Volunteer Abroad

The 2018 Go Overseas Community Choice Awards: Volunteer Abroad

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Go Overseas was started with the simple idea of creating a centralized website to provide the resources required for meaningful travel abroad.

Go Overseas Community Choice Awards - Volunteer Abroad

There's no feeling quite like the one you get when you give back and truly do good to improve the world for someone else. Volunteering abroad is a powerful experience because it allows travelers to go out, experience the world, and hopefully change it for the better in the process.

Companies across the world offer services to help prospective volunteers reach areas with the greatest need; voluntourism is one of the biggest travel trends we've seen in the last decade. Here at Go Overseas, we strive to help prospective volunteers identify those companies who work with the local community, offer services that don't undermine local efforts, and ethically interact with the people or animals they serve.

When a volunteer wants to share their experience here, we ask them to rate the volunteer program on five categories, too: Impact, Support, Fun, Value, and Safety. Based on the scores for all volunteer programs reviewed here on Go Overseas last year, here are the top volunteer abroad providers in 2018.

Learn more about how we scored programs for this year's awards by clicking here.

Overall Top Volunteer Abroad Providers

There are companies everywhere working hard to improve the world for the better. When these companies allow volunteers to join them from abroad on their mission, it's a powerful opportunity to literally change the world. It's also hard for volunteers to know which providers offer the best experience, across all the important areas that affect the volunteer experience. The following providers had top scores across all of the categories we ask reviewers to rate, making them the top volunteer abroad providers from 2018:

1st

IVHQ


Review Highlight:
"I'm constantly recommending IVHQ to my friend and others who ask me who they should volunteer through." -- Kierynn, 23

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2nd

Maximo Nivel


Review Highlight:
"The program Maximo Nivel has a staff that has no competition when it comes to support and care because they are the best ones out there." -- Andres, 21

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3rd

Rustic Pathways


Review Highlight:
"My experience with Rustic Pathways has created some of the most fond and influential memories of my life." -- Emmy, 17

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Top Volunteer Abroad Providers: Impact

Volunteering abroad, unlike other categories on this site, is the one category where it's not only important to understand how the experience changed the reviewer. It's also important to understand if the program achieves its goals and the work volunteers do has a lasting positive impact, so we ask reviewers to rate the impact of their program. The following providers had the top scores in the Impact category:

1st

Think Pacific


Review Highlight:
"I will never forget the well-organised trip, the amazing impact in the Fijian communities and the fulfillment." -- Konstantinos, 23

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2nd

Fundación Aldeas de Paz


Review Highlight:
"Looking back, the experiences I made really had an impact on my life and assured me that working for an NGO really is important." -- Clara, 18

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3rd

Sadhana Forest


Review Highlight:
"The conservation work is long term and sustainable and the local community really understands the benefits and gets on board wholly." -- Alex

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Top Volunteer Abroad Providers: Support

While volunteering abroad is an opportunity for volunteers to experience freedom and independence they might never have before, it's also critically important that the volunteer abroad program they choose is available for any support they do need. We ask alumni to consider how much support the volunteer abroad program staff provide; the following providers had the top scores in the Support category:

1st

GVI


Review Highlight:
"From the very first moment I arrived I felt so comfortable and supported in whatever I needed!" -- Kristen, 20

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2nd

Think Pacific


Review Highlight:
"The ThinkPacific foundation also provide great support for the volunteers, who may find it difficult to transition to village life at first, as well as providing fun and exciting trips over the weekend." -- Cem

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3rd

Fundación Aldeas de Paz


Review Highlight:
"Eur coordinators were always available for our problems and very supportive." -- Lennart, 21

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Top Volunteer Abroad Providers: Fun

We obviously think that volunteering abroad should be a fun experience -- in fact, we ask every reviewer to tell us how much fun they had overseas, for almost every program they rate on our site. For volunteer abroad programs, we ask alumni to share what they rate the social scene for their volunteer abroad program. The following providers had the top scores in the Fun category:

1st

Fundación Aldeas de Paz


Review Highlight:
"It turned out to be a fun, safe place for our family to be immersed in a different culture." -- Kathy, 31

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2nd

Think Pacific


Review Highlight:
"It was a rewarding and fun experience and I would do it all over again!" -- Christina

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3rd

Sadhana Forest


Review Highlight:
"Living here in sadhana forest among individuals who come from different spheres all working for and towards the environment and having fun at the same time is amazing." -- Guruprasad

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Top Volunteer Abroad Providers: Value

Value is a tricky thing to score; everyone has a different idea of what they value and how much something is worth. Generally speaking, our goal in asking volunteers to rate the value of a volunteer program is for them to tell us whether they think the cost of their program was worth the money they paid. The following providers had top scores in the Value category:

1st

GVI


Review Highlight:
"My time in Nepal was incredibly enjoyable, exciting and SO worth the money." -- Lewis

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2nd

Fundación Aldeas de Paz


Review Highlight:
"I came here to have an adventure, learn more Spanish and help a very worthwhile charity. I leave feeling like a better person." -- Kevin, 49

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3rd

A Broader View


Review Highlight:
"I also learned a lot about different cultures that will leave a lasting affect on me." -- Anna, 26

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Top Volunteer Abroad Providers: Safety

Safety is one of the most important factors we ask reviewers to rate; almost every program on Go Overseas (even those that aren't in the volunteer abroad category) is rated on safety. In particular, we want to know how safe volunteers felt while volunteering and living in the local community. The following providers had the top scores in the Safety category:

1st

Think Pacific


Review Highlight:
"The whole trip was so well organised and every slight concern was dealt with so you felt completely at ease and safe throughout it all." -- Abbie

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2nd

GVI


Review Highlight:
"I always felt safe, stimulated, and motivated. I would go back in a heartbeat." -- Sophie, 22

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3rd

Fundación Aldeas de Paz


Review Highlight:
"If you are looking to experience volunteering first hand, but want to be in a safe environment to learn how it works, this is the place to go." -- Kevin, 24

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How We Scored Programs for the 2018 Go Overseas Community Choice Awards

To find the best Volunteer Abroad providers on Go Overseas, we looked at every review left on the site between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Any provider who received three or more reviews was considered.

To choose the Overall Best Volunteer Abroad Providers we looked at the average scores each provider received across all of their programs and the factors we ask students to rate. We averaged each provider's scores and weighted the score based on the number of reviews they received.

To find the best providers in each category, we averaged all review scores for each provider on just that factor. The best programs in each factor won the awards. Providers who won in the Overall Best category were not eligible to win another award in these categories.

Questions about these awards? Email us.