International Volunteer HQ
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the world's leading volunteer travel organization, providing affordable, safe and responsible volunteer programs in over 30 different...
Volunteers on the Marine Conservation project have the opportunity to join a variety of conservation efforts focused on the protection of the marine ecosystem in Madagascar...
Volunteers are needed NOW through International Volunteer HQ's partner organization in Ghana! A wide range of volunteering placements are available in order for participants...
International Volunteer HQ is seeking volunteers for a varying number of opportunities in Tanzania. Placements include teaching various subjects, working with an orphanage,...
Submitted by BA87 | August 24, 2016
It has always been a dream of mine to travel the world while helping others. IVHQ helped make that dream come true! Before I arrived to Guatemala, IVHQ was very helpful and informative. Lachlan was my program manager. He was always helpful. He was only one email away! IVHQ does an awesome job of helping its volunteers organize their trip. The online profile through their official website is extremely helpful. Especially for those first timers!
Not only was this my first time volunteering abroad but a first time traveling to another country ALONE. Well, I can assure you not once did I ever feel alone. From the moment I stepped outside the airport I was greeted by staff and other volunteers. Volunteering abroad is a great way to make friends and to meet like minded individuals! To all my introverts-volunteering abroad can bring out those little extroverts in you:-)
Mi Casa, Su Casa.
The Family stay house I lived in for one week was very well kept and clean. The food was great! I felt safe, not once did I ever feel endangered. The other volunteers were awesome. We clicked right away.
I was registered in the childcare program. My assigned placement was an Orphanage located outside of the town Antigua I was staying. Volunteering at the Orphanage was truly a humbling experience. These beautiful children just want love and attention. It made me realize that above everything else, love is what is important. These are children who have been in unfortunate situations but gleamed with joy. All they want is your affection. That is all. In a world of superficiality, this was a reminder of what is most important.
Love and Happiness.
I will miss each and everyone of these children. I came to this program thinking I would save them but they saved me.
Overall I had an amazing experience in Antigua, Guatemala. If you're looking for adventure, cultural enrichment and a chance to give back to others, well IVHQ is right for you!
Amazing volunteer experience in Peru
Submitted by llamalover - McMaster University | August 23, 2016
I just spent 4 weeks volunteering in Lima this summer with volunteer IVHQ, and without a doubt it was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences in my life. I participated in the specials needs/childcare program, in which I volunteered at an orphanage for young kids with disabilities. The staff were extremely friendly, and I was able to assist in the specialized therapy programs as well spend time playing with and feeding the children. They were so lovely to work with everyday, and will definitely be a highlight of your trip. Apart from this placement, volunteers are also able to visit a halfway house for young girls and participate in special events with the center for adults for disabilities (ex. parades, birthday parties). I highly recommend participating in both, as you can really see how happy the residents are to have our company.
Most volunteers work mon-fri and have the weekends off. Because of this, there are many opportunities to travel and visit tourist attractions, which I highly appreciated. I volunteered for 4 weeks, and used each weekend to see what Peru had to offer. From sandboarding in the desert, jungle hikes in the Amazon, whitewater rafting in Lunahuana and of course the famous Machu Picchu, the possibilities are so diverse that everyone can find something they enjoy. And although it was a bit expensive, it was totally worth it and beneficial to travel with other volunteers (especially if your spanish skills are non-existent like mine haha). However if traveling isn't a priority, there were always people who stayed each weekend as well. Going out and experiencing the nightlife was quite popular, as well as staying in for chill movie nights.
The volunteer house had about 24 volunteers living there, which meant things were always eventful. Most were in their 20s, but the range was probably 18-40ish years old. It was extremely interesting to meet volunteers from all over the world, and learn about and compare different cultures. The accommodation itself was ok, with limited hot water and shared living spaces, but it is a volunteer experience afterall. The food on the other hand was actually pretty good the host family/staff were welcoming and personable. Although there was a language barrier for many volunteers, they would take the time to know all our names and say hi every morning.
Overall, it was definitely the best summer I've ever had, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an adventurous volunteer opportunity.
Pura Vida, 2016
Submitted by Teresa Ortega - Orange United States | August 23, 2016
I have been searching for an affordable volunteer program for the last two years. A program that allows me the freedom to coincide with my work schedule. To be completely honest, I was beginning to lose hope on making this experience a reality until I came across IVHQ. I asked myself, "What if..?" and before I could change my mind I submitted my application without looking back. I have to say this was one, if not thee best thing I've done this year.
On weeks leading up to my departure for Central America for the very first time, I made sure to plan and check off all necessities from my travel itinerary. I was so nervous and excited at the same time, overwhelmingly excited to be exact. I've traveled in the past, I have also volunteered often but never had I traveled to volunteer abroad...and alone. I tried to prep as much as I could, but who can be ready enough for the pleasantly unexpected?
