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
I don't want to go home
Submitted by Claire Periam - Waikato New Zealand Auckland University of Technology. | May 19, 2016
After 2 weeks in the kindergarten program, I am sitting in the airport not wanting to go home. First week, orientation. What a crazy experience, you get straight into experiencing the culture and learning all about your local village in full on action packed days. My second week I spent in the kindergarten with the sweetest kids who were so excited to learn English. The kids were buzzing to see you and sad to see you go, they truly appreciate you being there and I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat!
Teaching English in Vietnam (Hanoi)
Submitted by Elizabeth Fuller - Sydney Australia University of Sydney | May 16, 2016
As cliche as it is to say, volunteering in Vietnam was eye-opening, life changing and one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being in a country that spoke an entirely foreign language with different cultural norms was initially challenging and intimidating, however my program coordinator Hiep was extremely supportive and helped me resolve any concerns regardless of how big or small they were.
My placement involved teaching English to University students in Hanoi, as well as doctors and nurses at a local hospital. As an undergraduate university student myself, spending time with the local students was very eye-opening and provided me with an insight into a different way of life, education system and cultural values that I couldn't possibly have garnered from a tourist experience. The students' enthusiasm for learning English and warmth towards the volunteers was very humbling - after lessons, they often invited us to join them for lunch or dessert! Unlike other volunteering programs, the work of IVHQ volunteers directly impact the lives of students, as acquiring English language writing and speaking skills significantly increases their prospect of employment in an incredibly competitive job market. I cannot recommend this program enough; being immersed in a country as diverse and culturally rich was eye-opening, challenging and infinitely rewarding.
Ghana and the silver program
Submitted by Sarah Palmieri - Montreal Canada University of Ottawa | May 15, 2016
The most uplifting, heartwarming and fulfilling experience I've had. I was with the Silver Program in Kasoa for two weeks, which was no where close to enough time, and I fell in love with the country, the people and the culture. The IVHQ staff was both helpful and encouraging. They answered all our questions and showed us how to adapt to their lifestyle. Special thank you to Evans for all that he did for us, he's truly amazing. I worked with the Saviour Children Foundation while I was there and they are incredible. Mr. Patrick and Mama Pat are truly angels and deserve all the best in this world. They worked hard to give us an amazing experience and the children were the most incredible people I've met. Every single one of them inspired me with their passion and optimism. This was an unforgettable trip I will tell my grandchildren about. It will not be long before I take another trip with IVHQ. They have truly been amazing to work with.
Best of luck to all who are planning a trip to Ghana. Be open-minded and be ready for the best adventure of your life!
2 weeks in Ghana
Submitted by Julie - paris | March 07, 2016
I spent two weeks in Ghana with IVHQ at the Potters Village in Dodowa, and I don't regret my decision : this was the best trip of my life.
First, because for once I wasn't a tourist. I had the opportunity to discover a small town, to feel connected with the people there and to be part of something. I was fed up with going to places, take pictures, and come back with the feeling that I had been of no use to the people there and talked to no one except taxi drivers and hotel staff. This time, I can say I know more about the country I visited, and I must say that it is worth talking and spending time with the people in Ghana as they are the most welcoming people I ever met.
Secondly, because I met those extraordinary kids who changed my life for ever. Two weeks is a short stay, but they give you so much during those two weeks that it just breaks you heart to leave... These children open their arms to you and give you a great lesson. I was lucky to be able to teach French during my stay, and seeing them so eager to learn was moving. I have never wanted to be a teacher, but I could teach these children for the rest of my life.
Finally, the IVHQ team is perfect. They assist you with your arrival and they stay in touch once at your placement. I had lots of questions in my mind before going, but they all received answers, and when I landed, I knew exactly what would happen and where I was going.
