IVHQ Globe

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Why choose International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ?

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 #1 rated and largest range of volunteer programs with 300+ projects across 40+ countries - from teaching and working with children to medical missions, conservation and wildlife volunteering.

For the past 6 years, we've won the "Top Volunteer Abroad Provider Award" from GoOverseas, so you can trust that you're in good hands! With over 17 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.

Join 130,000+ IVHQ travellers who have spent over 8 million hours supporting local communities.

Reviews

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Rebecca
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ in Costa Rica

I had an incredible time in costa rica! The people were so nice and friendly and I really enjoyed my volunteering placement there. I was working at an equine therapy barn. It was a lot of manual labour, a lot more than I thought, but it was really rewarding.

My suggestion for future volunteers would be to go with an open mind and not a have a certain task in mind of what you’re going to be doing. Whatever you’re doing it will be helpful and good but maybe not necessarily what you thought what you’re doing. Just remember that you’re making an impact and you’re doing some good.

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Nancy
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved my experience with IVHQ

I was picked up at the airport by sweet Gabi who was delightful. She made me feel at home immediately. The hostel, Impact House, was cute, clean and the location was perfect. My placement at the private animal shelter was truly rewarding. I walked dogs and helped maintain the premises. The little puppies were adorable.
On Saturday, a large group of volenteers took 30 puppies for a hike in the woods and to a beach. It was so much fun. I was able to explore Split, Croatia on my free time. I could walk everywhere . . . so very convenient. Croatia is a beautiful country and the people were lovely.
When I returned home I got a follow-up message from IVHQ asking how I was feeling after my experience 😅 . . . very thoughtful.
I look forward to my next volunteer experience with IVHQ.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We took 30 puppies for a group walk in a park and to the sea, so they could have a swim.
Pros
  • Location of the hostel
  • Transit system was amazing
  • The dog shelter was way beyond my expectations
Cons
  • The hours to the food at the hostel were limited.
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Rose
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

1000000/10

OMG THE BEST! If you are looking for a fun, affordable, once in a lifetime trip - this is the way to do it! Not only did I get to volunteer and bond with the community, BUT also got to sight see and view the beautiful country I was in! I traveled to South Africa and was worried about making friends and finding community, but I walked away with the bestest friends. The kids are my EVERYTHING, and I miss them to this day! The ability to make such an enormous impact with little time is amazing, and at the end of my month there, I didnt want to leave!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pack LESS! There are so many resources in South Africa!
Pros
  • Walkable
  • Cheap
  • Scenery
Cons
  • Lots of Uber rides
  • Unsafe at night
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Rebecca
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Another great experience with ivhq

Another great experience with ivhq. My assignment was changed due to a local holiday but new arrangements were found for me. This actually allowed me to spend time in 2 locations and meet more volunteers and locals over the course of my 5 weeks in cambodia. The first three weeks were spent teaching English at an ngo school and my last two weeks were at a special education school. Both were great programs and experiences. With 5 weeks I had plenty of time to explore the areas I was in and have a weekend at the beach!

What was your funniest moment?
Participating in khmer new year by getting drenched with water guns, hoses and buckets of water in the streets
Pros
  • New friends
  • Experience new places
  • Getting to know locals
Cons
  • Not many volunteers but they're working on increasing the numbers that fell because of covid
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Enzo
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Construction + sea turtles in Bali

Getting to meet and socialise with both new volunteers and locals was fantastic for me, as well as getting out of my comfort zone. The construction work I did especially felt quite rewarding. The coordinators are all great and are super easy to get along with. I did 4 weeks, with 3 weeks being in Ubud, Bali and the other week being in Nusa Penida to do the sea turtle program for a week. I found it to be a good balance between doing volunteer work and being able to relax and explore other parts of the areas in your free time. It was well worth doing.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I got to do the sunrise hike up Mount Batur and the views were honestly some of the most incredible I had ever seen.
Pros
  • Easy to get along with coordinators.
  • Rewarding work.
  • A good amount of free time as balance.
Cons
  • The sea turtle program in Bali can get a bit repetitive so unless you really enjoy working with sea turtles I would recommend doing at most 2 weeks.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

AP Johnson

She is from South America born and raised and now lives in the United States. She has a career in Finance, enjoys playing golf, traveling and helping others.

Interview

Why did you choose this program?

I chose International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) because of the reviews from previous volunteers as well as their comprehensive website. Everything I wanted to know about the program was right there and very organized.

The reviews were well written and provided insight into the program. All of the reviews I read were consistent with my experience.

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

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) Provided me with everything I needed for my trip.
The program and all of my pre travel requirements were presented in an organized manner. This included a pre-departure webinar ( was EVERYTHING!) culture, airport pickup, accommodations, meals, list of what to pack, volunteer placement and transparency regarding fees. They provided me with everything I needed!

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

I will offer two pieces of advice if I may. The first is to be open minded. My host family were amazing!!! But, its much different to being at home. Second, I highly recommend taking a few extra days to go site seeing. Third make friends and have fun!!! Ok, that may be four, but seriously, its a great opportunity yo not only give back, but enjoy the rich culture that country has to offer.

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

Once you land you’ll be picked up at the airport, then its off to orientation! It was for me!!!

The next day was a free day for me, so got up and was greeted with the most amazing break-fast (see pics). Hung out with my host family and room-mate (whom i had just met), we explored some on that day, then home for dinner.

On Monday our host took us to the Volunteer center via bus and showed us the route and the cost. I was then taken to the Community Center where I was placed and a tour, but not before helping to unload some donations with the other teachers… back to the community center for Spanish class and another orientation.

The rest of the week, I taught my students, did done site-seeing, took Spanish lessons and hung out with my new friends. Oh! Did I tell you the real reason I went was to give back during my birthday?! Well my host family and room-mate threw me a surprise birthday party!!!

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

There was an article trending on Yahoo that questioned if Americans should travel to Costa Rica - so I had some reservations and in fact was planning not to go evening after paying for everything except purchasing my ticket up until that point.

Luckily I called my program manager! She was very professional during our Teams call and answered all of my questions and let me know that she was reading the same articles as well. After our call I felt comfortable enough to make the trip. I followed all of what was shared in webinar training and orientation.

What was most rewarding about your experience?

Gosh! I had a terrific experience! My host family was amazing, they had breakfast and dinner ready every day (never the sane meal). I made four new friends - one is like famous. Yup!!! Lol Finally, the kids at the community center were everything! Please don't forget to pack some school supplies to donate!!!

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

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