Global Nomadic

Why choose Global Nomadic?

Global Nomadic distinguishes itself from traditional ‘gap-year’ and voluntary placement organizations by offering reasonably priced programs without taking commission.

We cater to a wide range of fields - from medicine and education, to veterinary science and journalism and more - matching you with reputable, worthwhile organisations around the world.

Global Nomadic personally visits all volunteer sites to ensure a quality experience for volunteers. You will receive support before, during and after your placement. Visit the Global Nomadic website for more information.


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No, I don't recommend this program

Book direct with Green Lion if possible

I've just returned from a trip to Cambodia which included the Global Nomadic "Volunteer Teaching -Teach in Cambodia" project in Samraong. Whilst I recommend the programme, which is teaching English in Greenway Primary School run by Green Lion, I can't unfortunately recommend Global Nomadic.
Some background information on the project is that in Cambodia primary school children go to state schools for half a day - either a morning or afternoon session. If their parents have sufficient funds, they then pay for their children to have additional private lessons.
The Greenway School provides those additional English classes for students whose family earns less than $100 per month. From what I gathered while at the Greenway School, the English classes are free to its pupils as the school is funded almost exclusively by donations. In addition, it is almost entirely reliant on volunteer teachers.
I enjoyed my time on the project, but despite being a seasoned volunteer I was very apprehensive prior to joining given the lack of information received from Global Nomadic and then the contradictory information I received direct from Green Lion (Green Lion was correct).
So, some things that I wish I had known prior to signing up for the project which I hope may assist future volunteers (some of the following contracts the information provided by Global Nomadic, so is solely based on my experience):
• Travel to and from the project is very easy and by taxi. This takes 2 hours from Siem Reap and costs $30. Taxis can take up to 4 people, so the $30 is split between passengers. My transfer to the project was included in my payment to Global Nomadic, but I knew I'd have to make my own way back. Global Nomadic told me that I'd need to catch a bus back to Siem Reap - there are no buses!
• The transfers to the project are only on Sundays. I was told that I'd be collected on Saturday and arranged my accommodation accordingly. Shortly before leaving the UK I had to phone Global Nomadic to find out details of my transfer (my email hadn't been responded to) only to be told that the transfer was on Sunday
• Taxis do leave Siem Reap after 2pm - my transfer arranged by Green Lion was at 3pm. Taxis also leave Samraong for Siem Reap on Friday evenings after school finishes
• The accommodation is in a secure "compound" with several other volunteers. It's basic, but nice. There are 4 volunteers per room each with its own bathroom (although there was often little or no water from the shower, a problem that I think has now been solved)
• The accommodation is, I would guess, 3 kilometres from the school, so travel to school is by bike. I didn't know this until I arrived and was very nervous about cycling on roads without a helmet and no lights (I refused to cycle at night which limited some of the activities I could take part in). My advice is to bring a helmet and lights
• I'd also suggest buying a full rain poncho in Siem Reap for about $5, an umbrella or jacket suggested by Global Nomadic wouldn't be much use cycling in torrential rain. You'll also need clothes that cover knees and shoulders when teaching. I didn't need water purification tablets as plenty of fresh drinking water was always available at the guesthouse
• We taught mornings and afternoons - not the 3 hours advertised but 6 hours per day including breaks. This was from 8am - 11am and again from 2pm - 5pm. It was very hot midday and gets dark soon after 5.30pm so I had very little opportunity to visit the local area which was a real shame as I thought I'd be free every morning or afternoon and that I'd have the Sunday to explore before the project started
• The project does not ask for resources, but if I had known that whiteboards are used (not blackboards), I would have brought out some refillable coloured board markers and ink to supplement the single coloured pen which was supplied
All in all it was a good experience but I'd suggest booking direct with Green Lion if possible.

What would you improve about this program?
Green Lion should find out what their agents are telling volunteers as the lack of communication prior to joining made me feel very apprehensive in the days leading up to my arrival in Samraong - I've volunteered abroad as a teacher every year for the last 15 years and have not had such a negative experience with an agent before.
We should also be told that we'd need to cycle to school on main roads, I wouldn't have chosen this project had I known.
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No, I don't recommend this program

False Advertising!

This internship had so much false advertising. Another intern I knew who did the TV station internship told me they hardly had him do anything--mostly just sit in the office.

