A Parent’s View: Mother and Father of Amy Wilde – Fiji
1. What were your initial concerns when your daughter suggested volunteering abroad?Mum: Safety - her being so far from home did worry me a little bit. Also we had concerns about the medical side of it, as the medical care in Fiji was unknown to us.
Dad: We were also wondering what would happen in case of an emergency in Fiji. If the host family would look after Amy well was another consideration.
2. How did Projects Abroad handle your concerns?Mum: They had a well-structured website giving testimonials from other volunteers who shared their experiences. We always managed to find information on there if we needed to.
Dad: They also reassured us that Amy would know where to go once she arrived at the airport. She told us that the Projects Abroad staff had remembered her face from the photograph she sent over, and were calling her by name in the airport when they saw her.
3. Did you have any phone or email contact with the office staff prior to applying for the project?Dad: We didn’t, but we know our daughter did. She is good at organising so we left it to her.
4. Did you feel reassured that your daughter could reach support from our staff throughout her time overseas?Dad: Yes, but this was reinforced once she actually landed safely in Fiji. We knew that Amy was greeted at the airport and safely transferred to her host family’s house.
Mum: Amy also lost her luggage upon arrival but this was quickly sorted out by the Projects Abroad staff.
5. Did you find that your daughter had enough opportunity to contact home whilst away?Mum: Although the time zones were difficult because it was an 11 hour difference, we did manage to FaceTime Amy whilst she was away in Fiji.
Dad: We tried not to do this too much once we knew she was safe and happy.
6. How did the trip affect your daughter? For example has her experience helped secure a job or university place?Mum: It no doubt helped her secure her teacher training. It broadened her life experience and made her gain confidence by travelling half way around the world. It also gave her a taste for travelling!
7. Knowing the process of application, volunteering and on the return to the UK is there anything else that Projects Abroad could do to improve the service?Mum: Projects Abroad could include a section on the website making it very clear about how built up the local offices are in each location. The developed nature of the team in each area could be emphasized.
8. Would you recommend Projects Abroad to a friend?Dad: Yes most definitely because they operate in such a professional manner. We both felt so reassured that Amy was well and happy in Fiji, that we didn’t have any worries when she was over there. In fact, I have already recommended Projects Abroad to a friend.