Indelible experience! I've had the time of my life learning lifelong lessons. It has truly been an amazing experience. I've embraced the culture and fell inlove with it. Jose Garces
IVHQ Volunteering Bali
Submitted by Rachel - Sherwood Park | May 04, 2015
I spent a total of 12 weeks on my volunteer trip to Bali. And all I can say is it was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I did the Turtle Conservation Program and have zero complaints. The program is placed on the small island of Nusa Penida which is absolutely beautiful, not only the landscape and the waters but the people on the island were the kindest people I have ever met. Apart from working with the turtles we also taught 3 times a week. Which for an 18 year old with no teaching experience was nerve-wracking at first I quickly fell in love with it and got so very excited to see my kids each week! The ivhq and local staff were always so helpful, and were ready to help with any questions. I definitely would go through ivhq again to volunteer abroad.
Want a meaningful and unforgettable experience? Give it a go!
Submitted by Rebecca Wu - Liverpool The University of Liverpool | May 01, 2015
No words can match that wonderful volunteering experience I had in Nepal with IVHQ. Everything is just beyond the words. I just turned 18 years old at that time and I want to do something I have never experienced before. After crawling on the internet for several days, I found IVHQ! For a student without any income, IVHQ provides relatively affordable projects compared to other organizations. Additionally, it takes participants’ health and safety seriously. On the very first day of my project, I was supervised by the local coordinator, who was very friendly, supportive and was always there for me if I have something to ask. Thank you for your great work! Also, before I actually land in Kathmandu, I have got everything I need to know and prepare through constantly communicating with IVHQ. The program administration is really effective and you always get a speedy response.
During my two weeks childcare project in Kathmandu, I witnessed how children at the Children’s Home were living with happiness and dreams. They were living below the lines, however, their attitudes were not! My main roles were to look after the children, play with them, do laundry and teach them maths and English. To be honest, instead of me teaching them, it was the lovely children that taught me life lessons- thinking positively all the time! As for my host family, they are amazing people! Aama and other family members made me really feel at home. She gave me a beautiful Nepali name and treated me as her daughter! As they do not have hot water for shower, every time they would boil the water and provide me with hot water. I really appreciate them for their great care!
On the weekend, me and my friend took the time out to explore this old city. I met great people and had inspiring conversations, which changed my life. No exaggeration! After the two weeks, I found my passion and realized my inner call. Now I know what I want to do with my life and I am taking further steps for it! Everyone has a life purpose in this world. You just need to listen to your inner calls. If you do so, I promise you will never go wrong. Before you find it, you have to know this world and know yourself. Travel and volunteering abroad is a great way to start your self-discovering journey.
Generally, I could not recommend IVHQ more if you want to give something back to the community, immerse yourselves in local cultures and care about your budget and safety issues. Just bring with you an open mind, heart and arms, embracing all the uncertainties and challenges in your life! Good luck everyone!
PS: Nepal is now suffering the most difficult time and really needs a helping hand. Let’s pray for Nepal and give support! I promised the children that I will go back and I definitely will continue my journey with IVHQ.
Heaven On Earth - Ghana
Submitted by Iqra Malik - McMaster University | April 04, 2015
1...2...3...GO! Don't overthink, don't hesitate, trust me (this random stranger you have never met) just go for it. I can almost guarantee my life away to the opinion that you will never regret this decision to volunteer in Ghana through International Volunteer HQ. I decided to volunteer during the summer of my third year of university and since this was my first time I was overly paranoid and insecure. But that is what life is about, enjoying, taking risks, doing new things, right? Well so I signed up and before I knew it I was heading to Ghana for four months. The welcome from the local coordinators was so warm and comforting that not for a single second did I feel homesick. I felt emotional connection with the coordinators immediately and they made sure all my needs were met; from cell phones and cash exchange to food and clean water. It has now been almost a year since my return but still I am in strong communication with coordinators and other locals - the love is real! On top of that my relationship with locals and the projects I worked on are so meaningful. You have probably heard this before but I will say it again...this was the absolute BEST experience of my life! I have made some of the most beautiful and memorable friendships in Ghana. If you want to experience real humanity, love, and inspiration...you know where to go :)
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review April 30, 2015 at 10:43 PM
Hi Iqra, Thanks for your feedback, we can’t agree with you more! Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ! We hope to see you on another of our programs soon.
