Love Volunteers

Program Reviews

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Marco
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The project was far beyond what I had expected. During my medical internship programme, I spent three weeks in the department of cardiology of Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital, Bangkok. On the first day I received a thorough schedule of what I was going to see and learn in the next weeks. The best part was the team: they gave me a kind and hearty welcome and everyone was very nice and willing to share with me everything they could about both cardiology and Thai culture. The clinical part of the internship was in English and, as I don't come from an English speaking country, I had to get familiar with a different terminology, which was challenging for the first few days, but at the same time it was most useful thing I got from this internship for my future medical career and it was what I am most thankful for.

Living in such a wonderful and different city like Bangkok is truly a life changing experience. I enthusiastically welcomed every peculiarity of the city and Thai culture, which is often curious. I needed a great open mindness to live this experience, but since diversity and uniqueness are two of the thing I love the most, it wasn't difficult for Bangkok and Thai culture to find a place among my best and beloved memories.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The medical internship programme is a very enriching one. It requires a strong will to learn and doing it abroad needs a great spirit of adaptation. You are just requested to be punctual, respectful and flexible, as hours can change depending on doctors' shifts and scheduled events, but you'll be included so fast in the team that it's very easy to be at your ease.
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Louise
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If I must to describe in one word my trip and my experience, I would say: amazing
Indeed, it was for me one of my best experience of my life from any point of view like humanly, emotionally, professionally, or culturally ...
I left Albania with only positive memories and the wish to come back again in this beautiful country with beautiful people (Albania).
Before to arrive in Albania, I knew nothing about this country and it was a real discovery (language, weather, landscapes, culture, the way of life ...), and I fell in love with this country. Albanians are so welcoming, and I felt quickly like at home. I think that more people should go in Albania and discover the beauty of this country, which is suffering from a not good reputation. This is a safe country and I never had problem when I was outside, even during the night. Finally, despite the precariousness of some cities, it rests a beautiful green land with mountains, sun and colorful cities!
My project into the center in Cërrik with children was incredible for me. Since the first day children were welcoming and very nice with me. They became fo me like my "little family" in Albania, they were attentive and especially voluntary in all organized activities, so it was a real pleasure to work with them and also very difficult to leave them after one month...
Staff which was working with me, was just very nice and welcoming with me! Staff welcomed me as if I had been with them for a long time, and girls who worked with take me as a colleague but also as a friend and I think all together we did a good job

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My only tips for the future volunteer is: don't be afraid to start one of this experience that will only be incredible and that you will never do regret
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Kaveri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Ghana to volunteer with children sounded like the best idea when presented to me by my friend and travel companion Bailey. Little did know how much the experience would fill my heart! The beauty of the Ghanaian culture and people were like no other. I felt safe, welcomed and very well taken care of at all times. The kindness and warmth in each one of their hearts was pretty extraordinary, unlike some other countries I have visited. The affection, smiles and laughter from the children I worked with will be in my thoughts and heart forever. The Love Volunteer staff members were so helpful in creating a smooth process from start to finish with regular check ins, and always being available to assist. I have already recommended this experience to family and friends and would love to go to Ghana!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How quickly you can adapt to a different culture and grow so extremely close to the children.
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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I could write about my experience in Cusco for days. I spent exactly 12 weeks from March to May of 2018 in the beautiful city I grew to call home. I began my stay working with disabilities and special needs, but soon discovered that volunteering in an animal shelter was a better fit for me after seeing so many stray dogs on the streets and knowing I had to help in any way I could. I can't even describe the feeling of waking up each morning with such a sense of purpose and love for what I was doing. Dogs are looked at as a means of protection for the household and nothing more. They are often mistreated, thrown out on the streets, sold on the black market, and even killed. The owner of the shelter was incredible - I have never seen such passion for animal rights and she taught me so much. At the shelter we took care of some of the animals that had been rescued every day by cleaning up after them, feeding them, and spending time with them and on the weekends we often did spay and neuter campaigns with local veterinarians. I even adopted two street dogs from the shelter myself - two sisters named Patricia and Bonnie. I was with Patricia for her surgery (spay) my second day at the shelter and was appalled at what I saw. The anesthesia is just awful there and she woke up three times during it. After that, I took care of her in her recovery and we bonded immediately. Three weeks after I arrived in the US she came home and five months later her sister joined us!

