GoEco

GoEco

About

GoEco is a leading eco-tourism company with a varied selection of affordable volunteer projects abroad. We act as a gateway to over 150 extraordinary community, wildlife and environmental initiatives all over the world thanks to our great partnerships. Join one of our rewarding projects and become a part of the global volunteer movement!

Website
www.goeco.org

Reviews

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Krista
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an incredible experience volunteering in Calga, Australia at the Animal Sanctuary. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go. I was able to learn about and work with so many great animals that are native to Australia. I also worked on maintaining fox proof fencing that surrounded and protected the entire sanctuary and all the critters inside. It was awesome seeing all your hard work pay off. Through volunteering I also got to meet some amazing people from around the world that I know will be life long friends. Lastly, this was my first time traveling alone and to Australia. I felt very prepared for my trip and safe the whole time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you have the opportunity to go, just go! You won't regret it.
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Alyia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not only did I learn a lot from the program itself, but I met some amazing other volunteers who I still occasionally talk to about the park at which we volunteered. It was a wonderful learning opportunity and all of the employees of Oakvale would explain everything to me, so I understood what we were doing. I didn't think I would enjoy doing manual labor as much as I did while I was there, but I found it really fun to plant and mulch when I knew it would benefit the animal living in that enclosure. I know that quite a few of the keepers that had been at the park have left to work at the Australia Zoo, but I am sure whoever they hire next will be just as awesome.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I personally struggle a lot with social anxiety, so I was really nervous about being out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I decided to go through with it because every person I met made me feel welcomed.
Read my full story
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Brigitte
4/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose Madagascar after hearing many great things about the place and how beautiful it was. I wanted to see with my own eyes. I then chose the Lemur project because this animal intrigued me and I have to be honest I loved the movie Madagascar.
When I first arrived I thought the landscapes were beautiful.
If I’m honest when I fist arrived at the house as my accommodation I was not impressed and felt uncomfortable. The place was dirty, colorless and very basic. We never saw any pictures of the house but I had assumed it would be more than basic for the amount of money I paid.
The rooms were spacious enough for all of us staying together and it felt cozy. The bathroom was okay but seeing cockroaches everyday was not pleasant. I even saw a rat in the kitchen one night.
Some of the bathroom accessories were broken but were mostly fixed during the weeks I stayed there.
One of the issues I have to comment about the house is the heat, being sweaty all the time. On a daily basis the electricity was out of power therefore no fans and water.
I had a hard time sleeping at night because of the heat so after 2 weeks I decided to sleep on the floor under the fan to be more comfortable.
The food was amazing since the cooks were great. I wished they prepared more in order to get seconds sometimes since the guys eat more than us. Breakfast needs to change!! Eating baguettes and an egg everyday is not appealing after 2 weeks.
The Coordinator was a bit too micro-managing the house if you ask me. He made the ladies feel uncomfortable and with a sense of eavesdropping on us. He was not keen with making changes in the house and taking feedback during my stay.

I would recommend this place only if changes are made.

What would you improve about this program?
The project information should be updated with current information about the accommodation, add some pictures about the house and the surroundings, working programs are not up to date since the workload and agenda presented lacks what we do. Should change the front picture of the beach since it is not the one close to the project but one you need to pay to visit. It is misinformed because I thought that amazing beach was close to our accommodation and that was one of the reasons I came to Madagascar to see that FREE beach.
Now talking about the project, I loved the environment. The Lemurs are amazing animals to see from close and how they behave. I was happy to work with them and the friendly staff. I have nothing negative to say about the project but simply because it is a good place to be they should provide more workload to do instead of sitting in a restaurant for 2 hours. I wished I could have done more. It would have been nice to learn more about the culture by helping the community and the kids in our spare time instead of sitting in a restaurant.
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Heidi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the amazing hostel in Jo-burg to immersing ourselves in the history & culture of Soweto to Wildlife Sanctuary, this was undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime. I truly felt I got a 360 degree experience through my partnership with GoEco. Everyday at the sanctuary was an adventure. I walked to breakfast next to grazing zebras, watched giraffes at dinner, & laughed at monkeys stealing food from the wart hogs. The people were warm, fun, and now lifetime friends. Sign up now! You won't be sorry!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
When we visited Soweto, we had the pleasure of dining at a local restaurant with traditional food. It was buffet style so I went around and added whatever I wanted to my plate, some of which is still a mystery. I got to salad bar and saw, what I thought, was a cold, couscous salad. I got back to my table and took a big bite of this couscous dish and immediately realized something was not right. It was not pleasant! I soon figured out that I had taken a nice, big bite of minced garlic! I didn't want to be the rude American so I chewed and swallowed it and apologized to my friends for the garlic magic they would smell the rest of the day. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was delicious!
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Elli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As someone who has been to many volunteer programs in Israel, I can honestly say they are all worth attending. From the Wildlife Center in the south to the Vegan Bakery in Tel Aviv, each program offers unique and immeasurable traveling experiences.

