IVHQ Globe

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

About

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) brings people together from all walks of life to make a difference on the adventure of a lifetime. We offer the world’s largest range of volunteer programs with 300+ projects across 50+ destinations - from teaching and working with children to medical missions, conservation and wildlife volunteering.

With over 15 years of experience, IVHQ provides safe, impactful and affordable fully-hosted volunteer experiences. Our multi-layered support network and flexible booking policy means you can volunteer abroad with confidence.

Our programs range from 1 to 24 weeks across premier destinations in Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, North America, Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in a new culture while making a difference? Join our 123,000+ community of IVHQ travellers who have spent over 7 million hours supporting local communities.

Reviews

Default avatar
Koser
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Childcare in Cambodia

After a few days in Siem Reap I headed to Phnom Penh for a 2 week Childcare placement at Joy Daycare Centre. The kids (aged 2-8) were funny, attentive and super engaged. The day started at 9. I would spend an hour in the morning teaching English, followed by a freestyle session where I would let the kids draw on the whiteboard and get them to describe in English their drawings. My Khmer wasn't great but with some creative miming the kids understood and we had loads of fun!

We would help feed the kids at lunch "more rice please teacher" still makes me smile. After lunch they would nap for 2 hours, then shower, followed by play time, songs music dance games or watch TV. They would go home at 3.30pm.

A couple of times we hitched a ride with the director of the centre when he took the kids home. Seeing the slums they lived in was heartbreaking, but they came from loving families, and even though they didn't have much they were happy, which was very humbling.

The whole trip was one big highlight reel!

Even though it was sad saying goodbye to the kids, I left with a full heart.

Travel is my jam. And this is a unique way to do it. To live like a local and give back. It's a cultural exchange like no other. I even tried deep fried crickets!

Phnom Penh is a crazy city! The noise, traffic, hardly any pavements. People don't walk you take tuk tuks everywhere. Download the Grab app to book yours, it's like Uber.

I loved hanging out on the riverfront. Head to Temple Bar & Bakery on 55th Street for the rooftop experience.

Pros
  • History
  • People
  • Kids
Cons
  • Traffic
Default avatar
Kaitlyn
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

THE MOST INCREDIBLE TRIP!!!!

This is truly the trip of a lifetime! I got to help people around the world, make new friends that I never would have met, and make unforgettable memories! It was so rewarding to volunteer as a Nurse and Childcare Provider. I am already wanting to volunteer again soon! I also had epic experiences like going on a safari in the Serengeti and snorkeling at Bill Gates's island! Truly a trip of a lifetime. If anyone is hesitant, JUST GO! You will be so happy you did. I only wish I could've stayed longer!

Pros
  • rewarding to volunteer
  • very cool activities nearby- safari and Zanzibar
  • immersed into a new culture- everyone's so friendly!
Cons
  • crying when you have to leave
Default avatar
Ghaidaa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

I loved every minute of the experience, the accommodations were good, food was delicious and the staff was amazing!
Helping in the construction site felt unreal, and I would do it again!
We were living in Kandy in the volunteering camp, the Green Lion, Sri Lanka.
The weekend is free for all volunteers to travel and explore, so thats what we did. We took a 2 hour drive to Sigiya for to see wonderful temples. We also hiked up the lion rock for sunrise and went on an elephant safari. Meeting so many locals and tourists so was really enlightening.

Pros
  • Culture
  • Food
  • Safe
Cons
  • Bugs and insects
Default avatar
Clare
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English in Laos

My time volunteering in Laos was absolutely incredible! The program was so well organised! From the moment I expressed my interest in volunteering, I was provided with the support that I needed to take the next steps to go abroad. Once I was in Laos, the local team gave me so much support and guidance about the country, the program, and places to explore.
The volunteering program I completed was Teaching English in one of the local schools. What was so great about this program is that the teachers and students genuinely needed the help of volunteers and were so grateful that we were there. This was so impactful as I knew my contribution was actually making a difference on the lives of others.

Pros
  • Incredible support from local team
  • Volunteering program had a meaningful impact on the lives of others
  • Laos is an incredibly beautiful country
Cons
  • Pre-depature costs with IVHQ can add up
Default avatar
Zak
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Volunteer Trip to Cusco!

