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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M
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My daughter and I have volunteered with Global Volunteers for 2 years and we are looking forward to working again soon! It is a fabulous opportunity to help and experience new cultures. The best part is meeting the local people! Our work in Quito, Ecuador was headed by Maggie Bjorklund and she was fantastic! The program was very well organized and we always felt safe. We spent two weeks doing labor work at a pre-school and loved playing with the children and assisting the teachers. The hotel we stayed was very comfortable and everyone was very helpful. Our daily breakfast was ready in the mornings and our lunches were delicious! We also had some free time to explore the city and to try typical Ecuadorian foods. I highly recommend Global Volunteers! It will exceed your expectations!

What would you improve about this program?
We would not change a thing. Everything was very well organized and there was also lots of flexibility to accommodate last minute changes. We appreciate the pick-up and airport return- always on time! Our hotel was centrally located near restaurants and supermarkets.
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Kathleen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on my first Global Volunteer trip this year to the Blackfeet Nation in Montana. I have Loved Montana for as long as I can remember. This was at least my fourth time there albeit a different location each time. I chose Global Volunteers due to the recommendation of a colleague who had gone elsewhere. She had nothing but praise for the organization and now I know why.
I have no problem travelling alone and I was excited to meet new people and to provide service to others again. Our team leader was very friendly, knowledgeable and flexible. He reiterated that we would only work in capacities and areas in which we had been invited by the local community. What I found was we were welcomed with open arms due to the strong reputation of the "Globals"! The people welcomed our labor but also eagerly engaged with us as newfound friends! We readily shared information about our families and culture. We got to experience immersion into the community as no tourist could! We were invited into homes and allowed to experience Indian traditions such as a sweat lodge, ranching and native dance.
Our work varied, but some of us went to the local nursing home to interact with and get to know some residents where some beautiful stories of early lives were shared with the volunteers. Other volunteers assisted in delivering meals to local residents and helping refill shelves at the food pantry. A few people helped repair fences and dug post holes, a very laborious task in this Montana soil! One afternoon I helped serve lunch to children at a private school and also assisted in organizing the Thrift Store.
I always felt safe and the accommodations were fine. The food was very good and we were always asked for input from our team leader regarding work projects and supper plans. I really enjoyed our team morning meetings and sharing our experiences. This team seemed like a good fit as we all were of the mind to serve others and keep an open mind to a new culture, along with learning about each other in the group. I'm not sure where I'll go next but I've already been reading about the Global Volunteers’ other sites. I have no hesitation about working with this organization again.

What would you improve about this program?
I'm not sure if there is anything that I could change about this program.
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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.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These 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.