What’s a United Planet Quest like? Authentic, immersive, transformative, and comprehensive are a few words our alumni use to describe our Quests.
We could try and tell you how it is, but we feel our alumni can do it best. Below are just some of their most recent United Planet reviews.
Enrolled and interested in speaking to a past volunteer directly? Contact Us.
Before I travelled to Peru, I was very nervous. Mostly because it was my first time traveling to a country where I knew absolutely nothing about the native language. I was also nervous because everybody scared me about living at 11,000 ft. of elevation in Cusco, Peru. However, traveling to Peru taught me a very important lesson about how easily humans overestimate their concerns and fears. I learned Spanish very quickly because I was 100% in it mentally and after my body adjusted to the high altitude, I even played soccer with the natives twice! Sometimes you just have to jump in and that’s really what I did – even when we went white water rafting. The hospital experience was fantastic once I found a way to ask the questions I had and push past the language weakness. Another important lesson I took away from Peru was how much the natives love a person’s curiosity and effort to become one of them – by pushing yourself to speak the language, eat the food, and respect their values. Will I do a United Planet Quest again? Absolutely!
My Quest was an amazing and eye-opening experience that has changed my perspectives on social responsibility and intercultural exchange. This was the first trip that I have taken that I felt truly immersed in the culture of the country.
Between the beauty of Peru and the kindness of the people both in the UP program and in my project, I cannot truly state one single thing that was the best part of my Quest. I think that is because United Planet gave me the opportunity to find a home away from home in Cusco, working with children and meeting people through my Spanish school. I have thought a lot about how the time I spent in Peru has changed me. And I have come to the realization that I live now without stress. In Peru, there was no emphasis on time or punctuality, which although is a wonderful attribute, is handled differently in America. The atmosphere of “let it be” or “take life as it comes” was surprisingly liberating after leaving a country where bills, student loans, and keeping up a job to help with those things is so stressful. Living without worry came easily in Cusco, and I am finding that I brought a bit of Cusco back with me in how I now interact with the world.
My Quest has changed my life. It has helped me greatly with my Spanish and my speaking skills has greatly improved. But more importantly, my trip has affected my life. My Quest taught me that life is beautiful, and you need to cherish every moment. Of course I had my fears of traveling by myself for the first time to a different country, but I can now say that I did it, and I couldn’t be any happier. And I am so thrilled that I took the opportunity to travel abroad, and there will definitely be more adventures in the future!
My trip was an amazing and eye opening experience. As prepared as I was and everything I was ready for, I was still amazed at what the healthcare industry in Ghana is able to do and work with. To experience a totally different culture than the one I have been raised in is a life changing experience and I will always be thankful for that. The people of Ghana were welcoming, generous and kind. I could not have asked for a better location to volunteer. My host family was amazing and so wonderful to me. Other than being sick for part of my trip, it was an epic experience and one I will always remember.
I had an amazing experience with United Planet. In addition to how much I enjoyed my volunteer work, I also loved how organized United Planet was from the minute I became interested in participating in on of their quests to when I came back from my trip! The best part about my Quest experience was being able to be immersed in a completely new culture. I would definitely recommend this experience!
My experience with United Planet really opened my eyes to how connected we all our on this planet. Volunteering in Ecuador showed me that we all have something to give to someone else, and, above all, we can all learn something from someone that doesn’t look or speak our language. I learned so much for the people of Ecuador, and appreciate the differences and similarities of our culture in the United States to that of the culture of Ecuador.
My experience with United Planted was amazing. While in Ecuador, I had the opportunity to work in a public clinic, observe surgeries in private clinic, work with intellectually disabled youth, and help paint a mural at a day care. Each of these experiences were amazing and eye opening. United Planet also gave me the opportunity to explore Ecuador. I got to go zip lining and tubing in Mindo, go to the market in Otavalo, and more! My experience with United Planet has been one I will never forget! I have a greater understanding of our world as a whole and how big it really is. And in every place how much beauty there is. How the people have such kind hearts, and how much we can all do to help each other out. We have one planet and one life; my trip showed me how much volunteering can do to change our world, and our lives.
