Amizade

Program Reviews

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Emilie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program is simply a must for people who want an intimate learning experience about wartime Poland, and the history of the culture there pre/post WWII. Our site coordinator, Anna, made the experience seamless; everything ran smoothly under her watch. This project is heavier on the learning versus hands on volunteering, but I understood that going into it. The lodging was as I anticipated it to be, and meals were uniformly better than expected. I am thrilled we participated in this, and I feel like the program exceeded my expectations.

What would you improve about this program?
Well done!
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Brad
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime experience that everyone should take advantage of.

Amizade organized an exceptional trip centered around holocaust history and the memory of European Jewish life.
There were no issues with the trip and the itinerary was packed with meaningful learning opportunities.
The guides were experienced and helpful.
The accommodations were excellent.

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Katie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My trip to Poland was an absolutely amazing learning experience. You may think you know about the Holocaust, but actually being where it took place and talking to local members of the community really gives you a brand new perspective and understanding on the atrocities that took place.

Completing service work for the Auschwitz museum included cleaning cauldrons that will later go into a kitchen exhibit, and retagging the baskets the Jews brought with them during deportation later to be confiscated upon arrival to the camp. It was a surreal experience handling such artifacts, and working in the camp is a once in a lifetime experience.

You wont regret this trip!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is more service work. Only one half day was spent doing actual work, while the rest of out service was learning about the community and the history.
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Bill
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Virtually everyone of our hosts for the various events except while at the school were various members of Melissa's family. I was very glad that our concluding speaker had his own agenda and presented a view somewhat at contrast with the rest. Highlights for me were:
1. Eating and sharing at Melissa's 'Mothers'
2. Hearing about the language
3. Sacrificing and later eating the lamb.
4. The "sweat lodge" experience
5. Having time with my teacher's husband during which I learned that they had lost three of their four children.
6. Safety day with the class
7. The concluding lecture by the former member of the tribal council.

What would you improve about this program?
The leader tailored the program to our needs and the availability of hosts. Though no fault of the leader(Melissa), the Principal of the BIE School had obviously not given enough time to selecting teachers. The first assignment my 5th grade science teacher gave me, for example was to make 150 copies of a two-page information sheet to be used the next day.
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Joshua
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a wonderful time on this trip. Much of this was due to the arrangement we had to live in the homes of people who live in Petersfield. There we ate dinner with our host family, shared stories, opinions, and goals, and really formed a bond with each other. I also enjoyed playing tourist meaning going shopping, going to the beach, and going cliff jumping (I only jumped 10 feet but you can jump 85 feet. Be warned, jumping from 85 feet can hurt as it did some of my fellow volunteers) at one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The actual volunteering was much less underwhelming, though it was fun to have direct contact with local kids who we raced with and talked to. We help to run a local sports competition that everyone from the school participated in and we helped clean up a park for a wedding which we were invited to. We always seemed to have more time then things to do (this is part of being in Jamacia. I recommend always have cards or a Frisbee). Overall the trip was amazing I don't regret for an instant going on it for my spring break.

What would you improve about this program?
More formal interaction with local children. Less time allocated to each activity.
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Tess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I can't say enough about the great experience I had with Amizade in Bolivia. The staff did a great job at making sure we were safe and enjoying our work and recreational time as well. It was a great way to start off 2014. There are so many beautiful things about Bolivia. I can't wait to go back and see more of what we didn't have time for! If you have the opportunity, go!

