ISV (International Student Volunteers)
97% Rating
(639 Reviews)

ISV (International Student Volunteers)

ISV’s mission is to support sustainable development programs around the world through life changing student volunteer programs designed to positively impact our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

Destinations include South Africa, Costa Rica, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic. ISV has won multiple awards and over 40,000 participants from around the world have experienced their educational, cultural and adventure programs. Volunteers can join small teams for two-week projects in the field of conservation or community development, followed by a two week adventure tour. Many students earn academic credit for their involvement and highly qualified local staff carefully oversee programs in each country. ISV is recognized as one of the highest rated volunteer and travel organizations in the world and is a non-profit organization in California, USA. Its Australian operations are based in Sydney. Begin your ISV adventure today!

Most Recent Program Reviews

Cat
Female
26 years old
Buffalo, New York
University at Buffalo- SUNY

Follow your heart!

10/10

In 2011, a couple of ISV student reps enthusiastically promoted their program in one of my lecture halls my junior year of college. Little did I know this moment would change me life dramatically. I picked up the flyer and thought, I could never do this! I can't afford this experience. It sounded amazing though and I didn't want my doubt to be what hindered me. I looked into it more and decided to try fundraising for it. It was super hard and I didn't come up with all the money, but I begged my family to help me pay the rest. In a nutshell, the 2 week volunteer experience opened my eyes to the large-scale social problems of gender inequality, economic hardship, and poverty which was the hallmark motivation to pursue my Masters in Social Work. This trip was my first overseas experience as a traveler, not as a tourist. I met amazing people and it opened my eyes and my heart to the meaning of life, of traveling, and of being a humanitarian. Since then, I have completed my Masters in Social Work with a focus on international community development and am currently serving a 27 month service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru. It's been 4 years since my trip to Ecuador with ISV and I believe now more than ever, I would not be where I am in life today if it weren't for this experience. So, if you are considering doing a trip with ISV, but have doubts, find a way to make it work because it could be a big step in fulfilling your destiny!

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Yidi
Female
18 years old
China

2016 High school program

10/10

we cried a lot during the time in Thailand with our buddies, they are like my real sister and brothers, and i hope i can come to Thailand again to visit Maekok Foundation .
It was the most memorable experience in my life. I learned so much during the time spending with the Kids, and i miss them so so so so much!!!
We taught the Kids English while they also taught us how to do the work, like how to mix the sand and rock, how to plan rice.

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Carol
Female
20 years old
Fairfield
California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo

ISV Costa Rica Program 2016

10/10

When I first learned about what ISV was, I immediately wanted to sign up- and I'm so glad I did! Traveling to Costa Rica in the summer of 2016, was the best experience of my life that I've had so far. My career goal is to become a veterinarian, so when I found out that ISV had programs involving wildlife conservation I was hooked. Luckily I was placed in the Osa in Water project, which involved many aspects of sea turtle conservation, and I was thrilled! The project site was on Playa Blanca, and we traveled to several neighboring beaches where we would set up nets in the ocean in order to capture either Hawksbill, or Black sea turtle species. Once we had one trapped in the net, the researchers would haul it onto the boat, ride to shore, and we would conduct the data research of measuring the turtle's carapace, plastron, and tail length. If it was a new turtle that we had never encountered before, we would give it a number tag on its left and right flipper in order to monitor its travel patterns. We would also take a tissue sample from its hind flipper so the researchers could further study blood lines. On days where we weren't working directly with the sea turtles, we would plant Mangrove seeds, which are a vital food source for the Hawksbills. We would also do beach clean ups, and different maintenance work along the project site. It felt so rewarding, being able to help conduct this project successfully. Something I would definitely do again!

How can this program be improved?

The project was great!

