Volunteer Vacation Testimonials - Cambodia

"I have traveled on many humanitarian missions in many countries and this was by far the most meaningful; not only was the project leader truly connected to the people and the community but the projects were ones that provided assistance to people who were genuinely in need and grateful

This experience further demonstrated how happy people can be with nothing, literally without food, clothing, or quality shelter -the necessities of life. It is incredible the excess so many, here in the US, think they need to achieve happiness. Children primarily are the perfect example. Majority of the children I met in Cambodia (and I work directly with children in school here in New York) have drive and are willing to work hard in a country with next to no opportunity whereas here in the US, "the land of opportunity" the children have next to no drive. The children were genuinely excited to practice their language skills and learn about someone new, about me and what my life and experiences have been like. They did not want pitty nor hand-outs, they were simply eager to make a friend." - Brittany Bonesteel, November 2012

"I had been looking to do more volunteer work in my life and felt like this project might help me to jumpstart my plans. It turned out to be so much more than I expected. I felt like our guide, Dine, was truly invested in the community and helped us to feel part of the community. Each one of our projects was a "hands on" experience where we met with the local people. I felt like we were able to give back to the community, even in a small way. I could sense how geniunely thankful the community was to have us there just by their facial expressions. In particular, the wheelchair project and the well projects felt the most meaningful for me.

When I first looked at the itinerary, I was afraid there would be too much free time. However, I do believe this free time was needed to gather thoughts and energy. I was still exhausted (in a good way) by the end of each day. I felt like I had accomplished something each day. The food was good and there was plenty of it. I particularly liked the mango smoothies at the lunch restaurant :-). It was also nice to get to know the restaurant staff a bit.

I was SO glad we stayed at a modest yet friendly hotel. I would have been so disappointed if we stayed at one of the giant 5 star places they are building. It wouldn't have felt like Cambodia.

By far, the best part of this trip was having Dine as our guide. It was so nice to have a local person who was so dedicated to the project. He could answer any question we had about the culture and introduce us to the people and the culture in a natural way. Dine's dedication to his community humbled me in a way I never expected. He worked nonstop all day helping us to help his community (...). Dine's energy, optimism, and spirit were unstoppable. My favorite part of the trip was the well project. This surprised me because it was actually the part of the trip I was least looking forward to. It was an amazing opportunity to meet with people from the local community. It was so meaningful to be able to help provide water for them. I would like to go back and help to build more wells and teach the children from this community English. The community seemed to truly need the assistance. Also, I did feel like the wheelchair project was incredibly important. It made me feel so humbled when other people in the hospital were asking us to come back with more wheelchairs for them. It was so difficult not to have one for everyone.

When I signed up for this project, I knew that I was looking for something but I wasn't sure that it was. I not only found what I was looking for but found so much more. My only fear is that I will let the passion I felt during that week die. I hope I can keep enough balance in my life to continue what Globe Aware helped me to start. Thank you!" - Volunteer, March 2012


"This experience has changed how I look at everything. I feel very fortunate for all the blessings I have. I was very surprised to see how happy all of the people were. Often in the US people needing help are angry and often expect handouts. I liked getting to see real life. The children touched my heart. This was an amazing trip." - Lisa Bond, March 2012 


"My volunteer vacation to Cambodia through Globe Aware was everything I hoped it would be and more. At first, I was a little apprehensive. given I was traveling alonge to a foreign country. Those fears were soon gone when I met Dine, our project coordinator, and my 5 team members. All of us felt so fortunate that circumstances brought us together during that week. Teaching in the school, assembling and distributing wheelchairs to amputees, and building a washroom for local villagers, are experiences we share in common that will bind us forever."  - Rebecca Radam-Collins, March 2012


"We were able to interact first hand with all the people that our projects were influencing, so there was no doubt that everything we did was meaningful. Dine (volunteer coordinator) obviously lives for this work and I could not imagine a more wonderful experience, honestly. We had plenty of time to see all the major tourist attractions in and around Siem Reap. We did not have as much down/free time as I expected and that actually made me happy, I was extremely happy to be busy, I felt like I was helping as much as possible. What can I say about the food!? It was AMAZING, we ate so much :) The accomodations were perfect, the location was good, it was clean and comfortbale, and the staff were beyond friendly. I've traveled enough to have changed how I view my own culture, but this definitely gave me even more perspective. It created feelings of appreciation and guilt, appreciation for everything we have here in the States and guilt over how much we wase and how many people do not realize how fortunate we are. I was extremely moved by the people of Cambodia, especially the ones we got to know through volunteering. They are so friendly and happy, even though so many of them have so little. The children we met through the program were smart and gracious, they spoke better English than most of the locals, and that is obviously a direct result of the Globe Aware program. 

