World Unite! Volunteering, Internships, Cultural Travel

Volunteering, Internships and Intercultural Learning in Tanzania, Zanzibar, India, Morocco, Israel, Nicaragua, Bolivia, China, Japan, Ghana, Galapagos, Ecuador


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Internship in Women’s & Girl’s Empowerment in India

Marianne from Austria has completed a compulsory internship for her studies of adult education in an empowerment project for women and girls in India. Here she talks about her work in the internship and how her stay broadened her horizons.


Marianne, how did you come across your project?

Since I already had so many positive experiences with stays abroad, I decided to do my compulsory internship in adult education abroad. Without having any clear idea of what I wanted to do, I started to my search on the internet. I came across the website of World Unite! , filled out an inquiry form and got a reply very quickly. After a short reflection I decided for India. The idea of ​​supporting disadvantaged women and girls in Rajasthan felt right and I was convinced that I had made a good decision.

What does your internship facility do?

Sambhali Trust as a partner of World Unite! is a wonderful nonprofit organization dedicated to women and children who face daily discrimination and gender-based violence. The main focus is on empowerment and providing primary education. Sambhali Trust helps women and children become more self-confident, financially more independent, and breaks the cycle of poverty and domestic conflict.

Can you describe your activities during the internship?

For four weeks I worked at the Jodhpur Empowerment Center and taught basic English and math. There were three groups each: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. My job was to prepare and deliver the lessons according to the different learning levels. Once a week there were workshops on various topics, for example to get to know other countries and cultures, but also to address issues such as health, children’s rights, hygiene, violence, etc.

What did you like best about your stay?

I found the nicest to see how the women and children like to visit these centers. I could really feel how much joy they had in exchanging ideas with each other and learning and sewing. For many, it was a way to escape from their daily problems at home and forget their hardships for a while.

I experienced my time in the center as very formative. Everyone was very friendly, polite and very interested. India is a country of contrasts with a very rich culture. It is therefore important to be aware of these differences in advance to avoid misunderstandings and cultural shocks. If you are well prepared, nothing can go wrong.

I would never want to miss the stay, because with every new experience you grow yourself as a person and expand your own horizon.

Best regards,

Marianne (from Austria)

 

Would you like to support a Women’s and Girl’s Empowerment project in India too? You can find all information about Marianne’s internship placement here.

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Learning French in Morocco

Benjamin from the US spent 6 weeks in the city of Tangier, Morocco, to brush up his French skills through a language course. Here’s what he says about his trip to Morocco:

Based on the information Wold Unite! sent me, I felt fully prepared to travel to Morocco, and I felt confident that there was a support team if I had any problem.

On the language course:

My experience with Khadija (my language teacher) was exceptional! Her willingness to introduce to the many unique aspects of her culture as well as her tailored French lessons, created an experience that was truly the greatest of my life. She has inspired me to continue to pursue the French language as well as my understanding of the Moroccan culture!

My language lessons were the central aspect of my stay abroad, and they were perfect for learning French at the level I was comfortable with.

On the accommodation:

I was very pleasantly surprised with the large size and cleanliness of the apartment, and I truly enjoyed spending my summer living there!

I would just say that I am so thankful I discovered your organization as it allowed me to take an incredible adventure that opened my eyes to a uniquely global perspective!

Kind regards,

Benjamin (from the US)

Are you interested in taking French lessons in a French speaking environment, allowing you to apply your newly aquired language skills on the spot?

You can find our course program here.


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Get the most out of your transits and explore the world!

You have booked a flight to your host country, but unfortunately need to wait at the airport long time between your flights? Don’t worry! Here you can find out how you can get the most out of your waiting time!

Maybe you have found the perfect internship or volunteer placement with World Unite!, and the next step is to buy the ticket for your destination.

When travelling, very often, many of us focus on finding the cheapest and fastest flights, but actually it might be an advantage for you to take a moment and consider the options that a longer flight might give you!

Have you ever tried one of those 8 hour – or even longer – transits in an airport somewhere you’ve never been before?

Many of us have, and it can be very tiresome, and actually it feels like a waste of time to stay in the airport for so long.

But actually, you can very often get more out of this waiting time than you might think.

In some airports, you can get a free city tour and even accommodation! Did this make you curious? Then you should continue reading!

