International Volunteer HQ Participant Reviews
Smiley Hearts first mission
Submitted by Marilena Capobianco - Zug, Switzerland | January 18, 2018
This was the first volunteering experience and will not forget for the rest of my life.
Something that I was longing to do for such a long time and finally become real with the help of a great organisation like IVHQ.
Supported by them the organization of this mission was very easy and smooth, 6 simple steps and you are all set for your lifetime experience.
The local references in Laos (Green Lion) are wonderful people who dedicated all their life in helping others and this is what they will do with you. Help you find your best way in helping and be suppportive to this incredible population. The Childcare program will give you the opportunity to help the teachers at the kinder garten taking care of the little kids, their openess and sweet eyes will remain with you forever. In the afternoon you can challenge your teaching skills by going to Schools were older kids are willing to meet you and play and study with you. Overall this experience will leave you so many positive vibes that you would want to experience it over again. Thank you to IVHQ and Green Lion for this opportunity and their great assistance. Laos is a wonderful country were to volunteer, do not hesitate.
Program: Volunteer in Childcare in Laos
Most magical volunteer abroad I've ever made.
Submitted by Nicole Pochat - Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education | January 17, 2018
It all started with a spontaneous decision to do volunteering abroad this summer and International Volunteer HQ made it all possible. Their guidance, accessibility, interactive training and full support in my process made me feel prepared enough to take a flight to Cusco.
In an eye blink I was already in Peru. The city of Cusco is completely surprising every moment you spend at it; it’s such a vibrant, beautiful, magical little town from whom you fall in love with. Filled with so many polite and helpful people at every corner, delicious and exquisite cuisine, Incas history is so extraordinary and each day you experience something completely different from the one before.
I was the luckiest to be placed in orphanages with kids that are so sweet, bright, happy and grateful every minute of the day. We spend our time together playing, dancing, singing, laughing and letting me teach them English because they have the will to learn every moment. I gained so much sensitivity and closeness from this kids and they have the biggest affection for life that’s so inspiring.
Also, making new friends from all over the world everyday, spending my nights partying while getting to know the city at night and traveling the weekends to places like Machu Picchu, Sacred-Valley, Moray, Rainbow Mountain and Lake Humanity where pictures and words are not enough to explain what it's like to be there, will be memories that will last in my heart forever.
I can honestly say it was one of the best life changing experiences I have ever had. My time in Peru was full of all kind of emotions, amazing stories, close bonds with friends and unforgettable days and nights. This was my first IVHQ experience but I'm sure that after what I lived, it will not be the last one and I'm so excited to see what future volunteers abroad have for me.
Holiday Experience in Guatemala
Submitted by anthony alder - Utah State University | January 17, 2018
This year I had the amazing opportunity to spend the week of New Years in La Antigua Guatemala. I spent about 10 days there in a program with IVHQ and their local partner Maximo Nivel. I was extremely impressed with the organization and efficacy of both programs. I found IVHQ online and decided to check it out because it received good ratings on a third party critiquing site. This being my first trip with them, I didn't really know what to expect, and was concerned the work I would be doing wouldn't make too much of a difference. From the beginning I was very impressed with how well they prepared me beforehand, explained the process and were always available for questions before, during, and even after the project. While there I was able to work in a retirement home, help construct a school, and spend a couple days helping out in an orphanage. In the latter part of the days I still had time to site-see and experience being in beautiful Antigua Guatemala, as well as take advantage of their partnership with a wonderful travel agency. My only regret is having to come back!
Childcare in Pokhara, Nepal
Submitted by Mariangel | January 15, 2018
I did my first volunteering in Nepal (Pokhara) through IVHQ, I can say that was one of the best experiences in my life. The staff was amazing very helpful and worried about giving you the best, also the company have volunteers of very different countries, so I had the opportunity to share this amazing experience with more people.
Also the people in the childcare place were really kind and were guiding us to really enjoy the program and make the difference with the kids!
Thank you IVHQ!
Program: Volunteer in Childcare in Nepal
WOW!!! This will change your life!!
Submitted by Laura Burks - Kennewick | January 15, 2018
This was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking for any volunteer project, cultural experience or just an adventure. I looked into other free volunteer programs but IVHQ was the only that one I found that required a criminal background check on all their volunteers. I was a female traveling with another female and this provided a feeling of security within my volunteer group. We where in Guatemala for a holiday experience so not only were we able to participate in a few different volunteer opportunities but we were also able to experience New Years Guatemalan style.
Laos: Incredible, life changing, and filled with love
Submitted by Yvette - Auburn United States | January 11, 2018
Incredible, life changing, and filled with love is how I would describe my experience volunteer teaching in Laos. I set out on my own and joined this program with the hope to help children develop their language skills so that they might have better career options in the future. I had no formal classroom teaching experience, but for three weeks IVHQ gave me the utmost guidance and support. The schools had a clear understanding of the volunteer's role and were extremely organised. Knowing what my responsibility was as a volunteer, and their expectations really helped me to contribute all my skills productively. The children too, are aware of your role as a volunteer and that you may only be there for a short time-frame. This is so important for the children, and I was really impressed with how IVHQ has developed the teaching program in Laos.
Everyday I taught an English class in the morning and afternoon at two different schools. We had to cycle to the schools, and it was amazing to be able to immerse myself in the Laos landscape and understand the Laos lifestyle. The school teachers were extremely supportive and would sometimes try to learn English like the students when I was teaching. It was a really special feeling to be able to support the community in this way, and develop their language skills.
