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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.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.
Website
www.gviusa.com
Founded
1997

Reviews

Default avatar
Isabelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved doing the GVI online internship. I did the marine conservation one and learnt a lot about not only marine conservation but how to get a job in the sector, skills that will help me get there and one of a kind opportunities with NGOs. I really enjoyed all the zoom calls where I took part in discussions, networking sessions, career workshops and masterclasses. The best part was the ability to work on a real life project with an NGO where I created 3 videos raising awareness for shark conservation with children, something that was really fun and such a good opportunity, especially when we are unable to travel.

What would you improve about this program?
There could have been a slightly higher level of content on the online course however I am not sure if this would apply to many people as I am currently studying marine biology at university so already knew a lot on the subject. For someone new to marine conservation there is a great wealth of knowledge!
Default avatar
Sam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It’s so hard to be fair to any organisation like GVI during COVID times, but I’ll try. They have been under a lot of strain as the pandemic has shredded their industry, and communications with head office have been patchy at times, but I must give them a bit of leeway here as they are firefighting an ever-changing situation.

Curieuse was not my first choice of project this year, but in the end, it was the only option, and with time off work already agreed and non-negotiable, I had to do something! GVI are not cheap, and they were not going to make it easy to get a refund, despite verbal assurances of full flexibility when I booked back in July for another pair of programmes. So, determined to make the best of a tricky situation, I set off for the Seychelles.

I have no complaints about the setup, the work or the onsite staff at all. It’s a magical island, and the basic life was pretty much as I expected, and works well. I have not felt the lack of anything really, and easy access to neighbouring Praslin means that little luxuries are usually attainable. The attitude towards COVID has been common-sense, and has not impacted my enjoyment of the work on the island.

The weeks are well-balanced with lots of early starts and early evenings, many of which allow us to watch consistently spectacular sunrises and sunsets. There is also enough time off at weekends to explore neighbouring islands, or simply relax. Each week there is a stimulating variety of surveys to complete, many of which involve energetic hikes across the island on rough trails, affording time to spot wildlife and enjoy the views.

The animals are magnificent and it’s a real privilege to be able to work almost daily with nesting turtles and shark pups. Jazzy and her team helped me to feel fully involved with the work and are very knowledgeable about the island and its ecosystems. They have also been consistently flexible during this time, adapting their schedules and the work to changing circumstances.

Eight weeks here has been time well spent, and I’m pleased with how it’s gone, considering that it was not my ideal project. As an intern, I was also able to find my own mini-project, which became about illegal poaching, and completing this added another dimension to my time here. I would recommend the project to anyone with a genuine interest in these animals.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come prepared to get stuck in and get your hands dirty!
Default avatar
Hashikka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My GVI virtual internship experience was second to none! As someone who is right at start of her career journey I had a lot of anxieties about where I fit in my chosen career field as the options just seemed endless. GVI made this experience that much less stressful by giving me the opportunity to dive into the working world of Wildlife Conservation (my chosen career programme, although there are many others available for one to explore!). I got an insider's perspective on the everyday ins and outs of some of the amazing partnered organisations making a huge impact in the wildlife conservation space. Even better than that, was being able to actually get stuck in and help them through various assigned projects. The projects are tailored to you and your specific interests. I requested a varying range of tasks and that's exactly what I got. This enabled me to really challenge myself and clearly point out where my strengths and weaknesses lie, as well as identify what type of work I really like and gravitate towards. The staff at GVI are incredibly supportive and really are the backbone of this whole programme, through regular check-ins with your supervisor, group meetings and project reviews to help you reflect on the work you're doing, you really are getting a bang for your buck. They help to answer any queries, doubts, or worries you may have along the way. Due to the amazing support from my supervisor, I felt dramatically less anxious about my work and had a very enjoyable working and learning experience. Another highlight of this virtual programme is that you get to meet so many likeminded impact-driven individuals from all corners of the world and discuss endless global topics as well as have a great laugh with some of them, GVI really made all the interns feel comfortable and did a great job in creating a very open and friendly environment. The sense of fulfilment I got upon completion of some of these projects were unmatched! I would highly recommend GVIs virtual internship to anyone looking to start a career which at its core is about making meaningful long-term positive impacts and that leaves you feeling like you are truly part of a global family. I believe the best way of learning is through doing, and GVI gives you the opportunity to do just that!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Whilst on a zoom call with my supervisor based in South Africa a buffalo decided to pay a visit. That was a very unexpected but pleasant surprise.
Default avatar
Mayuree
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first of many experiences with GVI and I absolutely loved it !!
For a first time the experience was totally memorable. I get safe and everything was so organized. I went on to do many more projects with GVi in a few other countries too. The reception from time landed at the airport until departure was all supported as well as tips in what to do locally. The food was amazing and at no time did I feel insecure or unsure. The project itself was so rewarding and definitely worth the time and money. Definitely recommend this project

What was your funniest moment?
All the kids even older ones dressed as Santa Claus at Christmas time
Default avatar
Franz Luis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Even if it's been two years now, I still remember very well my first day at the GVI camp on curieuse-island. For me, it felt like I was immersed in another world when the other volunteers and I were picked up from a beach on Praslin and we drove towards the nature-protected island with the camp boat "Dexter". The camp was located on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The camp, despite its simple design, looked very inviting and perhaps even a little enchanted. The impression of immersing yourself in a completely different world was reinforced by the idea that, together with the other camp residents, you were almost alone on the island. In the following six weeks, I experienced the time of my life, along with the consistently nice and great other volunteers. Every day we went on versatile excursions on the island with the amazing GVI-Stuff and got to know its flora and fauna. On this way, we learned to identify different sea turtles based on the traces in the sand, how to measure the unique "coco de mer"-palm or how to chip a young lemon shark. In the evenings we often sat together, ate cake or cookies and played cards. To tell the truth, there were also strenuous tasks, such as cleaning the camp or the boat, but most of the time you were just overwhelmed by the versatility of the island and the associated possibilities. In your free time, you could go snorkeling, climb up the island's mountain or just chill out with the camp-tortoise "Obama". Once I also had the possibility to play soccer with some of the residents on Praslin. On weekends, we were also able to make some trips to the other islands, whereby the Stuff could always give us very good tips for sights and accommodation.
My personal highlight was my weekend-trip to bird-island, which one of the stuff members had previously recommended to me. All in all, I have gained an infinite amount of experience over the six weeks, been able to get to know many different people of different cultures and nationalities, and I was able to contribute a small part to the environmental protection necessary to preserve the beautiful nature on the Seychelles. All this has enabled me the GVI program, so that today I'm very glad that I participated.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The biggest surprise for me was the sheer size of "Esmeralda", the biggest tortoise on this planet, that I met on Bird-Island.

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