Community engagement, live, work & play in Uganda

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Gap year and summer programs - with a difference!

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) is one of the oldest gap year providers. Since 1993 AV has been offering unique immersive gap year and summer programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17-25. You live in the local community in a group with fellow participants from around the world. Our 24/7 local management teams provide continuous support throughout your time with us.

We are taking applications now for our programs starting in 2019.

About

Cultural immersion is more than just being a tourist and seeing the sights, it's a unique opportunity to engage meaningfully with individuals and a community, to build relationships, make friends and live life as they do.

#seetheworlddifferently

All our programs are divided into three parts - orientation, cultural immersion placement and independent travel.

  • Orientation - a chance to settle in, get to know your group and make sure you're fully prepared for all aspects of your placement.
  • Immersion - you live and work with others in your group in our partner community around Jinja, close to the source of the River Nile, sharing your skills. Key to the experience is the high level of independence we offer. We're always available, but we stand back and let you make the most of the experience.
  • Independent Travel - the final month of the program is free for you to explore Uganda and even further afield. We're still here to support you whenever you need!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 17
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Mia
9/10

Teaching in Bukomankola Primary School, Uganda

The 3 months I spent teaching in Bukomankola school in Kaliro, Uganda was as challenging as it was rewarding! AV are really helpful in all aspects; from the initial culture shock to teaching advice to solving all the little problems while you're in the village. I learnt so much from the experience and the travel opportunities are second to none- I changed my flights to stay 2 extra months as I didn't want to leave!

How can this program be improved?
More transparency with the decisions AV make would be good- for example which country your program is in.
Yes, I recommend
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Kasey
10/10

2014 AV - Uganda

In 2014 I had a life changing trip to Uganda for 3 months with 4 others. Becoming an AV was one of the best decisions i’ve made and still years on myself and others on my trip stay in touch. AV are such a communicative company who made the trip such less daunting for myself, who at the time was 17.

Uganda is an amazing and beautiful country with the most friendly people. I feel extremely privileged to have had the experience and I plan to go back in the future!

Yes, I recommend
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Sam
10/10

Incredible

I absolutely loved my gap year with av and cannot recommend it enough. My trip was life changing and i fell in love with the country, the culture and the people. I wish i could do it all over again! I made some of my best friends whilst in uganda, and i am planning to go back in a year to visit the school i taught in and the people i met out there. If youre looking to be completely immersed in a new and exciting country and also make a difference in the lives of the kids you teach this is for you!

Yes, I recommend
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Lillian
10/10

Uganda 2017!

I went with AV to Uganda January 2017 and those months I spent in Africa were so far, the most influential months of my life. I met so many gracious and loving people, I learned so much about myself, and I learned so much about a culture that I knew basically nothing about. If you're considering going with AV, a few words of wisdom! Bring plenty of things to do! You have insane amounts of downtime in the village and sometimes fully immersing yourself is exhausting so bring something for entertainment. It's a good time to get through a reading list. Also, spend as much time at the school and in the village as possible. That's what you're there for! That's what you signed up for! Embrace it fully. It's hard experience, but it doesn't make it any less! I hope you choose to go for it and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

How can this program be improved?
Not so much for the program, but definitely talk to past AV's before you go! They can be a great resource for what to expect.
Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
8/10

Once in a lifetime opportunity - cliché I know!

I had an absolute blast on AV's 2016 trip to Uganda. Yes, things went wrong here and there, but thats Africa for you!
I chose AV as they offered a full emersion scheme. This was just what I wanted from my gap year. I didn't want to volunteer during the day and then spend my evenings in a grand hotel in a city in a nearby town. It just didn't seem right. However, this type of emersion is not for all. Be prepared, for unwanted, friendly animals in your house, no running water to wash up in, and temperamental electricity. If you can deal with all these, it's perfect for you!
I spent 3 months teaching in a rural village in Uganda with three other girls. 11 other gappies were scattered in nearby villages. As time went on, all 14 of us grew to be one big happy family, each with our respective roles, supporting each other through thick and thin. I definitely I made some friends for life.
On another note, I became very ill whilst I was abroad. The care I was given by Monique, the in country rep, was amazing. This kept my worried parents, back in the UK, happy. The doctor's facilities were adequate. Monique knows a very good doctor, who was trained in the UK, so never once did I feel as though I was in unsafe hands.
Finally, I spent one month, along with the other gappies travelling around East Africa. AV were amazing when it came to ensuring we were safe wherever we went, yet still allowed us as much independence as we wanted. They supported us through all our decisions and were at the other end of the phone when things went wrong.
Overall, I believe this was a once in a life time opportunity to do something completely out of my comfort zone. As cliché as it sounds, it was life changing and I wouldn't change a minute of it.
Thanks AV!

