Plan My Gap Year

Real Summer Encounter

Hoandedhdhoo, Maldives show on map
Agency
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founded in 2011
Plan My Gap Year
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Coordinator | Josh
Coordinator | Josh
PMGY’s Real Summer Encounter takes in three exotic destinations – Maldives, Thailand and Fiji. Enjoy this great balance of structured programmes and independent travel! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Highlights

  • Chill out on white sand beaches and experience the tropics in abundance whilst making a difference!
  • Have a picnic on a sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean!
  • Get first-hand experience in marine conservation recreating coral reefs in the Maldives!
  • Renovate structures on one of the biggest inhabited islands of the Huvadhoo Atoll!
  • Assist local teachers at the nearby school or support local children at a childcare day center in Thailand and Fiji!

Your summer journey will begin with three weeks on the Maldives Island Experience taking in all the community programme, conservation and adventure travel the itinerary represents. You will then fly across to Thailand to spend three weeks on our community programmes here and the cultural immersion your experience will represent. Your 9 week epic Summer will conclude in the Fiji Islands based in the South Pacific taking in all of its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs along the way! The time is sure to fly by so make sure you make the most of each of the three destinations you will immerse yourself in!

Your first stop will be Maldives. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It has the smallest population of any Asian country totalling approximately 400,000 people across the islands. The country is famous for its stunning beaches and azure waters that epitomises its image as a tropical haven. It is what lies beneath the surface with its abundance of marine life and unique coral reefs that sets it apart from other dive destinations; all to be explored on the three week Maldives experience.

PMGY Maldives is located on southwest atoll island of Hoadehdhoo in the Maldives. It is around 1.5 hour’s flight from Male Velana International Airport where the capital is based. PMGY created the Island Experience for volunteers to live the island life while also contributing to the surrounding environment and sea life. The Maldives is the third most endangered nation in the world due to climate change; PMGY volunteers will truly be able to make an impact on the well-being of this island and its people.

PMGY volunteers will be introduced to a wide variety of different projects including the formation of mangroves, the recreation of outer lying reefs, sea life and coral surveys, waste management and renovation work for housing, religious centres and community structures of Hoadedhdhoo. On top of this you will have the chance to give back to the local community in other ways including teaching English and sports. This is your chance to experience the tropics in abundance whilst making a difference as you encounter an underwater world, chill out on white sand beaches and recreate the damaged coral reefs.

Your next stop is Thailand. The country is composed of 76 different provinces and home to over 68 million people. There are so many sides to Thailand to explore: beaches, mountains, lush jungles, paddy fields, bustling cities, peaceful Buddhist temples, amazing food, wonderful weather and of course its friendly people. From its temples, vast and expansive forests and a great variety of flora and fauna to its scenic beaches, Thailand has something for everyone.

PMGY Thailand is located in the urban town of Pathum Thani north of Bangkok and the Tambon Thamairuak district south of Bangkok. Here you will have teaching and childcare community programmes to choose from. So whether you choose to assist local teachers at the nearby school or choose to volunteer your time in supporting and assisting with the daily care and learning of local children; you are sure to make an impact in this traditional suburb of Bangkok.

Your last stop is Fiji! Fiji is famous for its rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of the population. It is a country that evokes a truly exotic tropical paradise and you will find the Fijian people to be some of the friendliest you have met across your Encounter. You will find Rugby to be like a religion here and the local food a joy to sample!

Our programmes in Fiji are based in the heart of the capital city of Suva which is located on the southeast coast of the island of Vit Levu. Suva is a very multicultural and diverse place, but the people, in general, are very friendly and welcoming. You will have the chance to immerse yourself in the unique culture Suva and Fiji represents whether it be teaching in a local primary school or supporting at a childcare day centre.

The end of your time in Fiji will sadly represent the end of your 9 Week Real Summer Encounter with us.

You can choose any standard volunteering programme during the online application process but please be advised they are subject to availability and there may be an additional cost associated with some projects. It will be an unforgettable 9 weeks!

Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday) Arrive in the Maldives

Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation

Day 3 (Monday) Snorkel Adventure & Community Sports 

Day 4 (Tuesday) Reef Fish & Coral Survey Project

Day 5 (Wednesday) Continue Reef Fish & Coral Survey Project

Day 6 (Thursday) Snorkelling & Beach Clean-up

Day 7 (Friday) English Teaching & Fitness Day

Day 8 (Saturday) Continue Reef Fish & Coral Survey Project

Day 9 (Sunday) Island Renovation

Day 10 (Monday) Continued Island Renovation

Day 11 (Tuesday) Reef Fish & Coral Survey Project

Day 12 (Wednesday) Thinadhoo City Tour

Day 13 (Thursday) Coral Site Visit & Community Sports

Day 14 (Friday) Mangrove Planting & International Cuisine Night

Day 15 (Saturday) Beach Cleaning & Bodu Beru Party or Departure

Day 16 (Sunday) Day on Uninhabited Island

Day 17 (Monday) Snorkelling & Sand Bank Picnic

Day 18 (Tuesday) English Teaching & Fitness Day

Day 19 (Wednesday) Uninhabited Island & Movie Night

Day 20 (Thursday) Coral Site Visit & Tree Planting with Students

Day 21 (Friday) Free Morning & Farewell Party

Day 22 (Saturday) Goodbye Maldives – Hello Thailand!

