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American volunteer experiences India, Thailand, Chile, and now Cape Town with Projects Abroad!   (published in South Africa)

August 18, 2010 by   Comments(0)

By Anna Goodspeed (USA, Human Rights volunteer)

Hi, my name is Anna Goodspeed from the University of Colorado, USA.  I had been a volunteer for Projects-Abroad back in 2006 and 2007 doing Care projects in India, Thailand, and Chile and had kept my eye on their website planning my next adventure.  Since my focus in university is International Affairs with a geographical emphasis on Africa, I knew that was where I wanted to go; I also knew that this time I wanted my project to be more specialized since I had already done Care programs before.  The human rights internship seemed perfect. I looked into all of the African countries offering human rights and after debating I decided to come to South Africa.

I was excited to work with Projects-Abroad again, and it seemed like I waited for years until the beginning of June was finally here.  When people back home were asking me about my summer plans and I responded, “I’m going to South Africa for 6 weeks,” most people assumed that I was going for the World Cup, which I have to admit I hadn’t even factored into my decision to come to South Africa but I realized it would make it a very interesting time to be in the country. 


The beginning of June finally came and I was off! I landed in Cape Town with no idea what to expect, but I immediately adored my host family and my roommates as well as the staff in the Newlands office, and as soon as I started my job I knew it was perfect. I could already tell that I would learn a lot in just a short period of time here.  I also enjoyed having my weekends off to enjoy Cape Town exploring Robben Island, downtown, The Waterfront, going wine tasting, visiting Cape Point, and of course watching all the World Cup games (with the ...

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American volunteer experiences India, Thailand, Chile, and now Cape Town with Projects Abroad!
American volunteer experiences India, Thailand, Chile, and now Cape Town with Projects Abroad!

Mongolia...   (published in Mongolia)

August 18, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Mongolia….What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Mongolia?


Nomads; a vast landscape; wild animals maybe? That’s all true, but as I found out Mongolia has so much more to offer.

I came to Mongolia with an open mind, not knowing what I should expect. Soon after my arrival in Mongolia, a new world opened up to me.


I was pleasantly surprised about all the wonderful things I encountered during my monthly stay in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. I made trips to the countryside where I had spent the night in the beautiful nature of Mongolia, visited monasteries and learned about Mongolian customs.

Projects Abroad accommodated me in a warm family and placed me in a work environment where I could really be of help.


The people in my host family and my co-workers did a lot of great things with me in order to make me feel welcome in Mongolia. I can tell you that they succeeded.

The family was very hospitable and as I grew to learn over my time in Mongolia, so were a lot of Mongolians. They opened up their home to me, making sure I was well fed and my glass was always full. I recommend to learn basic Mongolian words and sentences, the people really like it if you put an effort into learning about their culture. Mongolians are very proud of their heritage and culture. I lived with two sisters who were very outgoing and made sure I had seen the entire city before I left. My accommodation was located in a nice neighbourhood around 20 minutes walking from Sukhbaatar square, and because everyone with a car is a potential taxi driver, I could easily go around the city.


The company I worked for is a manufacturer of a specific chemical liniment for the auto and household usage in Mongolia, for example antifreeze.


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The Culture Centre, Kumasi   (published in Ghana)

August 17, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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About a five minute walk from Kejetia (the central market of Kumasi), is the Culture Centre. This is one of the most popular places in among the volunteers in Kumasi.

              The Culture Centre is one of the biggest of its kind and is impressive. There is a museum of Ashanti history (Prempeh II Jubilee Museum), a library, a book store, a restaurant (Kentish kitchen), an excellent crafts shop and an exhibition hall. This is where you can buy souvenirs of the highest quality and for a decent price. The great thing is that it is very close to the centre and it is very accessible. The whole complex is large and it feels like it is a small village within it and actually quite pleasant just walking inside it.

