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 with the Ama diving women at Ise Shima National Park in Japan

Are you looking for a very special internship or volunteer placement in the cultural or tourism sector? Then you’re in the right place at Ise Shima National Park in Japan! Our participant Shima started her internship with the Ama women this week, women who dive here in a traditional way and gather seafood without any diving equipment!

Our coordinators Chris and Julia accompanied Shima from Tokyo to the Ise-Shima National Park for her internship.

Ama women’s techniques of diving in a traditional way without scuba gear and collecting seafood in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way are recognized as a UNESCO cultural world heritage. The Ama women are also considered the inventors of pearl farming.

Interns and volunteers work in the management of the Visitor Center and they support guides with the tours and boat trips. There are tourism professionals who can supervise interns.

Here you can find all information about this internship in Ise Shima.

 

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Penguin and Sea Bird Rescue Center in Port Elizabeth: Volunteering in South Africa

Are you interested in animal and environmental conservation and do you have a special passion for penguins and sea birds? World Unite! participant Jan has volunteered in a penguin conservation project in South Africa for 7 weeks and made lots of great experiences! 

 

Howzit! I’ve chosen the Penguin Conservation Project because the idea of working with these little black and white buddies sounded awesome to me. Also, South Africa sounded like a very attractive travel destination.

However, I didn’t think that I was going to have such a fantastic experience here and that I would friends here, for whom I’d love to be able to stay longer.

My name is Jan, I’m 20 years old and a volunteer at the Penguin Conservation Project in Port Elizabeth. My job here is to feed the penguins, to prepare fish and other foods for them and to wash and hang many, many towels 🙂 Beyond me actual tasks, helping hands are needed anytime at the centre – whether to clean up or the help the staff with their various tasks and activities. The daily walk to the beach is definitely one of the best parts of this project.

For me, life outside of my volunteering project is also a very exciting experience: We live in a large house with about 17 volunteers, located only 5 minutes from the beach. Every morning at breakfast I enjoy the beautiful sea view. Together with the other volunteers I cook every night and do all sorts of things together and it’s a wonderful experience to meet all these people from different countries. In fact, in the past weeks I’ve gained at least three very good friends here, and the first plans for meetings back in Europe are already in place.

I’m here in South Africa during late autumn and yet there are days with over 25°C and we can enjoy our free time on the beautiful beach of Port Elizabeth. I cannot list all my activities here, but the best ones were probably a bungee jump from the highest bungee jumping bridge in the world, a safari in Addo Elephant Park with buffaloes, zebras and elephants just a few inches away from our car, various weekend trips (including a few sometimes challenging, but still amazing hikes and breathtaking views at the end) and ultimately many fun and unforgettable evenings spent together with my new friends.

All in all, I highly recommended this experience and I am very grateful to have made my decision of coming to South Africa. Since my placement is now over, I will spend my last week here in Cape Town and then start my journey back home.

Best regards from PE!

Jan, Germany

 

Visit us on our website for more information about volunteering at the Penguin and Sea Bird Rescue Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa!


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Music and Cultural Exchange: The Mapanya Band from Zanzibar excelled in Switzerland

We regularly introduce participants of our programs to our social media community  whose commitment reaches far beyond their actual volunteer or internship placement. Sarah from Switzerland, who did a volunteer assignment in the music academy in Zanzibar last year (you can read about Sarah’s experiences here) organized a musical cultural exchange program and brought her fellow musicians from Zanzibar to Switzerland! Read more:

Sarah reports:

From 06.-20. In April 2018, the Mapanya Band from the Dhow Country Music Academy (DCMA) in Zanzibar traveled to Switzerland as part of a cultural exchange project. The project included workshops with students in Hünenberg (ZG) and Eich (LU), concerts in Sursee, Friborg, Bern and Biel, a cultural exchange with students of the Zug University of Education as well as public workshops and a church event in the parish of Sempach (LU). Several times, the band was invited to spontaneous house concerts and jam sessions. Another highlight was the a short notice invitation to the „Bestival 2018“ in Bern, after a successful concert in Sursee the evening before. The seven young musicians were able to prove their musical ability and flexibility. They have touched people of all ages and thrilled everyone with their enthusiasm. For both sides, the project created countless unforgettable moments. AHSANTE SANA!

I had the idea for this project during my one-month volunteer assignment at the Music Academy in Zanzibar in July / August 2017. The aim of the project was to invite the student band to Switzerland and to offer workshops and concerts at various institutions for a duration of two weeks. In addition to expanding the band’s field of experience, the project also aimed to create space for musical and cultural exchange.

The interest and support for the project were overwhelming! The project was financed by the admissions to the band’s concerts as well as by private donations, which were collected through a charity concert by Sarah, among others. We thank Sarah and everyone involved who made this great exchange possible!

You can find all details about the music academy here.


