PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

International Volunteer HQ collage photos of participants International Volunteer HQ collage photos of participants

Affordable Volunteer Abroad Programs: from USD 10 per day

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Kenya Party

Let me tell you about my second home, Kenya. This incredible place is abundant with joy, love, magical wildlife and a friendly-natured people. The opportunities I've had on this two-month trip stretched way beyond what I was expecting and it's left me with a sense of gratitude and satisfaction that feels seemingly endless. The placements themselves were phenomenal - having spent two summers working in the US with fairly wealthy children it was a huge change to be with kids who had so little. However what surprised me is that the Kenyan kids who had so little were so thankful for what they had and were so joyful despite everything. I was given so much affection just for being there and interacting with the kids, it was a kind of celebrity status I feel I didn't deserve. The teachers in the schools I worked at were amazing too, everything they do for the school is completely child-centred and they were also very appreciative of the work that IVHQ does for them. As well as the placements we also had optional weekend expeditions, my favourite of the trip was one where we visited a countryside town called Naivasha and an organisation called KCC. KCC is a school as well as a slum, set up by an IVHQ volunteer in 2009. Visiting this place was my first glimpse of the real harsh poverty that engulfs a lot of Africa and it was the first time where I realised what I needed to do while I was out here. I bonded with the other volunteers over how upset and helpless we felt visiting this place but we supported each other and grew closer through this tough experience. My second month volunteering was in Kibera slum, the second biggest slum in the whole of Africa. There was a lot of need at this school, which was to be expected, but I found these needs to be much more evident than in my last school. It was after I started work here that I chose to set up a gofundme page so that I could use contributions from my friends and family back home to give aid to this school. As a side note, I would thoroughly recommend setting one of these up, once you're out here it is likely you'll feel desperate to help these people out and with a little extra planning you can set this up - another benefit of doing this is that the people who donate can directly see what their money and it eliminates the skepticism of money direction that can be associated with large charities. With the money I raised I managed to buy for the school: pens, pencils, coloured pencils, desks, tape (for fixing books), erasers, sharpeners, text books, medicine and first aid. That was with about 3 weeks of having a page, if you had a few months of fundraising you could do so much more! I have to give a word to the other volunteers I was with on my journey, they have become like family to me and I have so many memories to look back on with them as we went through this journey together and we will definitely be seeing each other in the future. This experience has been more rewarding than I could have possibly imagined and there's no doubt I'll be doing this again in the near future.

Amani.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

One of the Best Weeks of My Life

My time in Merida, Mexico was absolutely one of the best weeks I have spent abroad. The organization was extremely well run, and I felt more than prepared before I even left the United States. They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable with our placements, providing flexibility to all of the volunteers to accommodate what we each wanted to do. There are really amazing things being done through IVHQ, and the volunteers in these programs really are making an impact on the communities they are serving in. You might think if you only have a week of time to give, that you won't make much of a difference, but I am here to tell you that regardless of the amount of time you have to give, at the end of your week, or month, or whatever it might be, you will see and feel the impact that you have made, and even more than this, you will be able to see the change in yourself that the experience has had. IVHQ is doing amazing things, and you absolutely will leave your placement wanting and needing more. With so many options and places to go, you will find yourself quickly researching your next adventure. Such an awesome experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

2 Unforgettable Weeks

My time in Cusco, Peru was invaluable and too short. As a pre-med student, I was placed in a medical clinic around 25 minutes away by bus from the center of the city. The nurses running the clinic showed me various procedures and allowed me to have a hands on experience with the locals that came in. My placement was eye-opening to the differences in the medical field between my home country and Peru, and it was a wonderful experience. My home stay was one of my favorite parts of my two weeks, because we met some of our good friends there and the host family was incredibly hospitable! My two weeks in Cusco were filled with adventure, friendship, and rewarding work, and I cannot wait to do another abroad volunteer trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Teaching English in Guatemala

Although I was only able to spend a week in Guatemala, it was the most incredible week of my life. Teaching English at La Escuela de Castro y Escobar was truly life changing. I was inspired by the students who had so little but gave so much love from the moment I walked through the door. I met the most amazing volunteers and we had the best time on the weekends and weeknights. The homestay was comfortable and the food was great. Antigua became a home away from home and I cannot wait to be able to go back!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Dream come true...