My host family was incredible and consisted of a mom and dad. I still consider them family. Because they didn't speak any English, my Spanish skills increased ten fold. It's a myth that people in Cusco speak English, so definitely practice your Spanish before hand! I was able to take Spanish classes at a local language center for two weeks which helped a lot.

Life in Cusco was so easy. Public transportation is only 80 cents by bus or you can catch a cab for around 5-6 soles (4 soles only for locals). The rain was constant my first month there, but soon it became dry season and the sun was out every day, however the cold was still a shock to my system as a fourth generation Floridian; the heat is definitely in my blood! My first two weeks I was alone since there were no other volunteers at the time. As awful as it was in the beginning I am so grateful for it now because it made me get out of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in the culture. The locals are definitely hustlers. You will have prices increased as a foreigner, but you can bargain with them - definitely stand your ground! On the whole, things were incredibly cheap with the exchange rate. We had a volunteer dinner every week which was a great way to get to know new people coming in (at max there were eight of us total). I could go to dinner with two other people and get two appetizers, three meals, dessert, and drinks for around $60. This also made extra traveling much easier in terms of price. I felt safe even late at night and usually walked home (about 45 min) if I was coming from the Plaza at night with no problems at all.

Every weekend I took a tour and I took off one week of volunteering to travel. From spending a weekend in Quillabamba, seeing Sacsaywaman, Puka Pukara, Qenko, Tambomachay and Qoricancha, Easter at the church of San Francisco, hiking Rainbow Mountain at 17,000 ft, white water rafting the Urubama, getting two new tattoos, taking an airplane over the Nazca lines, riding a dune buggy through the sand dunes of Huacachina, visiting a monestary in Arequipa, discovering Lake Titicaca in Puno and on Taquile Island, to seeing the incredible Machu Picchu, my tirp was nothing short of spectacular. Being in a place of such history and culture was like stepping into a book.

I learned so much about myself and really learned to take every chance that comes my way so I can look back on my life and say I truly lived it through both traveling and helping those in need. I have gained everything from my time in Peru and have made friends from all over the world that will last a lifetime (I am going to Jordan with one of them this coming July!). If you're even considering going to volunteer in Cusco, DO IT. You will not regret it. Love Volunteers was there every step of the way. They answered my emails so quickly and were checking up on me constantly. As a smaller volunteer organization, I feel they really created an authentic experience! I am forever grateful to them!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing would be for volunteers to know who is picking them up at the airport. I wasn't sure who I was meeting on arrival and even though the driver had my name on a board, I wish I had known his name just to double check for safety since it was my first time in another country by myself. Other than that everything was great!
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Rachel,
What an inspiring and motivating review! Thank-you so much; not only for taking the time to recount your amazing experiences in Cusco to encourage and assist future volunteers - but most importantly for your incredible contribution to the animal shelter, including providing a permanent home for Patricia and Bonnie!
Placing volunteers like you is what it's all about and we love that you took challenges in your stride, embraced the culture, language and opportunities available and made the absolute most of your time in Peru.
Thanks again and please do join us again if you get the chance :-) Enjoy your new family members and all the very best for your future adventures.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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Ahmed
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I don’t know where to start from. But in a nutshell, this was the best experience and the best month i’ve ever had in my entire life.
I arrived to Cherkasy on December the first, it was snowing. Too cold and new people, new language, however, i felt home in a very short period. The people here are great and friendly. The local staff in the orphanages are friendly and respectful as well. My coordinator Alexander was absolutely helpful and made it really easy for me to accomplish my volunteering work.
About the kids, nothing can describe how lovely they are, they are so amazing, they participate in every activity i prepare and made me feel really happy. I brought tears to my eye in my last day, whey came and asked me not to cry :(
Also they ask me to come back and made my promise to do so, and i will visit one day.