It's not often one has the opportunity to sink their teeth into Israeli culture using a completely different lens than that of a usual tourist. The work I accomplished, the people I met, and the places I visited made this experience hard to forget. If you're looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, GoEco will help you find the most suitable one for you as they did for me.

Happy traveling!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

A friend of mine approached me about doing an overseas volunteer trip over the summer. Together, we researched different programs and websites in order to find one that suited us, as well as allowed people under the age of 18. We wanted the program to revolve around animals, given our shared love for the environment. We landed on the Newcastle Wildlife experience, it seemed perfect.

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

On our own, we had to book flights and transportation to Newcastle. Given that we were both underaged, we had a lot of parental help with that.

The program provided nearly everything else, including telling us what to pack. They provided housing, transportation, food, and entertainment. As well as working basically two weeks full-time, I got to experience a lot outside of that through traveling to Sydney and learning about the culture on my own.

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

I would encourage anyone to go, even if it seems out of their comfort zone. It was a wonderful experience and it really brought me out of my shell. I would also recommend that if you can get someone to travel with you, do it. It made it a lot easier for me to adjust to such a different place with a friend by my side.

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

Each day, we drove to the park. The drive was about an hour and a half, but it didn't seem long because all the volunteers conversed the entire ride. When we got to the park, we worked for about two hours before tea time, where we ate snacks. As an American, I wasn't used to tea time and I ate my entire lunch on accident.

After that, we worked until lunch and then worked a little more driving back to the house. On our first day of work, we were given a schedule on who and what we would be working with each day, ranging from mammals to reptiles to food preparation.

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

I have social anxiety, so I was personally most afraid of being away from people I was comfortable with. It helped to have a friend there, but once we were at work, we weren't really together for the entire day, except for the occasional crossing of our paths or overlap of our work. My views changed pretty quickly once I got comfortable with the other volunteers and all the keepers at Oakvale.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite experience would have to be feeding the dingoes. I got to see the way that they were trained and how they were taken care of. I watched them play with enrichment, and I got to take pictures with them.

It was really awesome because, stereotypically, dingoes are a threat to humans, but seeing some that had been raised in captivity really opened my eyes to how friendly they are.

Staff Interviews

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

Cassandra Federbusz

Job Title
PR Manager

woman smiling

What is your favorite travel memory?

In October 2013, I spontaneously decided to join my friend in Nepal to do the Annapurna Circuit Trek after a three-month backpacking adventure in Europe. It was the most awe-inspiring journey I have ever taken. When I finally reached Thorong-La Pass (5416 m. high) I was extremely proud of myself (and stuffed from all the Dal Bhat I ate to get there)!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I think any destination that isn't filled with tourists is definitely worth exploring.

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

Since working at GoEco, my knowledge of the world has expanded, from discovering new destinations to learning about issues I never knew existed. I've come to truly appreciate international volunteers' contributions around the globe and the role GoEco plays in the industry.

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

We hear some incredible stories from returning volunteers each year, but I think the one that stuck with me the most so far is from Lucas after his participation in the Medical and Health Care project in India. In his blog he wrote:

"The small hospital waiting room was crowded -- full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital every day. The doctors are heroes there, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about."

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

GoEco was recently named "Top Volunteer Abroad Organization" of 2015. It was an extremely proud moment for all of us.