Day 23 (Sunday) – Orientation

Day 24-42 (Monday-Friday) – Volunteering

Day 43 (Saturday) Goodbye Thailand

Day 44 (Sunday) Hello Fiji!

Day 45 (Monday) Orientation

Day 46-63 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering

Day 64 (Saturday) Last Day

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

Typical day

Almost every day you will be doing something different on this adventure, but here are three examples of what you might be doing in each country:

Maldives:

Visit an uninhabited island for a bit of sun and fun! Bring your snorkel gear and a volleyball because the morning is yours to enjoy.

We hope that you had a very relaxing morning; now it is time for the group to come together to do a bit of waste management. If you speak to any Maldivian they will share the grave threat to the islands from rubbish. As these islands rest in the heart of the Indian Ocean there is no place to create landfills or proper disposal of waste. The afternoon will be spent collecting rubbish from the beach and surrounding island(s).

The long day will leave you sun-kissed and tired so the local team will be waiting after dinner to show you a local movie about the country you have taken home in for two or three beautiful weeks! Chill out and enjoy each other’s company.

Thailand (English Teaching/Childcare):

Both childcare and teaching volunteers are based at the same placement site and volunteers will be able to travel together accordingly. The school is split into two components, where teaching volunteers work with the slightly older children who are just about to enter grade school, and the childcare volunteers work with the younger children who are at pre-school age. Although similar in nature, they each follow different daily itineraries and there is a clear boundary between the two buildings and set up. Our childcare programmes usually run in the morning only, however there is often the opportunity for volunteers on this project to engage in the teaching programme in the afternoons. Additionally to traditional school settings, we also run frequent Summer Camps within the local community. Both Teaching and Childcare volunteers will run classes for their respective age groups.

Fiji (ex.: Childcare):

The day usually begins at 9am so volunteers will have to be up early and have lots of energy for the day ahead. Most of the children will stay at the kindergarten until around 2pm at least with a morning snack and lunch sandwiched in between before being picked up by parents or other relatives and older siblings.

However, some children will stay at the kindergarten and continue with activities and learning until up to 5pm as to when the parents are able to collect them after the working day.

Volunteers on the kindergarten programme, in general, are expected to match the excited and eager nature of the children and local staff when supporting or leading fun and interactive activities. This will range from planning activities, teaching basic English and grammar, organising and planning age-appropriate activities or even leading story time!

Details on Arrival

The programme start dates are as follows – 

15th June 2019
6th July 2019
27th July 2019

Please make sure you arrive Male Velana International Airport (MLE) on the selected Saturday start date between 1am and 1pm. You will then take the domestic flight in the late afternoon too Hoadehdhoo Island. This flight costs 450 USD, but PMGY will arrange all of this and add this one once your deposit payment has been approved and processed.  

The programme ends in Fiji on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Free-time activities

Maldives:

  • Spend hours in crystal clear waters with sea turtles, eagle ray, dolphins and more
  • If you are lucky, witness some of the world’s largest whales
  • Practice your Dhivehi, the language of the Maldives, with the locals
  • Experience an entertainment evening with traditional dancers and drummers!
  • Head off to an uninhabited island for a day of volleyball, snorkelling, exploration and sun!
Thailand:
  • Head to JJ Market in Thailand, Bangkok’s famous weekend market!
  • Relax on the beach, play games, or watch a movie (we have movie nights too!)
  • Visit the Grand Palace, temples and national parks!
  • Experience fresh Thai cuisine and get a traditional Thai massage
Fiji:
  • Explore Suva, visit the Fiji museum, and explore the Suva municipal market
  • Shop 'til you drop at the Morris Hedstrom City Center, the largest shopping mall in Fiji!
  • Go island hopping or visit the charming little settlement of Navala (where all houses are the same size!)
  • Visit beautiful waterfalls or relax at one of the many beaches

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/
Music
Diving/
Snorkling
Shopping/
Souvenirs

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
- physically fit
- medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas must be declared to us during your online application
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Plan My Gap Year cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Plan My Gap Year.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Plan My Gap Year (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Plan My Gap Year

Your fee includes both your registration fee (for PMGY) and programme fees.
Your programme fee includes

  • accommodation, 
  • Maldives meals (breakfast),
  • Thailand meals (breakfast & dinner),
  • Fiji meals (breakfast & dinner),
  • airport pickups, 
  • Maldives transportat to project,
  • in-country orientations, 
  • PMGY t-shirt,
  • 24 hour in-country support.
Your registration fee includes; 
  • 24 hour UK based support, 
  • comprehensive volunteer handbook, 
  • live pre-departure webinars, 
  • regular programme inspection.

