PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

Volunteer with Turtles in Greece
Beach cottages Beach cottages

Volunteer with Turtles in Greece

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I had a truly amazing 6 weeks

I’m a second-year student at Bournemouth university, during my time here I have to do a placement for 10 weeks over first and second year. I decided to take my time abroad and look into conservation and the ways that different conservation issues are affecting the lives of different endangered animals.
I decided to take my travels to Greece in hope of working with the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. On the day I arrived I was welcomed by three of the GVI staff, Sebastian Hoefer, William Hayes and Alyssa Kirkham. It was a warm and friendly welcome making me feel part of the GVI family as soon as I landed. I went to find the rest of the volunteers and interns and met a few of the people I would be spending the next six weeks with.
Once we arrived in camp we were given dinner and told where our tents were and our routine for the next day, due to arriving late we were given our tour the next day and as soon as the router was put up I saw I was on night survey. Although I was nervous, I was extremely excited and everyone showed me exactly what we had to do. We were told about the different surveys we would be helping on such as:

- Morning survey
Nest
Relocation
Predation
Wash
Inundation
- Night survey
- Hatchlings on morning survey
- Data base
- Shading
- Nest check
- Excavation

I was on beach A south where we saw seven turtles and tagged three. The first turtle I saw was amazed by, seeing the fantastic creatures walk up the beach and dig an egg chamber and lay their eggs. Whilst they were laying we had to time how long the process took and measure the turtle and check it was in good health and then tag and pit tag the turtle, noting everything down in the night survey books. We then would add a string into the egg chamber ready for the people on morning survey to be able to find the egg chamber in the morning. We then paroled the beaches whilst looking at the stars, even spotting some shooting stars with the sound of the waves crashing against the shore accompanying us.
A few mornings after I was put on morning survey, this means we got up early to see if any eggs had been laid by nesting sea turtles in the night. On my first morning survey our leader, Helena Zepetes, ensured she talked me through each step of the morning survey, from finding the egg chamber, measuring the distance from the chamber to the top of the sand, getting the exact location using GPS, finding the distance to sea and how everything was supposed to be noted down in the morning survey book. This was helpful as I knew I had to lead one of these morning surveys for my internship in a few weeks to come! On this particular morning we found six nests and had two relocations. It was fascinating to see my first nest and learn how we are helping to protect these endangered species. Finding my first nest chamber and feeling the “pop” of the nest is one of the most rewarding things to happen whilst on my trip.
I decided to do an internship to help further my knowledge when looking into sea turtle conservation. This means that I had added work to complete such as making a presentation, leading an activity, and also leading a morning survey. I had to make sure I had written a risk assessment, EAP (Emergency Action Plan) I also had to look into Tuckerman’s stages of development, SMART stages, Communication and conflict. This made me look into the activities in further detail. My intern leader was Sebasitian Hoefer and I couldn’t have asked for a more friendly and dedicated person to help me whilst away. He ensured I was happy with the work but also that I was happy in camp and if there was anything I was struggling with or needed help with he would put his 100% dedication and effort into helping me. I would like to thank him for everything and for making everything unforgettable for me.
One of my favourite memories from Greece was being on morning survey, as I was helping lead the survey (before the real thing) and I was with my intern leader and some of the closest friends I have made on the trip. As we were walking along D south/ C one of the girls screamed “HATCHLINGS”. We all ran over to see 13 tiny hachlings the size of a matchbox crawling out of the nest. We helped shade them one by one down to sea. Seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces and the thrill of finally seeing a baby turtle brought joy into everyone’s day, taking pictures and videos of how we were helping these tiny endangered species down to sea showed that all of our hard work had helped with protecting them! I have never ever had a prouder moment in my life.
After hatchlings the morning surveys had started which meant that excavations had also begun. This happened 10 days after the eggs had hatched, we dug up the nest to look at hatchling success and to open the unhatched eggs to see why they were unable to hatch. This can be due to infection, worms, and many other reasons. Although the smell was horrendous, this was one of my favourite parts due to being able to see the science behind the unhatched eggs and finding hatchlings that were still trying to get to sea and guiding them in the right direction. We also saw a rare albino turtle whilst doing an excavation. This was sad as due to it being deformed meaning it didn’t live to get to sea.
Whilst away we decided to travel to see different places in Greece and to discover the local culture and sample traditional Greek food. We travelled to Kalarnero, Kalamata, Kyprissia, Methoni and Zakynthos. We also tried different Greek food such as Gyros, Greek Salad, and Souvlaki. This gave me different experiences of the Greek culture and way of life. We also visited small local shops in Giannasochori.
The range of different people that I shared my Greek experience with means I now know people from all over the world who are as passionate about conservation as I am, and I have made friends for life. It was an amazing experience which I never wanted to end and would recommend to anyone interested in this area. Thank you my GVI family. I had a truly amazing 6 weeks living in a tent on a beach in Greece, learning so much about myself and the wonderful world around me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It was fun

Learning more about conservation and environmental issues while working and growing with like minded and educated individuals was fun.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I enjoyed all of it

Seeing baby turtles go to the sea, being part of the whole group making the experience, that equipment like shades that actually work were all enjoyable.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Amazing experience with GVI Greece

I loved being able to meet people from all over the world who are all there for the same reason. The most enjoyable part of my experience was seeing a female loggerhead turtle make her nest and lay her eggs.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A fantastic experience I will never forget

Meeting the lovely volunteers and field staff. Everyone was willing to muck in. Obviously finding turtle nests, tracks, and hatchling tracks was amazing and I felt like we were positively contributing to the protection of sea turtles.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I made a difference

Meeting the team on the first day and growing very close over the 2 weeks. Seeing a turtle building its nest and returning to the see on my night shift was also incredible and I may never see that again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Best experience ever!

