I had high expectations when I booked my trip to Ecuador. Being bi-lingual and an experienced international traveler I anticipated a trip that served a greater good and that provided an opportunity to meet other like minded people. When I arrived in country, I was told NO ONE else would be volunteering with me. Then when I got to the animal shelter where I was scheduled to help out they were totally unprepared and disorganized. They did not provide an orientation and I was put in a cage with 7 dogs, one of which tried to bite me. When I refused to go back to the shelter the next time, my guide lied to the shelter and told them I had an "emergency". I told the company of my concerns and NO ONE responded to my experiences to see how they could improve the program or appologize for being so unprepared.
Thanks to this experience I will NEVER volunteer with this agency again!
My wife and I, age 60, have taken part in three GlobeAware projects over the last seven years and will do another in the spring of 2016. This company has always delivered exactly what they promised. I felt a little nervous about paying the tuition online for our first trip. I was reassured by a constant stream of follow-up emails from the organization confirming the arrangements, asking if we had any special needs, and sending us information about the country we would be visiting. They covered vaccinations, passports, and what to bring. They verified the exact flight on which we would arrive and gave us the contact information of their representative that would would meet us as the airport. This representative is with you all week long to make sure you are safe and comfortable, to translate when needed, to introduce you to the people you will be working with, and to take you on tours in the afternoons and evenings.
When we left our last teaching project, I confided in our representative that we may not have taught the children all that much English, geography, and math. He pointed out that we gave the children things a local teacher could not: a chance to speak in English with a native speaker and a memory that two people from the the US thought educating these kids was important enough to travel halfway around the world to spend a week with them.
When you get home and compare your vacation with those your friends took to Stockholm and London, don't worry if you didn't find the perfect fish & chips shop or score discount tickets to a museum. You can tell them about making 25 3rd graders in a Jaipur classroom laugh and sing.
Globe Aware is a fantastic organization! I've had the pleasure to do 3 separate volunteer projects with them and had great experiences in each case. There is an excellent blend of volunteer work, cultural emersion and it's a very unique way to see and do things regular tourists never get a chance to. The ways we get to help people go far beyond simple hand outs or donations. We feel as though we are making a meaningful contribution to the local economy and getting an amazing experience in return. It feels great to travel this way. I'm looking forward to booking my next trip soon.
I volunteered with Glo9be Aware assembling wheelchairs for landmine victims in Cambodia last summer and i just returned from building a pedestrian bridge in the middle of the rainforrest in Costa Rica with them this June, and i have to say, out of all my lfie experiences, truly none have ever come close to these. I just adore getting to know the locals and learning about their life and getting to do fun things that somehow seem worlds away from a cliches tourist experience. I am hoping to get my kids and grandchildren on the next trip to Cusco Peru next summer. I just cannots ay enough good things about this organization. They are so much cheaper than many of teh orgganizations out there. Several of teh big competitors don't contribute any money to teh local orgnizations they are helping ebcause they say they dont' want to make them dependent on anyone, but i really think that giving away wheelchairs and prividing materials to do computer labs for kids and a whoel host of other things - well to me it just sounds like an excuse for those other organizations not to spend money on others and i don't like that philosophy. Yes handing out cash and candy would be bad, but there IS a way to spend money responsibly on others. My neighbor went to Ghana with CCS a few months ago and said she would just be dropped off at a hospital every day instead of being with a group and a coordinator the entire time. Different strokes fro different folks. just do your homework. My church sent some of our parishoners on a Global Volunteers program a few years ago and said that none of the project they worked on was paid for by their own funds, it all went to administer the company itself. Just these are the things people should look out for. I should say that my experience wasn't perfect, there were times when the locals didn't seem to be as focused on getting things done as i was, but it changed my life forever.
Have you ever been to Machu Picchu? Well, I have. And if you went there, you would know how powerful a feeling you get when standing at the top looking over at the rest of the ruins. I didn't feel like a confused tourist, either, that goes there strictly for the purpose of seeing that wonder. I was volunteering in Peru for a week before we went there. I went with Globe Aware and they made sure I had a good time. It felt so good helping others, you should really try it sometime. That week changed me. I feel like I would like to do this for the rest of my life. Thank you, Globe Aware!
When I went to Costa Rica with Globe Aware this summer I had the most enlightening experience. I went to the Orosi Valley there, and had the best volunteer vacation of my life. Now, this place wasn't where most would spend a typical vacation. The Orosi Valley opened my eyes to people that actually had to struggle for simple things that I usually take for granted. I have heard that volunteering relieves stress, and what better way to do that than by vacationing to volunteer? Globe Aware combined the two aspects very well, so although I ate delicious food and had wonderful living conditions, I felt even better knowing that I was helping others. It was just a lot of fun! I also got to be immersed in a completely different culture and language. It is never too late to learn something new, and that is definitely what I did on my trip. I plan on traveling again with Globe Aware next summer. Totally worth it.
We just returned last week from our time in Costa Rica and I wanted to let you know how wonderful it was for our family. The week with Hilda, Mario and the other families was one of the best of our lives. The warmth we felt and the attachments that quickly built will stay with us forever. It is a magical place and we felt so privileged to be there helping out. I wanted to share a favourite memory we have as I think it captures the whole spirit of Globe Aware’s cultural mission. We were having dinner with Mario and Lourdes and their 2 daughters. Alejandra, the teenager was struggling with some French homework so my son who is a similar age helped her complete it with the help of our broken Spanish. We were all trying our best with 3 different languages and managed to get the job done with much laughter. Another favourite memory was at Ronald and Caro’s house playing guitars and singing together with their little girls.
Hilda was especially lovely and really did an excellent job of shepherding us around and teaching us Spanish and learning English. She is a wonderful and passionate ambassador for the Globe Aware program. If you ever need a reference written please do not hesitate to ask.
I have been on the Ghana and Costa Rica rainforrest prgramand have to say bth changed my life for the better I LOVED having a concrete project finished t the end ofteh experience.The one week time frame worked within teh vcation time Ihave available, the one thing I woudl change is that ifit were possible to met all teh fellow volunteers in person befoegoing, it would have adde even more, but I know wit all the different regios we cam fom, it robably wuld not have been practical I highly recomend Globe Aware, they had everythiong beautifully oragnized and their cooridnators have en very fluent in Englis, caring and attentive. I hope to go on the Romania program next!
Review from Guidestar