1. What were your initial concerns when your son suggested volunteering abroad?
As I’m sure it would be for any parent, my first thought was whether or not my son would be safe going abroad on his own to a developing country. He was going to be travelling thousands of miles and I had to trust people I had never met to look after him when he was there.
2. How did Projects Abroad handle your concerns?
I was told about all the safety and security measures involved with my son’s travels, which included a 24 hour system whereby he could contact a member of staff if he needed help. I was also comforted by the fact that the host families profile was introduced to me before I let my son leave. Then there was also the fact that somebody was there to meet my son at the airport when he landed, so that he wasn’t thrown straight into the deep end when he arrived there, and that he had somebody to help him settle into his travels, especially after such a long flight.
3. Did you have enough phone or email contact with the office staff prior to applying for the project?
Yes, there was a perfectly sufficient amount of contact with the office prior to leaving, and even when any concerns arose after leaving an information evening it was easy to ring or email the office.
4. Before applying did you attend one of our Projects Abroad events whether that be a webinar or organised event?
I attended an information evening.
5. Did you feel reassured that your son could reach support from our staff throughout their time overseas?
Yes the 24 hour phone line was a very important concept to me because it meant that no matter where my son was at what time, he had a contact phone number if he ended up in trouble.
6. Did you find that your son had enough opportunity to contact home whilst away?
Yes. He had plenty of free time in the evenings and weekends to ring or Skype me. It was good to hear his voice everyday (I made him ring at least once per day!)
7. Whilst away did your son have any issues which you needed to get involved in and if so how was this resolved?
No his time there was hassle free and I didn’t need to get involved with anything.
8. How did the trip affect your son? For example has their experience helped secure a job or university place?
To start with, the trip has made him a whole lot more independent. It has shown me that he is able to travel safely and sensibly on his own too. The placement also helped him to secure a place at university to study dentistry, which is hard unless you have something special, like volunteering with Projects Abroad.
9. Would you recommend Projects Abroad to a friend?
I would most certainly recommend Projects Abroad to a friend as it has certainly helped my son get into university and achieve better independence before he left to live at university.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Programme Advisors.
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