In brief, this was an amazing experience that I recommand to anyone who wants to volunteer in Africa, especially for the first time.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 10, 2016 at 1:16 PM
Hi Julie, It sounds like you had a really positive and memorable experience and we are glad that we could facilitate this for you. It’s great to hear that you felt supported by the local team and welcomed by the locals. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and we hope to welcome you on another IVHQ program again in the future.
volunteering in Ghana
Submitted by orlando rodriguez - brooklyn | March 01, 2016
Words can not describe how grateful and blessed i was to experience and be a part of this program. IVHQ in Ghana over exceeded my expectations. They made sure we were taken care of and provided there assistance in making sure our volunteer experience was the best it could be. They were always available to answer questions and provide us with the necessary we needed on our volunteer site and also went above and beyond in helping us set up tours to make our experience in ghana a memorable one. The program i was placed on was truly a life changing experience. I was volunteering for 3 weeks at the savouir children's foundation where built relationships that i know will last a lifetime. The founder, the staff and the children will forever be in my prayers and my heart.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 03, 2016 at 7:35 PM
Hi Orlando, It’s nice to hear from you. We are so glad that you had such a positive experience volunteering in Ghana. Thanks for for your feedback. It’s great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program again in the future.
Unforgettable, money can't buy!
Submitted by Amy - Melbourne Australian Catholic University | February 24, 2016
I have volunteered twice now with IVHQ and could not rave about them enough! I was first drawn to them because of the affordability of the program's compared to other organizations, and I must now note the quality you get for that price - amazing! My first time was in Vietnam where I did the Teaching project. It was amazing getting to know the other volunteers as well as knowing you are helping make a difference in people's education and lives. My next time was in Fiji doing the Kindergarten project and I didn't think the experience could top the first time but it once again exceeded my expectations. You are made to feel like family and really are immersed into the culture. You can tell the difference you are making for the community. I couldn't thank IVHQ enough for the experiences they have given me - unforgettable, money can't buy type stuff! I have smashed goals, made lifelong friends and grown as a person along the way. Definitely recommend!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 25, 2016 at 1:37 PM
Hi Amy, Wow! What a review, thank you! We love hearing from our volunteers and we are so glad that we were able to provide you with such positive experiences for you in Fiji and Vietnam. We look forward to welcoming you onto another IVHQ program again soon.
Teaching English in Siem Reap
Submitted by Kira - | February 23, 2016
I recently volunteered through IHVQ teaching English at an NGO in Siem Reap for 7 weeks. The staff were so helpful and I was placed in a great school. IVHQ does a great job ensuring that the placements they provide are both childsafe and reputable.
Overall, I had an amazing time on my trip and would recommend the experience to anyone.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 25, 2016 at 1:24 PM
Hi Kira, Thanks for your recommendation. It's great to hear you had such an amazing experience volunteering with our team in Cambodia. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Best Thing I've ever Done
Submitted by Courtney - | February 19, 2016
When people ask about my experience in Guatemala, I tell them it was the best thing I have ever done. I got to travel to a beautiful place unlike anywhere Id been before. I ate a variety of new foods. I saw wonders of the world I didn't know existed. I saw an elderly woman stand for the first time in twenty years thanks to the volunteers at the nursing home we worked in. I met amazing volunteers who instantly became my friends. I traveled with them, laughed with them, and shared incredible experiences with them. I discovered passions and strengths I never knew I had. I relive my month in Guatemala in my head all the time. The places I saw, the people I met, and the work I did will last with me forever. Thank you IVHQ for the opportunity and thank you Maximo Nivel for all that you do. I cannot wait to go on my next trip!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 22, 2016 at 5:59 PM
Hi Courtney, Thanks for your feedback. It sounds like you had a really memorable time in Guatemala and we are glad that we could provide this for you but it sounds like you had the right mindset to get the most out of your experience. We can't wait to have you back! Thanks for being an IVHQer!
CARNAVAL IN RIO
Submitted by Maya F. - NYC | February 17, 2016
I worked on the Carnaval program with Vila Isabel, a samba school in Rio de Janeiro. I really enjoyed my placement and the locals were super friendly and helpful. It is great to be part of something so beautiful and see it come together in the end.
One thing I would absolutely recommend, though, is to brush up on your Portuguese before arriving. Some girls didnt speak any and still got along fine but speaking even a little really helps open doors for you.
The house is real big, spacious and a pleasant environment to live in. And the House manager Miguel is an absolute darling.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 22, 2016 at 5:40 PM
Hi Maya, It's nice to hear from you. It's great to hear about your experience on the Carnaval project in Rio and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program again soon.
