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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Culture shock China? – No, valuable life experience! – Madeleine’s hotel internship in China

World Unite! participant Madeleine has just returned home from her 3-month hotel internship in China. She does not only see her stay in China as a way to get to know a new culture, but also as a possibility to gain valuable life experience.

World Unite! arranged my internship at the Holiday Inn Tianjin Binhai, a 4 star hotel in the new TEDA district, a business location. My decision to do an internship in China left some of my friends and family quite perplexed. I heard things like „What? China? Isn’t this crazy? “ Yes, probably it was to some extent, but looking back I can say that going to China and to immerse into a completely different culture and the Chinese lifestyle was one of the best decisions of my life.

Through the preparation materials from World Unite! I felt well prepared regarding cultural differences in China, at least in theory, which proved to be very helpful though.

On arrival to Tianjin, I was welcomed in a very friendly way and my colleagues and the hotel managers were super nice, although a bit reserved. However, I learned that this is simply the way Chinese people behave, whereas at the beginning I tended to take the friendly but restraint attitude personal.

My main task at the hotel was to communicate with the international guests, including Germans, who came to Tianjin for their business trips. I was the contact person for them, answered questions, clarified special requests for them with the managers and collected their feedback to constantly improve the guest’s satisfaction. In addition, I helped out at the breakfast service and during the happy hour in the evenings. I also had some tasks at the Front Desk, including the preparation of member key cards. As you can see, my tasks were quite diverse and gave me the chance to gain a valuable insight into the hotel industry.

I would always have the weekends off to explore the country. I did several trips to Beijing (around 120 km from Tianjin), visited the Great Wall and tried out numerous Chinese restaurants. The only difficulty in everyday life was communication in English on the streets or in shops, as most locals speak only Chinese. Nevertheless, they are very friendly to Europeans and very helpful and I was able to communicate quite well with a Chinese-English translation app, which a Chinese colleague downloaded for me. In addition, I learned important words in Chinese through the Chinese classes at my hotel.

I had some concerns about security before traveling to Tianjin, because with its 15 million inhabitants it is significantly larger than any German city. However, I felt very safe, even when I was walking by myself at night. There are cameras at every corner and there are hand luggage checks before you enter the subway. Also I felt that presence of the police in public is significantly higher than in Germany.

All in all I can say that I had an incredible time in China. Both at the hotel as well as in everyday life I was treated in a very friendly way and people were always helpful. I feel that I have personally grown a lot during my time in China. Also, there was so much to discover during my leisure time and doing some shopping is highly recommended 😉

From my point of view it is definitely worth to try out and to experience something completely different. My advice is to try not to be prejudiced and to come without big expectations. Be open to new things and always be friendly to your colleagues and the people around you. That way you will have an incredible time in China that you will never forget! If you are diligent, reliable and polite, you will definitely have the Chinese on your side, because these attributes are highly valued and often associated with Germany.

Best wishes and enjoy China!

Yours, Madeleine

You can find the details about Madeleine’s placement here

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Workshop Environmental Conservation & Recycling at Schools in Zanzibar

We are sending you many environmentally-friendly regards from our environmental coordinator Lisa in Zanzibar. The participants of our sea turtle and environmental project in Nungwi have organized a workshop on recycling and waste prevention in a local village school. Here you can read Lisa’s report:

Our World Unite! Participants in the sea turtle and environmental project have offered a workshop on recycling and waste prevention for children from a village school in Nungwi.

The aim was to teach the children what kind of garbage they and their families produce everyday and how much of it is actually plastic waste. Plastic waste poses a big problem for people, animals and the environment on Zanzibar because it either thrown away on the streets, ends up in the sea or is burned.

The children have learned how long it takes for various materials to rot (paper, fruit skin, plastic, cans and glass) and what happens to our environmental when these materials are burned. The fact that plastic can remain on dumpsites for centuries, and that toxic gases are released when it is burned, left the children quite perplexed.

Finally, we were looking into ideas for alternatives to producing plastic waste and showed the children various ways of recycling waste materials. On Zanzibar, for example, old plastic bottles are reused for bottling milk, oil or juices. Plastic containers are used to fetch water at the village wells. But what can be done with all the soft plastic?

After the school visitwas followed by a trip to the sea turtle and environmental project, where children could learn how to make Ubuntublox. Ubuntublox are large blocks of soft plastic that can be used to build various things such as houses, benches or even tables. Especially when pressing the blocks everyone had a lot of fun.

We look forward to seeing you and your support to work together towards a more sustainable and garbage-free Zanzibar!

Best regards,

Lisa

Click here for all details about this program!


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Sea Turtle and Environmental Conservation on the Tropical Island of Zanzibar

Pauline from Germany spent 4 weeks in the Sea Turtle and Environmental Conservation program in Zanzibar. In our blog she describes her experience. 