What would you improve about this program?
The cost was pretty high. Also we were stuck in Columbia with very limited funds, it would be nice if Amizade had a back up plan for situations like that.
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Karlee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As someone who had never even been on an airplane, much less travelled abroad, I cannot say enough great things about my experience. I wish we would have had more time for service projects at the Auschwitz museum (we were replacing tags on baskets and creating storage bags for umbrellas), but I understand our group had time restraints. Sara from Amizade was very helpful, and I enjoyed my interactions with her. Our site coordinator, Dr. Matthias Hass, was an incredible resource, and I feel the success of my experience is due largely in part to his participation. However, I felt my interactions with our other site coordinator, Ana were not even close to positive. I felt she was completely uninterested in interacting with the group, or helping us to have a great learning opportunity in Poland. I recognize that this was her first time working with Amizade, but I was thoroughly unimpressed by her lack of preparedness and participation. Blowing off our service activity to go peruse the parts of the museum she wanted to see, or telling us to look up information on the historic sites ourselves when she actually had no idea what she was talking about is unacceptable to me, and seriously hampered my enjoyment of the last leg of our trip. I feel if Amizade is to continue employing her as a site coordinator, she should shadow someone like Matthias, and be supervised by someone like Sara. However, even with Ana as a tour guide, I still had a great experience, as Sara was present for our time in Krakow. On a positive note, I loved interacting with the locals, especially during our tours. Our guide at the Auschwitz museum was Aggie, and she was a remarkable guide. I feel my experience at Auschwitz would not have been the same without her. Our other tour guide in Krakow was also very good. All of the staff at the Auschwitz museum were very friendly and helpful, and I was glad to meet them and spend the time we did helping them in the Artifacts department. I liked having the free time we were allowed to explore and visit the Christmas markets, and felt very safe going off in pairs and small groups. The only accommodation I didn't enjoy as much was the Hotel 4 Youth in Berlin, as my room was pretty destroyed, but it was certainly livable for the amount of time we were there. I loved the meals, and was very excited to try all of the new foods we were given. Overall, I loved my trip to Poland, and cannot thank Amizade enough for providing me with this fantastic opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
Our tour guide in Krakow, who was unprepared and seemingly uninterested in assisting the group in having a positive experience.
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Leah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My service-learning trip to the Navajo Nation was by far the best experience of my life thus far. I went thinking I would learn about the culture; I had no idea it would be such a personally transformative experience. I had the chance to build relationships with genuine people who come from a beautiful, realistic, loving culture. We stayed a few days in Tuba City, Az, then drove to Crownpoint,NM, stayed there for a week, then went back to Tuba City for a week. I didn't want to leave! In Crownpoint, we had presentations about Navajo culture at the tribal college by extremely influential people. One was involved in the American Indian Movement and one helped implement the Uranium Ban law of 2005. I learned what I missed in my public education that has been restricted by leaving out atrocities committed by white people in the past, such as the real situation in Indian Boarding Schools, the Long Walk, and Native American sterilization. I feel more complete and well-rounded knowing the truth. However, it wasn't all seriousness! We went to the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly (a lot of beautiful canyons!), the painted desert where we saw Newspaper Rock and DINOSAUR TRACKS, and a lot more! The main thing I got out of the Navajo culture is the importance of knowing yourself. You must know where you come from and who you are to know where you're going. They also place great importance on listening to your mind and body and taking breaks/alone time when you need to. They see those in mainstream society as "busy ants" who need to take more breaks. The service we did was not extremely hard labor, and we were given plenty chances for break time. In short, I highly recommend Amizade and their trip to the Navajo Nation!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish it was longer!!
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James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Navajo trip was a great experience. I saw lots of amazing things. My group went to Coal Mine Canyon, Little Rock Gorge and the Grand Canyon. Those were all amazing sights. Also it was completely safe. There was never a time when I felt unsafe. My group cleared a field for a youth program. That was very fun. Also I got to see dinosaur tracks. That is something you don't see in New York outside of a museum. Being introduced to fried bread was also very interesting, not to mention tasty! Participating in the Sweat Lodge was also very amazing. It is hot in the Sweat Lodge, obviously, but when you come out you are drenched but not from sweat, from steam. Also you could leave the sweat lodge at any time. No one was keeping you in there. The tour guide was also fantastic. I give her credit for the trip being such a great sucess.

What would you improve about this program?
I would not change anything it was very fun.
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Mojo
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

This is a great program. However, the AOC staff was disorganized the week our group visited. I think this was uncharacteristic based on other feedback I've heard regarding their past programs. The main concern of our participants was the poor health conditions in the host family homes. Otherwise, it was an amazing trip. We had plenty of opportunities to interact with local people and learn about the culture in Jamaica. There was a good mix of volunteer service and entertainment activities.