English Teaching in Penestanan, Bali
Submitted by Rachel - Cairns | March 31, 2015
I volunteered with my partner in Bali in April 2014 and we had the most amazing time
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review April 30, 2015 at 10:34 PM
Hi Rachel, It’s great to hear you had an amazing time. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!
Cultural Enrichment, Lifelong Friendships, and Extraordinary Experiences
Submitted by Audria Sarmiento - California UC Berkeley Extension | March 30, 2015
I have volunteered in Guatemala, Peru and Colombia all through IVHQ. Each experience was one that I will never forget and can never compare. Each country I had the privilege to absorb life-changing and life-long cultural and personal experiences. From working construction laboring long days of building a foundation of an orphanage, learning how to make adobe bricks to working with the elderly, feeding the homeless, to spending time with blind and sick children. All of these 'projects' have made such in impact in my life that I strive to volunteer abroad every year and to try to give as much as I can to the people and communities that welcome volunteers like me with open arms. IVHQ has great relationships with local organizations within its host country. They prioritize safety and awareness and have a variety of volunteer projects for people to choose from. If you are seeking cultural enrichment, life-changing experiences, adventure excursions, and life-long friendships I highly recommend to volunteer with IVHQ; I would not volunteer any other way!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 9:17 PM
Hi Audria, it’s so great from our returning volunteers. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about your experience with IVHQ and volunteering in Guatemala, Peru - Cusco and Colombia - Bogota. We look forward to hearing from you when you are ready to plan your next volunteer abroad trip. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Turtle conservation Costa Rica
Submitted by Claire A - Gig Harbor | March 30, 2015
My time in Costa Rica was amazing! I was placed at a small conservation site on the Pacific Coast with a population of about 400. At this site were marine biologists, who were very passionate about their job and were such happy, easygoing, people! The laid-back vibe of Costa Rica made this project a perfect balance of work and play! We would spend many afternoons cleaning turtle nests, examining eggs, or cleaning the beach! I was even lucky enough to see a leatherback turtle (the largest species of sea turtles in the world!!) laying eggs! But my absolute favorite part was being able to release baby turtles into the ocean during sunset. It was magical!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 9:02 PM
Hi Claire, Thanks for sharing a little about your volunteer trip in Costa Rica. It does sound like you had a magical experience. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ and we hope to see you on another of our programs soon.
Submitted by Tara - Hangersville | March 30, 2015
I spent three months in Nairobi, Kenya teaching in the Kibera slums. I have nothing but good things to say about my time there! Right from the beginning I felt as though IVHQ was walking along side me as I prepared for Kenya. They were always prompt in getting back to me when I had questions and were very thorough. I felt confident that I had everything in order before I left because of them. Once in Kenya, I continued to feel confident and secure with the help of NVS. They always helped me out when I had questions or if problems arose. Anytime I had a problem, I always had help figuring out what to do. It made me feel at ease to know that there was always someone who could help me out every step of the way. I felt as though the money I paid was a fantastic price for all the help I received. I would highly recommend going through IVHQ if you are volunteering anywhere in the world. Thanks so much for a wonderful experience!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 8:54 PM
Hi Tara, It’s great to hear from you. We are glad that your time volunteering with IVHQ in Kenya was up to your expectations and that you felt looked after in the lead up to your trip and throughout your 3 month volunteer experience. Thanks for the recommendation and for volunteering with IVHQ!
First Time Volunteering Abroad
Submitted by Nancy Nimsz - Ocean City Maryland | March 30, 2015
My husband and I volunteered in Bali as our first experience. Needless to say we did not know what to expect as far as the work involved or the living experience that we would have. We couldn't have been more pleased.
Our group which also included some retirees like us was fun ,supporting and friendly !
The younger participants welcomed us as their equals.