Depending on your destination, there are different options for transit cities, and here we will give you an overview of some of the possibilities that a long transit can give you.

Addis Ababa

If you have a transit in Addis Ababa, you can enjoy a free city tour, organized by the flight company Ethiopian Airlines. This tour is for you who have a 6-8 hour transit in this beautiful country. The tour will take you to the National Museum, King George VI street, Mercato, Entoto Hill and much more. This is a perfect way of getting the most out of your transit time in Ethiopia.

Doha

Is Doha your place of transit? If you have a transit that is longer than 5 hours, then you can experience a city tour for prices starting from approximately 23 USD. The tour lasts for around 3 hours, and you will see Downtown Doha, the Corniche, Souq Waqif and more. There are daily departures and pick-ups/drop-off at Hamad International Airport.

Dubai

In the dynamic city of Dubai, you can as well get more out of your transit by doing a tour. After booking your flight and making sure that your transit is 5 hours or more, you can easily book a tour directly through the flight company, Emirates, and you will get the price before the final booking confirmation.

Abu Dhabi

If you have a short transit in Abu Dhabi of around 4 hours, you still have many options of having a nice time during your stay. You can e.g. visit Yas Mall, which has more than 350 stores and 60 restaurants and cafés, cinema, and much more. For a 4-hour transit you can also choose to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is one of the world’s largest mosques. If you like speed and Formula 1, you can also spend your 4-hour transit at Yas Marina Circuit, where you can surely expect high-octane thrills. If you have an 8-hour transit, there are also many possibilities. You can e.g. visit Yas Waterworld, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi or he Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Istanbul

In Istanbul you can join Touristanbul if you have a 6-24 hour layover. The tour is a free service for Turkish Airlines passengers, and you will get to see many of the historical sights of the city. You will among other things get to see Yedikule Fortress, Walls of Constantine, and Eminonu district. There will also be time for a photo break, free time and of course to see even more places. You will then return to Istanbul Airport when the tour has finished.

As you see, you have plenty of possibilities to get the most out of your transits, and explore the world.

World Unite! will provide advice about finding inexpensive flights to your host country. Please contact us if you have any questions!


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Volunteering – only for young people ?! – Marion in Tanzania

„Can I really volunteer as a teacher in Tanzania at the age of 57?“ Marion from Germany took the step and completed a one-month volunteer placement in Moshi, Tanzania (East Africa). You can find her report here:


Hakuna matata – no worries, Tanzania is great!

„Can I really volunteer as a teacher in Tanzania at the age of 57?“ I wasn’t sure, but the desire to do take the step was bigger than any of my concerns.

Once I had arrived, I truely enjoyed my stay from day one. Looking back, it was one of the happiest times of my life.

I will try to put my stay into words, but I guess have to make this experience on your own to fully understand it.

Amazing stay in the host family

First of all, I had an amazing stay in Adelinas (coordinator of World Unite!) family. I was a family member from the start and was wonderfully cared for with delicious food, interesting conversations and loving inquiries about how I felt or what I wanted to eat the next day. Also, the fact that the family was so big (15 people including myself and the children, not including occasional guests), was an intersting experience. There was always someone to talk to or to cuddle with (the kids were extremely adorable). Adelina herself and her husband George always made sure that I was fine. They would drop me at my placement in the mornings whenever they could or meet me in town after work to either just have a coffee or to run errands with me.

School of Hope: Creating Future Prospects for Youth

At my two placements I felt at home right from the beginning. In the mornings I taught at the Good Hope Support School in the district of Majengo. Here, tudents who have failed the secondary school entrance examination or whose families are too poor to send them to secondary schools are offered free lessons. The two permanent teachers, Hadzun and Yvonne, are often supported by volunteers.

I was responsible for the English lessons for my students Amina, Catherine, Ridha, Rehema, Caroline (each of them 15 years) and Angel (18 years old). Above all, we practiced verbal communication through speaking exercises and role-plays. The girls‘ English was very good, but they were hesitant to actively use it in the beginning. We would often play games between the excersices to make the lessons less monotonous and it was all a lot of fun. We also celebrated the Muslim feast Eid together with the students where we cooked together and later enjoyed a delicious meal.

On the last day, my students had prepared handwritten letters, a bracelet, speeches and dances for me. I was extremely touched. All in all, I can say that the Director, Mrs. Oliva and the two teachers do a wonderful job and give the girls a wonderful time and future prospects.

