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Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs: from USD 10 per day

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

To put into words something that completely changed your life is hard to do but I will try my best

I volunteered in Ghana for 9 weeks. From the time I was picked up at the airport to the time I was flying back home the experience couldn't be described as anything less than amazing. Before arriving in Ghana I was so nervous about what to expect. I got an email saying there was not any running water and I would be 45 minutes away from the nearest city. All I could think is I'll either love it or hate it. Long story short I loved it. The village I stayed in was poor in the sense of money but was more than wealthy in terms of love. The children taught me more than I could ever learn in a classroom. I literally could not spend enough time with them. I met a ton of amazing people while in Ghana but I want to acknowledge a few. The first being Evans. He is one of the first faces you will meet but most definitely will not forget. He goes above and beyond to make people happy and if you ever need anything he is right there. Pretty much anything you could want to have or do Evans can make it possible! My trip would not have been the same without meeting him! Prince and Tina were two workers that I spent the most time with. They both go above and beyond what they need to make sure volunteers are taken care of. Tina is the cook at the Gold Program. Her food is amazing and she amazed me every day how hard she worked. Prince says he doesn't care but his love for the children and volunteers shows everyday. All 3 of these individuals are extraordinary and deserve to be recognized for it. If you have the chance to go to Ghana, do it....it was the happiest I've ever been and I look forward to doing it again!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The most important learning experience of my life in Fiji

I've been to quite a few countries all over the world and my time in Fiji has been my favorite experience so far. To start, Fijians are the nicest people. Everyone smiles and says hi just walking down the street. I didn't go to Fiji to help them; I went to learn from them and to see what their culture is like, and let me tell you, I loved their culture and learned so much. My program coordinators were so helpful and clearly cared about making the biggest impact in their own communities. They and the communities were so appreciative. I worked on the Construction and Renovation project, which was a truly humbling experience. The communities just wanted a room to teach their children in and I am so thankful I could help in anyway I could. They really taught me that no matter where you come from, everyone deserves an education, and to really appreciate what you have. I cannot thank IVHQ and The Green Lion enough for such a wonderful experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Life altering

This trip has modified my life and outlook on humanity in all of the greatest ways. The ease of working with IVHQ and the in-country programs was seamless and it took all of the stress and effort out of planning, so that we could dedicate our time and energy to what really mattered...volunteering with the children in Ecuador.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Guatemala living

I was very nervous about going to a foreign country, alone but was comforted by how organized IVHQ was prior to my departure. I had gone to great lengths to research many different traveling agencies and I am VERY happy with my entire IVHQ experience.

Finally the day came to leave and I was super excited. It was a long travel day so it was easy to sleep as soon as a got my home stay. The next day meeting the others at my house and the local team was very comforting and helpful with regards to tricks and tips for life in Antigua.

I worked at a vet clinic for two weeks with the most amazing Doctor and team members. I loved hearing them speak spanish and learning about all the issues they deal with in their vet clinics on a daily basis. Thank goodness Doctor JP also spoke English so it was easy to understand.
Staying in a home stay and volunteering made me feel like a true local and gave me the true "Guatemalan Living" experience. Not only did I get to experience living in a traditional house with their traditional meals and hear about their daily lives but they treat you like family, so you also get to experience the Guatemalan close knit community where they would do anything to help you - from where to eat, to practicing spanish, to talking about each others lives.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and being friends with so many other travelers. I love hearing everyone's story and you always have someone to check out a restaurant or a tour with.

I took a couple solo trips on the weekend - one to Lake Atitlan and the other was hiking the Pacaya Volcano. I loved exploring t his beautiful country and will cherish these memories forever.

My volunteer experience in Guatemala gave me a sense of confidence that I could do anything I set my mind to and truly turn dreams into reality. My next dream is to be able to speak spanish fluently.
I am already dreaming up my next adventures I want to take with IVHQ.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Experience of lifetime

Ivhq has provided the best experience I've had so far! I love volunteering with ivhq as they provide excellent programs with amazing support. I recommend ivhq to anyone looking to step outside and make difference in this world!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Community Support in Fiji

Bula! Where do i even begin! I never thought in my wildest dreams that i would actually travel alone to experience time in a country to volunteer and experience the Fijian culture and i am so happy that i decided to volunteer with IVHQ. From the very first email i sent i knew that volunteering through IVHQ was going to be very supportive and a life changing experience.

