanised'
That was one of the best things about CROW - they actually rescue AND release. Everything that can gets release back into its natural habitat
Our experience coudlnt have been better! We are already planning the next trip back!

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Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working in a township school in South Africa was a life-changing experience where I discovered that hope, determination and laughter can rise out of poverty and adversity. I learnt to look, to notice, to contribute, to let go of my ideas about why I was there and work out what was needed most, moment by moment. It wasn't easy, but I gradually got the measure of how to give child-centred help, support, teaching and fun. I was there three weeks but left feeling I had made links and connections with children and staff that were years deep. I shall never forget them and be eternally grateful for what they taught me.

What would you improve about this program?
Program could use the Travellers' students ideas and experience to identify allocation of charitable funds to the schools concerned. Having worked in a school, the students know what the school's needs are. In that way, the circle of support could be complete.
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O_O
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

I guess this experience shaped my life but it was more to do with the beautiful rainforest setting than the coordination or direction of the project (which appears to have improved in recent years).

Some of the activities had conservation benefits, but it was not clear where the research was going (if anywhere). The highest impact I think was developing biogardens with Reynaldo in local schools. That was awesome. The worst activity was carrying bags of sand up to the lodge.

It's very expensive & with this much money going into a project it would be nice to see more conservation/community/research focus going on, rather than just being a stay at quite a nice lodge.

In subsequent years I moved deeper into the forest & explored regions of Las Piedras & Tambopata, and I realised the forest around CREES was secondary & actually quite poor, but you won't know that if it's your first time...

...enjoy

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Geraldine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was once asked which country I thought everyone should visit. My answer: without a doubt - India!

Nothing I had read, watched or heard could have prepared me enough for the reality of India. India is another world, incredible in all ways. It has to be really experienced to be understood....and yet the things that really sealed the experience for me were the things that could only really be felt with the heart.

For one month, I taught conversational English at an underprivileged primary school every morning; and worked at an orphanage every afternoon.

At the school I taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th standards everyday (ages 6 - 11). Each lesson was approximately 40 minutes long. Because the children's level of English was so basic, I would use a variety of materials and modalities that would appeal to their senses and backgrounds. I used to buy (cheap!) materials from the stationery in the road at the house where I lived, and the supermarket close by.

Every morning I would be taken on a hair-raising tuk-tuk ride from my home to the school, and given my time-table once I got there. Then I would be picked up early in the afternoon and after a couple of hours to catch up on stuff at home, I would go to my other placement. After three hours there, I would return to dinner and preparation of work for classes. I lived with three other girls (two from the U.K. and one from Norway) and we used to chat, watch films, go for dinner with other volunteers in Madurai, or go for short walks in the evenings. We used to travel to other parts of India on the weekends.

I will never forget my warm host mother and the wonderful volunteers, who became my new family; the welcoming, friendly school principal and teachers; and my amazing, polite, respectful and eager students.

The memory still touches my heart today.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked more coordination with regards to pick-up and drop-off times. It always seemed like I was waiting ages to be taken to my next placement! I understand that timing is a cultural thing, but maybe pre-arranged transport could have been limited to drop-off to placements only; and pick-up from placements could then be arranged independently, once in India, to avoid having to wait in the heat, alone, for a pre-booked tuk-tuk, when it is so easy to get another one and get elsewhere earlier.
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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Please see below for an email I sent to staff at Travellers Worldwide two years ago when I was midway through my time in Surin, Thailand

"Hi Ana,

Now I've got a few spare minutes I'm able to sit down and get this message out to you. In one word; Fantastic!

From the moment we were met by Glenn at the airport in Bangkok to right now, about half way through our two-week stay at the project... we've been very well looked after and have had an amazing time.

Glenn was fantastic, ready and waiting for us, took care of our travel arrangements to get to the hotel, then from the hotel to our meeting point on Monday morning. Not only was he very informative, but really friendly too. Great, great guy

The hotel we stayed in in Bangkok was just what we needed, huge beds, friendly staff and air conditioning :D

Because there were so many of us making our way from the meeting point to the project, we had our very own private van/bus to take us there. We were blown away, this new shiny vehicle looked mostly like a space ship and was very comfortable and a great way to get to know our fellow volunteers, as we had plenty of time to chat on the long journey.