Teaching Business English at the Moshi Institute for Technology

After classes, I took a Bajaji to Moshi Town, where I had half-hour for my lunch break and usually enjoyed a delicious cappuccino. After my break, my second placement at the Moshi Institute of Technology, started.

There, I led a Business English course for a group of highly motivated and appreciative young people. I can say that I was looking forward to the class every day. I was always warmly welcomed, not only by the students, but also by the other teachers. Above all, I practiced free speech with the students. It was a pleasure to watch them put into practice everything they learned, such as in presentations, discussions and role-plays. I really loved them all, and it was hard for me to leave.

All in all, you learn to be very creative and spontaneous as a teacher, because there are not many materials available, except for a blackboard.

I would also like to mention that the people of Tanzania are extremely friendly and endearing. Above all, an older person is very much given respect and appreciation. You always get help when you need it, and someone will always give positive feedback about what you do.

In between, my 27-year-old daughter visited me and we did a fantastic 4-day Safari. We where truely overwhelmed by the variety of wildlife. My daughter was also warmly received by both Adelinas family and my students (I took her to class one day).

Family has a high priority in Tanzania and every family member is automatically integrated.

Finally, many thanks to all World Unite! representatives for enabling this unforgettable stay for me!

Kind regards,

Marion (from Germany)

 


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Internship in Midwifery in Tanzania

Tamara from Austria completed her elective internship in midwifery at a clinic in Tanzania in East Africa. Here she tells you about her internship, her workplace in Moshi, her living situation and her free time in Tanzania.

Hello, dear future Volunteers!

About me:

My name is Tamara and I am a midwifery student from Austria. I’m in my 4th semester and our curriculuma allows as to do a complementary elective, ideally outside a usual Austrian hospital setting.

About our host country:

The breathtaking diversity of the landscape, the unique culture and the desire to help, brought me and a fellow student to Tanzania. After the decision about the country was made, everything was very exciting. Every day new questions came up and we wanted to be prepared for everything.

Thankfully, our contact person at World Unite! never got tired of answering the 10,000 emails we sent 🙈. Shortly before leaving we got a little nervous: Traveling to a foreign country by ourselves was exciting, but also intimidating for us.

I was wondering, for example, how the hospital on-site would handle the work with women during childbirth, who have infectious diseases. However, he women are screened very well in advance. During my 6 weeks in Tanzania we only treated one HIV-infected woman who was in hospital for a regular check-up.

Some advice I would like to give you, especially for those who are working in the health sector:

Be prepared that things might be fundamentally different to your home country. Get a realistic picture of what will await you on the ground!

Another not insignificant reason why we wanted to spend our elective in Tanzania was the safety aspect. Tanzania is generally considered a safe destination, and you also get great safety advice from the World Unite! team members on site. Generally, it is not recommended to walk around alone after nightfall. You should rather take a taxi to the accommodation instead of walking home at night.

About our accommodation:

During our time in Moshi we stayed in a shared flat for participants of World Unite!. At the fruit and vegetable market and in the local supermarkets you can get almost everything you need to cater for yourself. If you don’t have any food at home, you easily walk or take public transport to the city center and eat out at a restaurant.
During our time in Tanzania, we met some great people from different parts of the world. Some of them came to Moshi on their own. Although it was easy to find new friends at the shared apartment and I felt quite safe on-site, I do not think that I would have had the courage to travel to Moshi on my own and was really glad that a friend was traveling with me.

About our placement:

We chose a smaller health center called Pasua Health Care Center, located in Moshi. We we did not want to intern in a big hospital with many child births daily, because it can be difficult to provide good care for each mother and child when the numbers of patients are high. We were often allowed to work independently. After a little more than a week, we had a relatively good relationship with the staff and could thus also bring in own ideas and make suggestions. Even as a student, you already have a lot of knowledge that can be passed on.

But do not go to another country with the attitude to teach people. Be open to local practices and try to learn as much as possible from the people on-site.

About our free time:

We mostly used the weekends and our days off to get to know as much as possible of Tanzania. In addition to the surrounding tourist destinations such as the Materuni waterfall and the Kilimanjaro, which unfortunately we could not climb because we did not have the time, we also spent a long weekend on Zanzibar. The best part of our stay was a four day safari through the Tarangire National Park, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. Safaris in Tanzania aren’t cheap, so I recommend you to start saving early. Because the safari is absolutely worth it!!!