Being my first time as a volunteer, i had many questions and the IVHQ team were very helpful and supportive through ever question. The online training modules really give you a good insight into what it will be like to volunteer and prepare you for your journey ahead.

Starting my program was nerve racking but i felt at home with my fellow IVHQers who came from different countries including germany, america, england and a few Aussies like myself. The food was amazing, the fijian locals are such amazing people and the Green lion team are now my second fijian family who i have stayed in contact with and speak to regularly.

If you want to experience something different and life changing then volunteering through IVHQ is what you need to do. I am looking forward to my next program next year! Cant wait

Vinaka to IVGQ & the Green Lion organisation who made my experience one that i will never forget

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Magic Marrakech!

Volunteering in Morocco was definitely one of the best experience of my life so far. I didn’t have any teaching experience but that didn’t make a difference. The children and teenagers I taught languages to were so willing to learn! It was very rewarding to see that they were interested in what I had to teach them and the progress they made in only two weeks. I also had the chance to give them a lesson in my native language, Italian! Apart from the volunteering, living in Marrakech has taught me so many things in so little time. I learned more about arabic and berber culture (and can now actually speak very little moroccan!). I took moroccan cooking classes. I had the time to explore the city and by the end of the first week could already find my way around the souq. I also visited other Moroccan towns along the coast in the weekend, like Agadir and Essaouira, which were breathtaking. Most importantly of all, I met some amazing people. It took very little for us volunteers to become very close, and we still are as of today, months later. The family was so welcoming. They made me and the other volunteers feel like we were part of the family and cooked for us delicious meals every day. The program coordinator was extremely kind and helpful with us and organized so many fun activities. I would recommend this experience to anyone! It honestly is life changing. You won’t regret it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Guatemalan experience 2015

In May of 2016, I was blessed to have been able to travel to the beautiful country of Guatemala and volunteer for a week. I was placed in San Antonio, a small town outside of the well known city of Antigua. Here I spent my mornings in a clinic helping a dentist and observing her skills. In the afternoons I was able to spend my time traveling or sight-seeing, and enjoying all of the colorful food and culture that Guatemala has to offer. Through the mini-adventures and volunteering that I was given the opportunity to partake in, I learned that I am being called to serve under resourced communities by providing dental care. My trip to Guatemala opened my eyes to a new culture, and gave me a new place to be homesick for. This experience empowered me to continue to work hard towards my goals, and it taught me that although two cultures may be very different, if you give it the chance it will become your new home and it will hold a forever place in your heart.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Best time of my life

Even if I dont speak their language the time I spent with the kids in Rio de janeiro was amazing. The smiles on their faces showed how much they apreciated what we did. I truly enjoyed the time playing soccer/football with them.
Before I volunteered in Brazil I went to Colombia (Cartagena and Bogota) with IVHQ. I wanted to help these kids, but I didnt expect that they have an impact on me. I learned that there is always a reason to be happy no matter how hard life is. This time gave me so much that I took the chance to volunteer with IVHQ for the third time.
If you are open minded, volunteering is the best way to travel.
Living in the volunteer house felt like beeing part of a family.
The work with the kids gives more experiences about culture and life than sightseeing can ever give.
Brazil and also Colombia were amazing.
Thank you IVHQ, I had the time of my life!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 22, 2016 at 5:30 PM

    Hi Leon, What a wonderful review! Smiles are universal and we are thrilled to hear that you had an amazing time connecting with the children at your placements in Colombia and Brazil. Thanks for being an awesome volunteer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Volunteer in Fiji

This experience was incredible! I would absolutely recommend going through IVHQ to do an international volunteering experience. In comparison to people I met at the same volunteer location, IVHQ had fees way more affordable than any other organizations-for the same amazing experience!

All of the pre departure information is extremely helpful, as well as the pre departure staff- whom I only contacted on one occasion because all of the information you are given is so through and straight forward! There is an amazing IVHQ Fiji Facebook group that you can join and contact present and past volunteers who have experienced exactly what you will! Which really eases the nerves that come along with traveling abroad.

The versatility of how you can fill your days once in Fiji is limitless. Kindergarten, teaching, rebuilding, and construction are the four main projects (all of which I got to experience in 12 weeks and all of which are amazing!) Since some projects are only half-day you have the option to fill your afternoon at leisure or take part in any of the other projects- which really makes you feel like your giving your resources to many great people!