Upon my arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica a friendly staff member awaited with a bright yellow smiley face flag. This was a good sign. My mom could finally breathe. The drive to headquarters through town, downtown and local neighborhoods was beautiful. This was the very moment everything felt "real." Fast forwarding past my orientation, which was very informative, my mama tica (host mom) showed me the way to-and-from home on the bus routes. Ironically enough, I was not familiar with public transportation but this was one thing I was very excited to experience for the first time, among other things. My short week in Costa Rica was spent working on construction and renovation in Barrio Cuba. My teammates were friendly and from all over the world; Mexico, Canada, Europe and the states. During my time there, I worked on an existing community building and parking lot that was being renovated into a day care and playground. Here, I met a fellow Interior Design colleague from Florida I still keep in touch with. We brainstormed together, helped each other, utilized our time there, made friends, learned a couple of things in construction, wandered through town together, visited museums and indulged in the delicious food everywhere.
My time had rapidly come to an end. I enjoyed everything about being there so much I thought about extending my time. I met volunteers that permanently moved to Costa Rica after their trips and I also thought about not coming home. It was my first time truly and genuinely pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and everything that I know. Every new thing I did there rewarded me with immense self-growth and gratitude.
All in all, I can say I made a difference in my short time there and I came back home a new woman. I will never forget the cooking class in the rain, the bus ride to work in the mornings while a man played his guitar and sang to me in Spanish, the sloth I saw in the wild at night, zip lining over the forest and being so in-tune with myself and nature. It was meant to be, I was meant to go there even if it was only for nine days.
Peru retreat 2016
Submitted by Hanna - University of Minnesota Twin Cities | August 22, 2016
Upon arrival I was welcomed with smiles and friendly gestures. I was drove to my homestay where to my surprise absolutely no english was spoken! I was not aware of this prior to my arrival but it was absolutely a learning experience. My homestay family was very patient with me as I tried to communicate with my awful spanglish. The first day of volunteering was a day I will never forget. Having no process experience with working with kids with special needs it was a big of a shock. The center, although run by the government, had not nearly enough supplies for everyday things. For example during lunch time we had to use infant t-shirts as bibs and there wasn't enough spoons or PEOPLE to have them all feed in a timely fashion. These men and women work so so so hard at this orphanage for kids with special needs. It honestly broke my heart but also humbled me in ways i can't express. The smiles from the children were life changing. Just knowing that you may be the only person to make them smile or even to talk to them is a wild feeling. Although i was only there for a week I had already started creating bonds with the kids. You start to pick your favorites but still show love and care for all patients obviously! We did all sorts of activities that helped the kids develop skills such as painting, making noodle necklaces, making fruit salad (we cut the fruit, no worries), and running through obstacle courses. The other couple days we went to the park and got to play catch and just take in the beautiful park. You know me and my friend were chatting thinking man we wish we could do more there really isn't anything in this park and then we thought this is like the highlight of their week! They get so excited when we line up for the park or even ask about it we get all around smiles. The staff are so kind, gentle, and loving. I felt so bad leaving I just wanted to help them forever! I will for sure go back to visit them. And of course the other volunteers I met during the project were amazing. They are people that I would love to have in my life forever. Such kind and loving souls as that of the staff at the orphanage. It takes a special kind of person to put themselves out there and to devour their precious time helping others. I am already looking into my next volunteer trip its just so hard to try and afford as a college student.
I wish I could go back. Frankadua, my home for 3 weeks
Submitted by Ana - Charles University in Prague | August 18, 2016
My name is Ana Margarida Faustino, I am studying medicine. For a long time I really wanted to do a medicine and health volunteer program abroad. 2 older friends of mine went to India and Peru with IVHQ and suggested me this organization. Since the beginning IVHQ was my first choice, and my goal was Africa. There are a few different countries on this continent with medicine and health project, but I don't know how or why I felt a voice inside of me saying "Ghana Ghana." It was the best time of my life for sure!!! I didn't have any expectations... I wanted to be surprised! I took with me an open mind and open heart, with so much to give but also with so much to receive! I didn't unblock my phone because I didn't want to be distracted with all my friends and my family messages... I wanted to be there 100%. Culture and life are very different and it was impossible not to cry on the first and last day! I got used to the house and people of Frankadua, and after 1 month when I came back to my home country again I felt some kind of shock because everything was different. A friend of mine said "I've never seen your eyes with that shine" when I returned. I wish I could go back- THANK YOU GHANA!
Program: Volunteer in Medicine in Ghana