Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

Program Reviews

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Ollie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience

I spent nearly 11 weeks with AV on the beautiful southern coast of Kenya. What an experience it was. I highly recommend AV.
If you're looking for full cultural immersion on your gap year, here is your answer. Within the first fortnight, we had already attended weddings, supported the local football team, gone to the local market, got rustic (!) haircuts and started teaching at our placement schools.
It was the first time that I had been away from home for an extended period of time, as well as living with a group of individuals my age. This brought many challenges as well as rewards and is all part of the experience. I formed relationships that I will treasure for a long time, both with my housemates as well as our hosts.
I also witnessed that there is a direct correlation between the effort you put in and the amount you get out. I was committed to the school and wanted to make a difference, which was obviously immensely appreciated by our hosts. Getting to know the kids and teachers takes time but is so rewarding. Putting effort into your lessons and into the community really pays off.
I had to leave early on account of increasing Covid-19 restrictions but I will be back!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
- Go for as long as possible
- Give it your all
- Try Swahili (the locals seriously appreciate effort)
- Take some time every now and then to watch the waves on your own. It is the best form of relaxation therapy :)
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Alexander
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Review on my AV trip to Kenya

I spent 4 weeks in Kenya with AV and it is suffice to say that it was the best time of my life. I made friends for life - not only with the other AVs I was living with but with the locals who I still talk to almost on a daily basis. AV really looked after us whilst we were there, providing necessities such as information, knowledge and electric fans. The staff both in Britain and Kenya were both kind and supportive, our guide Khalfan even missed his prayers at the mosque in order to get me to the hospital.

Although the experience can be expensive for some, the value for money you get is superb, especially as it costs less than other gap year firms.
Teaching is both challenging and rewarding, I miss the teachers and children at Vingujini Primary School and I can't wait to go back. If you want to be both challenged and rewarded, AV is the company for you.

I am very thankful to AV for all the fun, challenges and personal development they have gifted me with. My advice - If you don't have many commitments in the UK go for much longer than 4 weeks, you won't want to leave Kenya.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not go for less than 1 month. This is because it takes you about 3 weeks to get into the rhythm of living in Kenya, you won't want to leave.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Kenya 2020

In the lead up to my Kenya trip AV was extremely helpful with the information they provided me with from a full run down of where we were staying, tips on teaching and lesson planning and also flight recommendations. I was also able to get in contact with AV representatives out in Kenya to ask any further questions before my departure. On arriving in Ukunda the induction is at a level beat chalet on Diani beach which is a great way to allow you to connect with your fellow AVs and get to know each other better. The house provided is pretty basic but has everything you need throughout your trip. The locals are some of the loveliest people I have ever met and so helpful.
The teaching in the local schools is such an eye opener, the teachers were extremely open and welcoming of us AVs. We would often be invited around for dinners and lunches after school to socialise with them and their families. The trip in general really helper me become more appreciative of what I have and more independent and open minded which I believe has set me up greatly for university and the next chapter in my life.
My highlight of the trip has to inevitably helping and playing with the children and just seeing the smiles on there faces which made everything worth while. Overall I would 100% recommend AV as a gap year programme and advise you not to miss this life changing oppurtunity.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't feel as though there is anything AV could of improved on. The programme itself is extremely well set up and AV offer a huge amount of support through out your travels.
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Rupert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable experience

I spent 3 months with a Lepcha family. To this day it is one of the most special experiences and times of my life - something I shall never forget.
I had the opportunity to live a lifestyle very different to mine at home in the UK, which I relished.
Living on one side of a terraced valley, I taught English to the children of the village. They, along with my host family, and other members of the village were incredibly kind and welcoming. I felt right at home there and often engaged in local events and activities.
I enjoyed the more simple way of life here, rising and sleeping with the rhythm of the sun, eating deliciousness food cooked on wood fires, and an hour’s walk to the closest market town.
The Lepchas are an amazing people, the lower hills of the Indian Himalayas are so beautiful, and the volunteering is extremely rewarding.
It was a great adventure, off the beaten path and I could not recommend more highly.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Not totally unfamiliar, but get used to eating chillies even for breakfast. I remember one instance very clearly, where the only thing to cool me down was water that had been freshly boiled and still hot!
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Helen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Kenya 2019