I did the print journalism internship. To start with, the homestay option was nonsense. Don't count on getting one! They put me in a sordid apartment to share a room with 3 other people. As for the job description, you won't teach anybody English, they don't care about ideas to "Westernize" or proofread the content (they have their own editors who speak English), and you won't have opportunity to follow anybody into the field because the local staff is just too busy for you.

Granted, I was given a lot of freedom as to the topics I could write on. However, it was incredibly difficult to get information since so many websites were all in Mongolian, and much of the local staff just didn't care to help me.

As for the "representative" who was supposed to accommodate me, he was always very difficult to reach by phone, and totally unreliable: he never put more money on my phone card like he said he would, and it took him 3 weeks to get me my passport back (my roommate got it back from another guy in 2 days).

Furthermore, nobody gives you any guidance on speaking Mongolian (hardly anybody speaks English), and nobody gave me any suggestion on places to go or things to do in Ulaanbaatar.

In summary, it was nice to go to Mongolia, but I don't appreciate at all the lies that Global Nomadic put on its website, nor the horrid service I received after arriving.

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Yes, I recommend this program

One of the most rewarding and meaningful experiences of my life.

Global Nomadic placed me quickly and smoothly with an awesome Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina for my Communications internship.

This internship is as rewarding as you make it. There was no actual set hours or mentor to guide you, so you could choose to work hard and learn the ropes yourself, or simply glide through. Obviously, I chose the former: I brought my laptop and camera (highly recommended as they are not provided) and worked closely with the Comms team on promoting their many projects throughout the big, vibrant city. We traveled to communities to take footage and interview directors of the projects, and I busted out my Spanish and facilitated the interviews, as well as had the opportunity to write articles about the people, culture, and places. I loved the people and the non-profit I worked for. Everyone was super chill, and even though I didn't live in the housing, I saw them there often as it was our headquarters for the Comms team. It also worked out that I had a videographer intern on my team, so I got to fulfill my desire of learning more about film editing and the software.

I really felt good about promoting the eight projects (and seeing where some of my money went) that help underprivileged Argentinians; I gained a new perspective, immersed myself in a new culture, and tried new things. That was my goal: to connect with the locals, to be able to communicate and understand their lives, and to use my creative skills to help them and their projects thrive. And of course, to return to Canada equipped with unique experience in my field to add to my portfolio for future employers.

I love Buenos Aires. Saw it as a tourist in 2014, and lived as a local there this year. Two entirely different experiences, but both some of the best times of my life. Thank you!

What would you improve about this program?
-More communication, updates, and support between Global Nomadic and Interns. I found that after the initial placement, I hadn't heard from them until the end of my 10-week internship. With so little contact, it's hard to write a review specifically for the company.

-Ensure Interns speak at least basic Spanish for this program to make it easier for the projects and people they work for, and easier on themselves. A lot were overwhelmed by the language barrier because they were led to believe they didn't require any Spanish. This makes it hard for the intern to have a fulfilling experience if they can't communicate or understand co-workers during their placement.

- Invest in resources for Comms interns; a camera, microphone, a tripod (nobody's going to pack on in their suitcase) - anything like that, because if an Intern comes without (I knew several who did) they are left twiddling their thumbs (of course, they're at fault for not bringing their own). Higher priority: Microphone (for interviews) and tripod. For the most part, people will bring their cameras and laptops. If this is not feasible, at least triple check with them to bring their own stuff before departure!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Elephant journey

About a year ago, I found myself searching for an experience that wasn't stereotypical. I wanted something new and exciting. Therefore, I used the only research tool up to the task, the internet. After plugging in a few key words I found a sight that really peaked my interest, Global Nomadic. The options were limitless, with an expanse of internships involved in various major interests, taking people to all corners of the globe. Eventually, I came upon an internship that really interested. It was a trip to Laos, a land locked country between Thailand and Vietnam, and an opportunity to work with Asian elephants. The process of booking the trip through Global Nomadic made it a breeze, they even helped me book my flights. The site itself also prepared me for what to expect with an itinerary, sleeping arrangements, and even what to bring. The only thing I had to do was get on the plane. Global Nomadic made this trip so easy and honestly; it was an experience I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is perhaps a better estimate of how much money to bring considering I brought way too much.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Don't Use Global Nomadic

I went through Global Nomadic to become a volunteer at the a local nonprofit...this was unecessary as GN did nothing to support my stay and I could of just went through the volunteer organization's website! Save some bucks and forget GN! I LOVED MY TIME OTHERWISE!