How can this program be improved?
I would say, one flaw was the way in which they split us into houses. I feel AV should have balanced the houses in terms of gender more. I was in a house of 4 girls, and occasionally felt we would have been better respected and would have felt safer if we had a boy in our house. I know this is not always possible as boys numbers may be limited, however I also know that one boy found it very difficult being in a house with 6 other girls and no boys.
Yes, I recommend
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Katie
10/10

AV Uganda 2014

Once an AV always an AV. It is safe to say this programme gave me the best 4 months of my life, I even rearranged my flights to stay out there longer, and revisited the school last summer. AV are wonderful and provide so much support both before, during and after the programme. Our in country support was fabulous, and so reassuring to know that if anything were to go wrong, she was only a phone call away. Staying in local villages is an invaluable experience and allows you to live, work and breath Uganda, I have never felt so in touch and connect to one place. The children and teachers you meet out there will change you like no one else on earth and build you into a much stronger, confident person. They are the most wonderful people you will ever meet and not a day goes by when I don't think of Ibaako school. I also loved the sense of family that occurs with your fellow volunteers, you experience so many life changing moments together, the occasional low and incredible highs, you do it all together and they become friends for life. Uganda has so much to offer as a country, we spent weekend rafting or swimming in the nile, bungee jumping, visiting waterfalls and islands and it is so easy to travel around East Africa afterwards, with the wonderful group of friends you have made. I could not recommend this programme highly enough, the best gap year experience you could think of!

How can this program be improved?
I honestly can't think of anything, just extending the time as no one was ready to leave.
Yes, I recommend
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Caroline
10/10

Beyond Wonderful Gap Year With AV

It was incredible and 100% worth it! I loved the independence of the project- my fellow volunteers and I lived in our own houses with limited supervision. We had an in country point of contact who gave us good information, but we got to do things on our own. That idea was a bit daunting at first, but it was wonderful! I liked the fact that it didn't feel like a high school field trip. We really got to be a part of the community. The children we taught were always so excited to see us and play with us, and out fellow teachers were very welcoming.
The four weeks after teaching that we spent travelling were incredible, too! We saw historic sites and lounged on the beautiful sugar sand beaches of Zanzibar and skydived onto Diani beach and more.
Every moment of this trip was amazing! I wouldn't trade my time in Africa for anything, and I'm glad I did it with AV. It is by far the greatest thing I've ever done.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly can't really think of anything. I had such a wonderful time.
Yes, I recommend
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Carly
10/10

An unforgettable experience

When I decided to take a Gap Year with AV, I did not expect it to have such a large impact on me. It is truly an unforgettable experience. AV gives you freedom and independence which are two important skills that you will discover and use to enrich your experience. It makes everything you do so much more rewarding because you are not depending on anyone but yourself to make a difference. The Ugandans you meet will change you. They will show you love and wisdom. Your fellow AVs will become friends that you always stay in touch with and other travellers you meet along the way will show you adventure. There isn't a day that I go without thinking about my time in Uganda last spring. The things you discover about yourself in Uganda will stay with you forever and it is the ideal location for these discoveries to take place.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I would change is the option to stay longer teaching at the schools! I was not ready to leave my students when it was time to go.
Yes, I recommend
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Catrin
10/10

Take a Gap Year

I struggle through out my school life and once my A levels were over I didn't want to think of University and I wanted to see the world a little bit and have a break from exams and all. I came across AV through my cousin who had also gone through on of the gap year program's. I had the BEST time, meet some amazing people and have made friends for life. It's so rewarding seeing happiness with the children you work with and seeing a different culture to the one your used too. AV are so organised and keep you up to date through the your time aways, they also have so amazing helpers that will look out for you over your time away. I recommend AV to anyone, and they offer many opportunists. Go for it, and take a chance!

