GIVE Volunteers

GIVE Volunteers

About

GIVE is an established leader in sustainable volunteer and adventure travel offering meaningful trips in Nepal, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. We are dedicated to inspiring growth, empowering global citizens, and igniting sustainable change worldwide. GIVE has adopted the Asset-based community development (ABCD) model which is a set of proven best practices in sustainable development that mobilizes a community's own assets and resources as the basis for development. Join us in exploring incredible and remote corners of the globe while uplifting host communities and changing your life. Live your passion by volunteering abroad and embarking on adventure; or take our Wilderness & International Leadership Development (WILD) Program to turn your passion into a profession.

Our 2021 dates are here!

Not ready to travel this year? Check out our 2021 dates and our newest program, Vietnam!
Headquarters

1900 W Nickerson St STE 116 #123
Seattle, WA 98119
United States

Reviews

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Allie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered in Thailand and Laos and there is not a day that goes by where I don't think about my GIVE trip! This was my first time out of the country and my first time traveling alone, so my family was hesitant to let me go. However, from day one GIVE was clear and informative of everything from expenses, to safety, and their mission. GIVE provides materials to prepare volunteers for their trip well in advance and is prompt to answer questions. The guides are welcoming and supportive throughout the entire experience. Their passion inspires you to put your everything into the volunteer work and their energy is infectious. Being able to work, laugh, dance, and learn from the locals of Sop Chem is truly an unforgettable experience. You teach the children, but they will teach you more than you'll ever be able to imagine. They will challenge you in the best ways and steal your heart from day one! I am so glad that I chose to volunteer in both Thailand and Laos. Meeting the other volunteers was my favorite part of the trip and being able to experience both countries with them made it even more memorable!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Experience the moment before taking a picture, allow yourself to open up to others, try as many new foods as possible, and embrace going out of your comfort zone!
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Allie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about my GIVE trip! This was my first time traveling on my own, and my first time out of the country, so my parents and family were skeptical about letting me go. However, from day one GIVE was clear and informative of everything from expenses, to safety, and their mission. The guides provide materials to prepare volunteers for their trip well in advance and are supportive throughout the entire process. My favorite part of the entire experience was getting to meet the locals and other volunteers. I am so thankful to have been able to work, learn, laugh, and dance with some of the most incredible humans. Never did I imagine that a group of strangers would feel like a second family in such a short time!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers is to take to heart the knowledge that is taught to you during the group chats, and use that information to your advantage whether it be changes in your own life or just spreading awareness to others.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I signed up for this trip because I wanted an adventure, and I for sure got an adventure of a lifetime! Among climbing a mountain and going into 2 caves, was the heart of the trip. We stayed in a hidden gem, Sop Chem, surrounded by mountains with the most welcoming of people. They met us right when we got off our boats and brought us into their culture. Within the culture dive we taught the children English and worked on their permaculture plot building a mud brick house. It was an incredible experience, I can never forget and incredible people I will never forget. I started the trip with random strangers and left with deep rooted friendships. Two things that stood out to me the most are: feeding the bears at Free the Bears and the Baci ceremony held on the last day in Sop Chem as we danced with the children and received the gratitude from the locals for the impact we left. Khob jai lai lai (Laos for thank you very much) GIVE for this incredible trip!!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a couple decks of cards or other games to play with the other volunteers during down time.
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Kristen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This trip was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It opened my eyes to the world around me and helped me grow so much as a person. There is something special about Sop Chem that makes you feel at home even though we are thousands of miles away from home. They take you in like their own and it was so humbling to be a part of that. The views that we got to see everyday are indescribable and a must see! This was such an incredible once in a lifetime experience that will stay with me forever!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would say to future travelers is to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. Be vulnerable with your group and the people you meet along the way. I would also say use your guides because they are there for you!
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Catherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Laos with Give was the best experience of my life! I learned how important it is to get to know the community that you are working with and how this can create sustainable impact. The people that we worked with were so amazing. Laos is also one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. It is a real paradise. The cultural activities that we did were so helpful in learning about Laos and getting to know the people. It was so special to get to do those activities. I don’t think any travel experience can top the time I had with Give in Laos!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for future travelers would be to go in with an open mind and pack a lot lighter than you think you should!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5
GIVE Volunteers
GIVE Nepal Volunteer Excursion in the Himalayas
Nepal
9.9 •39 reviews

Nepal is a truly special place in the world and volunteering in Nepal...

GIVE Volunteers
GIVE Tanzania Volunteer Excursion from Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro
Tanzania
9.9 •21 reviews

GIVE’s Tanzania Program takes you from the tropical paradise of...

GIVE Volunteers
GIVE Laos Volunteer Excursion & Wildlife Conservation
Laos
10 •18 reviews

While GIVE’s Laos Program is the perfect extension to our Thailand...

GIVE Volunteers
GIVE Thailand Rural Reforestation & Wildlife Conservation
Thailand
10 •15 reviews

Our Thailand program is all about showing you the authentic side of...

GIVE Volunteers
GIVE Nicaragua Sustainable Development Volunteer Excursion
Nicaragua
9.91 •11 reviews

GIVE’s Nicaragua Volunteer Program immerses you in rural fishing...