I have wanted to go and do voluntary work in Kenya for over 10 years. I came across the IVHQ website at the beginning of January and next thing I have booked and set to depart to Kenya on the 27th February 2017.

Not so sure what to expect, the information and guidance provided to me by IVHQ was spot on and I had nothing I wasn't aware of.

I was aware what to expect, what I will be doing and most of all the website and staff made me feel welcome and an ease given this was my first trip to Kenya.

I will no doubt be booking to go again next year with IVHQ and have 3 friends who will be booking with me.

Thank you for making a dream come true and for opening an opportunity for me to go again with many more to make a difference.

Regards,

Zainab Hafeez - England!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Bogotá

My first time volunteering for IVHQ was a positive experience in every way. Both program co-ordinators were caring people who gave us all the support we could ever need, and allowed us the flexibility to try different projects. The neighborhood and home where volunteers are housed is fantastic. Very comfortable home with proximity to anything you could want, a short walk away. Neighborhood felt very safe anytime day or night. The other volunteers were all very enthusiastic and gave much of themselves. You also have plenty of time to see local attractions or even travel to other parts of the country on weekends. Most of my 2 weeks was spent Feeding the Homeless. This was very rewarding and the people helped always showed how grateful they were. I would love to volunteer with this organization again in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Third Tanzania trip!

This is by far the best organisation I've went with, the training they provide is absolutely amazing to give you an insight of what the daily activities might include. I was in Arusha Tanzania at the Nelito primary which really touched my heart. I would like to thank all IVHQ and Tve staff and everyone I met for making this trip absolutely unforgettable. I will definitely be returning.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Traveling is an eye opening, mind opening experience. Volunteering reaches into your heart and soul

They say home is where the heart is (it's cliché but it gets said), well with Nakavango it was love at first sight. My heart was there from the start, and was nothing less than broken when the time came to leave this beautiful place. Beautiful inside and out, from the actual scenery to the souls of the people who volunteer and work there. My 10/10 ratings of all things in this IVHQ Victoria Falls program is no exaggeration, in fact it isn't sufficient.
Why do you want to volunteer? To help the environment, or people, or enrich your own life? You will do that here. Do you want to be close to and see countless wild animals? You will do that here. Do you want to meet new people from all over the world? You will do that here. Do you simply want a cheaper way to travel? This is the way. Do you want countless activities to fill your off days? You can so easily do that here. Do you want a mind and soul altering experience? If you allow it, you will get that here.
I chose this program for the environment and animal aspect, then I found out we also volunteered at a primary school once a week, okay. That didn't excite me, but I'm always down for a new experience and trying to help the lives of others.. children just weren't my forte (that might sound bad- but it's true). Wednesdays (school days) would become one of the most rewarding parts of this trip. The first thing you notice upon arriving to the school is the excitement on the children's faces, their huge eyes and smiles. They loved playing with our sunglasses, taking videos and Snapchats on our phones, braiding our hair, getting piggy back rides, dancing, singing, playing soccer, and were very curious about tattoos- they kept trying to rub them off! It's chaotic no doubt, but their joy is as overwhelming as their energy. It's only when you look a little closer you notice the torn clothing, the broken windows of the school, the fact that most of them were without shoes. These were some of the poorest children in the world, but also the happiest I'd ever seen. The fact that I was able to encourage or maybe even impart some of that happiness is something extraordinary and will stay with me forever.
Don't get me wrong- the animals are a plenty. Whether you are working or on game drives (or at school, or in town) the wildlife surrounds you. Zebra, and tortoise, and antelope (impala, kudu, water buck), and hippo, and dung beetles, and warthog, and millipede, and cheetah, and mongoose, and baboons, and giraffe, and hyena, and buffalo, and rhino, and elephant, and crocodiles, and lions, and countless different kinds of beautiful birds! Oh my!
In my month in Zimbabwe I met people from all over the world- the US (from California, to Chicago, to Florida), Canada, Colombia, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, China, England, and Australia. Meeting people from different parts of the globe is one of my favorite things about traveling- you get to learn what lives are like so far away from where you are. It makes the world seem infinite and closer at the same time. I still Snapchat some of them multiple times a day, and others I know I'll keep in touch with and see (or even volunteer with) again in the future. Whether you're together for a week or a month, you bond very quickly.
In addition to the fellow volunteers you'll inevitably love- the staff will amaze you. Justine, Dean, Damien, Ian- they are incredible people and dedicate their lives to conservation and mentoring volunteers. Justine is a blast, she's mom, and goes out of her way to make sure you enjoy your experience (even on her days off), Dean is the coolest guy ever and will toughen you up. You will be covered in dirt and sweat but he will make you laugh the entire time. Damien is sweet, easy to talk to and can answer any question you might have. Most of his life has been on that conservation. Ian gave us optional lectures (which we begged for after attending the first one) that will turn everything you think you know upside down and it becomes apparent how much he truly cares about everything and everyone.
If you still need more convincing- your weekends off can be filled to the max with activities, or you can lounge by the pool out back and relax. Home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world- the Victoria Falls, you can catch the spray from the waterfalls and countless views of rainbows on foot, by zip line, or helicopter. Markets in town, watching vulture feedings, shopping, going out to eat (the Boma- a buffet of local cuisine), white water rafting, bungee jumping in between Zambia and Zimbabwe, swinging off cliffs into a gorge in Victoria Falls National Park, day trips to Botswana or Zambia, cruises on the Zambezi (the fourth largest river in Africa), and so much more.
Whether you've never left home or are an experienced traveler (I like to think of myself on the latter side), you will learn so much from this place. Africa is not for the faint of heart, and the work is hard. As brutal as the work could be under the African sun, as hot and sweaty and disgusting as we were, we cheered each other on and screamed for victory with every repaired bridge or dead lantana bush. On our way home after a hard days work I'd be covered in dirt and sweat, feeling like the strongest Queen to ever wield a pickaxe in the middle of the Zimbabwean jungle. I've never been so dirty, sweaty, exhausted, pushed, alive, accomplished, and happy all at the same time. Best job I've ever had.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My experience in Quito

