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Mexico Marine Awareness Service Learning for Groups

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The base conditions far exceeded my expectations

The staff were incredible -- positive, enthusiastic, dependable, motivated, and honest. The base conditions far exceeded my expectations. Working with newly-hatched baby turtles was the experience of a lifetime. Of course, the private beach wasn't so bad, either.

It would be better though to accelerate the training, so volunteers can monitor/survey before the end of the first 5-week period of the 10-week expedition.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The people I spent my time with on base made the experience all the better

The diving was absolutely fantastic. The training was superb, I feel confident that I've been taught well and as a result feel safe when I dive. I really enjoyed learning about the coral and the fish although I spent more time with coral. Also learning about other reef creatures and algae was enjoyable. I only regret that I couldn't have stayed longer to monitor - 5 weeks is too short. The community work was also really fun, for example Turtle festival and visiting the school in Punta Allen. I feel like GVIs contribution to community work is well appreciated and I was proud to help out. Above all the people I spent my time with on base made the experience all the better, I met some friends for life here.

Better instructions on how to cook rice!! On a serious note though, there were numerous days we couldn't dive due to faults with the boat, it would have been much better if a mechanic could have been called sooner to fix it. There were weather issues at the time which I appreciate hindered the fixing process.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I loved traveling around Mexico

My most positive experiences were learning all about the coral reefs and knowing that I was able to identify each one every time I went diving. I loved traveling around Mexico and experiencing a whole different culture and meeting new people. The think I enjoyed most about this experience was the diving...which was so awesome...and meeting new people all over the world and making lifelong friends.

I had such a great time and experience that I am more than willing to try and take another trip sometime in the future. First impressions mean everything and I think my expectations were far exceeded.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I can dive!

My most positive experience was that I can dive! :D and everyone on base made it awesome. I only went for 5 weeks so still need to get my rescue and divemaster as well as visiting other parts of Mexico, I'm also interested in the South Africa safari trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The diving was amazing!

The diving was amazing! Living on the beach in paradise was great. The programs seem to be well run and they make a difference in the local community and of course it was a great experience for me.

But the compressor at Pez Maya caused many problems. Also the huts were extremely hot, more ventilation would be nice.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

This experience was such a great experience

My most positive experience was scuba diving every day, helping baby turtles hatch and doing community service with the kids of Tulum. This experience was such a great experience it feels as if it was a dream and not real. It's something that allows you to think and do something that benefits the communities of the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best 5 weeks of my year

I enjoyed learning to dive and studying fish and coral, I loved the staff and my fellow ems, I loved the region, food, and weekend activities. Best 5 weeks of my year, I love going to see new places and working instead of vacationing, I love meeting new people from different parts of the world and going on adventures!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Five weeks just wasn't long enough

It was really the overall experience of living and diving in such a beautiful place, and the lifestyle of living on base camp. Its so far removed from what I'd experience at home. Being able to wake up on a tropical beach and live so simply, and dive on such an amazing reef.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I had an amazing time and want to do more

Meeting amazing people that share the same interests, diving everyday, living on the beach and gaining skills were my most positive experiences. I had an amazing time and want to do more to promote sustainable tourism and making the world a better place!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The trip itself was such an incredible experience, and exceeded all my expectations

It is hard to pick out something over everything else but one of the things I most enjoyed was meeting the people. Working and living together for such a prolonged period of time means you really get to know one another, not just the volunteers but the staff as well, and I really do feel like I have come away from this with some friends I hope to have for a long time. I also really enjoyed the diving part of the expedition, having never dived before I soon fell in love with it and got to see so many cool things. One dive in particular stands out over the others, doing my deep dive we saw a Barracuda, Queen Angelfish, Black Grouper and as we began our ascent a two metre wide Spotted Eagle Ray swam around us, I felt very privileged that in just a 16 minute dive I got to see animals not commonly seen and in their natural environment as well. Both the instructor and I could not keep the smiles of our faces as we headed back to base. I think a positive experience would be Earth Day which we spent in Punta Allen. We were promoting a recycling initiative in the small fishing village, spending the day with both the children and their parents, seeing their willingness to get involved made me realise that it only takes a few small lifestyle changes to make a difference.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was one of the highlights of my life so far

I enjoyed being around a group of people who shared the same passions and were taking as much enjoyment out of everyday as you are. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have every had and I have more positive experiences than I could even mention but some of the ones that standout in my mind include: being suprised by a manatee on one of my dives, the feeling finally being able to monitor after hours and hours of hard work and study, and walking in the dark with no light pollution and being able to see the white sand glow in the moonlight.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I gained a new appreciation

I gained a new appreciation for what I see, when I go into the ocean. Now I can go into the water and positively identify the majority of creatures. The people made it a positive experience, including the staff. The group of staff members on my expedition were a really cool group of people that were passionate about what they were doing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I had a great time

The quality of dive instructors was amazing as was all aspects of the dive training. A lot of the volunteers realized this when we organized a side trip with a local dive company and safety just wasn't as well handled as it was on base by the staff. I feel very lucky to have learnt to dive in that environment.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I had the time of my life

I cannot say that I could name just one positive experience because the entire trip was amazing. The program was such a life changing experience that I will never forget.

