Global Volunteers Partners in Development

Global Volunteers

About

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 37,000+ 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.

Reviews

Default avatar
Gordon
5/5
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.

Pros
  • 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.
Default avatar
Mary Beth
5/5
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.

Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • No dessert with meals
Default avatar
Mary
5/5
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!

Pros
  • 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!
Cons
  • Airline travel today is a challenge!
Default avatar
lei
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Montana BackFeet

Deeply involve native American daily life. Through food center, kid summer camp and senior center, we know what they need, and how we can help them. Meanwhile, we gain the knowledge from them about the culture, skill and habit.
On the food center, we worked with the staff of the local food bank, unloading deliveries and assisting community members in selecting healthy options.
Even the kid summer program is a high-energy assignment, it helps supervise field trips, play and direct games.
Meanwhile, we can assist the activities director at the senior center with stimulating projects and visit one-on-one with Blackfeet elders.
It is indeed a nice trip! You should try to experience this trip by yourself.

Default avatar
PATTY
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Sicily Summer Camp

I've participated in Global volunteer programs in 3 other countries. This team was the largest team I've been with, there were 21 of us. Half of the 21 were folks under 26. The intergenerational nature of the experience was terrific. The team was cohesive, and fun! We had the opportunity to create a never before Summer School for kids in Castelvatrano. While it was challenging, it was also very rewarding.

I'd recommend the summer experience for families. It's a chance to work together as a family and build bridges with folks you would otherwise never interact with.

Pros
  • Beautiful location
  • Wonderful local folks
  • Great Country Manager
Cons
  • Costly to get to Sicily.
  • It also takes a lot of time to get to the location.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 15

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

Poland is a country that I had very little knowledge about. I knew very little of it historically. After doing some investigation, the history of Poland seemed like something I could enjoy learning about.

I had previously volunteered in China as an English facilitator and thought that there might be a similar opportunity in Poland. Working with students has helped me broaden my horizons as well as given me an opportunity to give back on a personal level.

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

I volunteered through Global Volunteers. I want to emphasize how helpful they were. From my perspective, they laid out the “game plan” of what we were trying to accomplish on this assignment. They also provided the support I needed, being relatively new at overseas volunteering. In-country support and guidance were very helpful.

Through Global Volunteers, I was able to customize my individual teaching days to different schools.

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

I would say that going in with a Flexible, Positive and Enthusiastic attitude is the best way to approach this or any program.

Be Flexible on any change in plans that occur, because sometimes that can happen.

Be Positive even when your lesson plan does not “land” as well as you would like. Learn from it and adjust as needed.

Be Enthusiastic about teaching the students, and about Learning the culture yourself. Your Enthusiasm has a tendency to be contagious and is a great way to introduce yourself to others.

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

We had an outlined “ game plan”.

I worked with an experienced group and they gave great guidance.

A) The evening before: We prepared our lesson plan. Usually “English Exercises or Lessons”.

B) Next morning around breakfast time, we fine-tuned our “lesson plan” and discussed it with other members. We would also give “thought of the day” and read the “Daily minutes” from the previous day. Afterward, we were on our way to the schools.

C) Did our introductions to the classes and interacted with students in a way that would support the learning objectives. (Speaking, listening or writing in English).

D) After classes, we would have a “regroup” with fellow volunteers and talk through “what went well and what could be improved“. This was a great time for others in our group to give suggestions.

E) In the afternoon, we had about an hour and 30 minutes to tutor about 4-6 young kids who were wanting to learn English. Usually playing cards or memory games.

F) After dinner, we would start on our next day's learning plan and discussion.

This process was repeated every day except weekends.

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

Going to a new or different place can be a source of anxiety. I arrived in the country about a week early and traveled around to learn some of the cultures. For me, this was a good way to transition into the assignment and relieve some of the anxiety that could arise. Interactions with the local folks served as a great way to “fit in” and feel more comfortable.

What is my greatest “take away “ thoughts from Volunteering, especially overseas?

I think there are a couple of points.

1) People are more similar than different. I felt extremely welcome when I was in Poland. I was included and welcomed in many cultural activities. Just as we have busy lives and are focused on our families, so are they.

2) People seem to have a curiosity about others who are not from their direct culture. I wanted to learn as much about them as they wanted to learn about me. To me, the key is to learn it as a student, the same way they learned from me.

3) “Seek to understand first”. Understanding a different culture first can help in the teaching/ learning process. Do not assume that other cultures are the same as yours.

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.