Upon arriving in Surin, the experience hasn't stopped. From our cute little house up on stilts, with a fridge, fan, mosquito screen and a hammock downstairs. The showers and toilets are pretty basic but they're all we need and you've got no complaints from me.

As for the staff, Pum and Alex, plus the mahouts, we could not have asked for anything more. They are so friendly, full of information, and always up for a laugh or a waterfight :) They are doing amazing work here, and I feel privileged to be taking part in it.

We've been lucky enough to be in Thailand for their New Year's celebration... so much fun. A three-day-long waterfight, which the elephants have enjoyed as well.

Which brings me to the main event! The elephant work has been hot, sometimes tough, completely unique and dirty. I have loved every minute of it. From just walking out onto our balcony each morning and being surrounded by them, getting up close and personal with a few of the more friendly ones, getting to feed them, walk with them, provide infrastructure for their future and washing them in the river.

We've learned a lot from Alex about the situation we have in front of us here, and why we're taking this method to fix it. I have so much respect for him and his team here, and I'm sure everyone will agree that he's just a top guy all round.

That about covers all the important stuff, so if you've got any questions just let me know."

As you can see, I wholeheartedly support the project and would recommend it to anyone with an adventurous spirit and a love for elephants. In terms of the rating I gave for safety whilst on the project (I gave eight out of ten) it purely comes down to remaining aware of your surroundings and having some common sense. I was thinking about giving it 10 out of 10, but I don't want people getting the wrong idea - you can and will get hurt if you do not pay attention to the advice of those looking after you. But if you keep your wits about you, you shouldn't have any cause for concern.

It truly is an amazing experience

What would you improve about this program?
Yes, one thing. I want to be able to take the elephants home with me. That is all I would change.
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Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

There are so many words to describe the amazing adventure, which has now inspired me to undertake more voluntary work and in the future become a teacher and live in Africa. Aloysius was there to meet me and instantly I had a smile on my face as I travelled to the hostel, peering out of the car window at the women carrying huge buckets of water on their heads and the Tro-tro mates (local buses) shouting their destinations. Accra seemed a very busy and up-beat city.

Mr Quaynor (Uncle) was waiting for me and I knew that I would love living here. Mrs Quaynor (Auntie) is the cutest lady I know and basically became my Ghanaian mum, she was willing to do anything for me and would cook the most delicious food; her Yam chips are the best!!!

The volunteers all live in the main house building and by the end of my placement I became part of the family and even helped Uncle and Auntie with the business, just by answering the phone, taking bookings and welcoming new arrivals to the hostel. I spent my 3 months living with Alison, Anthony and Tom (all volunteers) and really became a family unit, we all saw each other as brothers and sisters and I think my experience wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t there.

The thing that really struck me was how friendly everyone was, so when you read or hear about Ghanaian people being the friendliest of all Africans, it is definatly true. I instantly fell in love with the children who are all so beautiful and very very inquisitive! I taught all classes which ranged from nursery (age 2) to Form 2(ages 15-16) mainly music with a little bit of English and RE. All the children were very well mannered they called me Madame Lucy and especially loved the music lessons.

I have learnt so much from my voluntary work in Ghana; the most precious thing that will stay with me was the love and kind hospitality that was given to me from everyone I met. And even though they have very little they still cared dearly and made me feel so welcome into their lives. Living in Ghana has given me a love of Africa and has inspired me to travel further to widen my experiences and knowledge.

I would encourage everyone to visit Ghana and to undertake some type of voluntary work, it is such a rewarding experience and my time in Ghana was the best three months I could have asked for, now I can’t stop travelling."

What would you improve about this program?
The cost was reasonable however there lots of extra costs such as visas, day trips etc.
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Bill
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my second visit volunteering with the elephants, and it was as unbelieveable as the first. From the moment that I was collected from the airport I became part of the family. So much so that the other two volunteers and myself, were invited to Niranjala's (the organiser) house for the Sunday. Here she provided food for us all day, and I was honoured to see a Sri Lankan house other than from a distance.
This time, at the orphanage, there were two baby elephants. Both about 8 months old, and the experience of actually being able to react with them was beyond belief.
Most of the staff at the orphanage remembered me from last year, and greeted me like an old friend, and could not do enough for me.
In addition, all the Travellers staff, without exception, made me feel like part of the family.
My last day with the elephants, was my 68th birthday, and we all went out for a meal and had a wonderful time. I am going back again next year!

What would you improve about this program?
To stay for longer!!