Teaching English and Feeling Amazing
Submitted by Molly - Victoria Deakin University | February 12, 2016
I LOVED my entire time over in India with IVHQ, I want to go back already. I met so many likeminded people, and as a vegan, found it incredibly easy to find meat free meals EVERYWHERE.
The children were so lovely and the staff helped wherever they could.
I could not recommend something more than this program.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 22, 2016 at 5:29 PM
Hi Molly, Thanks for the recommendation. We are glad to hear you had such a positive experience in India. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Submitted by Sanhitha Sanugula - San Marcos san diego state university | February 11, 2016
Before deciding to go to India on my own, I always thought I was prepared to face the challenges. India was nothing to new to me since I have been to my relative’s city a few times by now. But boy was I wrong! Himachal Pradesh was a whole new adventure.
You really get the essence of traveling to a new place when you live like a local. I was lucky to have such a wonderful host family that took care of everything I needed. However, with no heater or hot water, the first couple days were rough.
At night the street dogs kept howling and it was almost -4 degrees. I slept with two layers on and three fluffy blankets. And----I was still freezing! I got used to it after a while and got my little space heater that I had to be an inch away from to feel warm. Bucket showers became a wonderful water saving routine for me as well.
The best part of living in a small town is that you become familiar with every road and alleyway. Faces start to look familiar wherever you go and you have a chance to be part of a huge family! Every morning I would eat some Tibetan bread with nutella and drink some chai and be on my way to class.
Along with my KG2 Class, I also used to teach a class in the late afternoon for a bunch of kids that were older. Most of them were around 16-19 years old. Teaching them was much easier than handling the little kids! They were wonderful listeners and so enthusiastic to learn.
We went over things like poverty, environmental concerns and other major problems in our world. We read stories that had deep morals and they understood everything so well. Sometimes after my lesson I would ask them to teach me a little about their views on life, which was very enlightening as well. It's easy to hear things but extremely hard to actually implement it in your everyday life.
We went to Dharamsala for one weekend and visited the Dalai Lama Temple. Other two weekends were spent in Amritsar and nearby towns.
One of the purest forms of happiness comes from helping people. Seeing the difference you can make empowers you and might make you more happy than the person whom you have just helped.I see so many people trying to learn how to be happy and sharing posts that teach us that secret to happiness.
I decided to be cut off from social media and I hadn't even talked to my best friends when I was in India no matter how much I missed them. There is an intoxicating feeling about living life in the present moment and only talking to those that are around you along with being in a different place where no one knows who you are in the world you call "reality". By living in such a place, your true persona comes out. The way you talk, the things you believe in and what you see all changes.
Having very few facilities around me and being able to make it through made me realize that there are a lot of things I take for granted in life and I really don't need half the things I splurge on back in the states.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 22, 2016 at 5:27 PM
Hi Sanhitha, It's nice to hear from you! We are glad that you had such positive experience volunteering in India. It sounds like you had a really memorable time and we are glad that we could provide this for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to welcoming you on another program soon.
Submitted by Rebecca Ross - Worcester Curry college | February 05, 2016
I had the most incredible time with IVHQ's trip to Ghana. The staff were all welcoming and so helpful. I never one felt unsafe or out of place. Although I was only there for a short time the staff at Ivhq and the local staff made me feel truely at home and welcomed.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 12:50 PM
Hi Rebecca, Thanks for sharing your volunteer experience in with IVHQ in Ghana. We are glad to hear that you had such a positive experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Can't wait to go again
Submitted by Keely Abbot - Bordertown University of Melbourne | January 06, 2016
I spent 2 months working at the Youth Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam!
I cannot even explain how unreal my experience was! I worked with children who could barely afford school! They didn't speak too much English but you could feel their improvement even with this small amount of time! I also helped teach maths, although it is universal it was difficult to teach as I had kids from all ages! I also taught uni students- it was amazing! They are now some of my closest friends and they are really good to have there! They are lovely and are always willing to help! Just like everyone else in the IVHQ crew.
I didn't feel unsafe at any point and I found everything well organised and run!
I cannot put into words my experience but I loved it and cannot wait to go again!!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 12:59 PM
Hi Keely, thanks for the wonderful review on our volunteer program in Hanoi, Vietnam. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed working with our local team, and hope that you’ll stay in touch. Thanks for being such a positive IVHQ volunteer!