Our housing and location enabled us to really experience typical Balinese village life on a daily basis. We felt like we were part of our host family.
Volunteering in a foreign country was always on my bucket list. I feel privileged to have been able to have such a worthwhile experience.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 5:18 PM
Hi Nancy, Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ! It’s great to hear that you and your groups experience in Bali was up to your expectations. It sounds like you had a really great time and we are glad to have been able to provide you such a memorable experience.
Submitted by Bree Skoczek - Brisbane Open Colleges | March 19, 2015
After much research and time spent deciding which volunteer company to go with I am so happy I made the right decision to go with IVHQ. I volunteered on a Childcare project in Cusco Peru. From start to finish the staff were wonderful and helpful, all my questions and concerns were answered promptly and everything was well organised.
I stayed at a home stay with an elderly couple along with 5 other volunteers on various projects, it was a great way to meet people and socialise while learning about everyones different experiences. They were so welcoming and the home cooked meals were delicious, it was such a great opportunity to interact with the locals and experience the authentic culture.
My childcare project was located only a few blocks from my home stay which made it easy to get to and from each day and we could even come home for lunch! The childcare school was in a very poor part of town and although it was incredible hard and sad to see the way these people live they still manage to have a smile on their face and you know the work you are doing is greatly appreciated. The children at the school unfortunately didn't even have running water, my job was to assist the teacher, help the children with their school work and teach them about personal hygiene. I totally fell in love with them all!
I would highly recommend IVHQ to anyone looking to volunteer across the world. Not only are the fees affordable they also give you the opportunity to learn the language with group or private lessons which I found incredibly helpful and all the staff are fantastic!
I can't wait for my next adventure :)
Thank you IVHQ
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 4:45 PM
Hi Bree, here at IVHQ we set a very high standard for ourselves and for our partner organisations in each of the 30 countries that we offer programs in to ensure our volunteers are provided with a safe, responsible and affordable volunteer abroad trip. It’s really great to read that you felt looked after and prepared for your trip and that overall your volunteer experience was worthwhile and memorable. We look forward to hearing from you when you are planning your next volunteer abroad adventure!
Get dancing in Brazil!
Submitted by Breanna - Brisbane University of the Sunshine Coast | February 19, 2015
Volunteering in Brazil was absolutely amazing! I participated in the Community Development program for 4 weeks and was helping at a Community Centre in an underprivileged area. We were helping to build, paint, garden and organise things at the centre and was an experience i will never forget. Some highlights from living in Brazil is that you get to fully immerse yourself in the Brazillian culture by learning the language, socializing, dancing and living like a local would! The things you learn, the people you meet, the places you will go and see and the memories you will make are all unforgettable and i could not have asked for a better volunteer experience than the one i had through IVHQ!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 30, 2015 at 4:16 PM
Hi Breanna, thanks for sharing a little about your time volunteering in Brazil with IVHQ. It sounds like you had an incredible time and we are glad to have been able to provide you with this experience. We hope to see you on another of our volunteer programs soon.
GHANA. Where the heart is.
Submitted by Miles Erickson - Seattle | February 11, 2015
Not everybody has a desire to make change in the world, and fewer still are willing to sacrifice the comfort of first world living to do so. I say to anybody that is reading through the testaments of previous volunteers.. Go! I met special people in the special place that is Ghana, and I will be returning as soon as I can. I visited multiple programs, including the Green, Silver, Turquoise, and Amber. Each program offers something uniquely special, and you cannot go wrong at any of them. Evans, Gideon, Benedict, Elvis, Ike, George, Benjamin and Mina are all people that I consider close to my heart. The food was excellent everywhere I went, and I even had the opportunity to catch a movie at the Accra mall (Let's Be Cops). Kokrobrite, Cape Coast, and other amazing places offer opportunities to "live a little", but my favorite thing about Ghana was the hospitality and the kindness of its people. I love working with kids, and I will never forget the faces and names of the children I became closest with. Depending on the duration of your stay, you will go through some challenges (adjusting to bargaining and public transportation and - most likely - being stared at nearly everywhere you go) but if you have a kind heart and an open mind you will never regret committing some time, effort, and love to the people of IVHQ Ghana and to Ghana's children.