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Cultural Exchange & Working Holiday in Japan

Would you like to meet local people in your host country and thus learn to understand the local culture better? We regularly introduce participants of our programs here who are committed to cultural exchange beyond their their job, internship or volunteer assignment in their host country. Meet Daniela in Japan, who participated in a cultural exchange of the Japanese-German Society in Gunma!

The Japanese-German Society in Gunma organizes numerous events for exchange between Germany and Japan. Once a month, members can meet with German-speaking people living in Japan and do cultural and other activities to get to know each other better!

In May, our participant Daniela participated in the German-Japanese event. Daniela is currently a participant in our Working Holiday program in Tokyo. After a guided tour at the famous Shôrinzan Daruma Temple and a nice Sushi lunch, Daniela participated in the „German Saloon“ from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with about 30 Japanese attending. At each meeting participants will discuss a different cultural and practical topic about Germany, e.g. the public transport system, traditions, meals, the Oktoberfest etc.

Japanese skills are not mandatory for this event! The Japanese participants are very happy to practice their German language skills with you. For the participation you are even paid a small compensation. We think: A great opportunity to get to know Japan better and to share your culture with interested local people!

As a participant of our Working Holiday Program, our participants from Germany are cordially invited to join this event and to introduce cultural topics from their home country. Contact us for more information or visit http://www.world-unite.de/en for more information about our programs in Japan! 


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Incredible India – Alexandra’s Nursing Internship at a Hospital in Cochin

Have you always wanted to deepen the knowledge and skills of your studies or training and gain practical exposure? During a medical elective or internship abroad, you can get to know the medical system of another country and also expand your intercultural skills!Alexandra from Great Britain did a nursing internship in Cochin, South India with us. Read more about her incredible experience: 

 

I chose India as my destination to carry out my nursing elective as I had travelled in the Northern area two years earlier and fell in love, with not only the country but the culture and everything in between. So, when it came around to a choice where I would go it seemed obvious! I found World Unite online and they had links with a hospital in Kerala, so I started the process of booking it!

It is very hard to sum up a month spent in India, even after a second visit the country never ceases to amaze me and being able to work in a hospital there it allowed me to really understand the people.

My accommodation was a Guest House in the lovely town of Fort Kochi which I grew very fond of over the month. Antonio was the owner and the coordinator of World Unite! and the contact of the hospital. He really looked after me and the induction on the first day was very useful as it made me orientated to the area. He also took me to the hospital where I was first introduced to the director and nurses who I would be shadowing. The bus ride to and from the hospital was a crazy, loud ride and a bit of a guessing game to which one you should get on as the signs were all in Malayalam which is the local language. However, all I had to do was shout up to the ticket man “Fatima” and he would tell me. By the end of the month they recognised me, and we would always have a friendly chat on the bus.

From my time in the hospital, I have gained better listening, observational, communication skills and an amazing overall experience that I would not have gained if I stayed in the UK.

I was in the hospital from 9:00 till 17:00 Monday to Friday working across A&E, post-surgery ward, general medicine ward and occasionally in the operating theatres. It was interesting to observe the way in which everything was ran and to see patients being treated for illnesses like dengue fever, a tropical disease which you don’t see in the UK. The nurses were extremely friendly and would explain to me in English what was happening. They were also very keen that I kept eating and would constantly share their food with me which was delicious. I was mainly shadowing but could take observations on the patients and help with medications. It amazed me how resourceful the staff were with such little equipment. It certainly took a week to get used to the surroundings and the heat but after that you quickly feel at home.

Things didn’t always come easily to me in India, for example finding reliable food even though there are many choices on the street it was always tough to figure out what would be reliable, but you really just need to get out there and get involved, ask around, make friends with the locals. I learned to embrace the people and the country so much that there was never a dull moment. I miss the Indian food, the colourful clothing, the crazy transport, the smells, the people, the music, the weekends away and more than anything I crave the Indian tea (chai)! In between the cows lying on the streets, tuk-tuks and buses constantly beeping their horns, scooters and motorbikes driving in any direction on the crazy roads and the odd camel or elephant thrown in for good measure- I can honestly say there is nowhere I would rather be.

I will return to India again for my third visit as it is a place that truly has a place in my heart. Thanks World Unite for allowing me to have my nursing experience in my favourite country, it has been the experience of a lifetime, one I will never forget!

Best,

Alexandra (Great Britain)

Click on the Link for further information about Alexandra’s internship location and placement.


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Volunteering as a Nurse in Morocco – Nicole in Tangier

Have you always wanted to deepen your professional abilities through a stay abroad and to learn about work styles in a different culture? World Unite! participant Nicole volunteered as a nurse in a clinic and a medical outpatient clinic in Tangier, Morocco for four months and gained memorable experiences. Read more: 

I spent almost four months volunteering in Tangier (Morocco) and it has been the best time in my life so far! Thanks to World Unite! my work schedule was well organized. Nevertheless, I had enough free time to explore Tangier and Morocco. I volunteered in a private clinic three times a week, and in a non-profit medical outpatient clinic two times a week.

