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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation
Submitted by madeleine Hickman - Nashville Belmont University | September 08, 2015
What an amazing experience! Working with the turtles seep in the Costa Rican jungle taught me so much. I have never had such a deep enlightening experience with nature. I would do it over a million days. IVHQ helped me with everything I needed and my travels and living situations were absolutely spot on. The turtles were coming up every night we were so busy!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 5:54 PM
Hi Madeleine, It's great to hear you had such a rewarding and busy volunteer experience with our local team on the Turtle Conservation project in Costa Rica. Thanks for sharing the photos as well. We are glad that you chose IVHQ and we hope to have you back on another of our programs (or back in Costa Rica) at some point in the future :)
Amazing Experience! JUST GO FOR IT!
Submitted by Rauda Amer - Cairo The American University in Cairo | September 04, 2015
I spent 5 weeks working with an NGO in Cambodia and it was, hands down, the best experience of my life!! From the moment I first applied, IVHQ made sure to provide me with all the information I would need to prepare for my trip, were very quick in responding to my inquiries, and just provided me with continuous support all the time. It was no different once I arrived in Cambodia! The local staff there were very organized, friendly, supportive, helpful, and made sure that they tried their best in making us feel right at home and they sure did succeed! I even had to get my knee stitched at some point and they came with me all the way to the hospital and helped me with all the necessary procedures. While working with the NGO, I truly felt that I was needed there and that they appreciated everything I was doing. This eye-opening experience triggered so many things in me and made me even more keen on working in the development sector later on! The accommodation provided at the volunteer house was excellent. The general atmosphere was amazing, the people I met there were all amazing! I had a blast and I wouldn't have minded staying longer. Actually, I wish I had stayed longer!! I learnt so much during my volunteering experience and I could confidently say that this trip really did change me! Don't hesitate and go for it! Cambodia is an amazing country and I definitely will be traveling with IVHQ again in the future!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 3:47 PM
Hi Rauda, 'don't hesitate' well said, we couldn't agree with your more! We are so glad that you enjoyed your time volunteering in Cambodia and that both in the lead up to your trip and while in country you were fully supported by IVHQ and our local team. It sounds like you had a truly memorable trip and we hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.
Kuyuki Do-Wasi in Cusco
Submitted by Cassidy Norris - Airdrie, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Bow Valley College | August 26, 2015
My experience at the teen mom shelter in Cusco was nothing short of amazing. I connected with the children as well as the mothers, making me feel as if i had really made a difference. Everyone was so kind. The staff support during my time in Peru really helped as well, when i was sick i was looked after and checked in on. I will definitely be volunteering again with IVHQ in the future.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 30, 2015 at 3:40 PM
Hi Cassidy, Thanks for sharing your thoughts from your experience in Cusco. It's great to hear you enjoyed your time and that you were supported by our local team when you were unwell while in country. We hope to see you back on another IVHQ program soon.
My Bucket List - checked
Submitted by Clara D Jones - Centerville, Texas | August 04, 2015
My program was life changing for a 73 year old American. My take away from this program is that life is more than "things or stuff" but giving and being a part of life experiences. I spent 6 weeks at IVHQ Victoria Falls and found that animal conservation program quite exciting. The accomodations and staff were great and I found it quite hard to leave. Made a lots of friends among the locals as well as the volunteers. Working with the Masuwe Primary School was one of the highlight of this program. Since I returned home I have made group presentation recommending IVHQ and this program. The best six weeks of my life.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 9:11 PM
Hi Clara, Thanks so much for sharing a little from your experience volunteering in Victoria Falls. We are so glad we could be part of such a memorable and positive experience for you. We hope to have you back on another IVHQ program again soon.
Volunteering in Ghana <3
Submitted by Christina - Pennsylvania | July 22, 2015
I have never traveled outside the US, nor have I ever traveled alone, but I have always dreamed of traveling to Africa. I spent 6 weeks teaching and providing childcare in an orphanage this past May/June and it was the BEST experience of my life! It was the most exciting, challenging and emotional experience that I will never forget. I am pinching my pennies so I can return again soon! The children and the locals are so warm and inviting, I immediately felt at home. There were times when I missed my family (and my bed), but being with those kids every day filled my heart with so much love.