Shout out to my guys Evans and Gideon!!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 19, 2015 at 4:29 PM
Hi Miles, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your volunteer experience in Ghana. It’s great to read that you loved it all - your project, the local team, the food and the travel. Thanks for volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ and we look forward to welcoming you back onto the program again in the future.
Submitted by trelizzy - Newcastle University of Newcastle | February 03, 2015
My time in Cambodia was beyond words. The country is absolutely beautiful and the people are so kind and welcoming. However, my volunteer placement in the rural village of Krang Lvea was the reason I went and the reason I'll be back to Cambodia.
I chose IVHQ because of the affordability of the program. It was definitely one of the cheaper choices and as a poor uni student, that was definitely a deciding factor on whether I could volunteer or not. Haha. But also, the work that IVHQ puts into ensuring that the volunteer placements are legitimate and in need was also a big factor in choosing them. There are many stories floating around about 'business orphanages' and I didn't want to be supporting anything of the kind.
We were technically doing a childcare placement but taught between 3-5 English classes a day, cared for the kids and did renovations. We lived at the orphanage which meant we got to know the children really well. I think that the most rewarding part of it all was getting to know the kids individually, their interests, quirks, goals and past. Being with those kids has definitely changed me forever. It reaffirms your beliefs and who you are as a person. It also helped me set my own goals and aspirations. I could never forget any one of them.
From the beginning of my application, all my questions were answered as best as they could be and very quickly. Even in Cambodia, there was a lot of help I had access to through the local team that IVHQ were partnered with.
Further, the way that IVHQ set up their programs, means that we got weekends off to explore the beautiful country. We went from the adventurous walks through Ankor to relaxing on the beach at Kep.
All in all, I whole heartedly suggest that if you're thinking about volunteering, just do it. It is so worth it. You will leave the country a better version of yourself and that's all you could really want, right? Also, definitely at the very least consider IVHQ. They are really committed to creating a well rounded experience for volunteers.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 19, 2015 at 3:10 PM
Thanks for sharing a little bit about your volunteer travel experience with IVHQ in Cambodia. It sounds like you had a great experience and we hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.
Teaching English in Cusco Peru
Submitted by Christine in Cusco - Philadelphia West Chester University | January 21, 2015
Volunteering abroad had always been a dream of mine. It was so hard to find a good company to go through that was also affordable until my friend told me about how she volunteered abroad with IVHQ. She said it was one of the greatest experiences of her life. Once I did some research, I decided that IVHQ was a great option for me because not only was it affordable, but it was also safe and reputable. Any questions I had about programs or safety were answered in a timely manner and they always answered my questions in full. Volunteering in a foreign country can be very scary, but I felt safe with IVHQ. Once I got to Cusco, Peru I was introduced to my local volunteer organization. IVHQ could not have picked a better organization to partner with! The staff was so friendly and willing to help. My preferences of living situation and placement were taken into account and because of that, I had the time of my life! The housing was awesome and the food was great. They made sure I was taken care of the whole time I was there and that I was safe. I would definitely volunteer with IVHQ again!!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 28, 2015 at 7:56 PM
Hi Christine, Thanks for your review. It’s awesome to read that you had such a memorable volunteer travel experience in Peru - Cusco. IVHQ was founded and continues to operate with a focus on providing safe, responsible and affordable volunteer travel opportunities, and it’s great to read that you found your experience in Peru lived up to this! We really look forward to having you volunteer with us again in the future :)
Heartwarming and heart breaking.
