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Incredible Volunteering in Brazil: Costs from USD 345

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Sports in Brazil

Hey potential IVHQers,

I'll cut straight to the chase, you've read all the reviews claiming how beautiful Rio is and how its made them a new person etc etc, It did the same for me and more believe that. I want to address the elephant in the room. The media has very much slandered Rio and Brazil as a whole for safety, Zika, Political instability, green swimming pools and etc.. Our friend Ryan Locthe definitely did not help.. It would be very easy and naive of me to sit here and claim all of it to be false. The media shows you 1 localized and independent event that has occurred. I can guarantee the city you live in would have similar incidents every friday or saturday night.. And as for the Zika virus, come on now I was there for two weeks- in peak "Zika scare period" and I saw and heard nothing.
Rio is no different to any other city, theres of course dangerous areas and shady people, thats where the incredible IVHQ team come in.. Zac, Vivi,Miguel and of course Venessa do an amazing job of teaching and guiding you through the city and telling you what is right or wrong. They give you a local insight into the city and volunteers who have stayed there for a while really become your best friend .. I am assuming you're volunteering to challenge yourself and for a new experience.. Rio will do that in the right way, IVHQ Rio will provide that..
I had the time of my life in that city for the two weeks I was there, and I did something new every day.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 16, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    Hi Fahim, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts in such a candid way. Brazil has received more than it’s fair share of negative press recently so it is nice to hear about your own experience in Rio. The local team is there to provide the best possible guidance when it comes to staying safe in Rio and it would be silly not to follow their advice! Thanks again for your great review and we would love to have you join 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

Dreamy 4 weeks in Rio

I spent the first 4 weeks of my 5 month South American adventure volunteering for JIVE in Rio de Janeiro and couldn't have asked for a better start to my travels. I arrived at the same time as a couple of other volunteers and the ones who were already in the house were incredibly welcoming (and so helpful) to us new kids.

I had initially signed up to do Community Development and was based out in Vila Kennedy at a community centre called C.C.I., however, after my first few days it became clear that my help was desperately needed as an English Teacher to the younger children instead, as there were only a couple of us volunteering there at the time. Although my Portuguese was limited to all of 3 words on a good day, I enjoyed every moment I spent with the children and I'd like to think they even learnt a bit of English (through my average-to-poor drawing and miming skills). The centre is in desperate need of our assistance and they are incredibly grateful for anything we can do to help out - the thankful hugs from Caleiji (the lady who runs the centre) remind you of how much your work is appreciated.

The house itself in Santa Teresa is beautiful and Miguel (the house looker-afterer) is a babe. On my second day I came home after placement to find a big birthday cake made by Miguel for my 22nd birthday on the dining room table (he even made it gluten/ lactose/ everything-free incase I was intolerant and STILL managed to make it delicious). Zac and Vivi were always around to talk to if we needed them, and Monique and Vanessa provided amazing support for us at our placements.

It was the BEST experience that exceeded expectations all round - my Mum's even decided she wants to volunteer after hearing all of my stories!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 15, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    Hi Chloe, Thanks for your excellent review. It sounds like you had an amazing time in Rio and really made the most of your time volunteering. It is so sweet that Miguel made you a birthday cake – isn’t he is the best?! We would love to have your mum join an IVHQ program and we hope you are having an amazing time on your adventure through South America.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Unforgettable memories

I did the Carnaval programme where I was involved in helping make the floats and costumes for one of the biggest events in Brazil. The placement was hands on and super creative which was just my cup of tea, and the people who worked at the Samba Schools were so sweet and generous. It was incredible to meet the real people of Rio. I applied through IVHQ who were really supportive answering any of my questions leading up to my trip and throughout my placement.
Having never travelled before I was nervous about the trip, but as soon as I got to Rio, Zac, Vivi, Miguel, Monique and Vanessa all made me feel so at ease. Zac and Vivi were always around and available for any questions, as well organising weekly drinks at a cool wee bar in Santa Teresa where our house was. The house was gorgeous and would not have been the same had Miguel not been there. The weekly cakes he made and happiness and sunshine he brought into the house made my trip, as well as everyone else's I'm sure! Vanessa was amazing and always knew interesting things that were happening in Rio, be it exhibitions, gigs, cool places to eat etc and she was always making me smile and laugh. Also shout out to the cleaner and cook, who's name I can't remember, but she was always smiling and made the most delicious breakfast smoothies!
Overall I had the most incredible time, if you're thinking about going, don't hesitate! It will be the trip of a lifetime!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review November 15, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    Hi Millie, Thanks for your great review! It sounds like you had a really fun time in Rio and we are so glad that we could help facilitate this for you. We had better let Miguel know to keep up the cakes so that any future volunteers aren’t disappointed! Thanks for being an IVHQer and we would love to have you join us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Until next time

I booked my volunteer experience through IVHQ and received all the information I required quickly and clearly, as well as introducing me to Jive (the local team in Rio).
I was able to get in touch with Zac and Vivi who were great from the offset and they really helped me with all my last minute dilemmas.

I arrived in Rio and instantly felt welcome by Miguel who is incredible!! The initiation and tour by Monique and Vanessa of your local area is superb and it's surprising how quickly you feel at home in a city so far from home.

As for the volunteer work, it was fantastic to be in a favela and the locals are very friendly! Jose, Renan and Raí have a great system set up in Santa Marta and it was a joy to help them out. The lads were also incredible and made me feel so welcome, the young ones are incredibly cute and will melt your heart, before embarrassing you in football. Whilst the older lads are a great laugh and you really get to know each individual. I have certainly missed them.