Last summer, I began researching different volunteer/ teach abroad programs and stumbled upon the IVHQ website. Upon watching the video testimonial for Ghana, I immediately fell in love. I knew I would do anything to get there. When I compared other programs, nothing compared to IVHQ's costs. I am a broke college graduate and that is what sold me. The information booklet provided me with all the necessary information, contacts, and guidelines to prepare myself for my big journey. chose to come to Africa. Before I even left, I had so many questions. The IVHQ staff was extremely helpful in answering all my annoying questions via email and facebook. (Thank you Louise and Eddie!) I felt so looked after by the program before I even left. During my stay, we were provided with our meals, housing accommodations, and airport pickup on the night we arrived in Accra.
I spent 6 weeks, but it definitely was not enough time. There is so much to see in Ghana, and so much to take in. I think about the little ones who stole my heart every single day. I will definitely be returning soon Ghana is a beautiful country with amazing sights, lively culture, and absolutely beautiful people. Choosing to volunteer in Ghana was the highlight of my life. The children I met have the brightest smiles and biggest hearts and I cannot wait to have them in my arms again.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 7:57 PM
Hi Christina, It's so great to hear that you had such a positive and memorable first adventure overseas and solo traveling experience. It's great to read that you felt fully supported in the lead up to your trip and that the local team exceeded your expectations when in country. Thanks for taking the time to review your time in Ghana and we really hope you will be able to to join us on another IVHQ program (or back in Ghana again) soon :)
Submitted by Rachel - Tennessee University of Tennessee, Knoxville | July 19, 2015
I volunteered with IVHQ in Lima, Peru for three weeks in the Special Needs program. It was something that I would do over again if I had the chance. I loved my time there and the people I met. My placement was exactly what I wanted to do with my summer. I worked in an orphanage filled with kids with disabilities. The connections I made as I watched some of the kids grow was priceless. As far as accommodations, I stayed in a homestay. There were seven volunteers, including myself, that stayed there and it worked out perfectly. Never in my life have I connected with others so quickly. The food was amazing, the transportation took some getting used to but was easy enough, and the places to travel on weekends were amazing. An all around good and affordable program.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 3:40 PM
Hi Rachel, It’s great to hear your thoughts from your volunteer experience in Lima. It sounds like you had a truly memorable experience. Thanks for the recommendation and we hope to have you on another IVHQ program again in the future.
No Worry, No Hurry, Fiji Time
Submitted by Hayley Razzeto - Boone Appalachian State University | July 14, 2015
I had no idea how much of an impact three weeks would have on my life until I spent three weeks teaching kindergarten in Fiji. I was welcomed with a cheerful, “BULA!” accompanied with a smile. The orientation week taught me everything I needed to know about Fiji and more. Even though it is common for people to speak English in Fiji, I was more than happy to be taught the native language (Fijian) during my orientation. I had the opportunity to visit a museum that beautifully explained the history of Fiji and gave me a greater appreciation for the wonderfully unique country I was volunteering in. I was placed to teach at a kindergarten right down the street from the volunteer accommodation in a class with 64 kids. It was a bit overwhelming at first but it was obvious how much the teachers and children appreciated the volunteers helping out. I could feel the love every day when walking into the classroom and being greeted with smiles and a, “Good morning teacher!” I was able to spend time with students one on one, in small groups, or direct the class as a whole. The teachers encouraged me to bring some of my culture to the classroom in the forms of songs and games, which I think the kids enjoyed.
I went completely out of my comfort zone going on this trip and it is true what they say: growth happens outside of your comfort zone. This volunteer experience helped me grow as an individual in ways I did not even imagine were possible. Being immersed into the culture was the most eye-opening experience of my life that has changed me for the better. Seeing how people live in an impoverish country was something I never encountered before but I am glad that I did. I not only met local people but met volunteers from around the world who taught me about their cultures as well. I know the friendships and memories I made will last forever.
A friend told me about IVHQ and I was a bit hesitant to travel across the world by myself. Little did I know that I was never truly alone, I always had the support and resources from the IVHQ staff. Anytime I had a question about anything ranging from the customs, language, public transportation, and everything in between I did not hesitate to ask one of the IVHQ staff members. The staff made me feel incredibly safe and cared for- even when I was across the planet from home. I cannot thank IVHQ enough for this remarkable experience and all of the lessons that came along with it.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 3:14 PM
Hi Hayley, Thanks for sharing your thoughts from your volunteer experience in Fiji. It is great to hear that you felt supported by IVHQ in the lead up to your trip and by the local team when in Fiji. We are glad that we were able to provide you with this opportunity and it sounds like your attitude toward the whole experience really made it for you. We hope to see you on another IVHQ program soon.