Submitted by Yesim - Sydney Sydney University | January 21, 2015
I have to admit it, I was skeptical. Compared to other programs I was super anxious as to how big my actual volunteering impact would be. I was prepared for a bunch of no good youngens searching for a party and a bragging right. But the functioning of the IVHQ system itself was totally not set up for that. Embracing the culture and community around it, IVHQ (or at least the CVF house I was placed at in Cambodia) does its best to integrate its efforts into the real people of the area they help. The staff were all hired from within Cambodia, and we were partnered with our placements rather than going off lone horse to do our own 'helping'. And you can really sense that that is the underlying way of the entire organisation. There is always going to be someone doing it for the wrong reasons. But the staff and the system itself is extremely authentic, in my experience. I'm also not going to lie and say that a major attraction was the cheap prices. They allowed me, in my hesitant state, to have a level of security. It was my first time volunteering overseas and paying little to do so was a massive weight off my back if it all went sour. Luckily enough they only sour moment I had was leaving my placement behind. I grew so attached to everyone and felt as though I was a part of something. I was placed at the Happy School in Phnom Penh. The staff there were amazing and the previous work the past volunteers had done created a solid foundation through which i was able to give the children there solid and structured educational support based off a routine they were already accustomed too. I did not immerse myself in the social life of the volunteers but there are many lovely and adventurous people ready to throw themselves into the new culture. The worst part about IVHQ is the lack of 'knowing' beforehand. Since they are so engaged and present in the community around them, it is hard to give vital information (such as placement location and company) before the volunteer program starts. It is usually judged by who needs the immediate help rather than something pre-determined. This is highly unsettling, however I do not know how common it is. All in all, IVHQ gives you a self-driven and organic volunteer experience that has dynamic social opportunities. At the same time, there is nothing unprofessional or unimpressive about their programs and certificates of completion.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 28, 2015 at 7:39 PM
Hi Yesim, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experience volunteering with IVHQ and our partner organization in Cambodia. It sounds like you had a really worthwhile experience and we hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.
Teaching English in Costa Rica
Submitted by Diana - NY SUNY Cortland | January 20, 2015
My volunteer trip to Costa Rica was one of the best experiences of my life. Before my trip, any questions or concerns that I had were responded to in record time by IVHQ. They sent me a comprehensive manual before my trip with tons of information about what my trip would be like, what to pack, and how to prepare. I was extremely impressed once I got there by the diversity within the program. Over my 2 weeks abroad, I met volunteers from the U.S, Canada, Colombia, Australia, and Germany. They made us feel extremely safe and offered us many opportunities to get the most out of our trip. I would definitely volunteer with IVHQ again!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 28, 2015 at 7:28 PM
Hi Diana, Thanks for sharing a small snippet of your experience volunteering with IVHQ in Costa Rica. We look forward to having you volunteer with us again in the future!
IVHQ Lima Peru
Submitted by Elizabeth Williams - New Mexico ENMU | January 20, 2015
I am a previous volunteer at IVHQ in Lima Peru with the partner organization Tarpuy Sonqo. I had many beautiful experiences with my fellow volunteers and with the special needs children I worked with daily. It was truly a life changing experience and those children will forever be in my heart. The volunteer house was perfect, it was clean, the meals were delicious, the coordinating family welcoming, and it felt like home. Overall the experience was wonderful and I would highly suggest it.
However, I have two negative comments about the program that I feel need to be addressed.
First, when I initially applied and payed my registration I was unaware that Tarpuy Sonqo supported family planning methods. While this may not seem like anything of importance, as a catholic, family planning is against my beliefs. I almost lost all of my funding from my local parish back home upon the discovery. This sort of information, or at least access to the partner organization's information needs to be provided to volunteers prior to committing financially to a program. I would suggest to other volunteers to ask an IVHQ staff for information about the partner organization prior to paying for a program.