I would highly recommend traveling through IVHQ and to Fiji in particular. The children you work with are amazing, the in country staff are so helpful and genuine and you can really see the impact you are making on such an amazing country!!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 22, 2016 at 5:22 PM

    Hi Sara, We are so pleased to hear that you felt well prepared for your volunteer program in Fiji – that is what we are here for! Thanks for advising other volunteers of the IVHQ Fiji Facebook group; we encourage anyone who is thinking of joining our Fiji program to join this group to connect with past and future volunteers. We are so impressed by your ability to help out wherever needed and really make the most of your volunteer experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we would love to have you volunteer with us again!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

I fell in love with Rio!

I spent 4 weeks in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This was my first time Volunteering with IVHQ so I didn't know what to expect but as soon as I arrived all my nerves left me as I knew I had made the perfect choice! Getting everything sorted before leaving was really easy as the IVHQ staff were so helpful!

Greeted by our driver when I arrived, we drove to the volunteer house which was only about half an hour away and he pointed out spots and sights that would interest us.
The volunteer house was big and homely and the house manager made me feel at home straight away and was always there to help when you needed him. There was a lot to choose from at breakfast everyday including oatmeal, toast, fruit, eggs, ham and fresh homemade juice.

I chose to do childcare, my programme was located in Barreira Do Vasco which was about 40 minutes away on the bus. They matched me perfectly with my programme, I mentioned that I was a teaching assistant back home so I was able to teach English as part of this childcare programme in Brazil as well as having the option to join in with playing football everyday with the Sports programme (which i did, they are incredible at football!).
Carlao, the amazing man that runs the programme in Barreira Do Vasco, giving more opportunity to the young people in his community, made us feel welcome from the start and always made sure we were okay and having a good time!
As me and the other volunteers walked up to where the programme was located every day, people from the area started to recognise us and we would say hi to all the familiar faces, it really felt like we became part of the community.
We met all the kids there, they are so warm and so much fun and you get to know each of them really quickly. This was my favourite part of my whole experience, the bonds that I made with the children in such a short space of time is unforgettable, I already miss them! I barely knew any Portuguese but I tried really hard to make sure that didn't get in the way, plus you pick words and phrases up quicker than you can imagine. I have already planned to go back in the next couple of years and I cant wait to visit them!!!
(On my last day with the kids, as a thank you gesture, Carlao got tables from the cafes/restaurants surrounding the football cage and brought out loads of cakes, hot dogs and drinks and took pictures of all of us. I will never forget this! It just goes to show how much a volunteers time is appreciated.)

On the weekends, me and the other volunteers (from all over the world, I can now call FRIENDS) spent some time at the beach or at the Market and did some sightseeing (including hiking the Corcovado Mountain to see Christ the Redeemer!) And in the evenings, we would go to the bars and clubs in Rio or just relax in the house.

JIVE, the staff partnered with IVHQ are the ones that help you day in day out while you are living there. They were all so friendly and so helpful and made the experience that much better and they always made sure you were safe and felt comfortable.

I would recommend going to Rio to anyone thinking of volunteering with IVHQ. There is so much to see and it is a beautiful place.
I fell in love with the city and the people and I would not change a thing about my experience!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 21, 2016 at 5:52 PM

    Hi Giorgia, Wow! What an awesome review! We are so pleased to hear that you would not change a thing about your experience in Rio. It sounds like you had a beautifully well-rounded experience by getting stuck into your meaningful volunteer work, making friends from all over the world, exploring the local sights, and becoming part of the community. Thanks for your recommendation and we would love to see you back in Rio on the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing

This program was amazing and gave me a lot of opportunity. I asked to change my program and they were willing to work with me (I had a circumstance). Communication before, after & during the program was amazing!

This is my second trip with IVHQ and I'm currently on my third I can't say enough great things about them as they are really trying to make a difference with volunteers

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 21, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Hi Jennifer, We are thrilled to hear that the communication you received before, after and during your program was amazing. It has been a pleasure to have you volunteer with us. Thanks for being an IVHQer 3 times over!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Fantastic!

This was my first volunteer abroad program with IVHQ but definitely not my last. This experience is life changing and mind altering, but in a good way. It made me realize my life problems are trivial compared to what others are enduring. My host family was amazing, fun and extremely nice. The other volunteers are so warm and friendly and the the program managers and staff are amazing. I would recommend to anyone who is thinking about volunteering abroad with IVHQ to take the leap. It is well worth it. I am already planning my next trip, maybe Thailand.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 21, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    Hi Paschell, What a great review! We are thrilled to hear that your experience in Peru was life changing and mind altering. We would love to have you volunteer with IVHQ again, this time on the Thailand program!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best two weeks of my life!