Unique adventure & wonderful experience in Bali
Submitted by Polly Cao - Ubud Colgate University | July 13, 2015
Going to Bali via IVHQ is no doubt one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I experienced a totally different lifestyle, built close bonds with the kids I taught, and met some of the most awesome people here. If you still unsure about whether you should come, don't hesitate, just follow you heart and try!
Before I got here, I have many concerns. I had no idea about how Indonesia was like. After I got here, all my concerns just went away. The city we stay, Ubud, is a very safe place. I lived in a home stay with other 23 volunteer. The home stay is clean and comfortable, with hot water and anything you need. Besides that, Ubud is a very convenient place. You could find plenty nice restaurants and places to go outside.
The most amazing part is that I met plenty nice and awesome people all around the world. In the free time, we always hanged out together. During the weekend, we went to other places in Ubud and had so much fun together. I felt sad deeply every time somebody had to leave.
The time I spent with children is amazing. They were eager to learn english and came to hug you every time you came and leave. I missed them very much.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review September 29, 2015 at 2:54 PM
It’s great to hear that you had such a positive experience volunteering in Ubud. It sounds like you took advantage of your free time while in Bali as well which is great. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Incredible Volunteer Program
Submitted by Hang Doan - Litchfield Park Arizona State University | July 08, 2015
I set out on this trip and thought that I would be able to say that I survived traveling to another country all by myself,
but in reality I cannot say that because IVHQ was alongside me the entire time. They provided me with all of the necessary information before I left, and even checked up on me during my stay. The local program was so supportive and made me feel completely comfortable and safe. Not once did I feel like I was alone during my trip.
I would have to admit that I was skeptical of the registration fee, but had a coworker go through the program and told me that it was legit. I decided to give it a try since it was still the cheapest volunteer program that I could find.
I volunteered in the medical program with very little medical assistant experience in the United States, but the medical clinic in Lima, Peru still allowed me to do a ton of hands on procedures with the patients. I got more medical experience volunteering here for a week than I did working in a clinic for the last year. Partaking in the program would definitely help anyone needing a boost for their application to med/PA/nursing school.
Additionally, the housing accommodation was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't have asked for a better volunteer mom. She cooked us delicious meals and even taught me how to cook.
My trip here has not even ended, but I'm already planning my next IVHQ trip! However, that seems to be a trend amongst all of the IVHQ volunteers :)
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 12, 2015 at 9:22 PM
Hi Hang, It’s great to hear from you! We are so glad to hear that you felt prepared for your volunteer trip and supported by our local team while in Lima. It sounds like you had the right attitude to take the most out of your experience. We look forward to having you back on another IVHQ program soon.
Submitted by Emily - Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh | July 07, 2015
I have traveled to Ghana through International Volunteer HQ in the summer of 2014 and in May of 2015. My experience was absolutely incredible, so incredible that I went back a second time! From the moment I landed in Accra I felt at home. The local staff is amazing. They are organized, helpful. and are always there to make you feel right at home. The programs are excellent and well organized. Whether you are in a home stay or volunteer house you will feel safe and get a true local experience. The people I met (volunteers and locals), the culture, the music, the landscape, etc truly changed my life. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about my time spent in Ghana. Ghana will forever hold a special place in my heart. I encourage everyone to visit Africa at least once in their life and I HIGHLY recommend Ghana, you will not regret it...I promise!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 12, 2015 at 9:09 PM
Hi Emily. It’s great to hear from you! We love hearing from our returning volunteers. We are so glad that both of your trips to Ghana were such positive experiences where you were able to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to seeing you back on another program soon.