Airport Pickup at Male International Airport
Please make sure you arrive Male Velana International Airport (MLE) on the selected Saturday start date between 1am and 1pm.
When you touch down at Male Velana International Airport you will be greeted by one of the local team members. As you wait you can exchange money, connect to the airport Wi-Fi, watch the many boats come in and out of the harbour, check out the sea life swimming right under your feet, have a bit of ice cream to cool off in the hot weather fr or enjoy an iced frappe from many of the shops and restaurants.
You will then take the domestic flight in the late afternoon too Hoadehdhoo Island.
Accommodation

During your time with PMGY in the Maldives, Thailand, and Fiji, you will live in our Volunteer Houses. The accommodation is always basic, but comfortable. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. You’ll be living with volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

Our local team always lives in close proximity to the accommodation and are on-call 24/7 should you need anything.

The Volunteer House in the Maldives is located on the island of Hoadehdhoo. Everyday we will transport you via speedboat to the project site. This service is included in your Programme Fee.

Each room has bunk beds, up to 6 people per room (same sex-rooms only). Volunteers are provided with air-con and bed lining. You will have cupboard space to store your belongings, we encourage you to bring small padlocks to store your items in the lockable spaces.

Each room has an en-suite bathroom. The water is cold, but after hours in the sun that shouldn’t be a problem! The house has a communal area to hang out equipped with a refrigerator.

During your time with PMGY in Thailand you will live in our Volunteer House located in the town of Pathum Thani, a safe and quiet suburb of Bangkok and around one hours drive from the main tourist areas such as Koh San Road. The volunteer house here has free Wifi (intermittent).

The house is a local property within an extremely safe and quiet neighbourhood. It is around a 30 minute walk from the main street where you will find local restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs. There are fans available in the accommodation. Rooms are shared, up to 10 per room (all bedding and mosquito net is provided).

The Volunteer House in Fiji is located just outside of central Suva; a stone’s throw away from everything you need in town with a great sea view to match. Each room has either single beds or bunk beds and fits up to 6 people per room. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room if needed and their own mosquito net/mosquito coils and bed linen. There are communal lockers with one locker per room located on the top floor of the accommodation. Bathrooms are shared. The water can be hot or cold depending on which shower you use.

The house does not have Wi-Fi available to volunteers but there are numerous internet cafes in Suva a short walk away. Volunteers are best obtaining a local SIM Card to get access a data package should they want regular internet access.

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Maldives:

You will be served breakfast everyday at the Volunteer Cafe. Typically, breakfast consists of cereal, fruits, yoghurt, eggs, and toast. 

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, make a request to the local team and they can do their best to create a little menu for an evening (these will have a separate cost).

You are required to purchase your own lunch and dinner. This includes traditional Maldivian food options along with items such as Fish & Chips, Spaghetti and Macaroni (based on availability). Volunteers are advised to budget around $15 each day for lunch and dinner. Most meals are traditional Maldivian dishes that can be typically consist of fresh sea food. Maldivian cuisine consists of a lot of rice, noodles and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

Thailand:

You will be provided with breakfast and dinner everyday at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Thai dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Thai cuisine consists of a lot of rice, noodles and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

Breakfast is traditionally done on a self service method where volunteers will help themselves each morning before heading to project. Dinner is either provided at the house or volunteers will head to the main street for the evening meal.

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you are best to head into Bangkok where you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals.

You are required to purchase your own lunch and there is plenty of options during the lunch break on the main street of Pathum Thani around a 25 minute walk from the project.

Fiji:

You will be served breakfast and dinner at the Volunteer House. A typical breakfast there consists of toast, eggs, jam, fruit, and tea. For dinner, volunteers can expect to be served chicken, pasta, potatoes, Dhal curry, and Chinese curry.

For lunch, volunteers can purchase this either at the project, take a packed lunch with them or head into Suva where you are spoilt for choice with a range of delicacies!

All meals are freshly prepared each day and most meals are traditional Fijian dishes. Fiji is a very culturally diverse country and often there food and taste buds can reflect this!

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Male International Airport (MLE) in Male. We assist you to find cheap flights to Maldives.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Maldives provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Maldives you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Maldives.
Costs: Prices in USD
9 weeks (min. stay)
$ 2,574
9 weeks (max. stay)
$ 2,574
Average fees
$ 286 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Hoandedhdhoo/Maldives between 9 weeks and 9 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Maldives.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Asia Southern Asia The Maldives  Hoandedhdhoo, Hoandedhdhoo

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