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GVI

About

Founded in 1998, GVI runs programs in various countries around the world, each 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.

Website
www.gviusa.com
Founded
1997
Headquarters

Unit 7, Westlake Business Park, 4-8 Stibitz Street
Tokai
Cape Town
7945
South Africa

GVI has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

Reviews

Tonja
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering through Global Vision International was a great experience.

Before volunteering, all my questions were answered, and the registration process was simple. I was provided information on what to do when I arrived in Ghana and met with the Director of the program I worked with, Sabre Trust.

During my time as an English Volunteer, I taught primary school students and lived with an amazing host family. Outside of volunteering, I was able to spend time with other volunteers on excursions and explored the country.

I would recommend GVI for volunteering and interning, and I look forward to my next volunteer experience through them.

What would you improve about this program?
I actually had an amazing experience and can't think of anything to improve.
Michael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Staff members were super cool but still professional when it comes to diving. The community was so awesome. I met so many new people there and immediatley became friends with them. On the weekends you can go visit the other cities and party there. The staff can always give you some recommodations. The accomodations are good and clean. There are no hot showers, but who needs a hot shower when it has 30°? ;) (and the water in the shower is still not cold). WiFi is available at base. Definitely recommended to stay longer then four weeks.
All in all an amazing experience which I can recommend to everyone.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have a look at what season you go there. In some seasons you can see turtles nesting, walesharks, etc.
Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In the summer of 2017, I participated in the construction volunteer program based in Pokhara, Nepal and had an enlightening experience. From the moment that GVI Nepal representatives met us at the airport in Pokhara, I felt safe. This stood out to me mainly because when first looking for volunteer organizations I read that: "GVI's number one priority is safety". This was reassuring and true throughout my time in Nepal, thousands of miles away from my home.
One of my favorite aspects of the program was that it was structured. Each day we had an agenda that the GVI representatives and our team had come up with based on respect for the community and environment we worked in. GVI's influence in the town we visited was not abrasive or controlling, nor was there any savior mentality attached to the work our group was doing. In no way did working for GVI feel like a mission trip, and that's what I valued the most about my experience. I knew that working with GVI was promoting a long term sustainable development project, that relied very heavily on communication and collaboration with the community where projects were centered.
Every day was a new adventure. Our project lasted for roughly two weeks renovating a government school. When we first started, the classrooms had old paint jobs, huge spider webs (and kind of enormous spiders!) on the walls, cockroaches on the floors, and most of the benches designed for students to sit on were broken. We painted all the walls of the classrooms, deeply swept and washed all of the walls and floors. Some of the adults in our team worked on fixing the seats. Throughout each day on the project, I became much closer to my team. I formed lifelong friendships and relationships that I value and maintain today.
I fell in love with the parts of Nepal that I was exposed to. The rooftop of the hotel we stayed at felt like a second home, the endless fields of glimmering rice paddies along all of the roads, the delicious vegetarian meals, the kind greetings we received everywhere we went, the luminous mountains you could see from anywhere.
Participating in this program through GVI allowed me to experience Nepal safely, respectfully and mindfully. After this trip, my view on global travel drastically changed. Our GVI representatives emphasized the importance of respectful visitation and having a constant awareness of your impact with a person, environment, or community as a whole.
I am so grateful for having the opportunity to spend time in Nepal and learn about Nepali culture while experiencing some aspects first hand. Going to Nepal and experiencing its intense beauty lit a fire inside of me. Through this volunteer trip with GVI, I learned a lot about my passions and future career ideas. So much so that I registered for another program for a longer duration of time, teaching in Nepal this summer.
Overall this was an incredible experience with no bumps or mishaps. To anyone looking for a safe, responsible way to volunteer abroad, I would highly recommend GVI. GVI is also a credible organization that has helped build my resume. This was later an added bonus to volunteering through GVI.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most common dish in Nepal is called Dal Bhat. It usually consists of rice, some sort of pickled veggies, some lentil curry, some curried potatoes and various other assortments of hard-to-identify foods. This dish is traditionally eaten with your hands, throughout my trip I gathered that there was definitely a technique in not dropping all of the rice picked up with your hands.
Claire-Marie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The GVI Chiang Mai program with the Elephants is by far the best volunteer program I have ever done! Mixing Community and Conservation, this program will make your experience unique and varied. One day we hike to observe the birds, another day we will take care of the children in Garden school and Nursery, the next day we hike to study the elephants, followed by a walk to locate Gibbons the next day ! there is a lot of diversity, and especially à la carte with often 2 possible choices of hike in the morning. Although the morning hike is the important element of the day, the rest is not boring. Several presentation options are available, not mandatory. Ranging from the study of snakes, to training to teach English to foreign children, you can also go through an orientation and presentation of jobs in conservation, or even a presentation about the ethics of elephant camps . On Tuesday and Thursday, you can help to teach in selected class at school. For the social aspect this program is also really interesting. On the Wednesdays you have quiz evening , and on the weekends you have the possibility for a cultural/tourist outings. To conclude, an unforgettable experience in an exceptional atmosphere.

Melanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything about Luang Prabang draws volunteers into its spell. The city itself is compact, lovely and spiritual and packed with beautiful people, temples and scenery. GVI make it particularly special. I absolutely loved it!!
My experience as a volunteer - teaching English on the Women’s Empowerment programme in Laos - was the most positive time imaginable. The GVI staff are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive. Training courses during your first week prepare you for classes and the staff are always on hand to advise and direct. Students are an absolute delight. So hardworking and respectful. You can’t help but grow to love them. I taught two classes. One of young ladies - a mix of English classes and Women’s Empowerment workshops. And a class of young men and novice monks - English mostly but free to develop a Geography workshop towards the end of my stay. There is also the opportunity to teach one to one classes if you have strengths to share!!
There is ample opportunity to explore the city and further afield, take part in chanting and meditation, yoga and alms giving. The city is small, accessible, lively and fascinating.
I would recommend this programme to everyone.

Programs

Displaying 28 - 35 of 35

Alumni Interviews

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

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca is an administrator in the City of London who always had a passion for animals & wildlife. It was in her late 20s when she realised she wanted to finally follow her dreams to work in conservation.

Rebecca's first step was to complete a 2-week volunteer trip with GVI to South Africa; this was a turning point in her and she began to see the steps she could take to turn her dreams into a reality. Two years later, Rebecca found her some back on the GVI base completing a wildlife conservation internship.

Why did you choose this program?

Africa was always a place I fantasied about visiting and immersing myself in the culture and wildlife. The GVI Wildlife Conservation Internship seemed like the perfect progression in my career development after completing the brief volunteer stint. I craved more knowledge on the intricate workings of the Southern African ecosystem and the work which was being done to protect it and help it flourish again!

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

GVI offered a lot of insight pre and post my sign up on the program. My point of contact was always on hand to answer my questions and to reassure me of any concerns. This continued while living on base too. My appointed contact assisted with such things as insurance, briefing, visas, and flights. GVI also put me in contact with others who would start on the same project before we left, I found this super helpful and reassuring, especially for those traveling alone.

The main thing for me to arrange was my travel to and from the country I was pointed in the direction to a flight operator, as well as details of pick up times and location this made it a million times easier to organize. I also had to plan my own free time, but again, suggestions and recommendations were provided along with assistance with logistics on the days too.

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

Take time to read through the handbook for the base your going to and take time to look through the packing list and purchase all that is a suggestion, it will be on the list for a reason!

Read reviews and talk to an ambassador for your particular program as they can give you a full and accurate idea of what to expect. It is also helpful to read up about the local beliefs, culture, and values purely out of respect for the natives and local community.

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

Six-day working week (Sundays off) and 4 days off every 4 weeks. Two game drives a day AM (5 am -9/10 am) and PM (3.30-7.30pm); on each drive, there is a sign up for specific roles i.e. vehicle checks, navigation, and spotlight.

During drives, you will track the focus animals such as the male lion, female cheetah, and 3 male cheetah coalition. Data is also taken for such things as birds of prey, rare games, kills, etc. There are also intern specific drives that are based around camera trap placement/data, bird surveys, and reserve work.

The middle of the day is spent on base time to recoup as well as sit in lectures, studying or work on base projects too. Sometimes there are intern trips out of base for Kruger trips or talks around the area on local topics, such as antipoaching.

On Sunday free time and weekends off, there is time to explore the local sites, stay on other lodges or travel to neighboring townships (self-funded). Everyone will be allocated a base day either once a week or 2 depending on the number of people staying, on these days you are in pairs or 3s doing the base duties such as cleaning and cooking for the group.

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 worry as a solo traveler was safety, especially to that particular part of the world. The support from GVI both pre and post-departure settled any nerves I had.

I also did my research before leaving on what to expect and ways to stay safe and savvy. It is recommended that you do not travel alone when in your free time. I did stay in a lodge on a 4 day week off by myself, which was actually blissful, but I was picked up and collected by the base staff, so logistics were smooth enough and there was nothing to worry about at all!

How did your experience on this program change you?

My time on the Karongwe GVI base opened my eyes to the pathways I never thought would be open to me.

Being out of my comfort zone really built my confidence in many different ways and I found my self excelling in my career after returning from my first trip. As part of my leadership course included in the program, I learnt how to manage a team successfully and how to combat issues that arise in that environment. I was filled with so much knowledge of the animals and how to act best in their protection.

This positive ethical change in my day to day behaviour and thought process followed me home and allowed me to encourage others to do the same. This experience has fuelled my passion for all things wild and I am uprooting all I know to create a new and improved future for not only myself but the world I inhabit. GVI is an international company, so I have made lots of new friends around the world who share the same ambitions and drive in all things conservation, which I feel is a truly magical thing to come away with!

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.