My 4 weeks in Zanzibar have passed way too fast (book for a longer duration!!!), are among the best times in my life. Not only did I get to know lots of wonderful people among the other volunteers; also the aquarium staff is amazingly friendly and I felt welcome from my first day. If I needed assistance, I was always welcome to contact them and everybody was trying their best to help me. Except for my initial day, I did not feel homesick at all during the entire stay.

Working with the turtles was a lot of fun. Besides the daily tasks such as changing the water in the pools, there are other duties and tasks which vary on a weekly basis. The working atmosphere is quite relaxed and work never gets boring.

In the afternoons there are voluntary environmental conservation activities. Given the enormous waste problem on the island, plastic waste is recycled and in parts reused to build furniture or decoration objects.

You will also have enough free time to go on excursions. My personal highlight was a snorkeling trip to Mnemba Island, where we even saw dolphins next to our boat. Other trips I made were a spice tour (which is much more interesting than you would imagine) or a weekend on the east coast where you can go kite surfing. But you can also just spend the entire day in the project or on the beach.

I would definitely do this trip again, because of the amazing people I have met and the experience of living in a different culture.

Best wishes,

Pauline

You can find further details about the Marine Turtle and Environmental Conservation Program on this link.

Visit us on our website www.world-unite.de for further information about volunteering in animal or nature conservation.

 


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Electives, Medical Internships & Cultural Learning in Morocco

Wrivu, Bradley and Georgina from Australia traveled to Tangier, Morocco with us for their medical internship. There, they did not only get to know their  host country’s medical system, but have also immersed themselves in the local culture.

Thank you for helping us coordinate our time in Morocco. Morocco is a beautiful country with an incredible culture, and we really appreciate the way World Unite helped us make the most of our time. You have been professional, kind and gone out of your way to ensure that we are safe and comfortable during our stay, and for that, we are extremely grateful. We also opted take French lessons during our stay in Morocco and I would highly recommend this to anyone considering it, without hesitation. Madame Khadija is a wonderfully humorous teacher and will make the lessons extremely interesting. 

Thanks again,

Wrivu, Bradley and Georgina

Ready to intern abroad? Here you can find information about Wrivu’s, Georgina’s and Bradley’s internship.

In many of our partner programs, language skills of the country’s national language are not mandatory, but locals will for sure be delighted to see that you are interested in picking up a few words in their language! Even if you just learn a few words in the local language, this will be greatly appreciated. In Morocco, we organize French, Arabic and Darija language lessons for you.


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Happiness is contagious! Paula’s volunteer placement in Moshi, Tanzania

Paula has worked as a volunteer in Moshi/Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for 3 months. In our blog, she describes what was most impressive about her time in Tanzania.

I have spent 3 months volunteering in Moshi, Tanzania and it was literally the best time of my life! Moshi is a cute little town, located right at the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was important for me to be in a place together with other volunteers to be able to meet new people, to exchange experiences and of course to discover the country. Moshi is perfect for that!

I worked in an orphanage where around 30 children between 0 and 6 years live. The children are divided into two groups: the babies and the 2-6 year olds; I was with the older children. As a volunteer I assisted the children with their daily routines from morning to evening. I helped to feed, wash and change the baby’s diapers, put the children to bed and played with them on a daily basis. It was amazing to see how after a while I was more and more able to integrate into the work routines at my placement and how I was able to actively support the local team.

On the weekends, me and fellow volunteers often went on trips to other places around Moshi to see more of the country. I also went on a safari and travelled to Zanzibar for a week, which I highly recommend.

I am incredibly grateful for this formative, beautiful time and can not put into words how much I miss Moshi and especially the children. I would like to recommend this experience to anyone with an interest in working with children, but World Unite! offers other volunteering and internship options in Moshi as well.

In addition, the culture in Tanzania is unbelievably impressive and exhilarating, most people are so open, loving and hospitable that one immediately feel at home and welcome. During my time in Tanzania, I learned that it often needs very little to be happy and that happiness is definitely contagious!

Best regards,

Paula (Germany)

Visit us on our website to learn more about our programs!


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Catching „Zanzibar Fever“ – Sarah’s volunteer placement at the Dhow Countries Music Academy

World Unite! participant Sarah from Germany volunteered at the Dhow Countries Music Academy this summer. Here she tells us why she totally caught the “Zanzibar Fever“: 

 

 

„… Jambo, Jambo bwana

Habari gani, nzuri sana … „

If you visit Zanzibar, you will inevitably enjoy this catchy tune. In the streets of Stone Town, sung by children, tourist guides and of course by the numerous beach boys on the beach. Among other things, the song was one of my first impressions of my new work place – the Dhow Countries Music Academy Zanzibar, DCMA for short.