I just recently returned from my 7 week trip to Kenya where our group of 9 volunteers lived in Msambweni. AV was originally recommended by my School and I'm so grateful I discovered the company through them.
The trip was fantastic, the teaching was beneficial for myself and for the children I taught I believe. I could really see a difference in the standard of maths in particular for my standard 4 class which was fantastic. In addition, I also taught Science and PE. The staff at the school were also very friendly and helpful.
The village itself was extremely safe and everything we needed - including a small market, small restaurant and the beach were all within a short walk. The house we got to stay in was also very nice and it was amazing and always fun to stay with what had become such a close group of people that I can now call friends.
The weekends were also amazing for breaking up the school term with activities such as staying at a hostel and an airbnb in Diani, the more touristic area 40 minutes drive away should anyone feel like a more western meal or western ingredients from a larger super market. The Safari trip we went on in Half term through some of Kenya's largest National Parks was also an irreplaceable experience.
All of this was made possible by AV and their help when it came to questions, recommendations for safari companies and hostels, and also a guide next door in the village itself to help with local issues. The company could not have been more helpful.
Thank you again for the experience, the only thing I would change is I wish I could've been out there for longer had I not had commitments to return to at home.

What would you improve about this program?
More opportunity to branch out into construction/painting and more physical endeavours. 1 more fan in the house would be a lovely luxury as well.
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Harry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

My AV experience in Tanzania was a life-changing one and has had a huge influence in where I am today and how I got here.

The crazy and wonderful experiences of travelling through, some of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer, making new lifetime friends (AVs and Tanzanians), swimming the beautiful Indian Ocean, safariing in the likes of the Maasai Mara and climbing Kilimanjaro were all adventure that will live with me forever.

It is hard to believe that AV can give you an opportunity to do something even more special than all of those adventures put together… but it does. Living amongst a local Maasai community in the foothills of Mount Kili and being given the trust and responsibility to teach their wonderful children (aged 8-9f or me) is just that. The emotions, the sounds, the laughter, the bonds, and the chaos were the biggest adventure of all. I think of my pupils often, and cannot thank AV enough for giving me this opportunity.

AV provided a week long training bootcamp at the start to prepare us (Swahili classes were… interesting) and were close by if called upon (not that we needed it). Not only this, but they helped us to invest in the schools in which we worked (i.e. building a new classroom, buying supplies, painting walls). I couldn’t recommend the company more if you want this incredible experience to take with you through life.

Last year, I quit my corporate job in the UK in search of a new adventure and now find myself working for a technology start up in Toronto. I doubt I would have had the confidence to make such a life-changing decision if I hadn’t taken the amazing opportunity given to me by AV.

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Robert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AV - Uganda

Uganda is the most amazing place I've ever been. The country is beautiful, and the people are really very special. The AV package allowed me to get a really full experience of these things in a relatively short space of time. The set-up allowed me the freedom to tailor my volunteering experience to suit my own interests and feel fully immersed in village life, whilst still feeling fully supported. The free travel period at the end was a highlight, seeing some of the wonders of East Africa, whilst again feeling very supported. This is a fairly unique and very positive thing about AV.
I think AV's ethos about gap year volunteering is really positive and also realistic. As a young, inexperienced person volunteering in a third world country, you cannot change the world, but you can still have a very small and positive impact on a few people, whilst having an enormously valuable experience yourself.
My four months with AV were some of the best of my life, I can thoroughly recommend them!

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Toby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Kenya 2016

Volunteering in Kenya over the summer of 2016 was a truly amazing experience. AV were incredibly well organised in preparing the volunteers for what to expect and what to bring. I got to meet and great people from across the globe and the local community were very friendly and welcoming. The UK and Kenya office were very friendly and efficient, making the whole experience simple for the volunteers, in addition to keeping families at home updated with our progress. The projects at Milalani Primary School were incredibly rewarding, as was working with the community. The additional activities available were amazing, with the group going to Shimba Hills safari park, scuba diving in Shimoni Marine national park and sky diving on Diani beach. I can not speak highly enough of our guide Charles. He knew how to get the most out of us and made sure we had as great an experience as possible. The more you put into this fantastic experience, the more you get out.

What would you improve about this program?
I can not recommend this company or project high enough. It was an incredible experience. The additional activities to the volunteering work we did were mentioned on the website, but they could be advertised slightly better as there are so many excellent things on offer in the area. Once we had decided however, our guide Charles made organising them incredibly easy.
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Wilf
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Malawi

Malawi is a beautiful country with the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. AV were brilliant in giving basic language skills, teaching training and essential information on the culture differences for example how to get about, safety and general welfare.
I learnt so much whilst living and teaching there, and loved with working with the children, who are as resourceful as they are keen to learn!
The whole experience was instrumental in helping me decide what I wanted to do with my life, and in giving me perspective and opening my eyes. Thankyou AV!

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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

India with the Lepcha community

I had the most wonderful experience living and working with the Lepcha community in a remote village outside Kalingpong in the Himalayas. I would recommend it to anyone.

I made some of my best friends and had experiences I could never have had anywhere else. Being amerced into a community and living with a family is a very special way experience another culture. I loved the teaching and also getting involved in all elements of village life.