Home is where your heart is
Submitted by Travelette - Vytautas Magnus University | July 03, 2015
My journey started with a lot of difficulties. Two flight cancellations, lost luggage and a lot of stress while travelling on my own for the first time. However, my excitement was above everything 'cause I knew that the next day I will be standing on the ground of my long-awaited destination - Philippines! My arrival was in the evening and after a fast pick-up by program coordinators I had a chance to meet my future friends - our great team of volunteers. I was really happy with the conditions of living, it was very basic but comfortable and cosy. I got a room in a volunteer house where we shared a bunk bed with another volunteer. Cold shower under the sky and a company of baby lizards gave me a great mood that evening! Everyone in my house was really welcoming and kindly introduced me to the surroundings as well as to the other volunteers the next morning. Our team was awesome! I was excited to get to know so many different, but very special people. It did not take long until we got close to each other, especially during the week of orientation. Our coordinators put a lot of efforts to make this week unforgetable and full of amazing experiences. We visited historical museum of Davao, National Eagle Center, went snorkeling and explored Samal island, we held huge pythons, learned basics of Philippino language and got some cooking skills as well! All these activities were filled with lots of laughter and joy and we could not wait until we get introduced to the work in our placements. After the first week each of us started our volunteering program. I went to the Hill Tribes, which is about 1,5 hour drive from our volunteer house. My stay lasted until the weekend and I quickly realised that it is way too short.. I was welcomed by the most amazing local family and stayed in their house where I had a chance to experience what is the daily life of tribal people: what kind of food they prepare, what is their religion, beliefs and their everyday work as well. Our living conditions were very different than what I was used to: lack of electricity, bucket showers and the food cooked outside (by the way, the meals were amazing). I just loved it! During my short stay I was trying to gain as much knowledge as possible 'cause the family was very open and ready to answer all the questions of my interest. Our conversations were always a part of a lunch or dinner, later accompanied by the sounds of guitar and beautiful voices of my Philippino family. We organized few "cultural evenings" where all family members did performances with the tribal dances and songs. Besides this great time with my new family and our cultural experience I was introduced with the work (mostly farming) that I came there for. My Philippino mother showed me their agricultural fields, taught me how to take care of banana trees, cacao harvest, how to do weeding and cleansing of the plants. I had a blast! Everything was new and interesting for me, I felt so blessed that I had an ability to experience these things first hand. After our amazing working and bonding week it was time for me to leave the tribes. I cannot explain the sadness and happiness that I felt that day. Even though my time with the family ended, I was very happy that I was able to make all these memories, acquire new skills, share my knowledge and experience, help with everyday work and create this everlasting bond with amazing people of the tribes. We did not say goodbye, we made a promise on "see you later" believing that we will meet again one day. After this journey I realised and learned many things.. First of all, I learned about differences that people have and how beautiful that is! No matter what is your race, skin color, religion, language - we can all develop a great friendship and appreciation for each other. Also, living with tribal family opened my eyes and taught me about true joy of life. It may seem that these people are poor, have limited resources, lack of amenities.. but these are the richest people I have ever met. Their hearts are full of love and kindness, appreciation for small things, family values are incredibly strong and their happiness is just through the roof! I am glad that i did this trip and made even a small contribution to the local family during my visit. I guess, no one realises how beautiful it is to travel, help and experience until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. So make a wish... Take a chance and make a change!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 12, 2015 at 8:51 PM
Thanks for sharing a little from your time volunteering in the Philippines with IVHQ. It sounds like you had a truly memorable volunteer experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Easily the best month of my life
Submitted by Mia C. - Eastpointe Wayne State University | June 30, 2015
I had the most amazing time during my five weeks in India. I did four weeks in the Dharamsala program and one week of orientation that I highly recommend. The Dawa family members(who's house we lived in) are the nicest, most accommodating people you will ever meet. They are there to talk to if any problems arise with your placement or if you get ill or really if you need them for anything. My placement was interrupted by multiple week-long ceremonies so Llamo found a local person for me to tutor one on one right away. I felt like I'd been there forever after just two weeks and after four, I didn't want to go home. I can't wait to return.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 5:26 PM
Hi Mia, It’s great to read that you had such a positive experience volunteering in Dharamsala and were hosted so well by the family that your were placed with. Thanks for being and IVHQer!