Volunteering in Guatemala was definitely the most fulfilling experience I've had yet, I went for the medical program and since day one I fell in love with every single patient and every person I had the opportunity to work with. I'm only in my second year of med school and I got to vaccinate, triage, give pap smears, suture, heal wounds and also learn so much about pharmacology. I lived in a volunteer house with about 20 other volunteers from all around the world, the house was beautiful and we ate delicious food daily. I went by myself but definitely made friends for a life time in only 2 weeks, you always had someone to travel the city with after placement and every night we went out to bars and had fun. Not to mention the amazing weekend trip I took to Semuc Champey (google it, it's paradise) and how cheap everything was. Definitely recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and wants to get outside of their comfort zone.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    Hi Camila, It’s great to hear that your time in Guatemala was fulfilling and it sounds like you were able to gain a huge amount of experience from your volunteer placement. Semuc Champey looks spectacular! We would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Can't wait to go back!

My time at UBECI changed me a lot. The kids at the markets showed me what is truly important in life. I am more thoughtful, and I have started to be conscious of my behaviors, consumption, and complaints. The kids opened my eyes and turned me into a better person.
If you want to do something different do not hesitate, there is no better time than now.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 15, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Hi Alina, Wow! Thanks for sharing with us how your outlook and behaviors have changed since volunteering in Ecuador. We are sure that many of our volunteers will be able to relate to your review. Thanks for being an amazing volunteer and we would love to have you join IVHQ again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Argentina sure has a lot to offer!

Making the decision to volunteer with IVHQ was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I say this because the process of getting to my program was extremely easy and I left home feeling very informed and prepared. The other great decision was choosing the Teaching program in Argentina. The placement was very well matched with my skills and there were opportunities to diversify my volunteer experiences. Having the opportunity to work closely with the teaching staff and build relationships allowed me to see a little bit of the inside of the educational system there. It showed me that they experience the same challenges and successes we experience in our public school systems. Their commitment and dedication was uplifting and invigorating!
Additionally, the staff at the volunteer house made sure they did their best to make me feel comfortable and well cared for. Lastly, the opportunities to travel on the weekends were totally appreciated. Argentina has many different landscapes to explore...from the spectacular icy blue glaciers of the south, at the National Glacier Park, to the cascading waterfalls of the north in Iguazu. Volunteering with IVHQ was the perfect program to mix business (volunteering) and pleasure (traveling like a free bird). I would definitely do it again!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 16, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Hi Nilaja, Thanks for sharing an overview from your time in Argentina. We are thrilled to hear that you felt informed and prepared for your volunteer program – that is what we are here for! The photo at your teaching placement is great! Thanks for being an awesome IVHQ volunteer and we would love to welcome you onto another program in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Adventures in Peru

In June of 2016 I spent two weeks in Lima, Peru, it was by far the most rewarding experience. I have never done anything like that before and it is way better than I had anticipated. The placement I was put into was so amazing, I had the opportunity to help and just play with the kids. It really touches your heart and makes you want to come back and back. I can not wait to go back to Peru to volunteer once again. IVHQ sponsors were so helpful; anytime I had a question they always answered it right away. I have never met and talked to so many kind hearted people. They are always willing to help you out! I never was disappointed. IVHQ was the best experience and I plan to share my journey with everyone else so they can experience it for themselves!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 15, 2016 at 5:53 PM

    Hi Kourtney, Thank you so much for your recommendation! It has been our pleasure to have you as an IVHQ volunteer. We are thrilled to hear that you had a rewarding, better than expected, time on the program in Lima. We would love to welcome you back again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing!!