My second complaint is that some of the Tarpuy Sonqo staff are overly rough with the children, and some of their methods for controlling the children are inhumane. However, I understand that they are understaffed and underfunded, this causes them to have to resort to other methods. The program is doing good overall for these kids, but some things need to be changed for the children's safety. For example, some of the kids would be strapped into chairs or tied to tables in an effort to control them, one boy actually had scars on his shoulders from being so frequently mistreated. Some of the workers force feed the kids and are very rough with them during feeding. Also some of the workers don't seem to care to much for the children's overall well being. One day when I was working with some of the older boys, there was on child sprawled out on the ground the other children were literally walking on his fingers and limbs. I was genuinely concerned that the boy would be severely hurt. The staff did not attempt to assist the boy to stand or move him so he wouldn't be trampled by the other kids. I was trying to help him up or prevent other kids from stepping on him while the staff sat under a tree and did nothing. Another day one of the staff decided she was going to attempt to feed 7 children at once and would not accept help from the volunteers. One of the children she was feeding I had fed almost every lunch period since I had come, but yet she still refused to accept my help or anyone else's. The little boy I had been feeding was blind, so he would often use his sense of touch to know who was near him, the staff had shoved him in a corner in very close proximity to other kids. When the boy used his hands to feel who was next to him the other children started to hit him as a reaction to his touch. I tried to move the boy out of the situation, but the staff grabbed and angryly shoved him against the wall. She did this multiple times when ever the boy attempted to move. The woman feeding all of the children became so frustrated that she did not finish feeding them.' The little boy I typically fed only received a bite or two of his food before the staff threw it out and took him back to the room where he belonged. Not only was the very wasteful, the kids were left with empty bellies when the volunteers would have been glad to sit there patiently and finish feeding the children but the staff refused.
Not all of the staff had this negative approach with the kids, some had genuine love for the children. However I hope that the staff that does not have love for the children are either let go or reprimanded for their actions.
Overall this program was wonderful and I would suggest it to others, I may even return again. I just hope that some of the issues will be addressed.Most of the Tarpuy Sonqo staff have a genuine love for the children and are thankful for the volunteer's help.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 21, 2015 at 2:52 PM
Thank you for sharing your feedback about your volunteer experience in Lima. We also appreciate that you have shared your concerns around the treatment of children at your placement and raised these with our local team while you were in Lima. Please be assured that our partner organisation is taking steps to rectify and improve this by working directly with your placement director and staff.
IVHQ and our partner organisation in Lima are not religiously affiliated and the medical placements we work with including the Clinibus do not actively advocate family planning, however as healthcare providers they are obligated to answer patients' needs as they arise - we apologise that you were not aware of this. We encourage volunteers to ask IVHQ as many questions about the organisation they will be placed with prior to registering, to ensure they have all the information they need to make an informed decision before committing to a program.
Thanks again for your feedback Elizabeth and if you would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact your IVHQ Program Manager Chelsea directly via email.
Exceeded my high expectations!
Submitted by dreamcatcher33 - | December 09, 2014
I've been trying to think about where I could knock off points for this review so it wouldn't just be 10\10 for everything, but I'm honestly struggling to find something. From the beginning, I was lead through the whole process with every question being answered and being made to feel like I had someone to turn to if I needed. Coming into the country I felt very prepared and continued to feel supported by the in-country organisation. I loved my homestay and was also very lucky to have running water and electricity most days. When we'd run out or have a power shortage, I just accepted it as part of the experience and actually loved it because of that. You definitely shouldn't be expecting a 5-star resort doing this because that's not the point of this accommodation or this trip. Instead you should enjoy the beautiful quirks and differences of living in a third-world country home for a while. It was always very clean, food was delicious and I quickly started calling it home. Social life was also very easy and great. Made friends with both locals and fellow volunteers and met loads of like-minded people who I'll be in touch with for a long-time. You'll typically stay in a homestay that has at least a couple other people, so you're never alone and in general, opportunities for forming connections are endless. And last but not least, I felt like I was able to give something to the community I was working in. It's important to know that you're not going to magically "change the world!" and you shouldn't expect that, but your small contributions can\will have great significance, even if it's on a smaller scale. I felt very satisfied working in my community and I'm glad that I could help where I was needed. My advice to anyone who's contemplating is to do your research and then just start planning and doing. I don't regret any part of this experience and I'm already dreaming of future volunteer trips. This could be the best thing you ever decide to do.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 08, 2015 at 11:11 AM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on volunteering abroad with IVHQ. It sounds like your 4 weeks in Kenya on our Music project was definitely a rewarding one. We hope to have you volunteering with us again soon.
Waka Waka - Volunteering in South Africa!