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Alison
Female
22 years old
Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh

ISV in the Dominican Republic

10/10

My trip to the Dominican Republic this summer was without doubt the most fulfilling and worthwhile experience of my life. I opted to travel out to the DR for the 5 week programme and enjoyed every second of it. Before flying out, I must admit that I felt a little uninformed about the exact tasks we would be responsible for on the project site. Please do not let this put you off - once over there everything became clear and all fell in to place.
The first week was a Spanish and Cultural Immersion programme. This is something I would definitely recommend to future volunteers because knowing a bit of Spanish is invaluable when working in a school and interacting with the locals. Extras such as dance and cooking classes, city tours and a trip to the beach really added to the experience and gave more of an insight in to Dominican culture. For the duration of the week I stayed with a really lovely host family who took great care of me and made me feel extremely welcome in their home.
For the two week programme myself and 13 other volunteers were placed on project at Blue Moon. We worked in a kindergarten teaching the local children a range of subjects including English, Health, Road Safety, Arts and Crafts and Physical Education. On top of this, we restored and developed the worn-out playground at the school, and re-built the foundations of an elderly man’s house and laid concrete floors within it. It was a truly eye-opening experience! Seeing the children playing in their new playground touched my heart and really made all of the hard work and sweat worth it. A really rewarding experience that I felt honoured to be a part of.
The adventure tour was another incredible experience. I would 100% recommend staying for the last 2 weeks as it’s a perfect opportunity to see more of the country and do so many fun filled and adrenaline pumping activities. A couple of my many highlights were rappelling down the side of a 45m waterfall, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and another was cliff jumping.
I must also mention the awesome ISV project leaders Danyi and Pedro, and adventure tour leader Adolfo. They were all full of fun and enthusiasm, constantly keeping a smile on everyones face. The experience really wouldn’t have been the same without them. Think yourself lucky if any of them are involved in your ISV experience!
I would recommend this programme to anybody who wants to make a positive impact in our world. Whether you are an avid volunteer, a wanderlust globetrotter, or a novice traveller, you will fall in love with the Dominican Republic and ISV. I was lucky enough to make some amazing friendships along the way. I’m already looking at another ISV programme for next year! We as volunteers take part in a programme like this to enhance the lives of the less privileged, but my life has also been enriched in so many ways. Amazing experience and I fully encourage everyone to look in to volunteering with ISV or a similar organisation.

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Adrianna
Female
20 years old
Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University

Best Summer Ever! Australia 2016

10/10

Traveling with ISV to Australia was one of the best decision that I have ever made. Growing up I had always wanted to visit Australia and travel the world, but I thought it would be impossible to go so young. After hearing about ISV I knew that I had to take the opportunity that was given to me. Going to Australia was the first time I had got on a plane and the first time I had ever left the State of Texas. It was scary and nerve-wracking at the beginning of the trip after all I went by myself half way across the world and with a bunch of strangers. This was the scariest thing I had ever done, but after the third plane and after meeting my group members, I knew it was all going to be okay. Volunteering at Phillip Island Nature Park for two weeks was interesting and a lot of fun. Learning about the environment, the animals, and making an impact in the world was an adventure itself, by building penguin houses, watching penguin parades and chasing wallabies out of plantations, it was so much fun. The girls I spent my time with went from strangers to family in just a couple of days. But that was just the beginning, and the action packed adventure tour was next and it was really an adventure, wing two weeks of laughter, being a risk-taker, and having adrenaline rushes. From swimming in the Great Barrier, to jumping off bridges and planes, the adventure was everywhere. The last week of the trip was a tour around the tropical islands of Fiji and it was paradise. This trip was not just a vacation, it was a life-changing experience. Learning about the culture of Australian natives and Fiji natives was a great experience and it made me realize how lucky I was to have everything. This trip is a bit pricey but every cent spent was all worth it for the trip of a life time and I definitely recommend everyone to join the experience.

How can this program be improved?

This program could be improved by giving out project overviews or travel manuals more advanced rather than right before the trip. Maybe just samples of what the previous groups have done. Overall the program had everything organized.

Program Listings

Swaziland

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
South Africa is renowned for its vigorous culture, sweeping landscapes and remarkable wildlife – but communities, children’s...

Costa Rica

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
Costa Rica is filled with a colourful array of animals, white beaches, lush rainforests, rivers, volcanoes and smiling commun...

Australia

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
Despite its spectacular rugged beauty, Australia has lost many of its iconic species over the past 200 years and has one of t...

Thailand

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
Sun-swept beaches, spiritual temples, smiling faces, lush tropical rainforests and tasty cooking are just a few of the wonder...

New Zealand

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
As a volunteer in New Zealand with International Student Volunteers (ISV), you have the opportunity to protect and rehabilita...

Dominican Republic

ISV (International Student Volunteers)
The Dominican Republic is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, vibrant culture and warm, friendly people - but as a v...