This month had changes my life, i realised how simple things can do for these kids.
Thanks for every one in Cherkasy, thanks Alexander and thanks Love Volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
Can’t think of anything really, all the program and the local team are really helpful and supportive. Also the kids are happy to participate. So all depends on the volunteers
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Ahmed,
You are most welcome! Placing volunteers like you where they are needed the most is what we are all about.
Thank-you for offering so much to the children and we too hope that you can return one day and see how they have grown and how their English is coming along thanks to the dedicated volunteers who will follow in your footsteps.
We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience to encourage and inform others and we wish you all the very best for the future.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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emanuela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

General Impression
After a long and patient research on the net about volunteering organizations around the world I chose Love Volunteers because of the genuine, altruistic and confidence-building vision they were able to transmit to me.

Very useful and understandable pre-departure information and helpful tips from Love Volunteers.
Informative and detailed three days induction program at their partner organization in Nepal.
Uninterrupted and devoted help and support from both LV and their partner throughout my whole volunteering adventure.

Impression about the country
Nepal is an engaging country with a fascinating collection of magic landscapes. Its people belonging to many different ethnos are warm and welcoming. I experienced it as a very «spiritual» country, very proud of, and anchored in its profound values, and at the same time equipped with an enviable humility, openness, tolerence and acceptance for different views of life, ways of thinking, religious and not religious beliefs. This «spirituality» I could sense and see just strolling in the streets invited me to take a deeper walk into myself and reflect about my way of thinking and perceive the world. Day after day I felt encouraged to become more open to the new and the unknown, to work with my prejudices and to become more curious about life, people and all resources and possibilities which I was able to grasp through unpartial observation and dedicated receptiveness. The country is beautiful, its people is charming and the handmade clothes, jewels and food are definitly delightful ... BUT what I really liked most and nourished me in an enriching and instructive way was its nonmaterial dimension, the trust and the broad-mindedness of its people and their contentedness and generosity even in situations of material poverty. YES many people in Nepal need better living conditions and a better economy. We who live in richer countries CAN IN FACT HELP THEM WITH THAT, IF WE JUST DARE IT. It is a very healthy exercise for us -who are bathing daily in material abundance- to become more detached from «things» and to win a more sober relation to material objects. We discover very quickly that we actually don’t need so much of all this stuff, and it turns out very soon that it is much more fulfilling to learn to enjoy it moderatly and more consciously. It is sharing which gives us the biggest joy. We are just able to prosper if we learn to share prosperity. In Nepal, through sharing and giving I gained lightness in my mind and more happiness in my heart. Now in Norway I feel more free and real, and happy.
It was a therapeutic material weight loss!

Project and staff
I chose undoubtedly the right project for me this time «Women’s empowerment». Thank you very much for having it on your list! I wished to do field work, research, interviews with women (people) in their daily surroundings and to meet an authentic and natural reality. I wasn’t disappointed. On the contrary… I hadn’t particular expectations, but I feel I got more then I ever could have imagined… This project gave me the chance to challange myself and my limits, to meet very different people who contributed to my growth, to expand my knowledge and to open my mind, my heart and my ears in an innovative way: I learnt «to listen» in a more genuine and sensible way. This is a BIG DEAL for someone like me who is very fond of «talking». I still like to talk, but I became more conscious about it and I do know now much better how good it does and what a source of knowledge it is, to «hear and listen».

All the people I was/am in contact with, I met and I worked with, both at Love Volunteers and their partner were helpful, cooperative, committed and prepared to support me in the best and more satisfying way through my whole volunteering experience from the day of my application to this day. THANK YOU. I would choose Love Volunteers again, without adventuring into new internet researches next time I will embark on a new volunteering project.

Tips for other volunteers
I don’t like really to give tips to others about travelling or other matters in life and don’t rely so easily on tips from others because I believe that we are all individuals and have a unique way to experience and live our own life and our adventures. I also believe that every single human being has the right to choose and try things and experiences out of her/his own needs and convictions without mediations from others. I also believe that it is constructive and empowering to find the courage and inspiration inside you and in your deepest self because this will give you more tenacity, power, joy and success in the end. But if you really wish a tip from me… Well: Don’t miss volunteering in your life. It is the most effective career training you can get on earth.
Love from Emanuela.

