Oyster Worldwide

Program Reviews

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MaryLee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was absolutely life changing. I realized exactly what the baboons and vervet monkey took to just survive. The owners , Bob Nd Lynne, I cannot day enough. Even though very demanding ( at times did not think I could make it, but it was so rewarding and I learned strength I never knew I had. The poverty and government are devastating and the fact I felt I made a difference changed my life. I met friends I will keep for life and actually plan on going back next year. If it wasn’t for. Anne Smellie with Oyster I would not have had this experience. Thank you for all.

What would you improve about this program?
At least one day off as volunteers get burned out and then we are not help to anyone much less the monkeys. Changing jobs daily because it becomes monotonous and boring.
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Vikka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The staff were really supportive and interactive. Very hands on, full of practical opportunities and staff that really cared about your experience. I would really recommend this placement to anyone that is contemplating a career in vet meds or as a vet nurse. Opportunities you wouldn’t get anywhere else in my opinion and the social life of the placement is great and you get to know so many different people from across the world and also the local people are fantastic and are very helpful. If i ever have the chance i would like to go back!

What would you improve about this program?
Everything was perfect, I feel that there are no changes that need to apply
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Vic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you have an interest in Bear’s this is one of the most amazing trips you will go on in Romania. You get to meet over 100 bears & work with them. You will also get to meet other animals there as well. You will stay in the beautiful town of Brasov where there is so much sightseeing you can do & so many different places to visit.
It is a very beautiful & amazing place to visit. Oyster worldwide were an amazing company to go with as they support you right from the very moment you book, they can organise your flights as well as lots of other things. They are there for you throughout your trip & support you on your return home. The one thing I would say is just go with an open mind & don’t put any expectations on the trip, just go with & have the most amazing adventure of a lifetime.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Flying there. I am afraid of flying, but I got on the plane on my own & did it.
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Molly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an absolutely remarkable time I had at WFFT in Thailand. It was truly life changing, from the friends I made to the fond love I grew for elephants. Not only was it hands on and physically demanding, the intellectual staff educated us on the laws surrounding animal cruelty and the awful trauma that elephants go through when used for tourism, of which I was ignorant of prior to my trip.

Daily tasks were assigned to us, and we worked with different elephants each day which was really exciting, as all of them are so different. They all have great personalities, from sassy to gentle. The day started at 6.30am, finishing at 5pm with a breakfast and lunch break in between lasting an hour each. Although the work was tough it was so amazing to be surrounded by the beautiful elephants, and it was truly surreal, especially when walking and showering them. We had one day off per week, which was lovely to relax (as it was well needed) and also it gave us a chance to visit the local town or get a taxi out a little further to explore Thailand even more. WFFT also organised evening trips such as evening markets or bat caves for after dinner, which was also lovely.

It was truly so wonderful! The other volunteers were lovely and the staff always were enthusiastic and happy to help. I would recommend this trip to everyone, as it is really worth doing! I came to WFFT mainly for my Gold duke of Edinburgh award, and the staff sign the paperwork for you on site which was super handy. I was also lucky enough to go with my sister, but it would also be a great experience alone, as many other volunteers came alone. You meet people so easily and quickly.

Thank you Georgie from oyster worldwide for guiding me every step of the way. You were amazing and so helpful, a true asset to the oyster worldwide team! Also, thank you WFFT, what an amazing sanctuary, I will be back!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure you bring lots of clothes you are happy to get dirty and potentially leave out there! I would defiantly advise good quality flip flops and sturdy trainers (preferably breathable, as it is super hot)

Also, be careful as the sanctuary is on temple grounds so no crop tops, or short shorts. It’s important to follow the rules, out of respect for the culture.
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Emmanuelle
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Whilst in the hospital, we were in the operational theatre for a couple of days and we got to see many surgeries for example a: C-section, brain surgery, cholecystectomy, fistulotomy, skin graft, ovarian cyst removal.
Whilst being in the physiotherapy department we saw a variety of different patients.For example, we had a patient who had had a stroke 35 years ago, had a car accident 5 years back and a bolt to her head, and also had a diabetic left foot. Do to all of this, she had joint weakness and a very limited range of movement. The physiotherapist then conducted stretches and did chest physiotherapy on the patient.
The organisation of the trips we had (e.g. visiting the palaces, forts and tombs such as the Taj Mahal) was very well thought out - we learnt and visited so much. I especially enjoyed the Monkey Temple we visited during the Golden Triangle Tour, where we got to feed monkeys.

What would you improve about this program?
To improve the organisation of the actual hospital experience. Perhaps choose departments that are slightly busier (e.g. operational theatre, not emergency or gynaecology.), and make more of the staff aware in advance that we are coming.
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Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed my experience with Oyster Worldwide. I'd never booked a volunteering project on my own, so I was grateful at how friendly, welcoming and helpful the team were. They were regularly in contact and redirected me to someone who could help with booking flights when I was struggling to find a good one. I booked for a week at an animal sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Oyster provided airport transfers, which made the whole thing a lot less scary! I'd never been to the country before or travelled alone, so this was very reassuring.

