Global Volunteers Partners in Development

Global Volunteers

Why choose Global Volunteers?

Global Volunteers, an international NGO in special consultative status with the United Nations, has mobilized short-term volunteers on long-term development programs worldwide since 1984 - and is trusted by 39,000+ volunteers, college and corporate organizers and faith-based organizations. Groups, families and individuals serve for one to three weeks under the direction of local leaders, applying their unique skills and interests on a broad variety of projects to help children and families reach their full potential.

Global Volunteers is a long-standing safety leader abroad and in the USA. Discounts are extended to groups, students, families, companions, and returning volunteers. The tax-deductible fixed program contribution ranges from $1,045 to 2,995 and includes orientation, all meals, accommodations, ground transportation, project materials, medical emergency evacuation insurance, a trained team leader, administrative expenses, and 24-hour staff contact.


Celebrating birthdays on April 22, 2023 with Global Volunteers team members at Pitousi’s in Heraklion, Crete, Greece!
Yes, I recommend this program

Serving in Heraklion, Crete, Greece was awe-inspiring!

Hello! Yassou!
My husband Dave and I served in Heraklion, Crete, Greece, a biblical island, with Global Volunteers from Saturday, April 22, 2023 to Saturday, May 6th, 2023, and our experience was awe-inspiring with the snow-dusted White Mountains 🏔️ on an island that rose up more than 20 million years ago from the bottom of the Tethys Sea in a clash of the African and Asian tectonic plates which formed a chain of mountains surrounded by the aqua-colored Aegean Sea to the Northeast and Mediterranean Sea 🌊 to the south of Crete. Between the island of Crete and the Holy Land to the southeast is the island of Cypress; located southwest of the Island of Crete is the country of Lybia in Africa, and to the East is Turkey, a historic rival of over 2,000 years!

We learned so much in just a short two weeks about church, military, science and engineering, about geo-political issues of the island of Crete, and of the Minoans, the first civilization which began in Europe at the Palace of Knossos from 7,000 years ago on the island of Crete! After having experienced visiting the island of Crete, we stopped in at the Heraklion Archeological Museum, the Historical Museum of Crete, the Natural History Museum of Crete, and the Heraklion Heirloom Exhibit at the Basilica of St. Mark’s, and we included our findings in discussions of conversational English with Tenya’s students in the evenings from 5:30-9:00 p.m.

It’s compulsory for young people to pass English exams, in order to be admitted to a university. Volunteers aid students in becoming fluent in speaking English through question and answer sessions. Also, we played Uno two evenings at Tenya’s in between conversational English. Each evening, Tenya filled us with bakery goodies, and when we left, Tenya sent us home with homemade orange 🍊 marmalade, honey, homemade brandy, treats, and handcrafted book marks.

Additionally, we were taken on a tour of the burial museum at Agios Konstantinos, Church of St. Constantine and St. Helen, in Heraklion on our last day of service where we were educated about burial customs in Crete! Kitchen staff, Stavroula and Fr. Konstantine Pitsikaki were so warm, welcoming and, especially, generous as we peeled and cut onions 🧅 , carrots 🥕, potatoes 🥔 and tomatoes 🍅 and as we sorted bread in the kitchen where residents most in need stopped for meals.

While at Agios Konstantinos Church, we were offered coffee and goodies each morning that we served in the kitchen and in the church. We were sent away with gifts of red wine, candy, bottles of Greek olive oil, and we were offered meals daily, however we already ate in abundance breakfast at Anna’s Studio where we stayed for two weeks, and we were offered an abundance of food at Pitousi’s or Heaven restaurants daily for lunch and supper on the days that we ate with our teammates. We were truly blessed in abundance with all we needed and much more than we ever expected! We left Crete full of love, surrounded by the love of family, my husband, our teammates from Global Volunteers, by the staff at Agios Konstantinos Church, by Tenya and her students in the evenings, by the cab drivers who conversed with us and got us safely to and from our destinations.

We spent a three-day weekend prior to May Day going beach hopping along the northwestern coast to Chainia, Rethymno, and at Platanos. On May 1st, 2023, May Day, which most everyone takes off to celebrate in Greece, we golfed at the Crete Golf Course, and then we stopped at Creta Aquarium in Gournes, Crete located about 9 miles east of Heraklion. The Crete Golf Course has deep gorges as it is mountainous, so watch your step. Creta Aquarium is highly recommended for families to visit.

While in Crete, our shower was not as we had expected. It included a shower floor with a faucet and hand-held shower nosel which sprayed water all over the bathroom floor if we let it! But despite this, we had our needs met, and we were blessed in abundance! Some insights that came from this adventure-in-service mission trip through Global Volunteers: We are not called to live necessarily materialistically, with so much space and with so many products, but when we live to care for the environment, ourselves, and others, we will be truly blessed and more than we ever thought possible with healthy, nutritious food to eat, and surrounded by the love of family, friends and community!
Adio! Goodbye!