Turtle Conservation on Nusa Penida, Indonesia
Submitted by Long Time Traveller - Hamilton McMaster University | January 06, 2016
My experience in Bali was amazing!! The orientation week was so fun and helpful in getting to know the customs of the country, and I made lots of new friends, especially with the girls I was staying with at Kopi Desa (our homestay). The week was well planned out, and our travel at the end of it to Nusa Penida (the small island where we would be staying for the next two months) was also very well organized. My time on Nusa Penida was possibly the best of my life. The program coordinators there were so funny and kind, and made our volunteer group feel like a family. Over my two months I really felt like I got to know our program coordinators and the cooks who made food for us every day, and felt like I was a part of their community. Though the volunteer work was hard at times, I felt that it made a positive impact on the community there. And, of course, we worked hard and played hard. There was lots of time for weekend travel, and I even had time to get my PADI Open Water diving certification, an amazing experience in itself. Our coordinators helped us plan our weekend trips, so we never had trouble getting transportation. I will never forget my experience and the friends I made during my time in Bali.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:02 PM
Hi there! Thanks for providing us with a great insight to your volunteer program in Bali. We’re happy to hear the you found the orientation helpful and the project meaningful. We sincerely hoped that you enjoyed your time on the island of Nusa Pedina, and would love to have you volunteer with us again!
Trip of a lifetime
Submitted by David - Ottawa Carleton University | January 06, 2016
I could probably write an entire book on my experience with IVHQ, but I'll cut it to the minimum. I am a very spontaneous person so I was just browsing to internet one day and found IVHQ the website was very informative and easy to navigate so I came to the decision of going to Zambia and at that moment I had no idea that this decision was going to change my life for the better. I packed up my bags and left! When I was at the airport I realized what exactly I was doing and it really terrified me but I quickly got over it when I arrived in the beautiful country of Zambia. I was met by the coordinators of the program and felt quite safe, we arrived at the house I would be spending the next 2 months at and honestly I was quite surprised at how nice it was. I was introduced to the other volunteers and was welcomed with open arms and had no trouble socializing and becoming friends with each of them. My volunteers placements were not too far from where I stayed but I could easily get around everywhere by taxi and they are fairly easy to communicate with. Mornings would be spent at a local elementary school teaching and my afternoons would be spent at a local orphanage filled with the most precious children I've ever met. Weekends were almost jam packed because there is SO much to do in Livingstone whether you want to relax by a pool or jump off a bridge with a rope attached to your legs there is something to do for everyone. Overall this experience was the best thing I have ever chosen to do and IVHQ made it an even better experience for me and cannot wait to volunteer with them again!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:04 PM
Hi David, we’d love to read a book about your experience :) We’re so happy that you enjoyed your time in Zambia, and would love to have you volunteer with us again soon. Thanks for being such a wonderful IVHQer!
Street Children Work in Ecuador
Submitted by browncalifornian - Santa Barbara UC Santa Barbara | January 05, 2016
IVHQ is an extremely well-structured and well-executed program that provides a wide range of opportunities for any interest. I was amazed at how helpful the program managers were, from my initial questions to arriving in Ecuador for my project. My time volunteering was amazing, and I truly felt like I received the experience I had anticipated-and even more. Making new friends from across the globe, interacting with children with whom I learned so much from, and traveling in a beautiful country were great experiences and I am happy to have chosen IVHQ as my first volunteer abroad program!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:09 PM
Hi there, it’s wonderful to read that your volunteer experience in Ecuador had such a positive impact on your life. We’d love to have you volunteer with us again in the near future!
IVHQ GHANA CHILDCARE--AMBER
Submitted by Heather - Ohio | December 19, 2015
Enjoyed my experience. Evans was awesome! Very calm, respectful, helpful, and informative. He even brought my sandals to the house I was living at from the IVHQ base because I had forgot them there, which was at least an hour travel time. He checked on me and the other volunteers daily. Enjoyed the kids! Great experience.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:19 PM
Hi Heather, thanks for sharing such a great story! We’re glad to hear that our local team was able to provide great support, and we would love to have you volunteer with us again soon!
