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GVI

About

Founded in 1998, GVI runs online courses, virtual programs and travel-based education and training programs in various countries around the world. Each program is manned by our own staff and aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – as well as the objectives of local partners. We welcome participants from all around the world and help facilitate their development into global citizens.

Our commitment to running high-quality sustainable development and experiential education programs has earned us recognition from numerous organizations such as Panthera, Save The Children, and the Seychelles National Parks Authority, as well as, Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Ohio State.

Being responsible in our contribution to sustainable development is at the core of everything we do and we are guided by our ethical commitments and human empowerment principles. We are truly a global family brought together by our dedication to long-term positive impact.

Reviews

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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI online wildlife conservation internship

In the spring of 2021 I did an online internship for wildlife conservation with GVI. I helped organize camera trap data on pangolins in Thailand. After completing the online internship with GVI, I decided to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. I cannot thank GVI enough for giving me the incredible opportunity. I am also excited to say that I am saving up money to volunteer in person. Volunteering with elephants has always been a dream of mine and now it is a goal. If you are looking to make a difference in the world, GVI is the place to do so.

What was your funniest moment?
I worked on a project involving pangolins in Thailand. While observing camera trap data we saw a baby pangolin hanging onto his mom and it was the cutest picture ever. We then learned that baby pangolins are called pangopups XD.
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Clémentine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Plan your future with GVI

I've always had a strong desire to be involved in the conservation of our earth, its fauna and flora. The problem is that when you have a full-time job completely outside of this area (I work in the hotel industry), you often don't have much space to be as involved as you'd like. So when the Coronavirus crisis started, I saw an incredible opportunity to be able to get involved in the cause again, following the volunteering I had done with GVI in 2014. I quickly visited GVI's website and saw that they offered online courses for anyone who wanted to learn a little more, in conservation, for my part.
I decided to sign up for the Foundations in Sustainable Development - Conservation course. What I loved was the fact that you could progress at your own pace, with live lectures from time to time (which you can watch later). The courses were very interesting, I feel like I've added to my knowledge, not only in terms of conservation, but also for my daily life. Having been promoted to the position of manager at my work, I was pleased to see that the leadership course gave me a solid foundation to take on these new challenges with less fear and more confidence. I gained knowledge and tips that I use daily in my work. Also, having said that I was not a native French speaker, all the instructors were extremely kind to me, spoke at a pace that suited me perfectly and I felt totally confident to tell if I didn't understand something.
I know that in a few years I would like to change my career to work in conservation and having taken these courses has reinforced this idea, because I felt the involvement of all the participants, the instructors, the workers of GVI and it gives a kind of positive synergy that is hard to ignore.

Response from GVI

Hi Clémentine! Thanks for your review. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed this program! It certainly sounds like you made the most of it. We'd love to see you registered for some of our other courses or back on base in the future!

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Tea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A trip to go back to

Have you ever tried to just focus on one thing at a time. No distraction. No influence. My experience with GVI was a bit like that, you see I could fully immerse myself with wildlife, from the moment I woke up right to patrol at night counting turtle eggs. The staff was also brilliant, not only were they a crucial part to my leaning because of their experience mixed with knowledge but they were always positive. I think that was very important because it allowed a safe environment to learn but also a good place to be interactive with both staff and other volunteers. I've enjoyed my stay so much that even though I've been back from this experience for a few days I'm planning to return next year! If I could give two pieces of advice to anyone going is that A) you should really consider to do 4 weeks+ this is because you start having all the opportunities but as soon as you get used to it you leave. B) bring an outfit in a ziplock bag for your flight home because your clothes will smell of Jalova. but just to recap, it's one of the best experience you can get not only to work on conservation but also yourself

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I think my first day, I went out on surveys ( I arrived 2 days late). And I had no clue what they were saying; but in my 4 weeks there I started to understand what they were saying and even teaching the new group that came along.
Response from GVI

Tea, thanks for your review! I'm so happy to hear you had such a great experience with us. We welcome you back to base again sometime in the future. In the meantime, please do keep on spreading your GVI love!

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Caitlin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI sea turtle conservation in Greece

I had the best time in Greece working with GVI at the turtle conservation program. It was amazing to experience the nesting and hatching season and to learn how to collect the data. In total I’ve been at the program for 8 weeks and I have learned so much about sea turtles, conservation and GVI. I have met so many new people from all over the world and have made friends for life here. I had the best summer and I will definitely do another program with GVI. will highly recommend this program and GVI in general.

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment was when I found my first nest, I was digging and digging and then I fell in the hole and felt the satisfying poke and found the nest.
Response from GVI

Hey Caitlin, thanks for your review! AMAZING NEWS to hear that you had such an unforgettable time with us at GVI! We'd love to see you come back and continue to make an impact.

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Cathryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Outstanding Online Learning Opportunity

I’ve just completed the Advanced Wildlife Conservation online learning programme through GVI. This programme consists of 6 courses – Wildlife Conservation, Conservation Science & Research, Climate Crisis & Sustainability, Impact Measurement, Leading Teams for Impact and Careers in Sustainable Development. I loved the flexibility of the programme and being able to work this around my day job. The course material was relevant, topical and inspiring. The online learning platform was simple to navigate. And GVI support was outstanding throughout the process, as always. I have now signed up for a GVI Wildlife Conservation Internship next year and I can’t wait to get into the field and put what I’ve learned through this programme into practice! Highly recommend.