As for my time in the private clinic, I spent the first four weeks in a general medical ward (including an intensive care unit). In this ward, patients were cared for after surgery and also patients with internal medical problems. I was very fortunate because the Moroccan nurses and doctors allowed me a very hands on approach. I was allowed to change dressings, infusions and to measure vital signs (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.). In the beginning a was a bit worried whether the patients would trust me or whether they’d refuse to be treated by me, but rather the opposite was the case.

Everyone was very positive about organizations like World Unite! that make such cultural exchanges possible.

After four weeks, I switched to the operating theater. I was very excited to be given this opportunity because I haven’t had much chance to work in OR during my training as a nurse in Germany. The surgeons and nurses were incredibly friendly and received me very well. In the beginning I spent most of my time observing, but after a short while I helped with the patient preparation and follow-up. I was able to join many surgeries in visceral or fascial surgery, traumatology, gynecology, urology, ophthalmology, and oncology and I’ve learned a lot. After some time, I was allowed to to establish vascular access, managed the sterile instruments (holding them and handing them over to the surgeons) and applied dressings. My personal highlight was to learn how to sew surgical wounds. I am really grateful for this experience and for the openness and trust of the doctors and nurses. I felt so comfortable in the surgery theater that I stayed there until the end of my placement.

On top of volunteering in the clinic, I helped out in a medical medical outpatient clinic on two afternoons a week. The clinic is run by the two nurses Meriem and Zohair. Each afternoon, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, they provide treatment to people who can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Medicines and medical supplies are donated to the clinic. Around 20 people get treatment on a daily basis. I helped to prepare the instruments and materials and cleaned and stowed them after the clinic closes. We have treated patients of all ages and with all types of health complaints, often burns, cuts, abscesses or postoperative follow-ups. When there was less to do, we would have a cup of tea together and fold compresses in the meantime. I’ve learned a lot from Meriem and Zohair, especially about life in Morocco. We often talked about different health systems, living standards and about our work in the clinic. This was an amazing chance to learn with and from local people in Morocco and to practice my French.

Combining a placement in two clinics has given me a great insight into the Moroccan health care system and I am extremely grateful for that! On top of gaining work exposure, volunteering in another country and amount local people has definitely helped to broaden my culture competences as well.

Despite having a busy work schedule, I had enough time to go on excursions on weekends. I travelled to the beautiful cities of Chefchaouen and Assilah and explored lots of places and sights in Tangier, for instance the Hercules Grotto. My time in Morocco was an absolutely unique experience and I can definitely recommend it.

Best wishes,

Nicole

Read more about Nicole’s placements in Morocco:

Hospitals in Tangier

Charitable Medical Centre and Nursing Centre in Tangier


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Agricultural Internship in Myanmar – Friederike on the Tropical Eco-Farm

An internship abroad does not only offer you the opportunity to put the knowledge gained from your studies into practice, but also to expand your intercultural skills! Our participant Friederike is a student of geo-ecology and did an internship at an eco-farm and agricultural school in Myanmar. She experienced the culture and way of life of this fascinating country first hand and made very special friendships. Read more about her exciting experience:

For my one month internship I decided to travel to Myanmar to work with an organization called “NEED-Myanmar“. “NEED“ stands for “Network for Environment and Economical Development“ and is a school and teaching farm that teaches sustainable agriculture methods and environmental conservation topics to young farmers in Myanmar.

My day started with classes in the eco school at 8:30. During class I answered questions, helped the students with group work or taught myself. We talked about topics like erosion, river regulation, permaculture, risks of coal mining and renewable energy. The lessons were in Burmese and English. Classes usually finished at 3:00 pm. From 3:30 pm till 5:00 pm we worked on the fields and watered the plants, harvested, built new beds or fixed the chicken house. Afterwards, there was always some time for Badminton or Volleyball!

The students were open, curious and kind. Some pupils taught me traditional dances or showed my how to apply Thanaka (a traditional paste from bark that’s applied on the skin). Even though there were some communication problems due to the language barrier, we were able to build a strong friendship.

I lived on the farm and had my own bedroom and own bathroom, but without running water. But I got used to living without running water pretty quickly.

I could learn a lot about tropical and sustainable agriculture as well as about the problems and difficulties burmese farmers face. Just to name one example: Burmese farmers have to change the structure of the beds depending on the change of dry season to rainy season, otherwise the rain would wash away the soil.

But I could learn the most about Myanmar and its people! Everyone told me a lot about their culture, their hometowns, their families, their wishes and dreams. I learned things about Myanmar that I would’ve never been able to learn on a holiday or from a book.
When you decide to go to Myanmar and work on the NEED-farm you will meet the kindest and friendliest people, you will learn a lot about their culture and ways of life and you will lose your heart to the people and the country.

Best regards,

Friederike (Germany)

Friederike in Myanmar 2

Here you can find all information about Friederike’s internship in Myanmar.

Contact us at info@world-unite.de – we are happy to advise you on your volunteer placement or internship in Myanmar.