Submitted by Pranav Dixit - New Delhi | May 06, 2015
I was researching a lot from the past year to visit a place outside of my country which was not the usual choice among people. One fine day, I stumbled upon IVHQ and its volunteer programs. I was so excited ever since I saw the various programs on offer at such a reasonable price point.
Volunteering at a place like Muizenberg in Cape Town really touched my soul. I loved watching the sunsets and sunrise every day. I think it's because it is a moment in which we can actually witness the transformation; the transition from day to night or from night to day. In ordinary waking state we cannot perceive the passing of the moment and so this perception, this increased juxtaposition of day and night forces us to be more present.
Coming back to the volunteering program, I chose the teaching program at a local primary school. Other volunteers and I chose to private tutor a few selected kids which needed attention from each class, since it was a better way to ensure the quality of teaching going in was right. The kids accepted and loved us all the way through our program. Meeting the kids and trying to contribute in however little way I could, the kids were truly the highlight of my trip.
The accommodation was fairly good than what I expected. I had a comfortable single bed and shared the room with 2 other awesome volunteers at the time. We had 2 well stocked fridges, a microwave and a pantry filled with everything you would need to make a delicious meal.
For future volunteers, I would just say that dive in head first into the culture and accept everyone as is. Share your culture and embrace what others have to offer! And this applies not only for the place I went but across the globe.
avenida del sol
Submitted by Jessica - Los Angeles | May 05, 2015
My experience in cusco was amazing! Simply amazing, I fell in love with the city and its wonders, the people, the kids I worked with, my home stay family and the wonderful ladies I met. If you are thinking if you should do this or not, take the jump and do it! I promise you no regrets. It is scary, and if you're doing this alone I know you feel, new country new people new language .. it's ok! If you are aware of your surroundings and open minded you will do just fine. The staff is always available, your roommates will be on the same boat as you, and taking this leap will definitely change the way you see things. I love the fact that I got to work with the community, live with a family, tour the city and it's surroundings, meet awesome people and of course, night life! If cusco is a top choice for you, do not change your mind, Machu Picchu is beyond amazing, the Andes is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of the world I have ever seen! I never felt unsafe or in danger, I walked to work and walked to the Plaza and always made it to my destination safe. I loved being alone sometimes just to take it all in... You will learn about yourself and your capabilities, and you will not want to go home. the cold water will hurt at first, and you might not know exactly what you're eating sometimes but it's all part of the experience. It took me a couple days to get used to the altitude but my home stay family was very sweet and took good care of me. Do yourself a favor and go to Cusco, eat their food, meet the people, help the community, tour the beauty of the city and visit one of the wonders of the world. BE open minded!
Submitted by Kim - Taunton | May 05, 2015
Volunteering with IVHQ was one of the best decisions I have ever made. IVHQ is so helpful and very fast with responding. The volunteer house was beyond my expectations, you have so many opportunities to travel and truly experience other cultures while making a difference at the same time, and you make life long friends with other volunteers. I would recommend IVHQ to everyone.
The discovery of volunteer activities and an amazing country
Submitted by Leonardo Francesco Rezzonico - Milan University of Study of Milan - Faculty of Medicine | April 30, 2015
I've been in Livingstone for one month as a volunteer in the medical project. This was my first time as a volunteer and I was both excited and scared about travelling alone and going in a completely different culture. Ivhq working alongside Dream Livingstone Zambia arrange nice volunteer activities, mine was good but not perfect because i worked in a clinic in which patients didn't speak english very well and staying just one month I hadn't enough time to learn the local language. Anyway I had the opportunity to gain experience and helping in little things. During my free time, a part from enjoying this amazing country, I worked in some other project; I was and i'm still very happy for my work in building an orphanage and i should definitely recommend those projects. People here is very friendly, the country is safe and I'm ready to come back home a little bit sad for all the outstanding volunteers I have to leave here. The accomodation is good, the staff is friendly and you can easily discuss about your project and finding other solutions if you are not satisfied about what you are doing. In the high season months there may be some problems with the space in the living room but this shouldn't be a concern at all. If you want to volunteer in a wonderful place considering landscape, leisure activities, work in an African country this is a program good for you.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review April 30, 2015 at 11:00 PM
Hi Leonardo, It’s great to hear your thoughts about your experience volunteering on our Medical project in Zambia. It sounds like you really enjoyed your time and got a lot out of it. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!