What would you improve about this program?
I think continuity and reliability in the program are decisive cardinal points both for survival and success of the program. The involved women should be provided constantly with them!
Otherwise it would be very unfair and distressing for the women's community if the program would suddenly stop and if the activities and running classes will be interrupted because of lack of volunteers… The women will feel that we didn’t take our mission and their needs seriously enough and will loose trust in us, in the program and our mandate. To interrupt the work from one day to another would in addition have unpleasent effect on the motivation and self-confidence which our beneficiaries just began to build up during the first training’s weeks and would have undesiderable effects on the quality and strenght of their learning, involvement and enthusiasm.
We are working with human beings who live in difficult and vulnerable conditions and who most of all need more stability and constancy in everyday life.
It is crucial to aim constantly at clear objectives which can be achieved through progressive and constant implementation of both human resources (volunteers with their knowledge and skills) and economical investment.
More accurate and detailed information is necessary, so that we volunteers will be able to answer the questions when the community women ask them (and not let them wait some hours or a whole/more day/s for a reliable answer). More explicit information would be vey useful for us volunteers to see and understand better the work prosess in which we are involved, so that we can contribute in a more constructive and confident way.
I also feel and think it is right, that the program has to provide enough money for the purchase of materials, instruments and equipment needed, in order to support the target group during the training time and after training, and promoting the women’s skills and marketing the products they manufacture. The volunteering organization shouldn't save on books neither!
Books ARE IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY in order to democratize teaching and knowledge, so that the women learn/know knowledge and learning are not the program’s or volunteers’ monopoly, bounded/limited to interaction between them and the volunteers who come and go … KNOWLEDGE can come into life in a similar dynamic way through the direct interaction of their own motivation, talents, aptitudes and capabilities with accessible sources and instruments of knowledge, like f. ex. books. For the illiterate women would books displaying a consistent number of pictures be very useful to approach language or other issues in a quicker, easier and more effective and sensible way.
I would like to see very soon that the program implements more resources to the DIRECT benefict of the women we are assisting. Help needs to become operational in practice, so I would like to see that «money» is primarily used to offer concrete and effective help and support to our target groups, in order to underline and enphatize their dignity and human rights, and motivate them to further constructive and more autonomous action.
If we go this way, then I feel we are going some steps in the direction towards authentic and sustainable empowerment.
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Emanuela,
What an absolute pleasure it has been to work with you in arranging this placement. Thank-you for taking the time to share your incredible experience and encourage and assist others.
Your commitment, enthusiasm and passion are infectious and made such a positive impact on the Women's Empowerment program in Nepal.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the women could be provided with sufficient books and other resources!
As an aside, we don't include a large donation of money in our program fees as we prefer this to be at the discretion of each volunteer once they are familiar with the program. Instead we focus on enabling volunteers to contribute their time and experience and believe that each volunteer is better able to judge what they can contribute in each situation.
We wish you all the very best for your future endeavours and truly hope that you will be able to join us again in the future.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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Dil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing amazing experience!!!

Although it was not what I expected no program is ever what you expect. But what I will say is this program exceeded my expectations!!

Not only was the local organization super helpful and amazing, every person I met left me with an amazing personal connection and great memories. The program was incredible and I learned so much about Moroccan culture and had an amazing experience with my host family as well. As someone who has never really travelled before, I am amazed at the experience I've had here. The culture, the people and everything else is something I will take away with me for life.

Response from Love Volunteers

Hi Dil,
Thanks for this great feedback on our Journalism Internship program in Rabat, Morocco. It's fantastic that you had such a great first experience travelling and volunteering! Your comments are a wonderful encouragement to future volunteers.
Thanks for being an amazing Love Volunteer, we hope you join us again in the future.
The team @ Love Volunteers

Dil
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I partook in a four week program working for Morocco World News in Rabat as a journalism intern.

Let me just start by saying, it is evident no program is going to be exactly what you expect before you arrive and this was no different. I did have a different idea of what it would be but in saying that that does NOT mean the experience I did have was bad!