I got to the hostel absolutely stunned by how beautiful it was. Immediately you can see so much culture surrounding you just on the street of your new home. The volunteers I lived with were nothing but inclusive and nice. While my volunteer project was a little far away, I could see the immense help they needed and the impact the kids had on me made the traveling all worth while. We go out every Thursday with the people who run Jive and you can really see how devoted they are to what they're doing. Not only that, but they are amazingly nice people who are extremely easy to talk to about anything and are always open to any complaints or problems you may have (I had none). Overall this experience was one I am so grateful for having and it couldn't have been possible without Jive being there every step of the way!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 06, 2016 at 7:52 PM

    Hi Morgan, Thanks for your review. We are so glad that you found the local team amazingly nice and extremely easy to talk to – we love them and couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we hope to have you join us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Argentina - community project

IVHQ provide excellent and prompt support leading up and during my volunteer placement. Volunteering with IVHQ in Argentina was a great way to travel outside the US for the first time. My limited Spanish language skills were a concern but I quickly found a welcoming Argentine community. Working with the elderly at El Arbor and assisting with Children's Day preparation provided a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with the community. Staying and volunteering in Villa Allende allowed for the opportunity to interact with a smaller community while having access to the larger city of Cordoba a 45 minute bus ride away.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 06, 2016 at 8:08 PM

    Hi Joe, It’s our pleasure. We are stoked that you found a warm and welcoming Argentine community! Thanks for being and IVHQer and we would love to have you join another program in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Teaching English in Mérida, Mexico

This was my first volunteer trip ever, at 45 years of age. I taught English I Mérida, Mexico, and signing up for this put me in a situation where I was venturing into the unknown on several accounts. IVHQ presented me with a comprehensive, well organized, and timely system in order to prepare.

I followed everything IVHQ had me do, to the letter, and I can honestly say that I had the most wonderful experience of my life. Literally, the worst thing that happened to me the entire time was that I got some mosquito bites. I could not possibly have been better prepared, and I credit IVHQ for this.

All staff of IVHQ Mexico were very well prepared, and made me feel at home. The volunteer house was clean, and well run, the food was good, and they went to great lengths to accommodate people with special diet requirements.

My placement was was excellent, and took very good care of the children in their care. The process of moving into the role of teacher for a week was seamless, and CRIA is able to make the most of what each volunteer had to offer. Although I was only there for a week, I do feel I was able to connect with the children, and to affect positive change.

It's not like the unexpected didn't occur, but for any would be volunteer with a good attitude, and willingness to go with the flow, in my estimation, it would be impossible not to have a great experience.

This experience has changed my outlook on travel such that I am no longer interested in vacationing on cruise ships, but rather I will spend my vacations volunteering with IVHQ, and likely in the same placement.

I have tried very hard to think of constructive criticism of my experience and I cannot. IVHQ has got it right in Mexico.

Thank you for this experience.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 27, 2016 at 5:42 PM

    Hi Robert, What an awesome review! It sounds like you were able to make the most of your week volunteering by being totally prepared when you arrived; this is a great tip for future volunteers. We are thrilled to hear that IVHQ has “got in right” in Mexico. We would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Volunteer abroad!

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!

Traveling Solo.

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.

The Orphanage.

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!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 2:15 PM

    Thanks for being an IVHQer! We are stoked that you had such a positive and memorable experience in Guatemala. It’s absolutely been our pleasure and we are so glad to hear that you felt well prepared and supported by IVHQ. We look forward to having you back on another IVHQ program soon.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing volunteer experience in Peru

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.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 2:20 PM

    We are thrilled to hear that your 4 weeks in Lima was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences of your life! It’s awesome to hear about all the work you were involved in while on the Special Needs and Childcare project. We are glad that we could facilitate your trip and you certainly made the most of it by exploring Peru in your free time and getting stuck into the volunteer work. Thanks for your recommendation and we would love to have you join IVHQ again in the future!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Pura Vida, 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.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    Hi Teresa, Thanks for your beautiful review! We’ve loved having you as an IVHQ volunteer and we are so humbled to hear how life changing this experience has been for you. Thanks for your recommendation and we would be thrilled to have you join us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Peru retreat 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.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 2:38 PM

    Hi Hanna, Thanks for your great review! It is inspiring to hear that you were able to persevere through the language barriers at the homestay and the initial shock at your volunteer placement to have a rewarding experience. You are an amazing volunteer. We would love to have you join us again in the future!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Magical Mexico

I started my journey into Mexico with great apprehension. I was terrified that I wouldn't like the house, that I wouldn't get on with the people but I couldn't have been more wrong. I made friends for life, fell in love with a country and really did feel like I was making an impact.

Volunteering truly does help you grow as a person and allows you to help in a way that just isn't possible at home. I cannot recommend the experience highly enough.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 27, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    Hi Natalie, Thanks for your great review. We are so glad to hear that you made life-long friends while on the program in Mexico - you look like a wonderful bunch of volunteers! We would love to have you volunteer with us again in the future. Thanks for being an IVHQer!