The great escape
Submitted by Martin Moolman - Brisbane Queensland University of Technology | December 29, 2014
The greatest experience one can have in this reality is the feeling one experiences by helping those less fortunate then oneself. Peru is certainly filled with those in desperate need of help and I am proud to say that I took the journey to put others above myself. However this could never have happened without the selflesness and love shown to me by the workers at Maximo Nivel. These beautiful people with generous hearts spend EVERY day trying to make sure that the volunteers who come here have the best experience. Never was there a day when I felt alone or abandoned by the program. It was always made clear to me that I was a respected volunteer. Never did I feel like a cog in a machine simply grinding away until my program expired. My work was always appreciated and any troubles I had were dealt with right away. If there was a problem there wasn´t any tedious paper work that made me feel ignored. I was pulled into the office and I could freely explain my situation to someone I know would care. I was put in a good homestay, I was constantly fed and any advice I sought about Cuzco was immediately given to me. IVHQ definitely put me in contact with the most caring and compassionate volunteering agency in Cuzco, and I know for a fact that I will definitely use them again.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 28, 2015 at 7:05 PM
Hi Martin, Thanks for your feedback! It is great to hear that you felt that you were well placed and looked after with our partner organisation while volunteering in Peru - Cusco. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.
IVHQ - Costa Rica - Childcare
Submitted by Nicholas Carrigy - Edmonton University of Alberta | December 22, 2014
We worked at a daycare for underpriviledged children within San José. Our day began in the morning with Spanish lessons, followed by a bus ride to the daycare. At the daycare, the afternoon often started with nap time, followed by an arts and crafts period, possible play time outside at a soccer field or a playground, and ending with free time with the kids inside. The daycare staff and children did not speak any English, but we were able to communicate with them through the Spanish we learned during our lessons. We were responsible for occupying the kids with activities during arts and crafts and free time. This involved preparing projects for the kids beforehand. The children sincerely appreciated projects such as drawing and painting, making Christmas cards, and "all about me" booklets. They also loved playing with the gifts we brought such as hula-hoops, bubbles, toy cars, fingerpaint, tattoos, and a soccer ball. I felt safe throughout the project and Maximo staff were friendly and able to help with any questions I had. The homestay was with a very nice family who prepared excellent meals for us. Evening activities organized by Maximo were enjoyable and well-organized.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review January 13, 2015 at 5:45 PM
Hola Nicholas! Thanks for sharing details about your experience in Costa Rica on our Childcare project. It sounds your two weeks were well spent, especially as you took advantage of the Spanish lessons before your Childcare placement each day. We hope to have you volunteer with us again with us again soon!
Finding myself in Nepal
Submitted by Jack Gunns - Hampshire Bournemouth University | September 25, 2014
After completing my two month volunteering trip in nepal I can confidently say that IVHQ delivered an affordable, safe and rewarding program for me. I felt tduly integrated into the family, village and childrens lives. I'm leaving nepal feeling like I made an impact on the children. Whilst they also affected my life too. I would highly recommend this programme and organisation!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2014 at 5:20 PM
Hi Jack, It is so great to hear that your 2 months volunteering on our Childcare program in Nepal was such a rewarding experience for you. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts about IVHQ and our Nepal program. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.
Submitted by Rebecca B - Sydney | September 17, 2014
I spent 5 weeks in a small village in Ghana helping at an orphanage and teaching maths. I've been to Africa before but I feel like volunteering has given me a real African experience rather than just being a traveller. I have had no safety or health concerns. The people are lovely and the IVHQ programmes in Ghana are great.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM
Hi Rebecca, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience about your volunteer experience in Ghana through IVHQ. We are so glad that you enjoyed your 3 weeks teaching in Ghana. We hope to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future.