Kennedi's Costa Rican adventure
Submitted by Kennedi Riley - Baltimore Hampton university | June 30, 2015
I had a blast!!! I really enjoyed working with the kids. Volunteering abroad is defiantly a life changing experience. I made a video to show everything I did while in Costa Rica.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 5:09 PM
Hi Kennedi, Thanks for the feedback and it’s great to hear you had such a positive experience volunteering in Costa Rica. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
A wonderful visionary of Peru
Submitted by Narmii - Toronto York University | June 28, 2015
I had amazing and once in a life time kind of experience doing my first ever abroad program with IVHQ in Peru. The community , the teams, the home stay who became family, the orphanage and its team, but it most importantly the important and wonderful people I have met had made my journey unforgettable and a pleasant one. Will recommend this trip and experience of a lifetime with Volunteer IVHQ. Not only is it worth the the time and money spend, but everyday motivating and making the impact on the ones who need it the most. LOVE. Te Amor Peru
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 4:41 PM
Hi Narmatha, Thanks for sharing a little from your volunteer trip with IVHQ in Peru. We are glad to hear that you had such a positive experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Fiji Sports Education Appreciation
Submitted by Ashlie Milton - Adelaide | June 28, 2015
After experiencing a down time in my life and having people surround me with such uplifting thoughts and words i too wanted to give somebody those same uplifting thoughts and words to make a difference in their lives. That's when i decided to Volunteer in Fiji through IVHQ.
Stepping out of my comfort zone into unfamiliar surroundings, third well culture and away from my norm was a huge change from my high maintenance fast materialistic lifestyle.
From the moment of arriving in Fiji i was greeted with warm friendly smiles and information about what to expect for my time in Fiji.
I have experienced nothing less than beautiful people and a loving, caring culture. Fiji has certainly made me appreciate and see things at a different perspective. I will never forget those excited and full of life faces as i was their to teach and support the children, i believe they taught and supported me. What an Experience of a life time! <3
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 4:25 PM
Hi Ashlie, It’s great to hear that you had such a positive experience volunteering in Fiji. Thanks for sharing a little of your story and your thoughts about the program. It’s great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to have you back on another of our programs soon.
Mayan agriculture project
Submitted by Adriana - Saskatoon University of Saskatchewan | June 28, 2015
I was lucky enough to spend a week volunteering in Mexico on the Mayan agriculture project. IVHQ was extremely helpful with answering any questions and concerns I had and I felt that I had tons of support from them. The staff in Mexico were also amazingly helpful and went out of their way to assist me. I think the only problem I had was with some of the other volunteers in the house as they enjoyed partying but I was lucky that I was not living there during the week. The project itself was amazing, the living conditions were simple but comfortable and I met amazing people who shared similar interests as me. The work we did was interesting and every volunteer had different tasks. The farm owner/host, Bernd was wonderful and took care of us. Conversations with him were wonderful! The Mayan workers are extremely special people and I am happy I got to experience working with them. Although there was a language barrier, we all found ways to communicate and work together. It was hard leaving but I cannot express how much fun I had and I am excited to go back!
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 4:16 PM
Hi Adriana, Thanks for the feedback. It’s great to hear that you felt prepared for your trip with the support of IVHQ and that this continued with our local team when you were in Mexico. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to having you back.
Submitted by Victoria M - British Columbia Douglas College | June 25, 2015
In two months and four days it will be exactly one year since I touched down in Accra, Ghana. I can still remember every single detail, every smell, every sound, the entire two months I was there will be embedded happily in my memory forever. I encourage everyone to see a part of Africa once in their lives because it will truly change your way of thinking. It will change your life. Every day I am back here in Canada is another day I am wishing I was back in Iron City, Kasoa. I had the chance to volunteer at both the Green program (Achiase Children’s Home in Swedru) and the Amber program (Virgin Kids Academy in Kasoa) while in Ghana, both very different experiences. The amazing thing about the IVHQ program is that you could be away from your friends and family for months and yet you feel 100% at home. I have met some of the best people, and some of my best friends to this day while volunteering in Ghana. If you ever have the opportunity to travel, travel alone, and travel with IVHQ. It is a great way to kick off independent travelling without giving your parents or loved ones a heart attack that you are leaving alone. You will never regret Africa. You will never regret Ghana.
International Volunteer HQ responded to this review July 09, 2015 at 3:59 PM
Hi Victoria, It’s really nice to hear from you. It sounds like you had a truly unforgettable volunteer travel experience in Ghana. You are right, volunteering with IVHQ is the perfect way to travel abroad solo because you have that support network before you go and when in country and it seems like you took full advantage of that which is great. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we hope to see you back on another one of our programs soon.