Yes, I recommend
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Cali
9/10

Uganda AV programme 2012

My experience is Uganda was absolutely incredible and being the opportunity to go to such an amazing country and feel like you had support behind you the whole time both in Uganda and back at home was very reassuring.
AV were great in placing us in such schools with great teachers where we really felt like we could learn and help others learn along the way.

How can this program be improved?
It was very expensive and although that made sense in the context of the safety measures and support being offered, it makes it vulnerable in comparison to other programmes.
Yes, I recommend
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Alice
10/10

A Magical Time.

My time in Africa was totally unforgettable. The country and its people are beautiful, colourful and welcoming. The experience of teaching itself was really rewarding and insightful. I feel so lucky to have got to know the children, the teachers and their families.

As this was many of our first adventures abroad, it was great having AV there as a safety net, knowing there was always someone on the end of the phone should you need any help.

Shortly after coming home, I went travelling around India and south-east Asia and although I had a fantastic time, I felt I was just skimming the surface and not able to really get to know a place, its culture and its characters as I did in Uganda.
For this reason, if/when I go away again, I'll go and work somewhere and I'm so grateful for the experience and and confidence AV has given me to do so.

On a wholly different note, for all university and job interviews I have had since, my time in Uganda is repeatedly the biggest point of interest on my CV..

If you have the chance to go then you absolutely will not regret it. Im currently saving to go back!

Yes, I recommend
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Charlie
10/10

The best four months of my life

I look back at my time with AV in Uganda as the happiest time of my life. I made friends who I am still see and speak to regularly. The experience has left in print on my heart, If someone gave me the chance to do it tomorrow I would bite there hand off.
Uganda was such a fascinating country to go to, yes there were tough times but that only made the experience better. Many of my friends travelled round Australia and South America, they have come back with stories of fun and frivolity but none of them had half the experience that we did in Uganda. If you are lucky enough to go, I promise you will have the most amazing time.

Yes, I recommend
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Bryony
10/10

A-d-V-enture

I was posted out to Buckley Girls school in CMS by Jinja - a few hours out of Kampala. I adored the travelling, the teaching taught me alot, even though my intention was never to become a teacher. I had the most incredible time. It helped me gain confidence, experience and allowed me to see and live in a country that I longed to get to know but in a safe and useful environment. I met a great network of people and would do it again if I could!

How can this program be improved?
I would do one term at one school in one country and one in another - I travelled alot between Uganda and Kenya and I would have adored to been able to have enough time to base myself for an extended perios of time in both.
Yes, I recommend
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Emma
10/10

Meaningful program with independence

With AV I was introduced to a new culture in a setting that facilitated personal growth and helping others. I was challenged in my living situation without running water or constant electricity but I was given the support necessary to know I was safe. Staying in one place for tree months allows you to get to know the people, place, and culture and really immerse yourself rather than taking superficial visits. I played with nursery school children and the older kids as well, teaching them my games and learning theirs. We learned some recipes from the other teachers and settled into daily life. Because we live on our own we are able to grow as people too, becoming resilient and independent and capable as you only can when you have a safety net but aren't smothered. Introducing a new culture to the students there and offering your time, care, and English knowledge was clearly also very helpful to them and I was comforted knowing that I was directly influencing some people. With AV I had fun, learned about myself, and helped others.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the groups if volunteers larger so as it have more people to travel with.
Yes, I recommend
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Alice
10/10

Uganda AV 2013

I had the most amazing, awe-inspiring experience in Uganda. AV were so supportive, they were like a huge safety net ready to catch us if anything went wrong. I wouldn't change it for the world. It has certainly helped me set myself up for university.

How can this program be improved?
The donation money was a huge issue for us, myself and my volunteering partner was allocated to Kasokwe school, the poorest school of the group. So we found ourselves with the same amount of money as everyone else, however their schools were more advanced and had a lot more money previously invested in the buildings. The other schools had the same amount of donation money but were far more advanced than Kasokwe
Yes, I recommend

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About Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

Africa & Asia Venture (AV) offers unique immersive summer and gap year volunteering and work experience programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17 to 25.

We build groups of individuals and, normally in pairs or fours but never on your own, you...