GIVE Volunteers

GIVE Volunteers

About

GIVE is an established leader in sustainable volunteer and adventure travel offering meaningful trips in Nepal, Tanzania, Thailand, Laos, and Nicaragua. 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.

Headquarters

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

Reviews

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going on this trip truly changed my outlook on life, as silly as that sounds, it rings true. I would recommend this trip to anyone that is at all interested. Since I have been home, I know that I have annoyed my friends and family with my nonstop chatter about this trip. But, the stories and conversations are countless. Be ready to fully immerse yourself in the culture and learn as much as you can. My favorite part of the trip was being able to learn from the locals. These people have a huge part of my heart. If you are able to go to Tanzania, do it!!!! For the more adventurous, adding on Kilimanjaro is 100% worth it. I have never done something so mentally challenging but, summiting made it all worth it. The beauty that is all-surrounding in Tanzania is breathtaking. Make sure to take everything in!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take in every second you are given on your trip to be completely present. The trip will be over before you know it and you will have to part ways with your new-found family, so make sure you show all the love and energy you have!
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Kym
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As a mom on this trip, I wholeheartedly recommend this trip for the educational and life changing experience it is set up to be. I loved the fact that there were no hidden agendas and that we as volunteers were expected to honor the Lao culture and community. Instead we worked alongside the people to make their ideas a reality. We taught English, played games, participated in cultural ceremonies and worked to create a permaculture plot to provide an alternative to other farming methods.
The guides for this trip are nothing short of amazing people who work hard day and night to ensure safety and also provide insight into the people and places we encountered. Parents send tour your kids and know that they will be well taken care of and come back to you well-nourished - physically, mentally, educationally, and spiritually. Or better yet, go with them and have your own life-changing experience!! I loved it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy every moment. Connect with people. Ask questions - not just here but everywhere. Take a journal - even if you aren't the journalling person. Unplug and enjoy the ride!!
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Sara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

To someone who is considering traveling with GIVE, just do it and do not overthink it. Save the money and book the trip because I promise, what you gain back from the experience is priceless. A GIVE trip like Nicaragua will change your perspective and in result will change your life. I am not the same coming back home. I feel more aware and more grateful for living. This trip is educational, inspiring, and fun. You work hard in the classroom and worksite, but have fun doing it. This part of the trip is incredibly humbling and rewarding. And the cultural immersion activities are amazing as well. You step into real locals homes for the day and learn their crafts. The locals make you feel like family and despite any language barrier, loving connections are formed. Lastly, the connections you make with fellow volunteers are genuine. All judgment is washed away when you're all sweating and struggling alongside each other and you get to really meet people for who they are. Learn their stories of why they came to this country and see how much you have in common.
This GIVE trip changed my life and it WILL do the same for you as well. Nicaragua is a beautiful country and needs volunteers like you to come and support it.
Thank you GIVE for all the #goodvibes.
Highlights included...
- Meeting like-minded volunteers/students and forming deep, real, and long-lasting friendships
- Meeting locals and finding how much in common you have
- Being embraced by locals
- Disco Techa, dancing freely
- Delicious and healthy meals every day(fresh fruit)
- Learning to surf and make cheese/tortillas/fish/bracelets
- Hiking up and active volcano and sliding down it(and looking at the views from up top)
- Adventuring around a city called Leon
- Beach volleyball
- Mangrove and estuary tour/hike
- Morning yoga outside
- Learning from our intelligent and inspiring guides, Daniela and Carmen
- Learning some Spanish
- Learning about and experiencing the strong Latin culture, first-hand
- Good Vibes and long chats every night with the group
And so much more!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment about this trip was simply starting it. The first night that you arrive, you will instantly notice how out of your element you are. It is warm and many things that you normally do or have are extremely different. You may see animals or insects that you don't see at home. This moment is nerve-racking, but the key is just to stick with it. If you keep telling yourself "This is outside my comfort zone, but that's okay. I am growing", you will soon realize how quickly you've adjusted and become comfortable.
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Mahana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I first heard about this program sitting in class by a random loud kid running in and talking about elephants. As someone who adores elephants I was immediately intrigued by the idea and make it my goal to go on this trip to pursue my dream of seeing elephants. I had heard good things from other students in my school who also attended this trip but at the time i didn't know that after two weeks my life would do a 180. With this trip I was able to fully emerge myself in Thai culture with the locals. Each local I met and talked now holds a special place in my heart. Apart from learning a new culture first hand, I've made friends that will last a lifetime as well as unforgettable memories. I honestly recommend to just jump right into this trip and don't look back. you wont regret it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
For future travelers, keep an open mind throughout this whole trip. You will be present with situations you would never imagine yourself being in but at the end of the day you'll be glad you said yes to them.
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Seth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went into this experience with little expectations and was surprised with the time of my life. I craved the adventure but what I didn't know was that this trip was gonna change my life. The relationships I created with my fellow volunteers, my guides, and many native Thai people filled my heart and I'll cherish these relationships for the rest of my life. I still got the adventure I craved but served in a totally different package. Helping elephants, bamboo rafting, bungee jumping, and staying up late with these newfound friends of mine made me never want to leave. This trip made me want to adventure not just for myself but to got out there and devote my time to the betterment of lives that need it most. I didn't wanna help people before I went on this trip but now I want to do it for the rest of my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't go in with expectations and you'll be awe struck at the things you'll learn. Unplug from your world back home and immerse yourself in this experience. Become a GIVE volunteer and it'll change your life.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews 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

Staff interviews 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.
Amber Parucha

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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