When I first arrived to Quito I was nervous but excited at the same time. The taxi ride was a little bit long but after 45 minutes we arrived to my homestay, Anita's house. She came downstairs and then we went up stairs to meet her 2 boys (Joe and Andre) and my roommate Quinn. After a while we went to the mall and when we came back we watched a movie with the kids, and later two other volunteers came and we had dinner. On Monday we went to the office and met other volunteers and then we took a tour around the center of the city. The next day we went to a market called "Chinogallo" . When we arrived we started to take everything out of the bags, set up the tent and then we just waited for the children to arrive. There were so many kids, all of them wanted to play and they started to fight over the books and toys. At this market I met a very special and I felt in love with him, his name was Jonathan (everyone was called Jonathan), he was 4 and the sweetest thing ever, he sat in my lap, asked me to read him a book and looked for me when we arrived at the market. After playing we picked up everything and went to sing my favorite song, la taza and others. Then we went to have lunch near the market, and in the afternoon we did the same activities but with different kids. Sometimes, I helped the older kids with their homework, although it was a different experience it was also fun because I could talk to them and learn a little bit about their lives. Every day was almost the same but the market changed everyday and the kids too. One thing that really surprised me was how everyone in the market took care of each other, you could see how a 7 year old kid took care of a baby and called her "mi bebe" (my baby) or how the ice cream guy gave ice cream to all the children of the market. Seeing how this kids lived made me realize how lucky I have been and how I need to be more thankful for the simple things in life. The Ubeci staff was also amazing, you could see all the hard work and the love they put in their work everyday, and they make you feel at home.
My host family was also the best! I felt like I had another mom in Quito. Anita always asked us about our day and where we were going, how we were getting there and when we were getting back. Her kids were also the best, since we didn't had wifi or anything to do we played with them in the roof to throw water to the people walking and hide and seek. We truly felt like we had another home and a family in Quito, I really hope I can go back soon and stay with them.
The other volunteers I met were also the best part of the experience. Everyone was really sweet and fun. Since we were only five in Anita's house we became really close and I hope we can go traveling together and I am definitely visiting them. Meeting people from different places in the world was amazing and thanks to technology it's great we can still keep in touch with each other even if we live really far away. Traveling with them around Quito was really fun, since we didn't had to go to work on Monday we could have a long weekend to explore.And in Quito there are so many things to do! You can hike any of the many volcanoes Ecuador has, or go to baños, or Galapagos or the Amazon! There are so much stuff to do that you would have a hard time trying to decide what to do.
I meet so many amazing people and friends, I'm sure it's an experience I'll never forget. I wished I could have stayed longer, but I am definitely going back. I would recommend volunteering abroad, it is an experience that would change your life and how you see the world. It does not matter if you travel alone, I know its scary at the beginning but I assure you you'll never feel lonely and you'll meet friends for life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Luchando por Quito