I had the time of my life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would do every expedition that exists if it was possible

The most positive experience was that I felt that I made a difference, for the reef, the environment and the local people. I enjoyed everything, if I could I would do every expedition that GVI has, the staff was great, the place, the diving, everything. Also, because we had bad weather, the staff made me feel that I made a difference even if we didn't dive. That was good!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The safety of each dive was incredible!

I absolutely loved the entire experience. It surpassed all of my expectations! With the great staff and the wonderful group of volunteers every experience was great. I was very impressed that even on days when we couldn't dive because of the weather we were still always learning about the marine ecosystem or getting more training (one day we watched a documentary about over fishing, we did our first aid course etc.) The safety of each dive was incredible! Having not known much about GVI prior to the trip I was a little concerned about the safety, especially from a diving perspective, however I was very pleased to realize how important the safety was to the staff and the rest of the volunteers. I had done dives prior to this trip and I can easily say this is the safest I have ever felt diving. And what's more each dive had purpose and was a lot of fun! I enjoyed every moment and wish I was still there! THANK YOU!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was an extraordinary experience

It will be a cliche to say that the people were a pleasure to work with. The staff was fun, enjoyable, interested, interesting, conscious and safe. The volunteers were chosen well and they were varied and interesting as well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I loved the diving, enjoyed the team spirit and made great friends.

I really struggled with the diving to start with and I was hugely grateful for my instructor Jack's patience and ability to make me relax when I panicked. The first time I was able to dive and empty my mask under water was hugely rewarding. It was really exciting to see the other divers underwater too! I loved spotting the fish underwater and learning the monitoring techniques. The first turtle sighting was a dream come true. I really enjoyed the social side, relaxing in the evenings with the other volunteers, the staff cooking for us on Saturdays (the meat!) and the party nights. The bbq at the end was brilliant. A Mexican volunteer arranged a lot of amazing trips for us at the weekends. Im not sure if that happens every phase so it'd be good if staff could organise that if there are no Mexican volunteers willing or able to do so.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I have met some fantastic people and hopefully some friends for life!

Learning to dive in Mexico is definitely one of best places in the world to learn to dive plus learning to dive with GVI was absolutely brilliant as they were such good teachers as we learnt extremely safely and all the information needed! Also the group living aspect of the trip could not of been better, I have met some fantastic people and hopefully some friends for life!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I really enjoyed the trip

I really enjoyed the trip and would love to one day work for a company like GVI. My most positive experience was the diving, the other volunteers and living in a secluded beach environment in Mexico.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I love GVI!

I thought the staff were amazing. A special mention to Martin for his GREAT teaching skills. His lecture on "threats to the reef" changed my life. And Sarah and her First Aid training, she was thorough and kind. Very helpful. Also, Jim and his lion fish dissection. Shannon and her help with EVERYTHING and Sonja's help with learning coral. Overall, the staff made the base the place it was. THANKS TO EVERYONE. You are the best!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Excellent opportunity to give back

I felt like I was actually adding data to support the research on the reef and its health. Our base life was inclusive and friendly and the weekend trips were great.

Excellent opportunity to give back, but a rather expensive trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was loads of fun

My favourite thing about the GVI program was not only that I was able to make a difference, but also that I was part of a group which made more of a difference than any one of us individually could have.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It had made me a better diver, a better professional and a better person

My most positive experience was the diving training and the opportunity to share experiences with people from all the world. The experience was great and It had made me a better diver, a better professional and a better person.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was absolutely amazing

Being a beginner diver, i was anxious the first time we went out, but Frodo obviously realised this and made sure that i was ok on ever dive, which totally put me at ease. The safety checks on land and on the boat were brillant to put everyone at ease and made the dives more enjoyable. Studying fish at the start seemed impossible, but Rob, Jaen, Sam girl and Dain were always willing to go through our ID books with us. This helped us all to pass our fish and juvie tests very quickly,l getting us closer to monitoring. I also know that Jax, Frodo and Nikki put so much time into helping the coral people pass there tests. Overall the people were the most amazing thing about the expedition. We were very lucky to have a very relaxed group, who got on with everyone, who wanted to explore at the weekend, and genuinely went to Pez Maya to learn something, rather than just to sunbathe. All the staff were amazing, making us feel at home straight away, and i cant emphasise enough their impact on me for marine conservation, diving and environmental work. I now take bags with me to cut down the waste of plastic bags, and constantly feel guilty when having a nice warm power shower. Its now my job to annoy people at home about all of this, but if it makes a little bit of difference, it will be worth it!

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation