International Volunteer HQ Participant Reviews
Excellent Program, Would do it 100x Over
Submitted by Taylor Pullenf - University Of Maine | February 25, 2017
Such an incredible program, met some of my now best friends through it. You will meet incredible people and there is so much to see and do around the accommodation. I am actually booking my second IVHQ trip now because I had such an amazing experience. You will be left with memories that last a lifetime and some tough goodbyes. You will never want to leave.
One of the most memorable trips of my life
Submitted by Niat - London | February 24, 2017
I definitely recommend anyone thinking of giving this programme a shot, to just go for it! I met wonderful people during my mere 2 weeks, got to experience a whole new culture and get a taste of the educational system in the beautiful Ghana. If I could have, I would have extended my stay but for anyone who does not have that opportunity; It is still worth going for a shorter period of time.
During my stay, the students had already completed their exams for the year so there was not too much to do as there were no actual classes which made things a bit unorganised. Just remember to be flexible and help out wherever necessary. The school was accommodating for any ideas I had and organising an afternoon class.
International Volunteer HQ were also very accommodating with extending stays, helping out in any way that they can. During my first weekend, Evans from the organisation planned a trip for us new volunteers to see the coastline and visit many interesting and beautiful places. He was extremely helpful, always available on his mobile to answer any questions that you might have!
Overall my experience was amazing. As long as you arrive with an open mind and ready to help, I am sure your experience will be just as wonderful.
Program: Volunteer and Teach in Ghana
My experience in Quito
Submitted by Sofia Velasco - Universidad de los Andes | February 23, 2017
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.
Luchando por Quito
Submitted by Cristina - Miami Beach United States | February 22, 2017
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!
Submitted by Manja - HS Pforzheim | February 21, 2017
I had never volunteered before so I did not know what to expect. Also I hadn't been to Asia, so everything was quite new for me when arriving. Bali however is absolutely beautiful. I felt right at home living with a big Indonesian family in an amazing room. The Balinese are friendly and peaceful and the religion and culture is absolutely fascinating. I had a great time in orientation week getting to know more about this culture. After orientation I arrived at the Kindergarten. The kids were shy at first as they hadn't really seen someone like me and also couldn't speak a word of English. Unlike m expectation I had to teach the whole time and not just play around with the kids. But once I got used to the thought it was actually really cool and pushed me a lot. I would still say break time was my favorite time as it gave me the chance to play with the kids and enjoy their smiles and laughter just having a lot of fun! I really enjoyed volunteering in Bali!
Program: Volunteer in a Kindergarten in Bali
Amazing place and amazing people
Submitted by 王渝 - 兰州大学 | February 20, 2017
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.
Submitted by Lindsey Norvold - Grand Canyon University | February 19, 2017
Volunteering abroad had always been an item on my bucket list. I wasn't sure what to expect going into the IVHQ Kindergarten program and doing it by myself as my first solo trip made me a bit more nervous. I did my research and read reviews, some good, some bad, about volunteering abroad and IVHQ. But from the moment the driver picked me up at the airport, to getting to the Lovina house instantly being welcomed by the other volunteers and staff members, to my first few moments in the classroom, I felt right at home. It's amazing how one experience can change your entire life.
The kindergarten kids and the school teachers were beyond welcoming. They loved to learn, dance, sing and play, making every day a great day even while your sweating profusely in the Bali humidity! We had plenty of fun in the 3 weeks I was there and the kids picked up English so quickly! On the weekends, we hiked, swam in waterfalls, played with monkeys, visited different towns, went snorkeling and saw some pretty amazing sights. The other volunteers quickly turning into family.
The hardest goodbyes came when I had to say "See ya later" to my kiddos. They made me a sign and flower headband on my last day, kissing my hand to show their gratitude. Even though I'm the one who was truly grateful. They changed my life more than I changed theirs. I'm already planning my next volunteer trip with IVHQ and would absolutely recommend it to anyone. The only thing holding you back from doing all you want to do in life is yourself and your excuses. So get out there and just go for it! Thank you IVHQ for an amazing experience!
Saving the environment one turtle at a time
Submitted by mg49 - Dawson | February 18, 2017
I had the most amazing experience with IVHQ and their offered Turtle Conservation Project in Costa Rica. The community in the area I was volunteering in was more than welcoming and the people in charge at the project center were super friendly and inspiring. These people help the world become a better place not just for the turtles but for us as well. After cleaning the beaches and taking in the necessary information to complete the inventory and data needed for the biologists researching these turtle areas, I realize how much of an impact a small collective can have on the larger scheme of things. And of course, learning Spanish all along the way was pretty amazing too! I would highly encourage anyone to take on this challenge because it was the adventure of a lifetime for me. I enjoyed everything about it and I came home being a lot more conscious and informed about little things that I used to take for granted. Finally, I want to say that pushing yourself to the limit is one thing but pushing yourself to try something new is a whole new ball game and I encourage those of you who are a bit more timid to take on an adventure like the one I took on because it is worth your while.
Submitted by KristinB | February 18, 2017
I decided to volunteer in Peru with the childcare program in order to gain a better understanding of how children in impoverished nations lived. As an education major and now educator, children, their wellbeing and their education are very important to me. I was placed in an orphanage in Cusco, Peru where I volunteered for 2 weeks with 3 friends. I enjoyed the orphanage, the girls and the employees, however my impact would have been much more meaningful had I stayed for longer. I worried the relationships I made with the girls and then left two weeks later upset them. There were many many volunteers there, sometimes more than needed. All in all I loved spending time with the girls, helping them with her homework and playing new games with them. My host family was the best thing that ever happened to me. Four years later I still keep in touch with them and look up to the selfless and caring people they are. Overall I would recommend the childcare program, but encourage you to stay longer than two weeks.
"Traveling; It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller"
Submitted by Melody Hart - Evansville, IN United States | February 18, 2017
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.