Best regards,

Tamara from Austria

Here you can find all information about Tamaras internship.


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Social Work in South Africa – Veronica’s Dental Care Project

Veronika is a social worker and volunteered in South Africa for three months. During her time abroad she has set up her own project that provides dentures for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Here you can read more about Veronika’s idea and project:

From may to August 2019 I volunteered at TLC Outreach Projects in Cape Town from May to August 2019. I am a social worker in Switzerland and I’ve always wanted to learn about social work in a different cultural setting. Since TLC has their own social worker and provides versatile interventions to support to people in townships and on the streets, volunteering with TLC sounded like the perfect opportunity for me!

TLC tries to connect with people in three different townships and to build trustful relationships with the families in the area. TLC has been known in the entire area for over 20 years and the kids are always unbelievably happy when TLC comes along with ideas for handicrafts, singing and dancing games, a sweet snack or their preventative programs.

If a child of 13 years or older drops out of the state school system before graduation, TLC offers the child a place in their „skills school“ where they have the opportunity to acquire basic vocations skills to be able to apply for a job in a factory or as a salesperson. The success rate is around 50%, which is an impressive result! The kids are taught with much love and affection, but discipline matters too. I myself experienced three students who were able to leave the skill school during my time in South Africa because they had already found a job.

TLC also tries to reach the homeless and convince them to visit their school. There is Street Work or TLC comes on a visit to common prayers in the evening or brings food donations. During my time at TLC, I actually saw a homeless person stop using drugs for weeks, later go to school and actually find a job to graduate from TLC.

All in all I can say that I’m still very impressed by the projects TLC runs. The work is incredibly versatile, and as a volunteer you’re are always in direct contact with the people, you work in different settings and you never get bored.

TLC runs all their programs with a lot of passion, warmth and dedication. I can recommend this to anyone who considers to volunteer in social work abroad.

During my time I wanted to contribute something sustainable to the TLC programs. For a long time I kept my eyes and ears open and discussed different ideas with my colleagues. A former TLC project brought me to the following idea:

Some time ago, TLC had volunteer dentists who treated several patients in an informal settlement called „Radar“ and who pulled out their broken theeth. After the dentist’s visit, several people were completely without teeth. Many people affected by poverty or homelessness have no access to dental care in South Africa. Often, young people have already lost many of their teeth, or they are in such bad shape that they hardly dare speak anymore.

Although these people in Radar were happy to have gotten rid of their aching teeth, they were now barely able to eat or bite. They shied away from showing their empty mouths and were often afraid to talk without covering their mouths. Once I offered an apple to a young woman during a meal distribution, but she shamefully said, „No thanks, I can not bite an apple.“ What an embarassing situation!

Later, when I talked to a co-worker about this, I realized that these people needed teeth again to be able to speak and laugh freely and openly.

I found out about a denture lab in Atlantis, one bus hour away from TLC. There dentures were made at a small price and without long waiting periods. My colleague told me that she also got her denture there and that everything went well. Although the health care system in South Africa provides for dental prostheses in serious cases, there are only two clinics far away in Cape Town and the waiting period is between one and two years. The residents of Radar would never be able to afford the trip to the three to four appointments in the clinic and the administrative hurdles would be too high in any case. Under these circumstances they would never get teeth again.

I decided that providing dentures was a sustainable way for me to support the people in Radar, because it would give people a sense of self-worth and self-assurance, increasing their chances for a better future.

My project was named „Teeth To Laugh“ – Veronicas Dental Care Project 2019!

After some discussions with the patients affected and the TLC employees, we selected 10 people whom I interviewed and made short profiles about. The next step was to look for sponsorships among my friends and acquaintances in Switzerland. A prosthesis cost about CHF 140.-, travel expenses and escort by TLC included. Gladly, I was able to find enough sponsors soon and we were soon ready to travel to the lab in Atlantis with the first four patients.

In addition to providing denture for the people in Radar, I wanted to develop more understanding between the donors and the patients. Therefore, I did not only create profiles about the patients that I sent to the donors, but also did it the other way round. The patients were happy to learn more about their donors, read their donor’s profile with great interest, interchanged their profiles with each other and some also gave me gifts to take to Switzerland for their donors.