I chose Quito as my first volunteer abroad destination mostly out of its proximity to Miami and the fact that I had never been. But I would recommend it a million times over for so many other reasons! It's a deceptively beautiful city with so many hidden adventure gems that I was left wanting to explore even more. And the locals are so welcoming and happy to have you enjoying their city.

The actual volunteer experience and the kids/ teachers that I had the opportunity to get to know was incredible. My school was located in a neighborhood called "La Lucha De Los Pobres" "The Battle of The Poor". Getting to know this neighborhood on a daily basis was one of my favorite parts of my time in Ecuador. The children at my school were amazing, smart and carefree despite almost all of them coming from difficult family situation. I don't know who taught who more.

IVHQ was wonderful and so easy to work with in the time leading up to my trip. I felt like everything was taken care of and thought about, especially considering I initially had some travel complications with my passport.

The local organization they work with in Quito, VCE was also nothing short but amazing.

This first experience has sparked such fire in me that I am already planning my next volunteer trip!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing place and amazing people

Everyone is friendly and warm-hearted. My project is disabled orphanage. It's a hard work, but volunteers in our group are kind to stay there about more than 3weeks where the environment is worse. At leisure, volunteers will sit around and have a excellent talk. I know so much from them.
I'm graduate to this experience and those wonderful people. I love them. I'll do volunteer again.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

"Traveling; It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller"

I wish I could explain the feeling of being at home in a foreign country or the feeling of making friends the moment you shake someone's hand. Although I cannot adequately describe all the emotions and experiences I felt while I volunteered in Mexico, I can tell you it was the most life-changing two-weeks I've ever had. Being immersed in a culture that you've only read about while in school is one of the most awe-inspiring feelings. Walking into the house on the first day was like an episode of The Real World. Friends were made immediately. The animal rights program was beyond gratifying. Watching so many animals get adopted in the two weeks I was there gave me an immense amount of hope. Visiting ancient Mayan ruins and being able to see one of the new Seven Wonders of the World gave me so much perspective. In short, my first international trip and volunteer program only made me crave much more. IVHQ gave me the gift of exploration, of culture, and of fulfillment and I plan to experience so much more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An unforgettable and unmissable experience

The three weeks I spent in China volunteering with children with special needs were the most rewarding 3 weeks of my life. From day 1 in the volunteer centre I could feel the impact that my, and the other volunteers, presence was having on the children. From helping them learn English, to doing art and playing games, I felt that my days were incredibly rewarding. I was lucky enough to volunteer at two different centres within the three weeks and it was a truly humbling experience, one that made me more appreciative of the things I have in my life.

The social aspect of volunteering in China was as fulfilling as the volunteering itself, I met several people from around the world that I am now lucky to call my friends.

The homestay accommodation gave me a feel for the true Chinese experience, with authentic local food being served to us.

The IVHQ staff were amazingly helpful from the moment I registered, until I left the house for the airport. The local program manager went above and beyond to make sure that I had an amazing experience.
If I could use two words to sum up the whole experience it would be: Humbling and Unforgettable.