My 8 weeks Romania were at times confusing and frustrating, and beautiful and satisfying. I began to learn a language I knew next to nothing about, I became friends with people who’d grown up in a completely different environment than me, and by the end there were two brothers, 2 and 3 years old, that called me Nana.They ran to the door and smiled every time I walked into their house. I felt very welcome in the community of Valea Screzii. I loved the food, LOVED it, and often ate lunch with the wonderful family in Casa Americana. There were so many people, adults and children, who made me feel at home in a place 6,000 miles from the city I’ve lived in my whole life.
United Planet has provided me with an experience that changed my life. The staff were kind, supportive, and encouraging throughout my whole trip. They have helped me to become a lifelong partner in global connection and international outreach. There are no words to describe my appreciation and gratitude.
Volunteering through United Planet really changed the way I view things in my life. It opened my eyes up to a whole new way of living. I am so grateful that I was able to experience volunteering through United Planet.
Fe Yunca Puncu in Cai Cay, Peru is ran by people filled with love, life, and hope for their community and the world. They are people I look up to and I only wish that I can be half as amazing as they are because if I am I know I can make a difference. The knowledge I have gained through this experience cannot be sought after in books. This experience will forever stay with me not only through memories but in my heart through the love I received from everyone I encountered.
For those of you who think “this is just another orphanage project” everyone’s experience is different and until you work in one you can’t understand truly how rewarding and life changing it is. The kids taught me so much about what family really is. In the houses they all love each other, the mothers treat the kids like they are their own, the kids are like real siblings, and they fight just like a real family too. I feel so grateful that I was able to spend four weeks with the kids, laughing and playing, and honestly just being there for them. That’s what volunteers go to do, to give whatever they can. All the kids want is someone to love them and being that for them is something I’ll never forget.
I am a new graduate Registered Nurse from California. I felt a comprehensive volunteer project would be an outstanding opportunity to not only gain some experience in my profession, but to help a healthcare clinic deliver necessary care, and become more competitive during my job search. I also wanted to live abroad, practice my Spanish, and travel–I feel that I accomplished all these things, and made some awesome friends in the process. I learned that traveling the world to volunteer as an RN is something I want to continue to do in my nursing career, with organizations like United Planet.
I can’t even begin to put into words how incredibly thankful I am for this opportunity. This experience had taught me many life lessons and has made me view life differently. It also helped me be more open minded. Volunteering my time in the community for that short time will not only have an impact on the lives of the children I worked with, but it will forever have an impact on me. I learned new things about myself. My favorite part of the trip was working with the children; rather if it was reading English books or playing games or making bracelets or participating in the level 2 English class discussions…it all helped me realize how such little actions can have huge impacts on their lives. I learned about the Tanzanian culture first hand. I really enjoyed living the life as a local. It really helps you get the full effect of how their life really is. My host family was so welcoming, and my host brother became one of my best friends. I built so many new friendships. Cross-culture communication: “individual we are a drop, together we are an ocean.” I strongly encourage you to take a step outside your comfort zone and experience life outside of your country. You won’t regret it!
I found the trip to be such an eye opening experience. I’ve traveled to other countries before and seen areas stricken by poverty, but being integrated with the people and directly helping them offered a whole new experience. Children were lining up to get their fingers pricked for blood glucose levels just because they wanted to get a band aid. Things like that are so eye opening. It felt amazing to help people. We saved the life of a young boy who would not have known he was dying of an infection if we hadn’t gone their to volunteer. Situations like that really put things into perspective.
I had a very enjoyable experience in Kathmandu, Nepal. The best part I loved about Nepal were the people there. Despite the relatively challenging living condition, all people I met in Nepal were so lovely, nice, sincere, and so satisfied with their lives, especially the children in the orphanage. I just could not help falling in love with the children – they were cute, happy, smart, free of sorrow; their bright eyes and warm smiles had driven away all of my sadness. I enjoyed every moment playing with them, studying with them, seeing them making fun of each other and laughing. I could tell that they also liked me very much – on my last day, one of the boys came to me and gave me a paper rose, a paper butterfly and a greetings card with a poem written by himself, which touched my heart very deeply. I really hope I can have the chance to see them again.