Peru 1 week
Submitted by michelle - lima peru FIU | November 15, 2015
I love to travel and make a difference in someone's life. I connect well with children, because I truly care for others that are less fortunate. I found out about this program thanks to social media. Without hesitating I convinced my best friend to join me on an amazing adventure to Peru. It was the most amazing and meaningful experience.The experience with the host family was very positive, I had a great opportunity to connect. I would not change a thing. The house that I stayed at was very nice. I stayed with a family in a two story home. there were at least 20 other college students from al lover the world. The family was very friendly and helpful. They cooked great food every day and made sure that I never went to bed hungry. I regret only staying for a week. I got super attached to the children. I was always emotional. I never expected that a week in Peru would change my life. My mind quickly changed . The meaning of life was more valuable to me. I was heart broken when a orphan boy asked me to adopt him, he informed me that he would wait for me because he knew he wouldn't get adopted. Because of this experience I want to adopt a child. I already paid for my next two trips to Colombia and brazil with IVHQ. This TIME I'M STAYING LONGER. I'M STAYING IN COLOMBIA FOR 3 WEEKS AND BRAZIL FOR 8 WEEKS IN THE SUMMER. I'm planning my next trip to Argentina for 3 weeks with IVHQ. I highly suggest to stay longer than 1 weeks to fully experience the beautiful country and spend quality time with the children. IVHQ HAS inspired me so much that I already got accepted to 3 different programs. I have my own club in FIU, I always inform all the FIU college students about IVHQ. WHEN EVER I HAVE THE OPPURTUNITY I TELL OTHERS ABOUT THIS AMAZING VOLUNTERRING PROGRAM. I'm trying so hard to save up for Argentina, I always a way to make it happen because these experiences are worth it.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 1:56 PM
Hi Michelle, it’s great to hear that your time volunteering with us in Peru has had such a positive impact on your life! We’re looking forward to hosting you in Colombia, Brazil and Argentina in the future!
One Zambia One Nation
Submitted by Aida Delic - Sarajevo | November 02, 2015
Volunteering is an important part of my life. I have always wanted to volunteer in Africa, so I have decided to spend 6 weeks in Zambia. I have heard it is a peaceful country with friendly people. I was very surprised when I arrived there. People are not friendly!!! That word is not good enough to describe the kindness and spirit of Zambian people. They are always in a good mood, no matter how tough their lives are. They like to meet new friends and learn about different cultures and are always ready to help a person in the trouble.
I was placed in Tutalike day care, which is actually a house of a local woman who made a school for children. There is a first, second a "baby class". I spent most of the time with a baby class, which ranges from 4 to 6 years old. We were learning alphabet, colouring, singing songs, playing and doing many other things. Mercy, Saviour, Delpher, Rance, Ludo, Nawa Nawa, Joshua, James, Mwiiya, Kennedy and Francis are amazing children, who have so much potential. I miss my angels. I really wanted to make the most of this trip, so I also went to Malota community school. Malota is a school that has open couple years ago. The school has around 700 students and only 3 classrooms. Most of the kids are from very poor families and are not able to pay their schoolarships or to buy lunch every day. The school relies on donations. I also went the orphanage named "Village of Hope". I had an honour to meet an amazing kids who prepare their own meals and practically take care of themselves. You can make a child happy by buying it a candy. That's what we did. We sometimes went to the store and bought candies which we gave to the children on the street and at the placement. I have also donated all of my clothes to the "Linda farm" for disabled people and to some girls from school. I wish I could have done more.
The people from the guest house where I was accommodated became like my family. I spent the most wonderful moments of my life with them. I hope to meet the again. I would especially like to thank my friends Kingsley and Oliver (locals) who took me to Mukuni and Musokotwanee village and introduced me to their families. The customs of the villages are amazing and unique.
You can also see my elephant ride and lion walk experiences in the pictures. Zambia has a lot to offer, but I won't tell you about that. You should come and experience it by yourselves.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 2:12 PM
Hi Aida, thanks for such a positive review on your time with IVHQ in Zambia! We’re pleased to hear the you had an amazing time, and met some amazing people! We’re proud to call you an IVHQer, and would love to have you join us again sometime soon!
Who knew paradise was real?
