Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers

About

Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984 - and trusted by 34,000+ volunteers. Volunteering for one to three weeks under the direction of local leaders, team members form groundwork for international peace via common, global understanding. Our goal is to sustain authentic development projects with the host community and give volunteers wide opportunities to help.

Global Volunteers' tax-deductible volunteer program fees start at $1,045. The fee includes all meals, accommodations, airport transportation, transportation within volunteer projects, project costs, administrative expenses, and support from Global Volunteers staff. Discounts are also available for students, family and multi-person groups, and returning volunteers. Free-time activities, airfare, or other travel are not included in the fees.

Founded
1984
Headquarters

375 East Little Canada Road
St. Paul, MN 55117-1628
United States

Reviews

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Carolyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Being with these kids in Ecuador changes you. My 12 yo son came with me. What we learned from these amazing people who experienced poverty: that you feel joy, that you love your kids like crazy, that you have hopes & dreams for them, and they are attainable. We saw unending love and dignity there. The teachers at the daycare are angels. Our team worked hard during the day, then at night -over delicious homemade meals- we debriefed, we laughed, we compared all the connections we have between the cultures. The guidance of our leader Maggie- a rock star! We want to go back. My son remembers details about this special vacation, when all other 'beach' vacation memories have sadly merged together, unimportant. It was a such a profound experience.

What was your funniest moment?
Our tour guide Richard, what a comedian! Such a doll
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Anne Marie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The people of Nepal were simply just lovely & the kids were super excited to have us! They were so kind to us and I looked forward to classes everyday we were there. The kids showered us with small gifts the last day of school! The team leader, Stephen, is an amazing group leader! I was surprised on the value of the trip given all we did during our time there. There are many nearby temples to visit, plus the hotel was located in a lively shopping district so it was a lot of fun to be right in the action of the city! Excellent local restaurants all within walking distance & the food was spectacular. I also felt very comfortable walking around, day or night, solo, with no fear being alone. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a relatively easy journey out of the country. Anne Marie

What would you improve about this program?
Spend more time in an orphanage or engaging with locals in the eve or after school & less time in restaurants. But, this is just me! I'm just not into eating out & would have been fine with granola bars for dinner & more time with local people.
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Sue
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My then 14-year-old son Josh and I loved being part of the GV trip to Quito in mid-February. From a mom's perspective, I saw my son with new eyes as he interacted with the construction "crew" (GV volunteers and local helpers). And I'll never forget watching him as he worked with the young children I was working with. He helped get them ready for their naps and then came back after his building work to take the children down for afternoon snacks, holding their hands, playing little games, using his ninth-grade Spanish with them. I had moments of pride -- and discovery! I never knew my son was so considerate and gentle and it took a GV trip to show me that. Josh adds that the GV trip has given him more confidence to deal with new people and new situations. Altogether we loved our time with a terrific group of people and would highly recommend doing a service trip -- as a family.

Andrew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Such a wonderful program! The work projects were well organized and genuinely helpful. The team leader was well-informed, fun and a great resource. Such a great way to visit and learn about Cuba. We were in Ciego de Avila for most of the program and then went into Havana for the weekend to learn about the life of the local people, visit some museums and get a better sense of what it is like to be in the Capital of Cuba.

Travel to Cuba can be a little daunting, but not with Global Volunteers. They helped us every step of the way, answered all of our questions, and unlike many other organizations, had someone to meet us at the airport with the rest of the group. The lodging at the casa particular was wonderful and way beyond what any of us expected.

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Kathy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ever wish upon a star and have that wish come true? My wish came true in 2007 when I discovered Global Volunteers. I have been on 9 Global Volunteer Teams in India, and in March 2019, on the inaugural team for the launch of the Nepal Program. Global’s programs are designed around a philosophy of service in which volunteers serve as well as learn under the direction of the local host community partners. The Nepal program is an enriching experience for all age groups where you will meet amazing men, women and children, be awed by magnificent vistas of the Himalayan mountains, and ultimately have a unique and enriching volunteer experience in the wonderful city of Kathmandu. While you immerse yourself in one of the many work projects, Global takes care of your everyday needs – great accommodation, wonderful meals at local restaurants, and transportation to work sites. My work site was with 2, 3 and 4 year old children where I received a daily dose of love and fun teaching and playing with the beautiful children as well as warm friendships with the very special teachers. Each day volunteers shared their experiences with team members so we all had a sense of the work being done at other sites by those in school classrooms, or working with marginalized women, or helping with repairs to orphanages affected by the 2015 earthquake. The Nepal program was an immersive cultural experience – a chance to make a difference by traveling with purpose and at the same time having free time to discover this amazing culture. I can’t wait to return once again as a Global Volunteer!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

Have traveled with Global Volunteers (GV) on 10 programs. The fact that Nepal was a new program was enticing because we like the idea of helping establish programs. It also requires a considerable amount of flexibility because one never knows what might happen in the early stages of of developing programs. Nepal has some wonderful history and the scenery is spectacular!

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

GV provides plenty of support as you begin the process of getting ready for the trip, including general country information, basic language usage, cultural information and packing needs/requirements. Once on the ground, GV takes care of in-country transportation, lodging and food, as well as support by a country manager in developing and performing various tasks.

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

We have done so many trips of this nature that there are few surprises, so I don't have anything of note; however, I encourage anyone considering a trip of this nature to go with an open heart and an open mind. You will receive much more than you will give and your life will be truly enriched. Be flexible, live in the moment and remember that you are a guest!

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

All GV programs are different in that each one serves needs that are specific and requested by the host community. Each day starts with a morning meeting, which includes reaffirmation of daily assignments, reading of the daily log and a thought for the day. We worked with English teachers on methods and spent 4 hours with direct contact and other time preparing lessons. Before dinner we met to discuss our day and talk about issues that may have come up.

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

We really had no fears. We get an adrenaline rush from being in environments where we are a minority; we are vulnerable and have to rely on others to make it through. People around the world are all the same and if you let them they will provide amazing service and care. Language can be an issue, but a smile goes along ways.

Any tips for someone considering this program?

The people of Nepal are incredibly sweet and extremely happy. They are proud of their country and want us to have a wonderful time. The mix of Buddhism and Hinduism offer an opportunity to experience religions that are not well known at home. Observe, ask questions and enhance your world literacy.