If you are even remotely considering volunteering, I urge you to consider volunteering in China with IVHQ, you won't regret it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Construction program in Cusco

From the moment I decided to volunteer abroad, I did extensive research on a bunch of volunteer companies, but none of them compared to International Volunteer Headquarters. I was so impressed with the organization, affordability and clarity that they provided. I noticed those things only just by glancing at their website! Once I made the decision to volunteer in Cusco, Peru, I was even more impressed by the eagerness of the my program manager to help me throughout every step of my previous departure process. She kindly and promptly answered every single question I threw at her with the ultimate kindness and interest.

Words cannot express how fantastic my time in Cusco was. From the food to my host family, to all the amazing people I've met and the friendships I developed, my three weeks in Peru were ones that I will hold close to my heart. I cannot thank IVHQ enough for everything they have done for me. I cannot wait to start my next adventure with them soon.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 21, 2017 at 7:42 PM

    Hi Andrea, Thanks for your awesome review. We are so happy to hear that you found the support IVHQ provided to be prompt, kind and informative – that is what we are here for! We look forward to hearing from you again soon and finding out where you would like to volunteer next. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
    Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Medical volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ/Maximo Nivel

I completed a two week medical volunteer trip through IVHQ in Cusco Peru and I could not be more pleased with my experience there. Not only did I have the opportunity to make an impact on the local community there, but I had the opportunity to really soak up the culture as we were placed in homes with local families. My host family was tremendously kind and the accommodations clean and comfortable. The local staff were very friendly and helpful.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 21, 2017 at 7:40 PM

    Hi Cloie, Thanks for sharing. We are so glad that you were able to experience local hospitality, kindness, and meaningful volunteer work during your trip to Cusco, Peru. It has been great to have you volunteer with IVHQ and we would love to have you join us again in the future.
    Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

IVHQ Fiji volunteer adventure

Bula!

My name is Georgia Flinn and I've recently returned from Fiji where I was volunteering for 3 months through IVHQ. I decided to go through IVHQ because I had heard that they were the most trustworthy and affordable organisation. My role as a volunteer was initially childcare and community support. For the first 2 weeks I worked in a kindergarten where I was teaching basic English and maths skills. I then started volunteering in the field of construction. With my fellow volunteers I tiled, painted, did plumbing, renovated, the list goes on. I then worked on an island called Ovalau where I was teaching kids club as well as assisting the community with construction after the horrific impact of cyclone Winston last year. Volunteering in Fiji through IVHQ has honestly been the most inspiring, uplifting and rewarding experience of my life. I have made long lasting friendships with fellow volunteers as well as the locals. Not only this, I have seen the incredible impact that my volunteer work has had in the Fijian community. I feel truly blessed to have had such an incredible experience and I have come home feeling so uplifted. If anyone has ever thought about volunteering abroad then I would say DO IT! It is an experience of a life time! I now have a new outlook on life and feel enriched.

Yours truly,

GG Flinn

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 21, 2017 at 6:48 PM

    Bula Georgia, It is awesome to hear about your inspiring, uplifting and rewarding experience in Fiji! We feel blessed to have had you volunteer with us and we are so happy to hear that this experience has left you feeing enriched. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
    Chelsea – IVHQ Fiji Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Street children in Quito, Ecuador

Ecuador was the experience of a lifetime. We lived in a volunteer house with a host family in Quito, Ecuador. On weekdays we volunteered with at risk children who work with their families in the open-air markets around Quito. Living and working alongside the local people gave us a genuine look into Latin American culture.
Of course we left time for play too. We explored the city, traveled outside of the city to indigitous villages, went ziplining through the Andean forest, we went hiking, and stood with one foot on either side of the Equator. We rode a cable car up past 10,000 ft into the mountains then hiked and rode horses up an active volcano to about 13,000ft, and we went to a bird sanctuary in a town with the highest bird population in the world. We got to experience the people, the food, and the unpredictable weather in Quito’s “wet season.” The slogan of Quito is “ama la vida,” love life, and that’s exactly what we did.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 21, 2017 at 6:36 PM

    Hi Emma, It is awesome to hear that you had an experience of a lifetime on the volunteer program in Ecuador. It sounds like you really made the most of your free time – Ecuador is the perfect location for an adventurous traveller! Ama la Vida!
    Charlotte – IVHQ Ecuador Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Amazing childcare experience in Peru