Submitted by Camila - Mexico City | October 27, 2015
Volunteering at this little island in the north of Madagascar has been the best decision of my life. MRCI is a place I will always call a home. Everyday is a new adventure and it's impossible to wake up without a smile. Accomodation and meals are great (maybe too much rice), but it's the last thing to worry about when you are waking up in paradise. A month has past since I left and I keep finding myself daydreaming about Nosy Komba more often than I should. Madagascar showed me how little one truly needs to be happy.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 12:38 PM
Hi Camila, we’re happy to hear that you’ve found your piece of paradise in Madagascar! Great to have you as an IVHQer!
3 weeks in Sri Lanka
Submitted by Natalie - London | October 19, 2015
It was my first time travelling abroad by myself and my first time volunteering, to ensure my safety I wanted to go with a legitimate organisation who would help look after me and IVHQ and the local volunteer company in Sri Lanka (Green Lion) did exactly that. Going to Sri Lanka was literally the best experience of my entire life. I had so much fun, and met so many people who were so lovely and easy to talk to. Everyone was by themselves too so all my fears of being alone for the whole trip were quickly put aside and I made friends within the first day. With the orientation week first it was a great time to explore the city and learn about the culture and customs of the country, but things got real when I started my volunteer program (Turtle Conservation). Going to a different town, Ambalangoda was really great as I got to see a different side of Sri Lanka especially one that was less touristy. I absolutely loved the Turtle Conservation program though and felt like I was really helping the community. Almost all of the turtles on the project are disabled, most of them being blind, missing fins or being affected by eating plastic in the wild therefore knew the work I was doing helped make their lives a little bit better as none of them would be alive if they were in the wild. Daily work included feeding the turtles, preparing their food, cleaning the turtles and their tanks and cleaning up the beach. I even got to release some baby turtles as they also look after turtles eggs then release them once hatched. It was a brilliant and very hands-on experience. You can read more about my experience in Sri Lanka on the project and in the country with pictures included here: https://memoirsofalostdreamer.wordpress.com/
As I said it was one of the best experiences of my entire life and would highly recommend anyone to go.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 08, 2016 at 12:35 PM
Hi Natalie, thanks for sharing your experience with us on your time on the Turtle Conservation program in Sri Lanka. We’re glad to hear that you enjoyed the project and we loved looking through your blog! Proud to have you as an IVHQer!
2 Weeks in Cambodia
Submitted by Bailey - Sydney | September 25, 2015
Having been my first time out of the country and deciding to go on my own the whole pre departure period was pretty nerve racking. However, IVHQ was able to guide me along the way and really smoothed the process out for me in making sure I was well prepared despite my last minute registeration. Once I got over there it was pretty smooth sailing, I got my placement in childcare and had the absolute best time, it's amazing to be around such tough happy kids that come from very little keen to learn English and also teach a bit of Khmer and handgames of course! I stayed in a volunteer house, the hosts and other volunteers were great to get to know. I didn't think I'd have much time for sightseeing given the fact I'd only signed up for two weeks but I was able to get around to everything I wanted to - Siem Riep, Sihanoukville, Killing Fields etc. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I'd definitely do it all over again.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 6:59 PM
Hi Bailey, We are so glad that you chose IVHQ to travel with for your first trip out of your home country. It sounds like you had an incredible volunteer travel experience and we love that we were able to facilitate this for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experience in Cambodia and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program again in the future.
My trip of a lifetime - Childcare in South Africa
Submitted by Veronika Brachmaier - Cardiff Cardiff University | September 25, 2015
This summer I spent 5 weeks on the childcare program in South Africa with IVHQ and their local partner organisation Dreams to Reality. I cannot recommend them enough! I can honestly say I had the best 5 weeks of my life. From the excellent support I received by IVHQ leading up to the program, to actually spending every day with these children who are so, so loving and need all the attention and love and support they get from the volunteers so much.
I was placed at Sunrise Educare, a very big daycare, in a class of roughly 25 children, all around the age of 2. I helped with feeding, changing, potty training and putting the children down for naps as well as singing with them, teaching them, playing with them and giving them as much love as I could. The feeling of walking into my classroom and having my kiddies run up to me for good morning hugs and kisses was the best feeling in the world and I loved being able to get to know every one of my kids individually, learning about their families, their homes and their reality of growing up in a township and helping them along in their development just by giving them that one-on-one time that they needed. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience and I can truly say that it has changed my outlook on life, as cliche as that may sound.