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

PJ Ikpe

PJ is a recent college graduate intent on making an impact in the world. She deeply cares that everyone has the same opportunities to thrive and reach their potential. She loves to travel and experience the many cultures of this planet, and learn from the people in them. She believes that we all, people and environment, are one in the same and that through travel we can see that connection.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it is more than just travel. It combines the meaningful ability to volunteer with the wondrous adventures awaiting in these countries to provide an incredible adventure that excites the soul and the mind. I wanted to volunteer and learn about different cultures. I wanted to do something I've never done before in a new place. I got all of that with GIVE.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I didn't have to do anything completely on my own. They helped me with fundraising ideas, connected me to a flight booking center, sent me all the information for travel documents I would need, sent a packing list, and contacted me with reminders to keep me on track to be able to go. The only thing I had to do was go see my doctor for any shots or medications.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't plan everything. Traveling is supposed to be an adventure, complete with highs and lows. If something goes wrong, don't put but; accept the situation as an experience to learn. With that said, nothing really goes wrong. When things are incredible, take the time to appreciate it in person rather than having your phone out the entire time. Go with the flow and when packing, take out a third before leaving.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Wake up and have breakfast. Go volunteer. Eat lunch. Volunteer. Free time to fill with various activities depending on location. Dinner and discussion on various topics. Free time before bed. Volunteer days follow this pattern. Adventure days are either scattered throughout the week or at the end and vary depending on location and adventure.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I have traveled enough, especially with GIVE, that I have no fears. I know that anything unexpected that may occur will be dealt with by my guides and I enjoy the thrill of not knowing 100% what is coming next. I am always eager to learn about the culture I am in, and what I've learned has definitely changed my perspective on various international issues. The hardest part is the reverse culture shock; that is the shock of coming back to the US and dealing with our culture.

How accommodating is GIVE to different personal preferences? (i.e. food, allergies, medications, etc.)

GIVE will ask you if you have any dietary restrictions or medications when you sign up for a trip, and offer a space to add any other concerns you have about personal preferences. I am a vegetarian and always had something to eat. My friends with allergies always felt safe since the guides have medical kits at all times.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Amber Parucha

Job Title
Lead Guide - Nepal
Amber Parucha is a Lead Guide and Volunteer Fulfillment Specialist for Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE). She has led groups in both Thailand and Nepal. She studied Biology/Psychology with a minor in Leadership and Civic Engagemnt at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

What is your favorite travel memory?

There was a time in my life when I wanted to see the world and thought I only had a short amount of time to see it all. I was more concerned about how many stamps I collected in my passport rather than the quality of the time I spent in each place. It was not until I had my first experience in SE Asia with GIVE that I realized I had been doing it all wrong.

We spent 2 weeks living and working within the region, Muang Khong. This experience lifted the superficial veil of travel and allowed me to become part of a community rather than a tourist passing through. We shared meals with the locals, learned from them, and became completely encompassed by the culture. By the end of this experience, we felt like we were part of the family.

I'll never forget trekking through the jungle following in the footsteps of a mahout named Eddy. We spent 2 hours tracking semi-wild elephants. As we passed through lush vegetation, Eddy was telling me about his family, his experiences growing up in the jungle and the special connection he shares with his elephant. Reminiscing on standing face to face with my favorite animal and I still remember my conversation with Eddy above it all. Memories are deeply encoded when you share an emotional connection with that place or the people within it. That is what GIVE provides when you travel, a connection to yourself, others, and this planet, unlike anything you have ever felt before.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Before joining GIVE, I had never truly made the connection that my actions could have an impact. I cared about social issues but lacked guidance and direction. GIVE mobilized that deeper desire within me to be a part of something that was bigger than myself.

I've learned that small choices lead to larger lifestyle changes and one of the best ways to make others more cognizant of their actions is to lead by example. I'm thankful to work for a company that builds up its employees and genuinely cares about the legacy they are leaving behind.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Many of our volunteers return home with an ignited sense of passion and eagerness to spread their knowledge to others. I am always so proud to see folks use social media as a platform for advocacy and environmental stewardship after going on a GIVE trip. The best stories always stem from eco-experience. Those that plant a seed of compassion in the country and nurture it through education and expanding perspective once they return home.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Of course I would recommend our Thailand and Laos program for anyone who is looking to experience the magic of SE Asia. Not only are these places beautiful to visit but GIVE also shines a light on the colorful cultures and people that call these places home. The programs are jam-packed full of adventure activities for those looking to push their comfort zones. I'm a thrill seeker myself so bungee jumping, zip-lining through the jungle, and chartering a bamboo raft down the mighty Mae Tang river are right up my alley.

If a month in SE Asia is not enough, which of course it's not... We also now offer a separate elephant immersion program that includes 8 days of observing, caring for, and most importantly serving as advocates for a rapidly declining keystone species. Talk about a fricken epic travel memory...

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

GIVE practices a specific form of development that is centered around evaluating the strengths and assets within a community rather than focusing on what they are lacking or in "need" of. We do not compromise our values and treat these communities with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Our projects are built upon the ideas of great leaders within these communities and GIVE is the catalyst to make these dreams become reality. I am proud to be part of a team that views sustainable development as a way to invest in people. By practicing responsible tourism, we are not only voting with our dollar to support local initiatives but also gaining perspective and preserving the sacred entity of culture within.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor for success in our company is to constantly analyze our impact and "walk the walk". How can we meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs? It's all about finding a better way to do things and that is the ripple we hope to spread throughout the world.

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