I picked IVHQ because it has the most affordable fees for volunteering abroad and an opportunity for Childcare in Cusco. The IVHQ staff before I arrived and the local staff were amazing and more than prepared me for everything I needed to know about my volunteer assignment and Peru. The only thing that would have made my trip better was if I knew a little more Spanish. I was paired with a local orphanage through an NGO in Peru that was working with so many wonderful organizations to provide them with the resources they need. My home stay living arrangements were clean, had WiFi, provided great food and an opportunity to get to know other volunteers from all over the world. I had limited time off from work so my experience was short but it was the experience of a lifetime. In addition to my volunteer placement I got to see Machu Picchu, the sacred valley, Rainbow Mountain, Lima, and I fell in love with Cusco. I can't recommend this experience more to anyone who loves travel and wants to make a difference.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 14, 2017 at 3:47 PM

    Hi Brianna, Thanks for posting this great review from your time on the program in Cusco. We are glad to hear that you were well prepared for your volunteer placement – that is what we are here for! Thanks for your recommendation and for being an awesome IVHQ volunteer.
    Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Teenagers perspective Of Peru

I do not even know where to began. As a 14 year old girl, telling your dad you want to travel the world volunteering can be daunting. After months of convincing my parents to come with me to the volunteer trip, I finally succeeded. But then I had another problem. Where? Looking through IVHQs destination list was pretty overwhelming, as I wanted to go everywhere. IVHQ provided me with a flexible schedule, as I was still in 8th grade. I was looking through the destination list for probably the 10th time, and I saw where I was meant to be. Peru. The culture, the people, the food, the living style was something so completely different from mine, but it is was brought me to love it even more. After finishing the application, I was accepted. I began thinking, what am I about to do? After flying into Cusco, I already felt the love and welcomeness from everyone. Peru is something so different and is totally a sensory overload. Car horns honking, people speaking Spanish, children laughing, children crying, heels on the pavement, and the smell. There is something about the smell of Peru, I just cant help it. I fell in love. The first night, I told myself "Katie, you cannot get attached to these kids". But man was I wrong. I found out laughter and smiling was universal. Speaking two different languages, was tough, but that was what it better. I felt a connection to these Peruvian kids, after the first hour. "Holaaaaa" "Teacherrrrrr" were my favorite words. The kids hold on to you for dear life. They smile, they kiss you, they hug you, and they sing with you. There is no other words to say, but I felt like I was on cloud 9. I stayed with an amazing host family. They had the best food, and the most gorgeous house. I had bad altitude sickness, but somehow they made it better. I could not recommend IVHQ enough. One day, I was doing medical campaign in a rural village. I was in-charge of dental work. It was the most inspirational and life changing thing I have ever done. The last day with the kids was the hardest thing I have ever done. Saying goodbye to the kids, I was crying. Hard IVHQ has changed my life for the better, and I will being reunited soon with my kids in Peru. Thank you IVHQ for changing a teenager life. My one piece of advice is do not expect anything. Come with an open heart and full of smiles. That is all you can do. You will fall in love with everything, trust me.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 14, 2017 at 3:41 PM

    Hi Katie, What a beautiful review! Thanks for taking the time to write such a descriptive and eloquent account from your time in Peru. It is awesome that you were able to convince your dad to volunteer with you in Cusco – what a great experience to be able to share together. We are so blessed to have had you volunteer with us and we hope to have you join us again in the future.
    Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Beyond volunteering

Volunteering abroad with IVHQ in Cusco, Peru was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I was able to volunteer at a variety of sites thanks to their Holiday program. My favorite by far was working at a local community health center where I worked teaching people how to properly brush their teeth. I was surprised that this was my favorite volunteer site given I had no interest in pursuing a career in medicine, yet this is what I wanted from my experience abroad. Volunteering with IVHQ helped me to grow as an individual and exposed me to a new culture I had never once knew. All the accommodations and staff members were fantastic and the housing was safe and clean. I can not wait to travel and volunteer with IVHQ again.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 13, 2017 at 8:04 PM

    Hi Madeline, Thanks for your great review! We are happy to hear that you enjoyed volunteering at a variety of sites while on our program in Cusco, and that you particularly enjoyed the placement with a focus on community health. It is awesome that this experience has helped you grow and learn as an individual. We would love to have you join another IVHQ program and we are excited to see where you will travel to next!
    Charlotte – IVHQ Peru Cusco program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Probably one of the best times of my life!