Response from GVI

Hi Cathryn! Thanks for your review. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed this program! It certainly sounds like you made the most of it. We'd love to see you registered for some of our other courses in the future and cannot wait to have you on base next year!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I’ve always been interested in conservation, but thought I’d never have the time to really explore what was available. Due to redundancy, I decided to act on this desire finally do something for me.

I am passionate about all wildlife and its conservation, but especially turtles due to their long life and the huge impact short sighted actions have on the population. I have been reading books on their history and work being carried out for them. The biggest impact for me is that the work you do now isn’t realised for up to 35 years, so what you do if for long term, not short term reward. Their beauty, grace and endurance being affected by their outright vulnerability in and out of the water gives me a heartfelt desire to do something to give them and their future a chance, even if that is only a few weeks to help a small amount on their, hopefully, long journey.

One of the first websites I looked at was GVI. They have many many hubs around the world with a diverse range of projects. After several informative and guidance emails and chats, it was clear that the time of year and my dates gave me 2x locations to look deeper into. I struggled to get the correct dates and thought another opportunity would pass me by. However looking at other sites convinced me further that GVI was the right one to go for. I changed my dates based on my research and the enthusiasm and support I was given from the GVI team, signing up for GVI Thailand - Ban Nam Khem.

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

I contacted GVI direct from their website. Sending the first email was scary and exciting at the same time. I didn't really know what to expect and hoped that I'd made the right choice. The email response, information location guidance and their request to call me were very welcome. The call back I had really set the picture and even offered other programmes to consider to ensure I was getting what I wanted. Further research and GVI help reassured me that I was with the right people, going to the right place for me.

Before I signed up, I checked the flight and accommodation availability. Once all looked good, I signed up and started booking! The guidance for applying for the visa was spot on, I had to travel to London to apply and collect my Visa, but Visa support companies will do this for you. I booked the flight direct with Qatar, I also booked the first night hotel via Booking.com which was quick and easy to do. That was it, I was set to go.

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

The one piece of advice is to have confidence that you'll have a great time. Selecting the programme you like means you will meet like-minded people and you'll have a great time. Volunteer holidays are full of opportunity, most people travel without knowing anyone and you'll leave with many new friends. Other advice would be to follow the GVI advice on research topics and to download an app with the country's language, it really boosts your experience.

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

I was lucky as the timing was right for a couple of unusual events.

Most days comprise a morning and afternoon activity. Due to the Sun setting early, there's a lot to pack in. The Marine Conservation programme focusses on 2x visits a week to the Royal Thai Navy base to work cleaning turtle tanks, cleaning baby turtles and measuring and treating larger turtles for any infections. The programme also completes a 3 day visit to a couple of off-shore islands, completing butterfly, bird survey and Coral reef surveys. My time included 3x intern leadership project completions. The interns had been working on their different conservation projects and we worked for each of them for a day. The projects were to man stands in the local town to provide advice and awareness of issues within the country, help create conservation information posts to bring awareness of waste in the sea and a local garden to provide food and a better environment for volunteers. We also completed a sponsorship event raising money for food for the turtles.

Finally, you have weekends off, which most people take the opportunity to travel around the country together to visit other tourist attractions and cities.

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 was my age. I imagined a lot of young adults not wanting an old person of their parents' age around!! I'd left volunteering late in life, but couldn't let my concerns hold me back! From the moment I arrived, everyone was friendly and inclusive. It was easy to see that age was not an issue. In addition, there are more people volunteering later in life that I realised.

What was your biggest curiosity before participating in the program?

For me the one question I wanted to know was "Will it be worth it" As with all things in this world, you really do get what you pay for. GVI are not the cheapest volunteer organisation. I did consider cheaper offers, but my research led to me question their direction and motivation was not the same as GVI. The onsite staff are dedicated, the food is fresh and cooked by locals, the activities are vast and all with local people providing the transport, guidance, food, accommodation etc. To see where my money went really proved to me that it was the right choice, fair and well spent.

Staff Interviews

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

Rachel West

Job Title
Sales Account Manager

Rachel is a fun loving people person who loves adventure and challenges. Starting in the hospitality industry she gained valuable experience, but yearned for something with more meaning bringing her to GVI where she aims to grow and contribute to the change.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Camping on the white sand beaches of Watamu in Kenya with good friends. We were care-free, adventurous - hiking and fishing for small fish with the local kids. Most of the friends we made we had met at the location and they also spent the rest of the time with us.

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

Only just starting with GVI I see myself over the next few months gaining valuable information. Since starting with the company, however, I can already feel the presence of teamwork and care for one's fellow employee.

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

As what appears to be a popular program at GVI, I recall a story of a volunteer working on the Jaguar program in Costa Rica. They told how they knew it would be amazing, but came out of it feeling sad to leave and feeling like their perspective of the world had changed.

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

There are two that I have specifically eyed, the first being in Costa Rica working closely with the Green Turtles and studying their natural habitat and nesting habits. The second program that caught my eye is working with monks in Laos. This experience could be an eye-opening experience exposing them to education and myself to a new culture and way of life.

What makes your company unique?

GVI is unique as they are clearly focused on the experience of each and every person who applies for a program. Each person gets the necessary amount of attention and more. The company shows that they are about making a change and providing an experience rather than making money or an image.

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

TEAMWORK. The only way a company can grow and become stronger is by each individual working together towards the same goals. When one link is weak, it will show quite obviously.

Professional Associations