My main task at the Academy was to teach the students piano and piano improvisation. In addition, I assisted the academy with small office tasks or provided support in questions of musical theory.

As a music teacher, the student’s ways of learning are especially of interest to me. It was fascinating that although my students had a sound theoretical basis, they primarily played by ear. Often, they would also clap or sing passages in order to fully internalize them. Although most of my students had only started to play their instrument when they joined the academy, they were making rapid progress, had a deep understanding of music and never got tired of learning. An important learning experience for me was to see the relaxed way and how naturally people make music here. No matter what level they are, they play and sing together and support each other.

In Zanzibar, you will heard traditional Zanzibar and East African music and Western style music or classical music. Of course, there is pop music as well and the students make their own compositions which they would often play and which tell of their lives and their experiences.

Here’s a description of my usual daily routines in Zanzibar:

Between 5.30 and 6 o’clock the call of the muezzin from the small mosque directly opposite my apartment wakes me up. His voice mingles with the approximately 50 other songs from near and far and interweaves into a buzzing tapestry of sound, which the two neighboring roosters join loudly and persistently.

Getting up, showering, packing my bag for the day.

Breakfast at the Stone Town Café and then a pleasant walk to the Academy: Past Joe’s Corner, and the women preparing fresh chapati and porridge for their families and friends in front of the still-closed shops. Bicycles and scooters whiz through the streets. They contrast the general „pole pole“ way of life and it requires a high level of attention not to get involved into an accident.

The Academy is still quiet, hardly anyone is there yet.

At 9 o’clock my first piano student arrives and we start the day with a prelude by J.S. Bach. Gradually, the Academy starts to fill; the students arrive for their classes or to practice. Those who do not have their own instrument can borrow one from the library.

After four to six lessons, my teaching is over and I can spend the rest of the day as I wish. Be it jam sessions with the students or small office tasks to support the academy, or a beach trip with other volunteers or even a leisurely stroll through the city. Most of the time I spend the afternoons with the people from the academy or later attend one of their concerts.

In the evening I meet with other volunteers for dinner and we visit the Night Market, where spend the evening by having some spicy tea.

What I liked most about my stay on Zanzibar is the warmth and the contagious zest for life of the people here. One of my personal highlights was clearly the visit to a student’s family in his home village. It was a unique experience to gain insight into their culture and way of life.

Also my trips to a Spice Farm or the trip to the turtle project in Nungwi, including a snorkeling tour were quite worthwhile.

The four weeks at the Music Academy DCMA are among the best I’ve ever experienced. It was diving into the Zanzibari or East African culture and I literally caught the „Zanzibar Fever“.

My thanks go to World Unite! and to Professor Mitchel Strumpf, Academic Director of the DCMA, as well as to his staff and, of course, to the students of the Music Academy, who have made my trip to Zanzibar so memorable and with whom I am still in close contact.

From the first moment I felt at home in Zanzibar and especially at the DCMA – music is literally a universal language.

„…wageni, mwakaribishwa

Zanzibar yetu, hakuna matata.“

Sarah, Switzerland

Join the Music Academy here

 

 


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Education Internship in Bolivia: Jessica & Tamara in Cochabamba

World Unite! participants Jessica and Tamara from Germany recently completed an education internship for university credit in a childcare facility in Bolivia. Here you can read about their experiences!

 

As we study pedagogy, we decided to undergo an internship in a childcare facility. World Unite! and Katharina (our contact person at World Unite!) helped us to choose a country and made several suggestions according to our wishes and ideas.

In the end, the 3 of us decided to go to Bolivia. South America seemed particularly appealing to us because of its culture and nature. Shortly before our trip, our friend fell ill and could unfortunately not join us on the internship. Again, World Unite! was very helpful and understanding. Altogether we spent 2 months in South America, of which we spent 1 week in Chile, 4 weeks in Bolivia, where we did the internship in Cochabamba, and 3 weeks in Peru.

During the internship, we stayed in an accommodation belonging to the language school run by our local World Unite! coordinator Mauge.

Mauge and the rest of our contact persons on-site were all very warm and welcoming and always there to assist us if we had any questions (whether about visa, illness, or work-related).

The caretakers and staff at our internship organization were extremely friendly and did their best to make us feel comfortable, but we would like to point out that some previous Spanish knowledge would have been of advantage for our work.

Overall the trip was a very special experience and we would go back anytime and definitely recommend it!

Best regards,

Tamara and Jessica, Germany

You can find all the details about Tamara’s and Jessica’s internship on this link.

We will be happy to assist you with the arrangements for Spanish language lessons in Cochabamba!