I spent three and a half months volunteering in Ghana with IVHQ, Im not sure where to begin about all the positive things that happened during my experience. I feel like I have a new home in Ghana, the community was welcoming of all volunteers, I was teaching in a local primary school and established my own charity project there during my time. The volunteer house was a lot of fun and I have made new lifelong friends. Don't go to Ghana expecting to live in 5 star conditions, its very basic, but for those who are able to embrace that you will have an amazing adventure. There is flexibility on the program to help with sports teaching, medical or even agriculture as well. You can use your own mind to establish your own community projects even if not relevant to the program you signed up for. I enjoyed the freedom that IVHQ gave us among the community. The staff for IVHQ were amazing, our cook in the house was fantastic and enjoyable to be around. Evans goes above and beyond anything you ask him to do, anything you needed from the city, he could bring to you in a heartbeat, its nice to have met such passionate staff who are also inspiring in their own way. My advice? Go to Ghana now!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 13, 2017 at 8:01 PM

    Hi Lily, Thanks for sharing this great review of your time in Ghana! It sounds like you used your initiative and made the most of your time by getting to know the local community and getting stuck into your volunteer work. We are stoked to hear that you tried a range of different volunteer projects, had a lot of fun, made new lifelong friends and found a new home in Ghana. Thanks for being an awesome volunteer and we love your great advice to “go to Ghana now!”
    Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    0

Peru Part 3--fantastic!

I had been twice before to Peru but as a tourist more or less. Being a tourist is not something I am real big on--I like meeting people and working and living with them much better than touring around looking at sites and sights. Also, I didn't have a particularly good time at Cusco/Machu Picchu and the Amazon (for health and personal reasons) and knew that being a volunteer would give me a opportunity to contribute something to the world and be in Peru at the same time. The trip was way better than I'd ever expected or hoped for. Everyone was wonderful: helpful, supportive, friendly, accommodating, competent, relaxed, organized and obviously dedicated to serving the community. I have been a volunteer for over 40 years in the U.S., and many of my experiences have not been that great. I simply can't say enough about how good IVHQ is and how well they partner with Tarpuy Sonqo in Lima. Sometimes I felt a bit lost and didn't know exactly what to do, but that was temporary and often more to do with my mental state than any problem with the program. My mother asked me if I felt we were truly helping the community and making a difference and I said "absolutely." We really helped the staff at the various residences we were at, and being with people who were so happy to have us around, makes one feel great. Everyone is so loved and well cared for by the staff at the places we went to, and I felt honored and privileged to be around "earthly angels."

I needed a private room and the family I stayed with were so great and took such good care of me, or tried to anyway! I felt part of the family and enjoyed being around people who loved each other, eat meals together and did things together as a family. They are so different from my own family and it was a pleasure to be with them. I had a lot of privacy and was comfortable. Any problems I had were caused by my complicated dietary needs and health problems, which no one except a hospital could really manage. I felt safe and secure in the home at all times, and welcomed as a friend or relative, not as some outsider who just needed food and a room. I did feel isolated from the other volunteers who all were in the main house but I could have gone over at any time and hung out with them. I didn't because almost all of them were young women and as a more than middle aged guy, I felt a bit weird trying to hang out with them. But that was not anyone's fault and I did eventually get to know many of the volunteers and chat with them. Volunteers, I've found, are interesting people and always worth talking with. I don't mind speaking English but I felt very glad that I know some Spanish so I could communicate with the family i stayed with and with our "clients." However, not speaking Spanish should not deter anyone from volunteering and every volunteer I met was wonderful and did a great job. The Tarpuy Sonqo staff do a great job of accommodating everyone and managing to have a pretty seamless program with an ever-changing bunch of volunteers.