Although different than expected, the entire program was fantastic! Ali, the project manager who worked and corresponded with Love Volunteers to create the program was not only super helpful and responded but he was very nice and always took the time to make sure our needs were met and we were not only safe but happy with everything going on.

Everyone I met at the office was amazing as well and really taught me a lot in terms of skills, experiences and office management as I worked with them for four weeks.

The personal connections I made with other interns and my roommates are friendships I will have for a lifetime and this experience here in Morocco will be as well! This was fully and wholeheartedly an amazing experience that I enjoyed to the fullest with a variety of weekend trips that really allowed me to travel and discover a wonderful new country.

Big thank yous to everyone all around; Love Volunteers and their partner, my host family, and all of Morocco for the best trip ever :)

Diil

Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Dil,
Many thanks for this great review of our Journalism Internship in Rabat. It was fantastic to receive your feedback throughout the program and to hear how well you were getting on with everyone and the enthusiasm you applied to the program.
It's wonderful that you were able to gain skills and experiences whilst giving of your time and effort to help the local staff. They really appreciated having you there!
Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed your time exploring marrakech and the desert before returning home :-)
All the very best with everything your future holds and we hope to have you back with us again.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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Mikela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a medical volunteer in Fewa City Hospital in Pokhara, Nepal.
I am a pre-med graduate from Denmark meaning that I had no previous hands-on experience.
But I still got to observe, participate and help so many people. It was wonderful, challenging, educational and eye-opening. I learned so much about medicine, medicine in a Third World country and the Nepali culture. Words cannot describe how much I learned and developed, I enjoyed this so much. But it should be noted that this particular volunteering program is not for those who are afraid to ask questions and take initiative. Your learning and participation is your own responsibility. Noone will be there to hold your hand and explain everything to you. You must ask questions, study at home to understand the cases better, engage yourself and put in the time. The more you give, the more you get!

What would you improve about this program?
I have no complaints.
Response from Love Volunteers

Hi Mikela,
We can't overstate how appreciative we are of your contribution to this program. Your endless enthusiasm and commitment were so apparent from your wonderful emails and you were to achieve so very much!
Thanks for posting this review and for the valuable advice. It's so completely true that you get out what you put in!
All the very best for the future and we look forward to having you with us again :-)
The [email protected]

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Kerry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose to volunteer with Love Volunteers & their partner's Education Program teaching English in Luang Prabang, Laos for a few reasons. I wanted to meet the children of Laos and help them obtain a universal tool that could help them reach further in their lives. I also felt that it would be a great fit for me because I am currently studying in the field of Education. I wanted to experience a rich culture far from my own and make a difference there. I got all of that and more out of my experience and impact while volunteering. Did I mention that this was my 1st time teaching and my 1st time volunteering? I have to say that it couldn’t have been a better 1st-time experience! The smiles on the students faces when they learned new words, meanings, and pronunciations from our classes were amazing. The energy they displayed and the connection I was able to make with them touched my heart and confirmed that I had chosen the right volunteer program. I felt like part of the family immediately. Everyone was so incredibly supportive, great partners in the classroom, and helped me obtain some teaching skills to take back home! When my time was up in Luang Prabang, the hardest thing was saying goodbye to all of my students...and I quickly started thinking of when I would be able to come back and see them! I also was sad to leave the delicious Laotian food, beautiful scenery and people...I never passed a frowning face on the street during my time there. Shortly after returning home in Chicago, IL, I was hired as an educator at The Ogden International School of Chicago and I think my time teaching had a hand in that achievement. I can not wait to go back to Luang Prabang!

What would you improve about this program?
This program can be improved with more volunteers :-)
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Kerry,
Thanks so much for this fantastic review of our wonderful program in Laos! It's hugely helpful for other volunteers, who may also be volunteering and teaching for the first time, to see how rewarding the experience can be.
We are so pleased that you felt at home and plan to return to Luang Prabang :-)
Congratulations on your position at Ogden and we wish you all the very best for your future endeavours.
The [email protected]