United Planet

Program Reviews

Default avatar
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
Default avatar
Tashi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 2 weeks living in Cuzco, Peru and volunteering at a nearby dental clinic. Overall, it was an amazing time, I especially loved the city and all of the cool places to visit. My experience at the clinic was great as well, the dentists and staff were all very welcoming and kind, and I never felt uncomfortable. The staff at the Spanish school did a very good job at introducing us to the project, and giving us a thorough orientation about everything we needed to know about living in Cuzco and getting to our workplace. Also, if you go to Cuzco in the winter, just be aware that it is very cold, especially at night it gets absolutely freezing, so be sure to bring lots of warm clothes. As far as safety goes, I would say that you don't have much to be worried about, as it is very touristy in most places. However, at night on the weekends, I maybe wouldn't stray to far from the main areas without other people, just to be sure.

Portimão, Portugal
Joyce
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time in Changsha, China! Living with the local people was very enriching, because it was different from where I live. I've learned lots of things in those three weeks. Not only how to teach or stand in front of a class of minimum fifty children. I also learned about the Chinese culture, the local (spicy) food and of course the beautiful (but oh so difficult) language. The Chinese education system is different from the one in Belgium. I think experiencing those differences was very interesting. In other words, I got the chance and opportunity to see life from another perspective. An unforgettable experience!

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes I felt lonely. Maybe an extra volunteer would've made the Quest more interesting for me. I was the only volunteer at the school, so I didn't really have someone to share my experiences with.
Default avatar
Jodie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Prior to my departure, the United Planet (UP) staff helped me tremendously to make sure my time in Ghana would go smoothly. While in Ghana, I worked at Volta Regional Hospital where I met ( and still keep in contact with) the incredible staff. Everyone there was so welcoming, it truly felt like home. After spending 8 weeks in the Emergency Ward, it pained me so much to leave. I learned how to dress wounds, take vitals, set IV lines and so much more. As I left the hospital, saying goodbye to Auntie Mercy (my host family) was extremely tough. I experienced so much while during my stay at her house. I was fortunate enough to witness a traditional wedding and engagement. Our excursions included going to the waterfalls and monkey sanctuary. I truly can't wait to go back to Ghana! Even though I have my family in the USA, I also have a family in Ghana.

What would you improve about this program?
This is such a cliche but I truly don't know how this program can improve. It was life changing and I have nothing negative to say about my experience while in Ghana.
Claudia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I completed my TEFL course at Samui TEFL in March 2014. It was one of the most interesting courses I have done as Katherine keeps you engaged at all times and makes sure you really understand your work. The hands on experience with Thai children is really beneficial as you would not get that experience with an online course and it gives you a taste of what being an ESL teacher is all about. I was 18-years-old when I did the course and I did not struggle to find a great job as Katherine and Rosanne helped me through the entire process and they are great support. I wish I could go back and redo the course as I enjoyed it way more than any college courses I've ever completed.

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

Finland to me, was so much more than an opportunity to learn more about another country. I fell in love with the culture. The honest and truly caring and compassionate qualities of those who I interacted with. Not only those in my program who were fellow volunteers but my coworkers at placement to the local volunteer office and to my host family. I am still in contact with everyone even though it's been 3 years since my return. I was living in Helsinki and I never felt unsafe or threatened in the city walking around. The public transportation is very easy to navigate. I miss that city so much, and plan on living there again in the future. I personally was volunteering at a farm located just outside of the city but all my friends and fellow volunteers seemed happy with their placements! Many different opportunities to explore as a volunteer!

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

I was posted in Pisac, Peru at Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. I had volunteered at a veterinary clinic at home in Houston, but I had no idea how to care for exotic animals. Thankfully, the staff were incredibly nice and showed me how to do everything. I already was fluent in Spanish coming into the program, but while I was in Peru I was able to solidify my language skills through complete immersion. I stayed with a host family in Cusco, who made me traditional Peruvian dishes. On the way home from work, I would often tour the city and try to eat new things or bargain with street vendors. I am so thankful that I did this program because it encouraged me to be independent and create my own sense of identity.

What would you improve about this program?
more in-country activities
Response from United Planet

Lorraine, thank you for your feedback! We're so glad to hear that you had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Peruvian culture, improve your Spanish language skills, and learn about yourself in the process. We would love for you to stay involved with United Planet in the future!

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

Volunteering with United Planet and ICYE-Denmark was hands down one of the best experiences I've been a part of. From the beginning with Pre-Departure Training United Planet made sure I was prepared for every possible scenario and answered all of my (many) questions. Even after I had departed for my year long quest United Planet was there to lend support, with Meggie (the long term coordinator) checking in each month to see how I was doing. Also, the ICYE-Denmark team did an amazing job of making sure their volunteers were safe and taken care of; every three months we had mandatory weekend check-ins in Odense where the Danish ICYE-volunteers would gather the exchangees and help them through different things like conflict management, every day struggles, homesickness, culture shock, etc. At first I was hesitant about going to Denmark because it wasn't my first choice country but ultimately I'm glad I went because it turned out to be the right country and the right experience. I had the opportunity to volunteering as an English teaching assistant in a Christian school in Copenhagen. From the moment I arrived at the school I was embraced with open arms and treated like part of the community. I was given the chance to be a part of almost all of the English classes for grade 3 through 9 and was part of the after school program with the younger children. As someone who hopes to have a long career in teaching English, it was amazing to be a part of this small school and to experience first hand what the education system was like in other countries.

In addition Denmark is such a rich and exciting country that is filled with so much to see and do. Copenhagen has such a rich history to explore and a vibrant culture; there was never a dull moment and simply walking around the city was enough to entertain me. In addition I was given the chance to explore other areas of the country from the abandoned World War 2 bunkers, to the author HC Anderson's house, and I even got to stand at the highest point of the country where two different oceans merge into one!

Overall United Planet and ICYE-Denmark go out of their way to immerse you into Danish culture and give you the full Danish experience during your stay. From a traditional Danish Christmas, to Fastelavn (the Danish version of our Halloween), to every day life and learning the Danish language, I walked away from the end of my program feeling like I truly created another home for myself in Denmark, bonding with a country and making friends that I know I'll stay in touch with.

Response from United Planet

Taylor, we love hearing about your experience in Denmark! It sounds like you were truly immersed in the culture and able to form some incredibly meaningful relationships with those in the community where you served. We appreciate your volunteer service and look forward to you staying involved with United Planet!