When I arrived at my accommodation, a guide was there to greet me. He had also brought me a welcome meal, which I greatly appreciated as it was really late by the time I'd arrived, meaning there was no time for me to do any shopping. Essentials were provided in the apartment. These included: washing up liquid, toilet roll, hand wash, towels and washing powder. I thought that this was an unexpected but nice touch, as I ideally didn't want to waste money on buying these things if I was only there for a week. The accommodation was really safe, quiet and comfortable. A few other volunteers shared with me, which was nice for the social aspect. I was also given the opportunity to go visit some iconic places whilst I was there, one of which transport was provided by Oyster.

After the weekend, I began my experience at the sanctuary. Oyster arranged for a driver to pick us up and bring us back to the accommodation every day. We started work at 9am and finished around half 2 in the afternoon. One volunteer would be in charge of a phone given to us by the guide, which he used to stay in contact with us whilst we were at the sanctuary. If there was ever a problem, the guide sorted it out immediately.

Whilst I would've liked to spend more time at the sanctuary, what work we did do was rewarding and fun. The sanctuary allowed us to embark on the feeding tour too, which was amazing. We got to see a lot of what the tourists didn't, which felt special and worth every penny. My only regret is that I didn't stay longer!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have stayed for at least 2 weeks. I think that when you go for a week you just start to settle into a routine and then have to leave straight away almost. With 2 weeks, you get to know the animals more, become more efficient at the jobs in the sanctuary, can explore more and have more time to visit the tourist attractions.
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Lily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Had an amazing time! Absolutely loved every minute of my two weeks and wish I was there for longer! Everyone you meet is lovely and all of the other volunteers are fantastic, have made lots of new friends all over the world now.
Was an incredibly rewarding placement and I’d go back in an instant!

This trip is gives a great opportunity for aspiring medics and you can get as practically involved as you like (eg I was taught to take blood samples and bliss pressure, put on bandages and assist with physiotherapy). Your trip is definitely tailored to you and what you feel comfortable with in order to maximise how much fun you have and how much you learn. Whether you want to learn the science of the medicine being practiced or feel brave enough to have a go, everyone is supportive and I could not recommend this trip more to anyone with an interest in healthcare!!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get the size S T-shirt because M is much bigger than expected!!!
And enjoy!!
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Amy
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The highlight of this program for me was my host family. They were so welcoming and incredibly helpful with my Spanish - I still talk with my host mum now and again! The school I was sent to had a very high level of English so even just talking to the students was helpful for their learning. You are a teaching assistant, so will always have a qualified teacher in the room with you, ready to help should you need it. My fellow English teachers were so lovely and invited us to several outings with them which we really enjoyed. Patagonia is all about the outdoors so be prepared for a lot of hiking, although the views and adventures are definitely worth it! Travelling from Coyhaique is easy and there is lots to see, either South or North. Overall, a good program but I would suggest learning a little Spanish before you go as pretty much no-one speaks any English down there!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The one thing I would change would be to put myself out there more. The people of Coyhaique are very friendly and love chatting! If you want to practice your Spanish or just talk to the locals, don't be afraid as they are happy to oblige.
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Suzanne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered at the brown bear sanctuary in Romania for a week in May 2019. The sanctuary is set in an amazing rural location in the mountains and has a welcoming dog brigade. I was impressed with the conditions provided at the sanctuary. My most memorable highlight of the project was observing the pleasure on the bears faces as they enjoyed taking a therapeutic dip in the water.
Most of the volunteer work involves food preparation and it can be monotonous at times but it can also be fun and it is important to the bears since bears need a lot of food.
We were able to observe the bear feeding process on the last day and it was an amazing experience to watch the bears come out of the forest for the food and to see the bears enjoying the food we have prepared.
Brasov is a lovely town in a central location and the standard of accommodation provided by the project was excellent.

What was your funniest moment?
Observing brown bears taking a dip in the water and seeing the pleasure on their faces as they enjoyed the therapeutic effects of the water.
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holly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Yanacocha has captured my heart with both the staff and animals playing a huge role in my experience. The other volunteers are friends I will have for life, 4 weeks living together and working in such a unique and amazing environment bonds you in a way nothing else can. We were given experiences that others can only dream of; releasing a huge boa among other animals back into the amazon rain forest after assisting with its rehabilitation in the park is definitely a highlight. Feeding the animals was always entertaining especially when the monkeys couldn't decide if it was more important for them to get cuddles from the volunteers or eat the fresh fruit we were giving them. You won't be disappointed if you chose to volunteer at this park, I already want to go back.

What would you improve about this program?
When I stayed there we had no hot water for showers although the park owners constantly had repair people out trying to fix the issue