              There is a fare every summer for about a month and a half where the artists from all over Kumasi gather in the Culture Centre to sell their goods. This happens from around June to August so make sure you don’t miss out! I managed to buy a lot of things during the period for a cheap price and it was great as they had everything that I wanted.

              The museum tour wasn’t all that great, but maybe it was because I was spoilt by the vastly superior Armed Forces Museum. The Prempeh II Jubilee Museum consists of just one room and houses several precious artefacts from the Ashanti Empire and the Manhyia palace. Perhaps the most interesting object is the “treasure-bag” of Okonfo Anokye, which was made on the same day as the Konfo Anokye Sword (see previous blog posts). The legend is very similar to the sword – if the ...

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The Culture Centre, Kumasi
The Culture Centre, Kumasi

My Time at Bradet Orphanage (written by Australian Care volunteer Matthew Salakas)   (published in Romania)

August 17, 2010 by   Comments(0)

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When Daniela (the Projects Abroad Care and Teaching Supervisor) first told me about the Bradet Orphanage project, I had already been in Romania for a couple of weeks, working at the Domino Shelter for children. Daniela told me that one of the staff members at Bradet had raised a significant amount of money in order to build some outdoor ropes course for the children of the orphanage. He needed a volunteer one day a week to give him a hand building the play area, performing tasks such as digging holes for the foundation posts, mixing concrete and fitting off the ropes. I was more than willing to help out as I thought it would add to my Romanian experience.

                When I first met Adrian, the staff member whom I would be working with over the coming weeks, I was very impressed. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome, and was very thankful that I was able to help him out. As we drove up to the parking area of the orphanage in Adrian’s car, children immediately came out of the surrounding buildings to see who had arrived. I noticed immediately the great affection and respect that the kids had for Adrian, and saw how positively they responded to his affection.

                Shortly after meeting all the kids we began work, heading down to the nearby river to collect sand for the concrete. A hard days work was ahead of us, but together with some of the older children at the orphanage we were able to load up the small pick-up that one of the staff members owned 5 times with sand from the river bed. This ended my first days work and I can safely say that I slept extremely well that night.


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My Time at Bradet Orphanage (written by Australian Care volunteer Matthew Salakas)
My Time at Bradet Orphanage (written by Australian Care volunteer Matthew Salakas)

Nowhere else in the I have experierenced such hospitality!   (published in Mongolia)

August 16, 2010 by   Comments(0)

Coming from Scotland I thought I was used to the freezing cold and had my fair share of interesting customs. However, nothing could have prepared me for the culture shock of Mongolia. The winter here is bitterly cold but almost always with a blue sky. I feel privileged to have seen the mountains surrounding Ulaanbaatar covered in snow and the Gobi's frosty morning sunrises. Mongolia is unlike any country I have ever visited. From the remoteness of the countryside spotted with the occasional Ger camp to the western-feeling Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is a country where you feel as though you have travelled hundreds of years in a matter of miles. The traditional living of Ger families means that they are extremely welcoming; nowhere else in the world have I experienced such hospitality. Travelling through the Gobi and sleeping in a number of gers it always amazed me how willing a family were to give up their homes and beds to visitors, not that we took them! The smell of snuff, taste of Mongolian vodka and warmth of the Ger stove will forever remind me of the friendliness of Mongolians, despite their huge losses of livestock from the freezing winter. If you're visiting Mongolia you would be a fool to miss out on a Gobi tour. Mornings spent sliding down a frozen river, watching eagles hunting and locals wrestling provided me with some of my most memorable moments. Experiencing a Ger for the night is a must; it is the only way to fully understand Mongolian customs away from the bustling capital city.

Coming out of the Gobi and going to work at BTV, one of the country's newest business news channels, was almost as big a culture shock as leaving home. On the 15th floor of a modern looking tower block, owned by a sumo wrestler, the channel hosts its daily news broadcasts and ...

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Nowhere else in the I have experierenced such hospitality!
Nowhere else in the I have experierenced such hospitality!

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