Throughout the rest of the day, there was plenty of time to socialise with the other volunteers, go exploring, prepare for lessons and play some sport! The IVHQ program really fosters a sense of family. I went to Laos alone, but I developed life-long friendships with the other volunteers and program facilitators. We went travelling to Luang Prabang and the city on the weekends, and this really helped to enhance my understanding of Laos and the culture. It has definitely been the most incredible, life-changing experience, filled with soo much love and happiness, I have ever had. I would relive it again and again and again.
Program: Volunteer and Teach in Laos
Submitted by Brandi - University of Pittsburgh | January 10, 2018
As an adult with a full time job it’s not easy to take a weeks’ vacation let alone more. This is why I became so interested in the Holiday Experience from International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). It’s a one week program during the holidays that allows volunteers to experience multiple placements during their trip. My placement was in Antiqua, Guatemala for one week during Christmas. I was able to work at three different placements and felt like what I did truly mattered. Did I change the world…no. Did I make a positive impact no matter when it came to the people I interacted with as well as within myself …yes! That’s why I loved this program so much. I can only afford to have a week off from work and I really wanted to volunteer and this program made it possible. I was able to immerse myself fully into the culture by learning Spanish from just normal communication…or learning how to salsa through Maximo Nivel (the organization in Antigua). Some would say one week is not enough but in my experience, I worked very hard to stay out of my room and tried my best to live as a local would. This is a symbiotic experience where you leave something for those you interact with but you also leave with something. Whether that be a sense of fulfillment for helping your fellow person or a new realization about yourself. Don’t go back and forth like I did in the decision to go because once I landed; I knew I’d made the right decision.
Medical, childcare and teaching experience at Potter's village and in Frankadua
Submitted by Steph - Vancouver Canada | January 08, 2018
My experience as a medical outreach volunteer and as a childcare volunteer was nothing short of amazing. Of course my trip would not have gone as smoothly as it did without the aid of Evans. He was absolutely amazing and was knowledgeable about everything and anything. Not only did he play a tremendously huge part of organizing and helping me make the malaria outreach happen, he was also a significant part in organizing our weekend outings as well. Benedict as well as the local staff at Potter's Village and Giles from Frankadua were fantastic as well. Everyone was very helpful and welcoming -- especially the kids. I will definitely be going back!
Program: Volunteer in Medicine in Ghana
Bali (Ubud)- healthcare education 2017
Submitted by Victoria - Vancouver Canada | January 05, 2018
This was my first time volunteering abroad so I was quite nervous and did not know what to expect. After coming home from Bali, I am extremely thankful to IVHQ for giving me the opportunity to do this project and for their continuous support leading up to my trip to ensure that my travels would go smoothly. This was truly such a humbling and life changing experience that I will never forget! The moment I was greeted by the local organization in Bali and met the other volunteers, all my worries had faded away. It is amazing to see how quickly friendships and connections form between volunteers and the local people in such a short period of time. There is something magical about Bali- I have to say that people in Bali are the most genuine, loyal and humble people that I have ever met. Everyone smiles here and it is contagious!
During the first week, the local program staff gave us an orientation of the Balinese culture. We visited a monkey forest, a holy water temple, a rice field, had a Batik painting class, went on a walking tour of Ubud with some free time to spend browsing through the markets, learned to cook some traditional Balinese food, saw a traditional Balinese dance (Kecak) and learned some basic Bahasa (language spoken in Bali). A great variety of activities and they were well organized and fun! Be prepared for lots of walking and moving around during this week :).Thank-you to the kitchen staff, I have now developed a new love for tempeh and peanut sauce!
I came to Bali for the healthcare education project, hoping that a group of children would learn something new from me. In fact, they were the ones who had re-taught me the meaning of a very powerful gift: gratitude. It was remarkable to witness how excited and grateful these children were to receive basic stationery that I had given them for Christmas which we would think to be ordinary. I never would've thought that a group of children who I only got to know for a week would have such a big impact on me.
If you are thinking of volunteering abroad but have some hesitations, I would definitely just take the dive and follow your dreams and everything else will fall in place. Not only was I able to learn about the Balinese culture and people, I learned so much about myself during these two weeks. Trust me, it will be rewarding in the end that you won't regret it!
An experience I'll never forget
Submitted by Tayla - Geelong Australia | January 01, 2018
I spent two weeks in China volunteering through IVHQ in their Teaching English program. The school I was placed and lived in was in a place called Weinan which is about 1.5 hours from Xi'an where the main volunteer headquarters/orientation is located.
Before doing the IVHQ program I had never been overseas, and I decided to go to China because the culture intrigued me, and I was keen to put myself out there in a place where the children would benefit. I quickly learned that my English skills would be put to good use, as little to no english was spoken in the schools.
Before departing my home country of Australia, the program staff and administration were always prompt to respond to any questions or queries via email, and when arriving in the country, I felt as though I was well looked after.
In China, there were staff members available to help with things like booking train tickets, translation and recommendations on local restaurants. Those in charge of the volunteer accommodation in Xi'an ensured all volunteers were fed, warm and healthy. I felt safe the entire duration of my trip and when it came time to leave, I couldn't help but wish I could've stayed for longer.
I'll never forget the experience, especially the children who are warm, loving and want to be your friend more than anything. The other volunteers I met and stayed with in Weinan were incredible people, who also contributed to the experience being amazing.
I highly recommend the IVHQ Teach English in China program and I will certainly volunteer through this organisation again!