Being able to spend time with these children and exploring the country in such an authentic way was the perfect mix of volunteering and adventure. Apart from being with the kids, my highlight definitely included petting cheetah cubs and hiking up the mountains in Cape Town. It was very easy to book tours in my free time and the organisation helped me with this too!
To anyone who seems a bit intimidated by travelling by themselves or going to a country where the culture and customs are so drastically different from what they know - don't worry! You'll have amazing support before and all throughout your volunteer stay, you will meet people from all sorts of walks of life who all share the same love and passion as you do and who will become your best friends and don't be afraid to just completely immerse yourself in this new and exciting experience. If you just put yourself out there and you meet everyone with a smile and a positive attitude, I promise you, you will have an absolutely amazing time! I am still in contact with my housemates, whom I got to know and love very much, as well as one of the teachers in my class, who I got very close to in my time there.
Although you cannot expect to change the world in a few weeks, this program really made me feel like I made a difference - if small - in some of these children's lives and it was so rewarding to see them make progress in their speech and to see their confidence growing and their little hearts growing from the love they received. I cannot wait to go back and will definitely be travelling with IVHQ again!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 6:29 PM
Hi Veronika, You summed it up nicely and we love that your experience volunteering in South Africa was just what we hope for all of our volunteers - 'the perfect mix of volunteering and adventure'. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendations about our program in Cape Town. We can't wait to have you back, see you on another IVHQ program again soon. :)
Guatemala for 4 weeks
Submitted by Samantha Duchscherer - Knoxville | September 25, 2015
I was a bit reluctant to volunteer in Antigua, Guatemala. However, I now miss every second of it. The local people, staff, and other volunteers were all so welcoming and sweet.
Volunteering let me see some towns outside of Antigua and really taught me a lot. Also the kids and elderly didn't really care that I didn't speak fluent Spanish. Everyone was just grateful I was there. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I highly recommend this program!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 6:24 PM
Hi Samantha, Thanks for the recommendation. It's great to hear you felt welcomed by the locals and completely safe and comfortable while in Guatemala. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ and for sharing your thoughts from your experience.
Vietnamese fairytale with IVHQ volunteering program ♥
Submitted by Emily - Dubai | September 13, 2015
Hey everyone! I want to share my incredible volunteering experience with IVHQ in Vietnam, Hanoi. I did Teaching English for 7 weeks, and from the first minute I got there I realized that 7 weeks was not going to be enough. I taught university students and children from the neighborhood for 4 weeks and kids in the kindergarten for 3 weeks. Every day was so special. Everyday I would learn something new from my students and the culture. And I never felt like I was working or tired, it was more like spending some beneficial time doing something good and fun that was not tiring or boring at all! I felt really welcomed and the hospitality always revolved around me and other volunteers. On my way to Vietnam, I somehow knew that this trip will be AMAZING, even though I had no idea that I will have a chance to travel on weekends. Then traveling every weekend to different destinations turned to be one of the best traveling that I have ever done. I personally thought that I will just stay in the volunteer accommodation hehe. Speaking of accommodation, I really loved it! On my first day I was a little bit concerned but as soon as I unpacked my luggage I did not want to leave my room because it was comfy. You get used to everything so don't judge anything by it's first impression. I was the youngest on my program(18) and if your parent's are afraid to send you somewhere alone tell them that Southeast Asia is very safe and very touristy, and IVHQ family will never let you get in trouble :) I have met so many unique people throughout this journey: other volunteers, my Vietnamese students , backpackers, people who I will never forget and who are my great friends now. Summer 2015 volunteering in Hanoi yahooo ♥ ♥ ♥ !
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 6:21 PM
Hi Emily, What an amazing trip to have when you are 18! It sound like you had an incredible time volunteering but also exploring on your weekends and downtime. Thanks for sharing your story from your volunteer experience in Vietnam - Hanoi and we hope to see you back on another IVHQ trip at some point soon. Thanks for being an IVHQer!