  • Delicious, nutritious food in abundance!
  • Hospitality more than you could imagine!
  • Plenty of museums and churches to see from the On/Off Bus! There’s 7,000 years of history to take in!
  • Shower at Anna’s was not a full stall.
  • No laundry facility at the hotel. Travelers must either take the bus to the laundromat or go to a hotel and stay where there’s a washing machine.
  • Driving is fast, so be careful. Sidewalks are minimal, and streets are narrow, especially in Athens.
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Yes, I recommend this program

GV Portugal February 2023

This was my fourth program and third country with GV (China and Poland). Had just as meaningful and exciting experience in Portugal as the other programs. Wonderful accommodations, well organized program given events (teachers on strike), and wonderful opportunities to interact with students and local adults we tutored. Had a wonderful tour of Beja by a retired high school history teacher, and local volunteers were extremely nice and helpful. I fulfilled my personal goal to learn more about Portuguese history. I was able to maintain my special diet of vegetarian, fish and eggs with no problem, and got to try a couple of traditional Portuguese cod specialties.

Though I was able to only go for one week this trip, recommend 2 week stay if possible—better value, more opportunity to work with local students, and option to tour over the intervening weekend.

  • Well organized.
  • Wonderful accommodations
  • Friendly locals and great sites.
  • Teachers we’re having a work slowdown when I was there
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Yes, I recommend this program

Serve in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Volunteering in the Rio Grand Valley in southern Texas was my 5th Global Volunteers service program. We hear so much about our southern border in the news. It was great to visit and serve in the area. We learned so much and did what we could to serve the community. We started our service by volunteering at the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank, one of the largest in the country, where we packed 482 food packages to go to low-income families. We spent 2 days at the Humanitarian Respite Center where we were able to interact with refugee families and play with the children there. We also served at a local soup kitchen. During our free time, we were able to visit the Santa Ana National Wildlife refuge where we were able to hike to the Rio Grande. On our last day, we visited the border area and saw the border wall that separates Mexico and the USA. In addition to all the places we visited, we were able to help with a home construction project. We also listened to two local women who have worked in the area for decades and gave us PowerPoint presentations on the USA Immigration policies over time. Our team leader, Barbara Morris, did an excellent job facilitating our experiences in the Rio Grande Valley. This weeklong journey was a unique service opportunity and simply amazing.

  • Very meaningful service opportunities with immigrants seeking asylum in the USA and a chance to serve and learn in this impoverished area of our country.
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Mary Beth
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Volunteers trip to Siedlce Poland 2022

I had an amazing experience while volunteering in Siedlce, Poland! From start to finish, the trip was well organized, details were fully communicated and disclosed, staff was outstanding to work with, everyone was welcoming, supportive and informative. This was a trip outside of my comfort zone, but the Global Volunteers staff put me at ease on many different levels. While at Reymontowka manor, we were treated wonderfully. We were provided with truly healthy and delicious meals every day. From the transportation to the grounds and accommodations - everything was well kempt, clean, and pleasing to the eye. I cannot say enough about how efficiently the schedule was kept and communicated to us. Teaching conversational English to children in nearby schools was satisfying and heart warming. I really felt like I was in good hands the entire duration of my trip to Siedlce, thanks to Global Volunteers.

  • Providing a bridge between America and Poland
  • Having the opportunity to teach conversational English to children
  • Spacious and beautiful manor with everything we needed under one roof
  • No dessert with meals
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Yes, I recommend this program

Montana Blackfeet Reservation

This was my first volunteer experience, so I had no idea what to expect. Two good friends and I picked this volunteer experience because so close after COVID we wanted to stay within the US and my friend had heard great things about Global Volunteers. We proudly wore our t-shirts on the plane with us and upon arrival at our connecting airport met two other volunteers heading to the same location. We instantly bonded!
Our group was "opening" the site after being closed for 2 years due to COVID. Peter, our fearless leader was great! He shared with us all of the volunteer opportunities (of which there were many) and we were able to have some choice into what we wanted to be involved in. Every day we had a morning meeting, and every evening a "debriefing" where we shared our experiences with the group. Besides "work" we were given plenty of opportunities to learn about the Blackfeet culture, to meet some of the local people and to see some of the sites with a local guide. We met some of the local artists and learned so much more about the Indian culture. We went on a wonderful horseback riding trip through the mountains. What has stayed with me, is that, away from work, family, friends and everyday responsibilities, I was able to find who I was again. This trip gave me such a sense of myself and what I can do to help others and I will take that feeling with me for a long time. My second trip with Global Volunteers is already planned, along with 3 of the other volunteers from the Montana trip!

