Prior to my departure, the United Planet (UP) staff helped me tremendously to make sure my time in Ghana would go smoothly. While in Ghana, I worked at Volta Regional Hospital where I met ( and still keep in contact with) the incredible staff. Everyone there was so welcoming, it truly felt like home. After spending 8 weeks in the Emergency Ward, it pained me so much to leave. I learned how to dress wounds, take vitals, set IV lines and so much more. As I left the hospital, saying goodbye to Auntie Mercy (my host family) was extremely tough. I experienced so much while during my stay at her house. I was fortunate enough to witness a traditional wedding and engagement. Our excursions included going to the waterfalls and monkey sanctuary. I truly can't wait to go back to Ghana! Even though I have my family in the USA, I also have a family in Ghana.
Review from Guidestar
My university (Tufts) and United planet worked together to allow me to do service work in Spain for 9 months through the Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year Service-Learning program. I worked in a foster home in Madrid and lived with a Spanish family for 9 months, which allowed me to become fully immersed in the Spanish culture while also forming meaningful relationships. I greatly improved my Spanish and was able to take time before college to reflect, become more independent, and volunteer. Meggie at United Planet checked up on me often and I knew I could always go to her with any questions or concerns! I am very thankful that United Planet facilitated this wonderful experience for the fellows in my program and I.
Review from Guidestar
I've participated in one United Planet summer program twice. I loved the program I participated in and I'd love to do more of the many volunteer programs United Planet has!
I felt very comfortable with this organization. Before my program began, I wasn't nervous or anxious about anything regarding safety or other logistics. My main concerns were of a lesser nature, such as "I hope all the other volunteers like me!" United Planet prepared me very well. They include traveler's insurance, pre-departure sessions, and frequent check-ins to ensure that everything on the trip is going well. I can only speak for the program I did (China Summer -- EVERYONE SHOULD DO IT), I was very pleased by our advisors who accompanied us throughout the entirety of the trip. They were very friendly and helpful, as I was not afraid to ask them any sort of questions. My program was mostly for high school students as well, and I think that United Planet did a fantastic job of keeping our parents in the loop. The United Planet staff is also very accessible and are easily reachable at any time. I had no real concerns before, during, or after the trip, and I could enjoy my trip without worrying about anything!
As far as the program goes, I am very pleased. I had the greatest summers of my life with my United Planet program, and I'm so excited to do more in the future! I'm very grateful for United Planet in giving me the opportunity to participate and volunteer in so many wonderful programs. I am only in high school, and so I do not have that much experience with other nonprofit volunteer organizations, but I can say that United Planet has made my volunteer expectations very high!
Review from Guidestar
My experience with United Planet was marvelous. I arrived in Peru with no idea what to expect. Although the pre-departure sessions and all my back and forth with staff had been extensive and gratefully appreciated, nothing can prepare you for landing alone in a third world airport at the un-travelled age of 17. I will admit I was slightly panicky, and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I met my host family and started to feel a little more settled after having a home base at both my Spanish school and my home-stay. Once the shock wore off, my adventure really began. I have always been bothered by people who come back from life changing experiences and simply say "it can not be put into words", but I am beginning to understand where they are coming from. None the less, I am going to do my best and try to paint a picture of my time away from home.
I have made some of the best memories during my quest, and my stay in Peru was and always will be a monumental time in my life. I feel that I made a real difference in the lives of the children in my project, and I can say without a doubt that they had (and are continuing to have)a huge impact in mine. I felt immersed in the culture and lives of the Peruvian families. My excursion to Machupicchu was an amazing and spiritually enhancing experience. I will forever cherish the memories of my day at the monumental Inkan ruins. My overall experience on my United Planet quest to Peru was everything I had hoped for and more. I will have these memories for the rest of my life, and would recommend United Planet to anyone looking for life changing volunteer experience.
I participated in the United Planet China Summer Program, in which I taught English in an elementary school in a very rural area of China. Before I left, United Planet ensured that I knew what to expect and what I should do to prepare for the trip. For instance, there were two phone conferences before the trip and they were fast and reliable on replying e-mails. They had a lot of information on China as well as suggestions for teaching on a website that they use, and they were extremely organized in every way.
The program itself was fantastic. In a rural area of China, one shouldn't expect the same standards of living as we have here in America. However, once one learns to look past that, it turned out to be truly great. I bonded so closely with the Chinese volunteers that I'm even considering to visit China next summer to meet them. I also bonded really well with the foreign volunteers, and I plan to meet some of them in New York at one point (most of the volunteers were from America, though we had two from United Kingdom). The students that I worked with were dedicated, enthusiastic and attentive. Since United Planet has been working on this project for eight years in Jinxi town (where I went), they truly had an impact on the town. To state an example, students only thought of becoming a policeman or a teacher before United Planet started the program. Nowadays, they want to become engineers, scientists and many other occupations as a result of how their horizons were broadened by the program. All in all, both the organization and the program exceeded my expectations.
Thank you for your feedback! We love hearing about the relationships you formed with other volunteers and the impact you had on a rural community across the world. It's wonderful to hear that your work has inspired students to broaden their horizons as a result of the program--thank you for volunteering!
Review from Guidestar