Affordable Volunteering with Love Volunteers

Love Volunteers

About

We are just a handful of passionate people working hard to help volunteers and local communities around the world. We don't have huge overheads - no company cars, no downtown office - we're just volunteers who thought we could do a better job. We work with local organisations wherever we can to keep administration costs to a minimum and also to return as much money and skills to the local communities where we operate. We can offer the lowest possible fees, but also ensure that you are immersed in the local culture and are actually making a difference!

Headquarters

PO Box 199
Pukekohe
Auckland 2679
New Zealand

Reviews

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

The project was far beyond what I had expected. During my medical internship programme, I spent three weeks in the department of cardiology of Somdech Phra Pinklao Hospital, Bangkok. On the first day I received a thorough schedule of what I was going to see and learn in the next weeks. The best part was the team: they gave me a kind and hearty welcome and everyone was very nice and willing to share with me everything they could about both cardiology and Thai culture. The clinical part of the internship was in English and, as I don't come from an English speaking country, I had to get familiar with a different terminology, which was challenging for the first few days, but at the same time it was most useful thing I got from this internship for my future medical career and it was what I am most thankful for.

Living in such a wonderful and different city like Bangkok is truly a life changing experience. I enthusiastically welcomed every peculiarity of the city and Thai culture, which is often curious. I needed a great open mindness to live this experience, but since diversity and uniqueness are two of the thing I love the most, it wasn't difficult for Bangkok and Thai culture to find a place among my best and beloved memories.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The medical internship programme is a very enriching one. It requires a strong will to learn and doing it abroad needs a great spirit of adaptation. You are just requested to be punctual, respectful and flexible, as hours can change depending on doctors' shifts and scheduled events, but you'll be included so fast in the team that it's very easy to be at your ease.
Default avatar
Louise
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If I must to describe in one word my trip and my experience, I would say: amazing
Indeed, it was for me one of my best experience of my life from any point of view like humanly, emotionally, professionally, or culturally ...
I left Albania with only positive memories and the wish to come back again in this beautiful country with beautiful people (Albania).
Before to arrive in Albania, I knew nothing about this country and it was a real discovery (language, weather, landscapes, culture, the way of life ...), and I fell in love with this country. Albanians are so welcoming, and I felt quickly like at home. I think that more people should go in Albania and discover the beauty of this country, which is suffering from a not good reputation. This is a safe country and I never had problem when I was outside, even during the night. Finally, despite the precariousness of some cities, it rests a beautiful green land with mountains, sun and colorful cities!
My project into the center in Cërrik with children was incredible for me. Since the first day children were welcoming and very nice with me. They became fo me like my "little family" in Albania, they were attentive and especially voluntary in all organized activities, so it was a real pleasure to work with them and also very difficult to leave them after one month...
Staff which was working with me, was just very nice and welcoming with me! Staff welcomed me as if I had been with them for a long time, and girls who worked with take me as a colleague but also as a friend and I think all together we did a good job

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My only tips for the future volunteer is: don't be afraid to start one of this experience that will only be incredible and that you will never do regret
Default avatar
Kaveri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Ghana to volunteer with children sounded like the best idea when presented to me by my friend and travel companion Bailey. Little did know how much the experience would fill my heart! The beauty of the Ghanaian culture and people were like no other. I felt safe, welcomed and very well taken care of at all times. The kindness and warmth in each one of their hearts was pretty extraordinary, unlike some other countries I have visited. The affection, smiles and laughter from the children I worked with will be in my thoughts and heart forever. The Love Volunteer staff members were so helpful in creating a smooth process from start to finish with regular check ins, and always being available to assist. I have already recommended this experience to family and friends and would love to go to Ghana!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How quickly you can adapt to a different culture and grow so extremely close to the children.
Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I could write about my experience in Cusco for days. I spent exactly 12 weeks from March to May of 2018 in the beautiful city I grew to call home. I began my stay working with disabilities and special needs, but soon discovered that volunteering in an animal shelter was a better fit for me after seeing so many stray dogs on the streets and knowing I had to help in any way I could. I can't even describe the feeling of waking up each morning with such a sense of purpose and love for what I was doing. Dogs are looked at as a means of protection for the household and nothing more. They are often mistreated, thrown out on the streets, sold on the black market, and even killed. The owner of the shelter was incredible - I have never seen such passion for animal rights and she taught me so much. At the shelter we took care of some of the animals that had been rescued every day by cleaning up after them, feeding them, and spending time with them and on the weekends we often did spay and neuter campaigns with local veterinarians. I even adopted two street dogs from the shelter myself - two sisters named Patricia and Bonnie. I was with Patricia for her surgery (spay) my second day at the shelter and was appalled at what I saw. The anesthesia is just awful there and she woke up three times during it. After that, I took care of her in her recovery and we bonded immediately. Three weeks after I arrived in the US she came home and five months later her sister joined us!

