Ya’an City, CHINA
My experience with GoEco was quite amazing. It had been my dream to hold a panda bear. I explored my options for such an opportunity and came across volunteering in China. GoEco made the whole process extremely easy and worked with me on finding a volunteer placement for a week at the reserve, as well as organizing the logistics of fulfilling my dream of being able to hold a panda during my stay there.
We had been told we were staying at a hostel right by the entrance to the reserve. The accommodation was not bad and though the food was the same thing for both lunch and dinner it was still tasty. There was a slight miscommunication about the type of toilet facilities, but after some practice we became experts at squat toilets!
Upon arrival, our two guides for the Giant Panda Center placement, both at Chengdu and on the reserve, were amazing. One of them really bonded with us; teaching us tai chi and Chinese language, watching movies with us, and generally making the experience so much more fun.
On the reserve, we were able to feed the pandas four times daily; they also allowed us to pet one of them. We also cleaned the enclosures and met so many other people that were involved in the program. There are different times for volunteers at the reserve so we met people from USA and other locations of China, all just at our project location. With our GoEco volunteer team, we met people and made lifelong friendships with a diverse group of people from all over the world, this only made the experience that much more fun and enjoyable.
At the end of our stay, we had to figure out our own way to the airport but our assistants and guides made it easy for us to organize transportation. I highly recommend that if you plan to stay for more than one week, research weekend trips. There are so many places to explore nearby that you could go spend a day or two in really exciting locations.
We went on our weekend to the thousand Buddha cliffs and grand Buddha. A little research ahead of time, allows you to plan better. A few people we met there had been there for three weeks, but had spent most of their spare time in Chengdu because they didn’t know any other options. Overall, I loved every second of it, and the people I met made it an even more unforgettable experience.
Thanks to GoEco, I can check number one off my bucket list!