  • Great opportunity to give back to the world and meet great people while doing it!
  • A way to see the world through the eyes of the people that live there.
  • Learn about yourself and all that you can do!
  • Airline travel today is a challenge!


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Alumni Interviews

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


Why did you choose this program?

My husband Dave and I worked with infants and children in Barlad, Romania 🇷🇴 in the psychiatric unit of a hospital 🏥 with Global Volunteers in May of 2017 before we received an email about the possibility of working with infants and children in a new orphanage, House of Angels, which was to be built in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. House of Angels has, apparently, since been built in Heraklion, but it may be a long while before infants and children can be transported to House of Angels. However, we decided to go to Heraklion, Crete this year in 2023 and serve teaching children conversational English. My husband was interested in going on a trip back in 2017, and we agreed that going on an adventure-in-service mission trip would be an even better idea!

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

Providers through Global Volunteers scheduled mission work, meals, transportation, accommodations, and country leaders from both Barlad, Romania 🇷🇴 and from Heraklion, Crete, Greece 🇬🇷 also immersed participants in the language.

We were required to take care of our own airlines tickets to and from our destinations, laundry 🧺, and any meals, sightseeing and transportation that were not connected with our service team. However, in Barlad, Romania, laundry service was provided at the time.

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

I would highly recommend Crete for most anyone! The meals were delicious and nutritious; people were super hospitable; and serving children by teaching conversational English was at the heart ❤️ of the service mission in Heraklion, Crete, Greece!

The Heraklion Archeological Museum, the Historical Museum of Crete, the Natural History Museum of Crete, the and the Heraklion Heirloom Exhibit at St. Mark’s Basilica, if it’s available are all worthwhile places to visit! Also, once you’ve seen the Heraklion Archeological Museum, then you’ll better understand the Palace of Knossos and where some items had been placed in palace or palatial buildings.

Next to the Natural History Museum of Crete is a delicious restaurant called Mare’s. In Lyon’s Square are located many restaurants, including places where boughatsa is served. Boughatsa was a delicious recipe carried with Turkish immigrants who were of Greek descent arriving back in Crete during the 1923 Treaty of Lusanne. You can find out more through the Heraklion Heirloom Exhibit, but if you don’t speak Greek, be sure and load a text to translate application on your iphone, so that you can read the Heirloom Exhibit as you go.

Also, be sure and stop in the many churches, if you’re able to, and light a candle 🕯️ for any prayer intentions, particularly in the Church of St. Titus Chapel in Heraklion. There are a variety of transportation methods, including the On/Off bus, city bus and taxi 🚕 to get around. Finally, there’s one golf course, the Crete Golf Club, which is mountainous, but there are deep gorges, so please watch your step, so that you don’t fall in! The Cretaquarium was a family-friendly place to visit!

Additionally, the waves 🌊 can be two-three feet high, especially in April when the weather is still cool, and the drop off is fast in front of Heaven restaurant in Amoudara, Crete, so I would not recommend swimming in the Aegean unless the waves are calm. The size of the waves remind us that God is bigger than any of us can imagine, even if you see people swimming in the big waves, or even if you’re told that the ocean is safe to swim in, use your own judgement.

Also, please be sure and watch your step walking in both Athens, Greece 🇬🇷 and in Heraklion, Crete, Greece 🇬🇷 because the sidewalks are nominal to non-existent, and streets are narrow and sometimes with holes in them. If you have any health issues and have difficulty walking, you may want to bring a walking stick, cane or especially a walker.

Also, if you stay at Anna’s Place in Amaudarra, then you will not have laundry services, so you will either need to take your laundry by public transit to a nearby laundromat or rent a hotel room and do your laundry somewhere else. Anna serves a delicious, healthy breakfast daily though, and you will have your needs met. The shower stalls in Anna’s Place are floor installations with movable shower nosels which can get the bathroom floor wet if you don’t aim the shower nosel right.

If you have extra time on the weekends, you may rent a car and go sightseeing, beach hopping, along the northwest coast, you can drive to Rethymno, Chania, and Platanos. There are hotels to stay in or vrbos to rent, including some with washing facilities if needed.

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

Daily, we would wake up between 6:00-6:30 a.m. and arrive downstairs at Anna’s Place for breakfast by 7:30 a.m. Someone was responsible for each day’s inspirational message while another party was responsible for recording a journal from the previous day. Team members were responsible for a day or two during the week or two weeks.

Then, we would leave by taxi around 8:15 a.m. to serve in the soup kitchen at Agios Konstantinos Greek Orthodox Church in Heraklion, beginning at about 8:30-9:00 a.m. where we would sort bread, as well as peel and slice carrots 🥕, onions 🧅 , and potatoes 🥔 or cut tomatoes and grind lemons 🍋. If the kitchen work was finished, we would sweep, dust and mop the church.