My host family was incredible and consisted of a mom and dad. I still consider them family. Because they didn't speak any English, my Spanish skills increased ten fold. It's a myth that people in Cusco speak English, so definitely practice your Spanish before hand! I was able to take Spanish classes at a local language center for two weeks which helped a lot.

Life in Cusco was so easy. Public transportation is only 80 cents by bus or you can catch a cab for around 5-6 soles (4 soles only for locals). The rain was constant my first month there, but soon it became dry season and the sun was out every day, however the cold was still a shock to my system as a fourth generation Floridian; the heat is definitely in my blood! My first two weeks I was alone since there were no other volunteers at the time. As awful as it was in the beginning I am so grateful for it now because it made me get out of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in the culture. The locals are definitely hustlers. You will have prices increased as a foreigner, but you can bargain with them - definitely stand your ground! On the whole, things were incredibly cheap with the exchange rate. We had a volunteer dinner every week which was a great way to get to know new people coming in (at max there were eight of us total). I could go to dinner with two other people and get two appetizers, three meals, dessert, and drinks for around $60. This also made extra traveling much easier in terms of price. I felt safe even late at night and usually walked home (about 45 min) if I was coming from the Plaza at night with no problems at all.

Every weekend I took a tour and I took off one week of volunteering to travel. From spending a weekend in Quillabamba, seeing Sacsaywaman, Puka Pukara, Qenko, Tambomachay and Qoricancha, Easter at the church of San Francisco, hiking Rainbow Mountain at 17,000 ft, white water rafting the Urubama, getting two new tattoos, taking an airplane over the Nazca lines, riding a dune buggy through the sand dunes of Huacachina, visiting a monestary in Arequipa, discovering Lake Titicaca in Puno and on Taquile Island, to seeing the incredible Machu Picchu, my tirp was nothing short of spectacular. Being in a place of such history and culture was like stepping into a book.

I learned so much about myself and really learned to take every chance that comes my way so I can look back on my life and say I truly lived it through both traveling and helping those in need. I have gained everything from my time in Peru and have made friends from all over the world that will last a lifetime (I am going to Jordan with one of them this coming July!). If you're even considering going to volunteer in Cusco, DO IT. You will not regret it. Love Volunteers was there every step of the way. They answered my emails so quickly and were checking up on me constantly. As a smaller volunteer organization, I feel they really created an authentic experience! I am forever grateful to them!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing would be for volunteers to know who is picking them up at the airport. I wasn't sure who I was meeting on arrival and even though the driver had my name on a board, I wish I had known his name just to double check for safety since it was my first time in another country by myself. Other than that everything was great!
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Rachel,
What an inspiring and motivating review! Thank-you so much; not only for taking the time to recount your amazing experiences in Cusco to encourage and assist future volunteers - but most importantly for your incredible contribution to the animal shelter, including providing a permanent home for Patricia and Bonnie!
Placing volunteers like you is what it's all about and we love that you took challenges in your stride, embraced the culture, language and opportunities available and made the absolute most of your time in Peru.
Thanks again and please do join us again if you get the chance :-) Enjoy your new family members and all the very best for your future adventures.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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

I don’t know where to start from. But in a nutshell, this was the best experience and the best month i’ve ever had in my entire life.
I arrived to Cherkasy on December the first, it was snowing. Too cold and new people, new language, however, i felt home in a very short period. The people here are great and friendly. The local staff in the orphanages are friendly and respectful as well. My coordinator Alexander was absolutely helpful and made it really easy for me to accomplish my volunteering work.
About the kids, nothing can describe how lovely they are, they are so amazing, they participate in every activity i prepare and made me feel really happy. I brought tears to my eye in my last day, whey came and asked me not to cry :(
Also they ask me to come back and made my promise to do so, and i will visit one day.

This month had changes my life, i realised how simple things can do for these kids.
Thanks for every one in Cherkasy, thanks Alexander and thanks Love Volunteers.

What would you improve about this program?
Can’t think of anything really, all the program and the local team are really helpful and supportive. Also the kids are happy to participate. So all depends on the volunteers
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Ahmed,
You are most welcome! Placing volunteers like you where they are needed the most is what we are all about.
Thank-you for offering so much to the children and we too hope that you can return one day and see how they have grown and how their English is coming along thanks to the dedicated volunteers who will follow in your footsteps.
We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience to encourage and inform others and we wish you all the very best for the future.
The Team @ Love Volunteers

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 39

Alumni Interviews

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

Loren Irene Sandoval Arteaga

At the age of 19 Loren has lived in five different countries. A travel addict, a coffee lover, and sunset chaser, you can never find her still in one place.
Loren Irene Sandoval Arteaga

Why did you choose this program?

As a woman that grew up in Mexico I was witness to the inequalities between men and women in my society. These abuses often let me angry, frustrated and wishing that I could have an active role in stopping it.