I have always been bothered by people who come back from life changing experiences and simply say “it can not be put into words”, but I am beginning to understand where they are coming from.
I have never fallen in love so hard and so fast as I did with my host project in Costa Rica, from the moment I got out of the car I knew the 4 weeks I would be there would be the best 4 weeks of my entire life, and I have not only United Planet for that but the volunteers I shared a home with, and the wonderful staff of project.
I loved meeting the kids and getting to interact with the families in our neighborhood. It was great that we stayed in a non-tourist area so we could get a more authentic feel for our country. The most difficult part was adjusting to the cuisine and helping children in need of medical attention. I’ll always remember this trip and the way it changed my view of the world.
I walked away with tears in my eyes because I was so upset to say goodbye to the children I had met while in country. Knowing I was able to make such an impact in such a simple way of giving back to the community makes me want to continue to give back in every way I can. I was able to immerse myself in the culture of Peru and I am so incredibly happy to say I enjoyed every part of the culture. Despite lack of running water at times, I felt as though the community welcomed our entire group immediately. I enjoyed educating the children, as well as playing with them as often as possible. Walking down the street and hearing the kids yell, “Teacher! Teacher!” melted my heart because I know I had made a difference in their life. These kids had chased after us just to spend another couple minutes with us, even if it meant only fives minutes of kicking a soccer ball around with them. Our host was not available as much as we had hoped, which left us to do most of the organizing on our own, but luckily we were able to figure it out with teamwork. On the last day of our volunteering, we ended up at a site that we were not originally scheduled to work at. After a medical screening with an in-country doctor, we realized one of the boys had a serious life-threatening infection with only two hours left of his life. With our help, we were able to get the boy to a private hospital where he was put on antibiotics and is now able to live a happy and healthy life. This specific boy, in addition to all of the other children we worked with has made a serious impact on my life and I will never forget the amount of satisfaction I felt after helping these children. I know that I have just reached the tip of the iceberg, but I plan on continuing my service to others in both my community and abroad.
If I got the chance to go back, I would take it in a heart beat. Never have I felt so close to people and with a culture in those two weeks. Thank you United Planet for a great experience.
It was really lovely. I left wishing I had more time…I thought the extra opportunities volunteers were supplied with were really great, though the best part was definitely the people I met, my host family and the men I was working with at my project. I found myself noticing my comfort zone expanding, as I gained friends, knowledge, and experience in where I was, what I was doing, and what I wanted to be doing. It was a really great experience to be working hard at something, feeling unsure and a bit overwhelmed, but just keeping chugging along, and letting life take you as it would.
China summer was definitely one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever taken part in. I met so many wonderful people and learned a lot about myself as a person. The hardest part of china summer was saying goodbye to the school, to the kids and especially to all the other volunteers, whom I feel I now have an undeniable and special connection with. I feel certain that I will take part in the China summer programme again in the near future.
I absolutely loved where I volunteered, so much that I hope I can go back again. The people and kids where I worked were so wonderful, and I loved that I was completely immersed in Spanish the whole entire time. I felt like I was really able to get to know a lot of the kids, and the only bad thing was that I had to leave.
My volunteer Quest was a rewarding and eye-opening experience. While some of the cultural and language differences were confronting at times, I believe being placed outside my comfort zone was an invaluable part of my experience.
Teaching is an amazing experience because you learn so much about yourself while doing it. In fact, I think participating in the China Summer Quest has secured my decision of becoming a teacher. Furthermore, the people you meet are all amazing.
The trip is not only based on what you do but who you do it with. My experience was made amazing by the people I was surrounded with and United Planet. Going to Romania was amazing, a short two week trip that will be the start to the rest of my life.
The China Summer program might be the most unforgettable experience in my life. I need to thank my students for teaching me about life and give me such valuable memories.
The quest was an unforgettable experience. The host family was supportive, and they helped me adjust to the new culture. I was able to practice my Spanish and learn about the culture.
United Planet offered me a chance to bring a bit of hope into the world. What I did during this past trip may have been small in the big picture, but for the children I helped, I know this was exceedingly important. That alone proves to me that this trip was a success.
