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Projects Abroad - Asia

Projects Abroad - Asia

Projects Abroad offer a variety of projects in Asia. Here's a selection of Case Studies from 2 volunteers.

Thomas Henry spent his gap year in China with Teaching and Projects Abroad, volunteering to work in a Chinese Law Firm.

What can I say about Shanghai? When I decided to volunteer in China with Projects Abroad, I must admit I did not really know what I was letting myself in for. Would I be stuck in a tiny little Chinese flat, with nothing to do and language I did not understand.

I shouldn't have worried. The Projects Abroad staff were full of kindness and this was carried on by all the other Projects Abroad volunteers who went out of their way to make me feel at home. In Shanghai there was a real sense of comradeship, when a new volunteer arrived we would make sure one of us was there to met him/her at the flat and then we would make sure we made them feel at ease. That is one of the best things about doing a Projects Abroad project, the chance to forge long and lasting friendships.

I did a Law program, and this involved me working for Lehman, Lee & Xu (a Chinese law firm). The work was very interesting, at times challenging and gave me a good insight into the day-to-day running of a law firm. My boss was a fairly young Canadian guy and he was brilliant - trying to get me involved in the more interesting cases and regularly asking me how it was going and if I had any problems.

However, one of the real highlights, and one which I must admit I was not expecting, was the nightlife. We had a regular night out on Thursday nights, where one club had free drinks for ladies all night, so this was the time where us blokes called in all our favours from the girls! Then there was our other regulars: Face, a trendy but fairly expensive (when compared to some other places where they had 8p beers from Sunday to Wednesday!) bar and Play, who had the friendliest staff who we became friends with as well as the best chicken wings in the world!

All in all I had amazing experience in China. After Shanghai I travelled around some of China (it's a big place!) with some of the friends I had made. I had amazing experiences, not all brilliant - food poisoning while on a boat trip down the Yangtze was not fun! - but pretty much all of the others were. The time I had in China really opened my mind to other cultures and other ways of life. But it was not all about this; it was also about making friends and having a completely awesome time!

18-year-old Caspar Erskine spent his gap year with Projects Abroad as a volunteer in Nepal teaching for two months with his friend William.

I came to Nepal in late January as part of my gap year preparing myself for a two month placement teaching in Nepal. Honestly it all sounded fairly daunting, checking up on the situations and thinking about the challenges of having about thirty children screaming and shouting at me in a different language! The Projects Abroad driver took us straight to our hotel, driving past a completely different world.

This feeling of unfamiliarity changed quickly as Guy, our Projects Abroad supervisor began showing us the ropes and introducing us to the rest of a small group of volunteers out here on the same mission. Nervous on our first visit to the school, the headmasters of Diamond school and Bishnumati were incredibly helpful in helping us to settle in. They introduced us to the children and gave us some useful tips for teaching. Over the following months I was slowly able to develop my own ideas for teaching the classes and became much more comfortable in their presence.

My host family was incredible. Ram Lama and his twin brother Laxman helped us endlessly to become familiar in and around town, showing us the all important email places and good places to buy sandals. They took us to a couple of traditional Nepali weddings and their family home in the hills where me and my friend attempted make momos (Traditional Nepali food). My cooking skills extend about as far as toast so there was a lot of serious difficulty here! The family was brilliant, fun and patient with us as the two months flew by, and now I have left my placement I miss them and the schools a lot.

Looking back on my two months, I think that it has to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was supported well and made lots of new friends, and more importantly I never felt insecure but rather at home in Nepal. We did manage to get time off for a couple of trips out into the blue yonder and of course I had to take a couple of school trips! All were fun and an experience I will not forget.