When our work was done at the church between 10:30-11:30 a.m., we would notify Kalliopi, our Country Team Lead, who would call a cab 🚕 for us. We would arrive back at Anna’s Place to either rest, sightsee, or walk to to the beach until we would meet our teammates for lunch around 2:30 p.m. Our teammates had to leave by 3:30 p.m, for their school to teach English while we (my husband and I) caught a city bus in Heraklion by 4:55 p.m., in order to arrive at Tenya’s to teach conversational English from about 5:30-8:55 p.m. each night. A taxi would be waiting for us outside of Tenya’s by 8:55 p.m, at which time Kalliopi would meet our team back at Anna’s for a late-night supper and discussion about how the day went. Kalliopi would bring us meat pies, gyros, and fruit for 9:00 p.m. supper before we would go to bed for the night.

This was not a relaxing vacation. It was a service trip, and we chose it. Volunteers can agree to serve in one or both opportunities.

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

My biggest fear of going abroad was navigating the airports and getting lost, however usually, there were employees to speak with in the airports. And when we got lost in Athens, my husband asked a young business owner on the sidewalk about how to find the streets we needed, in order to return to the Philio Boutique Hotel. We found Google Maps worked well, however iPhone directions did not sync up right away, and we ended up lost for awhile once in Athens.

What can we expect serving at the Agios Konstantinos Church?

You can expect a warm, welcoming reception from kitchen staff, Stavroula and Fr. Pitsikaki who treated us each day to coffee and goodies, as well as sent us away with wine, Greek olive 🫒 oil, treats, and a book about Greek burial customs!

What could we expect teaching conversational English with Tenya’s students?

You could expect students whom were eager to learn about how living in the United States is. Greek students, including many of whom were of Albanian descent, were respectful, polite, thoughtful young people who made our service trip enjoyable! We played Uno for fun in between conversational English when students completed their work two of the evenings in the two weeks we were there! It’s compulsory for Greek students to pass an English exam prior to entering a college or university someday. Also, nine months of military service is compulsory for young men at age 18 or when they graduate from a list-secondary school. Learning English fluently will help young people thrive someday in places where there is work. Where there is work available, English is typically spoken.

Staff Interviews

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

Chemida Popo-Cox

Job Title
St. Lucia Country Manager
Chemida handles the day-to-day logistics and volunteer management of the St. Lucia service program. Formerly teacher and acting principal at Anse la Raye Primary School, Chemida has lent support to volunteer teams since Global Volunteers’ partnership in Anse la Raye began in 2012. Born and raised in St. Lucia, Chemida has dedicated over 20 years to educating the children of Anse la Raye. She received her associate degree in Teacher Education and Education Administration from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia. In 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from New York City College of Technology, with a Bachelor’s degree in Teachers Technology Education.
Chemida gives a lecture

What is your favorite travel memory?

Natural scenery has always fascinated me so when I had to obtain a visa to gain entry into the U.S., I knew that my visit to Barbados, a sister island lying southeast of St. Lucia, would not be complete without visiting Harrison’s Cave. The wonderment of that placed totally enthralled me as I gazed upon the beauty of its various mineral formations.

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

I have become a more rounded individual. I am now more knowledgeable in many areas in which I previously had no or little experience, such as the importance of early childhood education, project management, growing vegetables, and interacting with people form diverse backgrounds. These experiences have made me more tolerant and understanding of others.

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

Annually one of my volunteers returns to the St. Lucia service program to find her “happy place”. The environment enables her to practice self-care while volunteering. The scenery and people are her therapy; it is her solace. It helps her unwind from the reality of her world and in her own words, “reenergizes and prepares me to reconnect with life at home."

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

Tanzania would be my first choice because of my ancestral ties to Africa and because of the Serengeti. I want to experience life firsthand there. It would be a wonderful thing to see the animals roaming freely on the vast grasslands. Additionally, the Tanzania service program epitomizes Global Volunteers' Philosophy of Service -- every step involved in empowering local people is in action there, so it would be the ideal place for me to experience.

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

We allow local people to drive their own development; we never tell them what is needed or how things should be done. That is, we work under the direction of, and along with, local people on projects of their own choosing. So, we support the local communities where we serve to help them improve.
I am happiest when my team is able to help at least one local person accomplish a goal. When life has become better for a person, that spells success for me.

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

With good leadership everyone involved will have clear lines of communication and responsibility. Staff members will know that their cases are heard. They will feel that they are not alone when challenges arise in both their professional and personal life; they are cared for holistically. This will motive and enable them to go above and beyond the call of duty. Happy staff, leads to an effective workforce and increased productivity.