After the imprints were taken in Atlantis we were able to pick up the first dentures just a week later. It was incredible to see the faces and expressions of the four people change with their new teeth. They had tears in their eyes and could hardly believe what they saw in the mirror.

All in all, we were able to have new teeth made for 12 people up to today. You can see from the pictures how much it has changed people and I hope we can continue to provide more dentures! Veronica’s Dental Care Project is ongoing and if someone wants to donate, you can send a contribution to TLC (subject „Veronicas Dental Care Project 2019“).

By donating a denture, you give people a chance to speak freely and to laugh without restraint.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact me at info@world-unite.de. I am happy to give you more information about the project!

Thanks to TLC, to Colleen (director of TLC) and to Emma for being able to do „teeth to laugh“!

Veronika, Switzerland 2019

Here you can find all information about Veronika’s project.


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Alina’s Hotel Internship in South Africa

Alina from Germany graduated from High School and still had some time to fill until the start of her studies at university. Her adventurous spirit and the curiosity to see a new country and a different culture drove her decision to do a hotel internship in South Africa. Read more about her experience:

 

I had just finished High School and still had some time to fill until my university started. I was curious to see a new country, to dive into another culture and to meet new people. So the timing was just right for my 3 months‘ adventure in South Africa!

I had first opted for a hotel internship on the island of Zanzibar, but the hotel I was suggested did not meet my expectations, so World Unite! quickly suggested alternatives to me and I finally made my choice to do an internship in South Africa.

Since I am going to study Tourism Management and Hotel Management this year, I wanted to do an internship in my area and combine it with traveling. My contact person at World Unite! provided great advice for my stay and there were extensive preparation materials available in a well-thought online portal, including all the important information about South Africa, e.g. safety instructions and emergency contact numbers.

When I arrived at the airport in Cape Town, my World Unite! coordinator picked me up and gave me an orientation and information session and helped me install my local SIM card. She personally took me to my hotel placement. During my internship I spent three days with her and her family in Cape Town and she showed me her favourite places in the city. It was really amazing!

The hotel where I did my internship was located in the beautiful town of Franschhoek near Stellenbosch, in the wine region of South Africa. I had a private room with an en-suite bathroom and a kitchen and I was also allowed to use the washing machine. The hotel has a huge garden with a pool, a beautiful chapel and a beautifully renovated barn for celebrations. During my internship, I was not only allowed to experience the regular hotel operations. I also had the chance to learn about wine tasting and organize a big wedding party together with the rest of the team. In general I have to say it is a bit quieter in the hotels and in the region in the months of May, June and July because it is winter in South Africa and the busy season does not really begin until September, October. That’s why I had a chance to also involve in marketing and help the team to prepare for the new season as well. But if you want to experience the „busy hotel life“ with lots of guests, I would recommend you to come to South Africa in the summer, i.e. in December, January, February.

Franschhoek is a small, very beautiful wine village surrounded by numerous wineries, many grape vines and mountains. This creates a breathtaking backdrop and especially the light at the sunrises and sunsets is really enchanting!

My duties at the hotel included guest check-in and check-out, breakfast service (the hotel does not have its own restaurant, only breakfast is available), social media work and general marketing, wine tasting and inventory checking (food, dishes, etc.). Also, I had the opportunity to get to know the main tourist attractions in the region, so I would be able to provide information to the guests. (eg the well-known „Wine Tram Tour“ through the wine valley Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl).

My work schedule was always kept, there was always something to do and on the days off you could experience a lot in the region. The country is really incredibly versatile! From unique safari and paraglyding tours, canoeing, climbing and adventure trips, nature park walks, walks along South Africa’s most beautiful beaches, shopping and foodmarket experiences to the Cape Town V & A Waterfront, there’s something for everyone, and I will never forget all those beautiful impressions. My absolute highlight of this whole exciting trip was definitely the encounter with the elephants and two baby giraffes that I was allowed to feed and spent time with. To be so incredibly close to these animals was absolutely amazing and only a few weeks later, I started to realize what I had been able to experience. The wildlife in South Africa is simply unique!

For me, this internship has given me an important insight into the hotel industry and I was especially happy about getting a chance to improve my business English. The hotel team gave me a very warm welcome, it was a very family atmosphere and I will always think back to this beautiful time with a smile!

Read more about Alina’s internship placement here.