I liked Dine the best, he really is amazing and has an energy I've never experienced. He is the reason we all felt we were honestly making a difference in people's lives, because he does this all day everyday (so we knew the work would continue long after we were there). I honestly loved every part of this trip.

I honestly cannot express how meaningful and life-changing this experience was. I cannot imagine a better coordinator than Dine, who is so passionate in helping others. I woud highly recommend this to anyone and will definitely participate in another Globe Aware program, hopefully in the not too distant future!." - Brandy Linnenkohl, March 2012


"I got more meaning out of that one week than my entire life! Enjoyed it so much! I couldn't have asked for a better schedule and food! This program made me realize how lucky and blessed we all are. I will always carry this experience with me and my outlook on life has changed. I have NOTHING bad to say! Our program coordinator was amazing. He really made the trip what it was and the experience 10x better. He truly cares for his country and it was very inspiring to see." - Emilee Schwarze, March 2012


"Even though we were only there for a week, I feel like we accomplished a lot. All of the aid recipients seemed geniunely grateful for our time and efforts. I felt like we especially connected with the villagers in the countryside. As I look back, I feel like we helped people with some basic necessities of life, whether it was education, food, transportation, or clean water.

I liked having a set schedule and being provided an itinerary upon arrival. It showed me that our time would be put to good use, that there was plenty of work to be done, and provided structure while adjusting to a new country. That being said, I thought we had plenty of time to explore outside of the program. I thought the food was fantastic! Experiencing all of the local Khmer cuisine, even taking a cooking class, were some of the highlights of the trip.  The accomodations were great, safe, affordable, great breakfast and outstanding service.

In the hustle of everyday life here in the US, it is easy to lose sight of what is going on in the outside world. A trip like this just shows you in detail the challenges faced by millions of people in less fortunate places. It shows how a little time, effort and money can go a long way to impact others. In general, the Khmer people we met were very friendly, the service everywhere was excellent, and I felt safe everywhere we went. I was very impressed with how well-behaved and attentive the kids were in class, as well as how interested they were in Western culture. I thought it was great that we had the ability to do so much hands-on work. I certainly would have never thought I would be chest-deep in a hole, digging a fresh water well in the Cambodian countryside! Our coordinator, Dine, was instrumental in helping us dig deep into the local culture. Work aside, we still had a lot of fun and got to see some great sights! Reflecting on the whole trip, it is impossible to not have an experience like that change how you view the priorities in your life.

The only thing I would do is continue to emphasize the heat and humidity in Cambodia. I think your materials already cover it, but continue to emphasize bringing light "dry-fit" type clothing during the warmest and wettest months. 

I hope to get the opportunity to work with Globe Aware in another part of the world. Not only to have the ability to contribute to new projects, but also to see new places and experience new cultures. That being said, I still would like to continue to contribute to what Globe Aware and Dine are trying to accomplish in Cambodia.

Our program coordinator, Dine, really made the trip what it was. He is so deeply tied to the Siem Reap area and passionate about the projects, that it made it easy to jump into what we were doing. His energy was infectious. He showed us a lot that we clearly would never have found on our own and took us below the surface of the culture. In addition, we had a lot of fun and laughs! I look forward to working with Globe Aware in the future, but know that it would be tough for anyone to give us a better experience than what Dine provided." - Ky Cooksey, March 2012


"Cambodia was an overwhelming, awesome experience, it opened my eyes. The people were so happy even though they had nothing. I've always valued my family and my education, but this trip made me appreciate them more." - Adan Gonzalez, March 2011


"It is an overused comment that someone has had a life-changing experience; however, it is completely true when I say it in reference to the volunteer trips with Globe Aware and the people I have come to know and love on these expeditions." - Mary Booth, March 2011 (and previously Costa Rica)


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