What would you improve about this program?
If I didn't have to pay Global Nomadic things would of been better.
Response from Global Nomadic

I am glad that you had a good experience with this amazing organisation that we support (at no cost to themselves). We spend a lot of time, effort and resources finding, vetting and visiting each project we work with. I am glad that our efforts helped you to find and work with this organisation, and that this organisation benefited from your participation, not to mention from us helping them to find good interns and support their work.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Birgit Podelsky

Birgit Podelsky is an Estonian traveller. She graduated from a British university with a Film studies degree and is currently working in TV distribution in Toronto, Canada. She participated in the Global Nomadic journalsim careership in Mongolia in October of 2013.

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Global Nomadic in Mongolia?

The decision to volunteer for Global Nomadic came out of the blue as is the case with most major ideas in my life. Well actually I had been daydreaming of going to a far away country for a bit. And as my background is in media I hoped to incorporate some career enhancement into my traveling daydream. And the first thing that popped up while Googling 'Journalism internship' was the Global Nomadic option.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

My day-to-day life during weekdays was split between my host family and work at the TV station. I lived with a sweet family. Two older parents and a girl my age. They gave me a separate bedroom and a queen size bed. Them three, on the other hand, slept on the living room floor. Without mattresses, just sheets. Mongolian hospitality is something else I tell you.

I would wake up and we would have breakfast together. They were very curious about my cornflakes and soy milk and laughed that I eat strange. That was while drinking fermented horse milk themselves. I lived close to the TV station and walked to work every morning. I would tag along with the news crew when they went filming.

Once me and the family were watching TV in the evening and we spotted my bright colorful clothes among the professional looking journalists and politicians that were filming a press conference. I also did quite a lot of research. I wrote my own stories and filmed them on the streets of UB with my fellow intern from Texas.

I almost scheduled an interview with the mayor of Ulaanbaatar as I was writing a story about traffic issues. Even though it got cancelled I felt privileged for a tiny moment. Therefore the work experience part was quite interesting.

What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

Apart from work experience I took time every weekend to explore the adventurous side of Mongolia. We often went for road trips with the co-ordinator. Mongolians like to off-road a lot, they also don't believe in seat belts. So I often found myself driving on the backseat of a speeding car jumping up and down to the rhythm of some Mongolian pop song.

While looking out the car window I could see mountain tops covered with silky sand and tribe drawings. Cows and camels were walking around and beautifully dressed herders would follow them. It was just so picturesque at every footstep.

Was it difficult to navigate around language barriers?

The language barriers were definitely more evident than I had imagined. Even though Ulaanbaatar has a lot of foreign investors and businessmen living in the city, the local people still have a hard time learning the sufficient level of english. People in UB mostly talk in numbers.

They carry a calculator around them. If you are not local, the calculator shows higher figures. That's all the english they need and it works well.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)

The trip had somewhat of an affect to my career pursuit. I applied for a job over the internet while I was in Mongolia. I sent a resume in, but did not think I would get a reply. But they called and I had an interview straight after arriving back to Toronto.

I had slept for 3 hours before the interview due to a major jet lag. I can't even remember what I said exactly. But I guess a month among such peaceful people and camels had a relaxing effect, cause I miraculously got the job. I washed my horse smelling clothes and started an office job a few days later.

All in all the trip was amazing and I recommend this program to anyone.

Staff Interviews

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

Tell us a little about Global Nomadic and your role at the company.

Global Nomadic was founded in 2009 to help young professionals find the experience they need to further their career or find meaningful experiences.

Global Nomadic provide placements and experiences in a range of different fields, from medicine and education, to veterinary science and journalism and many more - matching you with reputable, worthwhile organisations around the world.

How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

After having travelled widely and participated in many volunteer projects around the world, I realized I could help others find these great projects. I selected various projects to visit to ensure they are reputable, and offer what they say they do.

What makes Global Nomadic unique?

We work directly with projects all over the world, and will put you directly in contact with them. We are here to offer full pre-departure support and make sure you have everything you need from start to finish. we are on hand to help at every step of the way. We add no commission to any project, instead we ask for a placement fee to cover our costs.

How do you ensure your programs are sustainable and mutually beneficial for you, the community, and the volunteers?

We only select the best projects that we find, that are run by well-intentioned serious individuals We would not support any project which did not our strict guidelines and are not environmentally or socially beneficial.

What does the future hold for Global Nomadic?

We look to increase the number of projects we work with, travelling at least once a year to visit existing partners and find out new ones. We also wish to offer our experiences more to groups, whether from schools, universities or friends.