The program in Morocco attracted me even more because no only was the organization working with women but with indigenous women that had even less opportunities and political voice in a country that is still prominently male dominated.

The idea that I was able to make a change and contribute to the world gave me motivation to take this opportunity.

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

Love Volunteers was a great mediator between me and my organization. They took care of contacting the NGO and arranging the accommodation in Rabat.

All of my questions were answered quickly and they made sure I had all the necessary information. The only thing I had to do for myself was find the flight and get medical insurance/vaccines.

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

I think the most important thing is not to have expectations. Most of the time, things never go as we imagine and that leads to disappointment.

Being prepared for the idea that you might be working in an office and doing logistical work, rather than hands on work, is also helpful. If you are hesitant about volunteering abroad, don't be. It is one of the greatest, most profitable experiences one could ever have.

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

A normal day consisted on going to my organization around 10 am and working at the office translating documents, organizing workshops or looking up information.

At 16:00 I would be out of the office and be able to wander around the city and grab a coffee, walk along the beach, or visit one of the many touristic sites in Rabat.

I would often meet friends as well and go out to explore the Medina and ruins near the city. In the evening I would go back to the volunteer house to meet with the rest of the volunteers, have dinner and talk for a while before going to bed.

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

My biggest fear was without doubt the religious difference between Morocco and my own country. The media has spread stereotypes about Islam that have really affected the way we see Muslim countries and sometimes family members are not very encouraging.

However, once I was living there I found it ridiculous that it was my fear before coming. Once I started immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people I realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and felt at home in a matter of days.

How is it for a woman to travel alone in Morocco?

This is one of the questions I was asked the most. I think that traveling as a woman in Morocco has its own challenges but at the same time was very empowering.

It is normal for men to cat call women walking on the streets and approach them with inappropriate comments and questions. It is not something to be afraid of, and the best thing to do is simply ignore them and keep doing your own thing. However, it can be a little scary for those of us who are not used to the attention.

On the other hand, being able to travel alone and be independent in a country where the society is mostly male dominant, can give a woman a lot of self confidence.

Staff Interviews

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

Mike Brackenridge

Job Title
Programs Manager
As the Programs Manager for the fast-growing global volunteering organization Love Volunteers, Mike plays a key role in ensuring volunteers are placed in only the highest quality projects where their help is truly needed. A proud ‘kiwi’, he is a key member of the LV management team, a self-confessed ‘travel-junkie’ and a 'bit of a foodie!’. If you have any questions about any one of the 200+ projects LV currently offers, Mike is the guy to ask!
male headshot

What is your favorite travel memory?

Being part of an organization that has intrepid, meaningful travel at its very heart, I have had the privilege of spending A LOT of time visiting amazing community projects all around the world. Each project has been unique and special in it own way, and every location has had something new and exciting to offer me personally. Aside from the project visits though, I'l never forget Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Village). A must-see for anyone volunteering with us in Cusco, Peru!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

Honduras! For one reason or another this amazing country has had a seriously bad rap in the media over recent years and consequently a lot of people are put off going there, which is such a shame as there is such great need for volunteers. Yes there are some less than desirable parts of the country (as there are in any country), but we only operate projects in areas that are completely safe. There is so much to see and do in La Ceiba and El Porvenir, where our projects. The Honduran people are so welcoming and with palm fringed, white-sandy beaches literally on your doorstep, it is like volunteering in paradise! I don't think any location is 'overrated', and each has its own unique flavor, but I would certainly suggest considering Honduras! You won't regret it!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Easy. Our focus is on the projects, not on maximizing profit! Unlike some of the large 'corporate-type' organizations out there, our aim is to meet the needs of each project, not fill spaces in volunteer houses. If a project only requires 2 volunteers at a time, then this is the limit we set. With Love Volunteers you will never find yourself at a school or orphanage with 20 or 30 other volunteers when only 5 are needed. Our volunteers are part of our global family, not just a number.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

I believe that despite rapid growth and now offering the widest range of projects available globally, Love Volunteers has maintained the ethos and values that were at the very heart of its inception back in 2009, and these still form the solid foundations of our organization. All decisions and actions are based around one single goal: Helping as many people as possible - where help is truly needed. To achieve this our focus is on making volunteering abroad as affordable and accessible as possible, while providing the best support and guidance we can to all of our amazing volunteers.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

This is such a wonderfully fulfilling sector to be involved in! At any given moment there are upwards of 150+ Love Volunteers out there working hard and changing lives on meaningful service projects around the world. Our volunteers are always in constant contact with us and almost daily we receive amazing feedback from them telling us all about their individual achievements, or recanting how the experience has changed their own lives. Each time we receive feedback we read it aloud to the entire team here. Its incredibly uplifting and makes us all very proud of what we do.

More Interviews