United Planet has helped me connect more with my Chinese roots and led me to mature in my own life by introducing me to students with whom I’ve forged connections that transcended age and background.
Volunteering in Romania was definitely the best experience I’ve had so far in my life. By working at the orphanage, I gained independence and responsibility. It is impossible not to love these kids, and I believe that I will go back some time soon.
Everything that I experienced on this trip, exceeded all of my expectations. I don’t think there was a single moment where I wasn’t enjoying myself or experienced boredom. Because of that I feel that China Summer has been the best summer experience I’ve ever had.
Fantastic experience. Great support and help throughout the whole process. Going to Nepal was a culture shock for the first few days but after that it was such a amazing experience. My host family was better then I could have ever imagined and all the children at the orphanage were so sweet and loving. This experience will forever be close to my heart, and I hope I can continue to visit the orphanage on a yearly basis.
My alternative break in Romania has been my most cherished memory in college so far. All of my experiences that I have made and shared with other engineering students have been unforgettable and truly amazing. This trip has inspired me to want to keep traveling and exploring different parts of the world, and to learn more about different cultures every chance that I get.
My Host family accepted me into their home as one of their own. We truly became a family during the year I spent with them. I was expected to be at all family events and they even took me on vacations with them. This gave me a chance to really get to know the Costa Rican culture at home. They helped me tremendously with learning Spanish also.
My Quest to Peru is an experience I will never forget. It opened my eyes to see things farther than my own community, and brought a new perspective on life, that otherwise I would not have gained.
My Quest was one of the most horizon-spanding experiences of my life to date. I would definitely consider doing another quest with united planet and discovered that I have a passion for going abroad and immersing myself in other cultures.
My time in Tanzania was everything I hoped it would be. The people were amazing and the children and teachers I worked with are unforgettable. At first, I was overwhelmed by the language and hustle and bustle of the city. But after only a few days, and with the help of my phenomenal host family, I felt as though I belonged there. The only thing I didn’t like about Tanzania was having to leave!
Once again, China Summer has made my summer unforgettable and has made me longing for more! China Summer never fails to make me forget about all the troubles at home and the preoccupations that comes with life outside of China Summer. Every year, I am still amazed at how this program can bring around 20 American and Chinese volunteers who are from different backgrounds and all have different personalities together to all be friends. What makes the trip so remarkable and memorable are the relationships built with the students, the local residents, and the other volunteers.
The clinic I volunteered at was by far the biggest thing that I took from my quest. The children taught me just as much, if not more then I taught them. Working there everyday was the definition of cross-cultural understanding. Each of the children impacted my life in a different way and I will forever be grateful for everything United Planet gave me the opportunity to experience throughout my quest.
The whole experience was incredibly rewarding and having support from start to finish was very reassuring especially going somewhere like Nepal on my own. I would love to do another quest as i learnt so much for this experience about another culture and more importantly about myself.
There is nothing greater then learning and growing from others. This entire experience I believed I was going to go help these people and better their lives. In fact they helped me and bettered my life.
Volunteering in Tanzania absolutely changed my life! Working with children every day who want nothing more than to learn and for you to teach them was the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything and I already miss my host family!
What I enjoyed the most about my trip was getting all of the hands on medical experience with kids that previously had very little healthcare. I enjoyed seeing their faces that were filled with joy and excitement and the feeling that what my fellow volunteers and I did made a difference.The impact this trip has had on my life is irrevocable, being able to do some real good in this world is a rare occurrence and to be a part of it was amazing. Being able to help men, women and child that truly need it and leaving them with supplies to continue taking care of themselves is something I will always remember.
While I volunteered at Centro de Salud Ttio, I learned so much about the Peruvian subsidized healthcare systems, since the state hospitals are a hub for the state insurance. Everyone I talked to, whether it was a doctor, a secretary, or even the patients themselves were willing to share about their experience and knowledge with the system–so much so, that I was able to put together an entire research paper with my findings on the system and ways in which people think it could improve. I couldn’t get over how most everyone I encountered open and willing to share. They really offered me a window into their culture and their experience.