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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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Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing virtual experience !

Enjoying my education and passionate about international development but unsure of where it could all take me in a career, I decided to take on a summer of interning with GVI. As a degree-level student of foreign languages, I knew I wanted to travel but my experience with GVI has given me the opportunity to realise where my passion in supporting remote communities lies. I completed an amazing virtual internship collaborating with two organisations in Peru and Nepal who do incredibly important work for their target communities, supporting them while allowing them to not only maintain their independence but to develop it further by strengthening their current skills. I found that through every part of the GVI internship I found myself learning more about myself and the world and I could really see the difference I was making to the lives of the individuals I worked on projects supporting. I’m really looking forward to travelling to Mexico to complete an in-field community development internship and making a noticeable difference!

Response from GVI

Hi Charlotte! 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 in-person on base in the future!

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Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Greece was amazing!!

I had an amazing time learning about bad working with sea turtles and their nests in Greece. The program was 2 weeks long; and throughout the experience I learned so much about how much good people can do for the environment and local animals. While I was there, I helped protect nests from predators, observe the tagging of mother sea turtles, and meet some amazing volunteers from around the world that I intend to keep in touch with. Overall, I had a great time and I highly recommend this GVI program.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing about the trip was travelling by myself for the first time. It was a really interesting experience that I learned a lot from, and I think I gained a lot more independence from it.
Response from GVI

Hey Jenna, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

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Aimee
10/10
No, I don't recommend this program

My amazing trip to Ghana

Going to Ghana I signed for the teaching programme and I am so unbelievably grateful that I did, i stayed with my class for 13 weeks and I got to watch them improve and grow and it was the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had. I have fallen in love with everything about this place- the people , the food and the country. And on top of all that I have made some best friends for life. I enjoyed my time here so much that I am planning to come again over Christmas 😊. My perspective on life and values have changed so much.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was Gizzard. Everyday in school Grandma who is the owner of the school I worked in cooked amazing meals for us everyday. On my second day there was a strange kind of meat and it was gizzard. It was chewy and very bizarre but I’m glad I gave it a chance
Response from GVI

Hey Aimee, thanks for your review! I'm absolutely thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your programs so much that you're heading back! We look forward to seeing you back on base continuing to make an impact.

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Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime:

I've travelled all over the world, but I have never lived in a place quite like this. There is nothing more immersive than waking up in the middle of a rainforest; Frogs croaking, Birds singing & Monkeys howling. What a way to wake up.
From taking surveys along the river, through the rainforest & on the beach there is no better way to feel so connected to nature & knowing that you are playing a part in looking after it.
The wildlife is amazing to watch & see, with their diverse colors, hypnotic melodies & intriguing footprints. There is also something to see around every corner.
If you really want to feel connected to nature & feel like you are making a difference; GVI Jalova is a trip worth taking. Whether you are there for two weeks or two months, you will feel a sense of serenity whilst make life-long friends.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Throw yourself into the experience. Forget about everything & focus on where you are & what your doing. Jaloba is a magical place that really you can really lose yourself in.
Response from GVI

Hey Lauren, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

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Scarlett
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best volunteering experience with GVI!!

I volunteered with GVI as part of the U18s program in Greece for two weeks. During the weekdays, we would have morning surveys where we would find and protect turtle nests, and night surveys where we would assist in tagging mother turtles. All the staff were amazing and so kind! I also made such great friends with the other participants. We all especially enjoyed the cultural trips at the weekend where we visited the local cities of Kalamata and Olympia. I would 100% recommend this trip to Greece with GVI!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
We mainly ate traditional Greek food which I wasn't used to eating!
Response from GVI

Hey Scarlett, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

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