Jive really look after you and they have such a wonderful team working in such a wonderful city. I will definitely be going back to Rio, and it will definitely be with Jive!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 31, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    Hi Mark, Thanks for your great review. We agree with you, our team in Brazil are amazing! We can’t wait to have you volunteer with us again soon!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Wish I stayed longer!

I spent a month in Rio de Janeiro volunteering in the Carnaval project and Childcare. At first I was apprehensive about visiting the city for safety reasons, but my Jive family of fellow volunteers were so amazing to live with and genuinely cared about one another's happiness and safety - I didn't feel unsafe once! The accommodation was beautiful and provided an incredibly social platform where all the volunteers and Jive staff could really get to know one another and experience the city together.

My first placement - Carnaval - was incredible. I had no idea how much work went into each school's parade and got to experience all of that hard work first hand by assisting in costume and float making. My second placement was in a Childcare centre for disadvantaged children and I assisted in the children's classroom activities and development of the facilities. It was so much fun and the kids were beautiful.

I should also mention how amazing and helpful the Jive staff were, Vivi, Zach, Miguel and Vanessa made me feel so at home and were willing to bend over backwards for us. I can't wait to go back.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 06, 2016 at 7:34 PM

    Hi Celli, It’s nice to hear from you! Safety is so important to us and we are thrilled that you did not feel unsafe once while volunteering in Brazil. It sounds like you made the most of your experience by volunteering on the Carnaval and Childcare projects, and really getting stuck into the volunteer work. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we will be sure to pass your kind words on to our local team. We hope to have you volunteer with 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

Take me back!!

I volunteered in Rio through IVHQ. They were the facilitator for the local organisation JIVE Brazil. And what an incredible organisation they are!! The team at jive made my 5 weeks in Rio feel like a home away from home. From the first moment I arrived I was greeted by Miguel and maybe 10 other sore heads (6am Sunday morning). From that moment on it felt like a big family in a big house. So professional throughout the week and so much fun on the weekend, they are truly a class act. Being surrounded in a beautiful home by likeminded people made this a truly unique experience.

In saying that, this wasn't the best part of my time in Rio. I volunteered as an English teacher in the outskirts of Rio. A culture shock at first, the kids at this truly needy school made me feel welcome. Cleide, the lady responsible for this wonderful initiative was a kind, gentle, funny lady (like all cariocas), who knew how to get the best out of all her kids, including her biggest kid, me. It wasn't long before she found out I was a carpenter and had me building and fixing. Her appreciation was unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced. Teaching, building and getting soccer lessons from my kids was something I looked forward to every morning!

So, in summary. Don't hesitate, just do it. I can promise you won't regret this experience. At the risk of sounding clichè, it was life changing.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review October 06, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Hi Simon, We are so thrilled to hear that Rio was a home away from home for you! Your photos are awesome and it sure sounds like you were put to work at your placement. Thanks for being an amazing volunteer; we are sure all of the appreciation from Cleide was warranted. We sincerely hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

An unforgettable experience!

Volunteering in Rio was a fantastic opportunity! The chance to live, work and experience every aspect of the Carioca life was something that I will always treasure. I volunteered on Community Development and Carnival projects. Community Development was a great experience because I was doing manual work that I never had a chance to do before. It was a great personal challenge to see what I could achieve but more importantly seeing how I contributed to the local community. Carnival was a real insight into the hard work, passion and dedication of the Samba schools that goes into such an iconic event. The programme staff were really grateful for the help and were such lovely friendly people and you soon became part of their team. JIVE is a great organisation, everyone is helpful and friendly and are always there whenever you need them. The house is in beautiful Santa Teresa and I couldn't fault the accommodation and breakfasts - everything is really good! Although Rio has a strong reputation for being a dangerous city, I felt very at home there within a week - you just need to be sensible. I loved my time there so much that I planned on going for six weeks and ended up staying four months. If you're unsure just go for it, you won't be disappointed!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review August 23, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    Hi Louise, What a great review! We are so happy that the local team were helpful, friendly and welcoming – we think they are an amazing organization too. It sounds like you had a really special time in Rio by immersing yourself in the volunteer work and local culture. Thanks for your recommendation and we would love to welcome you on another IVHQ program in the future!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

I would do it all over again!

I spent 6 months volunteering in Brazil and all i can say today is, time flies and if I had the occasion to do it again i would do it!!!!
These few months were such a great experience and a life lesson! When I applied for the program I was looking for professional experience and for personal experience, which I think i both got! I had the chance to volunteer in two different programs (childcare and teaching) where i had the occasion to see and understand the reality of Brazil in terms of education, economics, politics…
Making part of these programs and living in Brazil gives you an idea of real life in Brazil, which can be shocking at first. But I can say that after just a few weeks i already felt at home and I knew that i could have an positive impact in volunteering in the communities. The kids you work with everyday grow so much into your heart… it's an amazing feeling! But not just the kids, also the program staff! They were very welcoming and grateful for all help. Then there is the JIVE staff of course which does an excellent job! Any question you have they are happy to help you and they make you feel at home! :)
Last but not least, you get to know so many people, other volunteers coming from everywhere in the world. It's so interesting because on top of the Brazilian culture you get to know so many other cultures! And I'm so glad to say that some of the people I met (volunteers, locals, JIVE members) are now friends to me and that those are friendships for life! :)
Besides volunteering you are also a tourist of course and you get plenty of time to discover the amazing Brazil and also the social life! I had a really great time!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 17, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Olá Sheila, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos from your time volunteering with IVHQ Brazil. It sounds like you really immersed yourself in the unique experience that IVHQ volunteers are lucky enough to gain in Rio and we are glad that it was such a great adventure for you. We hope to welcome you on another IVHQ program again in the future.