My best recommendation for this program is the fact that I can't wait to return! I hope to go back in the fall (Sept. or Oct.) and this time stay at least the six weeks I'd planned on this time but couldn't do, or perhaps two months if I can afford it. I wouldn't go during Christmas again because I prefer working with the people in the residences and institutions and not doing holiday activities. To each her/his own and I am not a Christmas lover in any country.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review March 13, 2017 at 7:59 PM

    Hi Alex, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that everyone on the program in Lima was wonderful and that your experience was way better than you could have hoped for. We agree that the placement staff are “earthly angels” and we are so thankful for the much needed support you would have provided to them. It has been awesome to have you as an IVHQ volunteer and we can’t wait to have you back in the fall.
    Lachlan – IVHQ Peru Lima Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Best volunteer program I've ever done!!!

I volunteered in Fiji with IVHQ for a month and it was the best month of my life. The kindergarten class I taught was so thankful to have me. The house we stayed in was just what we needed and gave us rooms to hangout in, play cards, music, etc. I loved it so much that I'm planning two more trips with IVHQ.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 07, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    Hi Aly, Thanks for your great review! We are thrilled to hear that you loved your time in Fiji and enjoyed both the volunteer work and free time. It’s been awesome to have you volunteer with us and we can’t wait to have you join us again soon!
    Chelsea – IVHQ Fiji Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Good times in Guate

I spent two weeks in gorgeous Antigua, Guatemala doing the childcare program. I had only been out of my country of residence once before and spent a lot of the time on that trip doing boring touristy stuff. This experience was quite the opposite. Getting to meet and befriend the locals, taste the fantastic food, live with volunteers from around the world made my trip so authentic. I met such great people and got to grow personally through new experiences. I left feeling enlightened by another culture that I was truly honored I got to be apart of. I can't say enough about the helpfulness of the local staff and their ability to provide a range of opportunities we could choose to enhance our stay. The trip allowed for the perfect amount of time volunteering and sightseeing. I felt safe and supported my whole stay. I am counting down the days when I can travel with IVHQ again; hopefully Peru 2018!

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 07, 2017 at 6:48 PM

    Hi Emily, Thanks for sharing this lovely review from your time in Guatemala. We are stoked that you were able to have an authentic experience that was completely different to travelling as a tourist. It has been great to have you as an IVHQ volunteer and it would be awesome to see you on our program in Peru!
    Lachlan – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Two months volunteering in an orphanage in Ghana

If anyone has an interest in volunteering in Ghana, don't hesitate just do it! Travelling to West Africa and getting to immerse myself in the culture for was fulfilling a long time childhood dream, one IVHQ helped me achieve. I had researched many volunteer organizations and IVHQ was by far the most affordable. IVHQ was excellent, all the staff I met were extremely helpful, friendly and accommodating. I would like to particularly thank Evans and Benedict from IVHQ who were extremely helpful, hardworking and friendly throughout my time in Ghana. When I arrived in Ghana there was someone there to pick us up and drop us to the volunteer house. The accommodation and food was great and everyone made us feel at home. IVHQ gave me the opportunity to travel and push myself outside of my comfort zone but also let me be ale to work and contribute towards others and I would like to say huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to them.

The two months I spent volunteering at Potters Village, Orphanage, Dodowa is an experience I will never forget and I am currently working and saving up to return soon. At the orphanage we cared for the children's health and wellbeing, assisting with schoolwork, playing with them and most importantly just simply showing them love and attention. What I can simply say to sum up my time, was leaving was incredibly hard and bittersweet, as Potters Village and the other volunteers I met became a second family to me and filled my days with love and laughter that it would make it impossible for me not to return.

I gained incredible life experience and knowledge that can't be gained from any text book. I fell in love with the children and all the people I met but also the Ghanaian culture. I've met life long friends and will most definitely be returning soon.

  • International Volunteer HQ responded to this review February 07, 2017 at 6:52 PM

    Hi Ellen, Thanks for your beautiful review! We are glad to hear that this trip fulfilled a lifelong dream to travel and volunteer in West Africa. It sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and committing time and energy to your placement. We are stoked that you chose to volunteer with IVHQ and found our local team to be helpful, friendly and accommodating. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
    Kaila – IVHQ Ghana Program Manager