After no small amount of researching and deliberation, I decided on IVHQ to book my first volunteer experience abroad. I did not know anyone personally who had travelled with them, but the reviews were abundant. Price factored into the decision, as did the option to choose many cities across most continents.
All of my pre-trip interactions were conducted via email, but the option to speak to a representative was always on the table. The onboarding process was surprisingly simple and their checklists made submitting the requisite information a breeze.
Although I have traveled internationally several times, I had never been to South America. I chose Cusco, Peru for my destination, both for the Spanish immersion and a personal interest in Peru's history.
I have been a Registered Nurse for many years and enrolled in the medical volunteer program to maximize my positive impact while there.
Booking travel was easy through the Student Universe portal and I was able to include additional excursions through the local tour agency via the IVHQ links.
Frequent follow up emails kept me informed and engaged in the months and weeks leading up to my departure.
On arrival in Cusco I was picked up from the airport and brought directly to the local volunteer agency headquarters. I was greeted warmly, oriented and given a walking tour of Cusco's central district. The local agency had been given all of my pertinent information and I had no problems getting to my accomodations or starting my volunteer program.
Although my primary contacts in Peru were through the local agency, Maximo Nivel, my IVHQ program manager checked in with me every few days and was always available for questions.
The overall experience was incredible and I would not hesitate to book another volunteer experience through IVHQ. In fact, I'm looking forward to it!

Pros
  • Food
  • Accomodations
  • Friendly Staff
Cons
  • Very little information given on escalating political unrest in Peru

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 58

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program as I wanted to spend the holidays in a different way, giving back and helping others. after the year we had in 2020, I wanted to do something different from what I have before and considering projects were closed for so long, now is the time to volunteer. The holiday project allowed for this to happen!

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

My original program provider was IVHQ, who helped me organize the dates for my travel and gave me a lot of advice on the project. They also helped organize the local in-country pick-up as I was in the country before my program start date. The program provider we worked with once in-country was Maximo Nivel, who helped with everything once we arrived and gave a very detailed orientation.

As for what I organized myself, I purchased my own flights, also you can do this through IVHQ, likewise with travel insurance.

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

Make the most out of your programs. Fully engage in the project and take initiative. before you arrive, come up with ideas on ways you can help and even plan activities. there is not much to worry about, you will have the full support from the entire in-country team whether this be general advice or based on your specific project.

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

based on the holiday project, where we partake in different projects daily, we would:

- I woke up around 6:30-7 am and got ready, and we were able to request a time for breakfast, which we would usually ask to have 15 mins before we had to leave home.
- we would arrive at Maximo to travel as a group to the daily project. Getting to the projects would take around 15 minutes.
- we would arrive at the projects and get to work. Shorter project times were around 2 hours and our most extended project where we completed two jobs in a day was for around 7 hours
- for longer projects, we would take a break in the middle and go out for lunch, but sometimes we would do the entire project and come back to Maximo together and go out for lunch ourselves
- after eating, we would go out and explore Costa Rica
- we ate dinner at 7pm every day and then would relax at home till we went to bed

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

exploring the country e.g. traveling around far distances alone or in small groups. the only way to overcome it was to go ahead and do it, at the weekends we traveled first to one beach which was a 3,5-hour bus journey away and the second place was 8 hours away. as a foreigner with limited Spanish skills, it can be scary to be far from familiar places alone but everything went smoothly and everyone in the country was very helpful.

Staff Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

The IVHQ program seemed to offer all that I was looking for: destination, available projects, affordability, plus the fact that it not simply an adventure travel company. Their programs were dedicated to helping communities in need. The schools where we worked had all been built by volunteers, and we provided materials and labor to renovate and build toilet facilities for the children. A few weeks of work by a few people eventually build a school.

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

IVHQ assists with everything: flight information, visa and health requirements, airport pick up, travel to placement, orientation, daily visits to the worksites, and regular meetings at our residence to discuss any issue.

The website provides most of this information in advance, but it's reassuring to meet "face to face" with the organizers. On our own, we have to arrange emergency travel health insurance, criminal background report, vaccinations, and visa requirements if required.

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

In Africa, bring as few clothes as possible, and nothing with long sleeves and long pants. Clothes can be washed daily if necessary. Insect repellents are only required at night, as they simply wash away in the daytime by the heat. Bring anti-malaria medication and personal toiletries, and a small first aid kit.

My advice: DO NOT WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING! You will be with an outstanding group of people and you will have a fantastic adventure.

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

Because of the heat in Ghana, all 10 of us only worked in the mornings.

In construction, we left for our 30-minute walk to the site around 6:30 am and it was an enjoyable walk, as everybody waved and greeted us. We returned to our compound around noon on motorbikes.

The childcare group prepared breakfast and lunch for the school children and were finished by 1 pm. Their school was only a 5-minute walk. Afternoons and evenings were spent reading, playing games, interacting with the children.

Weekends were for sightseeing, usually gone for 2 days (at our expense).

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 had no fears, no concerns. The website provides all the information that you need about your program. The country website (tourism) provides the rest.

As for safety, always remember that you are in a group. There are no safety concerns at the placement site, and we traveled on weekends in groups for 8 or more. Local people are very hospitable and helpful. You will soon discover that you have no worries.

Enjoy your stay.

Professional Associations

Institute of International Education Logo
NAFSA Logo
World Youth and Student Travel Conference Logo