I can't recommend AV enough - they were great from start to finish, providing pre-departure support which exceeded expectation (and assured my parents of my safety) and in-country support. The AV rep in Tanzania was Lynette, and she was excellent - always at the end of the phone if you needed help or advice, and we met up with her several times during the trip. Saying that, we were given plenty of independence in our respective schools and could travel during the placement and afterwards in free travel as we pleased.
School: I stayed on the school premises with three other girls. Whilst the accommodation was very basic, including a lack of electricity and sporadic running water, it meant that we really bonded as a team in those early days and we soon adapted to our way of life. We had great fun trying to make a cake without an oven! We taught in pairs, and again this was a challenge to start with, but we soon got the hang of it and had great fun teaching the kids English, and occasionally art and singing. It was a bit manic with 100 kids but such an experience! We also took sports classes every Tuesday and Thursday which was great fun. The other teachers were brilliant and really helped us out, especially Dainess and Godwin who became our really good friends as they were also our neighbours. We now have a long standing relationship with the school and the area as we sponsor a little girl through school. We never would have had that opportunity had it not been for AV.
Free travel: We had a two week half term which was amazing. In it we climbed Kilimanjaro which was an incredible experience, even if like me you hate trekking! We then went and recovered on the paradisiacal Zanzibar where you can learn to dive, laze on a white sand beach with a really cheap cocktail or go to a beach party at night. After the placement was over, we all went travelling together as we'd really bonded as a group. We started in Uganda where we went white water rafting and bungee jumping, before heading to Kenya up the coast and then on a safari in the Masai Mara. AV is really unique in the sense that you all start together and end together so you really get to know each other and to this day we are all really good friends and meet up at least once a month. It's also unique in that it combines a long volunteering placement so you can actually make a sustainable difference rather than a short visit and the opportunity to travel afterwards, with the support of the company. I really don't think there's a better organisation out there offering what AV does.