For me, the best experience was contributing towards a worthwhile cause and learning about how my contribution made an impact across the world. Also, another great experience was meeting so many people from across the world that all had similar interests as me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Good food, new friends

I had a great time in Greece. I met new friends with the same interested and passion as me. The meal was to die for especially when Neil Davis is the one cooking. :) Overall, the food was good, better when I able to share it with my friends in the GVI program!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My 2-week GVI experience

My two-week volunteer experience in Greece with GVI was rewarding. I enjoyed seeing the turtles as it showed how much our work would help them. I am happy that I made a difference in a short period of time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

AMAZING experience with GVI Greece

Pretty much every experience I had with GVI was a positive one. It was amazing meeting everyone who had come from all across the world to be there and the leaders were all incredibly helpful and fun to talk to. I really felt like I was making a difference with the work I was doing and I really felt welcome and safe in that amazing environment. Everything about that trip was mind-blowing but if I were to pick a highlight, it has to be witnessing the release of Kanela, the injured sea turtle. That single moment seemed to sum up everything we were there to do and I was over come by emotions I can not even begin to describe. I can tell you now GVI, you are doing an amazing job.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My GVI experience

My experience with GVI program in Greece was great! I loved the people i met there. Also the thought that I know that what i was doing there really mattered. I enjoyed the morning surveys, the abundance of free time, and the once-a-week dinner out.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My experience with GVI in Greece!

I enjoyed learning about the conservation of the turtles and the importance of it. I mostly enjoyed the excavations and helping the turtles to the sea, even though I got to do this twice in the 2 weeks I was there. I also enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and making great friendships with those people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Hurray to new-found friends!

The group camaraderie! The fact that all these people from across the world, who in any other circumstance would never have met, being brought together due to a shared interest, and the fact we were actually making a difference.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

All Fantastic and Amazing

I had the best time in Greece by volunteering with GVI! Certainly meeting likeminded people and helping the hatchlings was an amazing experience aside from being at the beach everyday. It was all fantastic and amazing at the same time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Great experience!

The ability to help but also relax is one of the best qualities of this GVI program. Being with the community and making me feel like I am part of them was also amazing, there was no gap between volunteers and the locals and GVI staff. We also get a variety in duties and responsibilities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Thank you GVI

I was expecting basic but it was better than I had anticipated. I accompanied my daughter on the trip as she was desperate to go and she was only 17. I had a blast! I am so glad that I have had this opportunity and only wish I had done it sooner. I would definitely recommend GVI to others and would feel happy to send my daughter on future projects knowing she would be well supported. Thank you GVI. Keep up the good work.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Volunteering with GVI is worth it

Having the opportunity to travel to Greece, meet new people from all over the world, receive thanks from various members of the public, protecting the turtle nests and seeing hatchlings crawl out their shell is just amazing! I'm glad I've able to make a difference.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Absolutely Life-Changing

I met so many amazing friends from all around the world and once again proved to myself that nature is one of the things I would like to connect my career with in the future. This was absolutely life-changing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

WONDERFUL! AMAZING!

Being so up close to the work - managing the nests, seeing hatchlings, being involved in relocation and excavation - and therefore feeling we make a tangible difference. I also met some wonderful like minded people and shared some life changing time with them. I cannot stop talking about this with my friends and work colleagues.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Fun and great experience

Cedric and Cordelia where brilliant. The volunteer program that I participated is well organised and very professional, In those two weeks, i had the best time of my life and I really made a difference! I enjoyed all of it a lot!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Highly recommended

The whole experience was fantastic! It was the first time I had traveled alone. I will definitely be recommending GVI to friends! Visiting a new country while contributing to a worthy cause is something that really makes it different. I also really enjoyed making lots of new friends!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Once in a lifetime

Because I arrived at the start of the field season, the camp wasn't set up when we arrived and we went a number of days before we had a schedule for work shifts, etc... made it a bit confusing for the first few days until everyone knew what was going on.

What made this a good experience was working with locals in public education initiatives, exploring a beautiful location, once in a lifetime wildlife sightings.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I loved it!

I simply enjoyed the project as a whole. Our team was always very positive and ready to help.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I enjoyed it so much

I loved how great this experience turned out to be. I loved the people I met, the food I ate, the places I visited, the volunteer work I did, I loved absolutely every aspect. It was nice to do it through GVI because of all the pre-departure support and it gave you peace of mind knowing things were all arranged at camp.

I would go an another GVI program because I enjoyed this one so much.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Superb!

Most positive: seeing the nests successfully hatch, knowing that I had contributed to an important project and coming away with a better understanding of myself. Most enjoyed: the whole experience the chance to do something very different with my life in a very positive way

It is a superb way of doing some positive work whilst meeting new people and having a break from the humdrum life at home.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation