Thumbnail

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!

Reviews

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

Love Volunteers Medical Program

Where do I even begin? This program has been one of the most influential experiences of my life, which is why I went twice and hope to return several more times. I volunteered at a government hospital in the labor ward and am now currently an L&D nurse in the US. It was more than the patients and healthcare workers that stole my heart; it was living in a village, submersed in the culture, hosted by two amazing individuals and their family that made my time there precious. In fact, I wasn’t ready to return home when my stay ended.
The hosts Bazil and Alice are incredible. They work extremely hard around the clock & sacrifice their own family time to ensure that each volunteer is comfortable and well taken care of. On a side not, you’ll actually come to find they take care of practically the entire village, too. While you are planning your trip they will be sure to answer any questions you have promptly and provide you with information to make the arrival process seamless. Great for individuals, groups, couples, families. There is something to be found for anyone of any age!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Please remain open minded in all that you do and I promise you will have the best time. Uganda’s culture is different than many others and sometimes it takes people time to get past that. Sometimes things run on “African time” and events or meet ups may be delayed several hours. They always say “you wear the time, but we have the time.” It’s about being laid and not stressing, in fact sometimes neighbors or passerby’s will tell you that you’re walking too fast.

Be sure to wear modest clothing. No strapped tank tops or short shorts/skirts, leggings, etc especially in villages. They are not used to seeing lots of skin - especially not white skin. The weather is usually very comfortable, not extremely hot like everyone imagines.

Learning a few words or phrases in Luganda, the language of the central region, will prove to be helpful in breaking down barriers with the locals or even getting around using public transportation and going to the markets. Ugandans have some views where they think white people (muzungu) are rich and will often try to upcharge taxi fares or food prices - your hosts will provide you with a list of normal market prices. Make sure to greet those you pass or offer a smile. Pre COVID there’s lots of shaking hands.

When your day is finished at your volunteer site, try venturing out and trying new things. Sometimes I would go to the water well with the children when they were doing their chores, help kids with English homework, or read then storybooks. Offer to help with making dinner and learn about the local cuisine.

A lot of times volunteers are shocked about different living areas and “squatty potties” and retreat to their room after a day. The transportation on a 14 passenger taxi or the back of a motorcycle “Boda Boda” can be intimidating, but I promise Ugandans take great care of travelers and are perhaps the most hospitable people in all of Africa. I felt safer there than I did on a college campus.

Do not worry about cell phone services - you can buy a cheap SIM card when you get there and buy a very affordable phone plan. Just make sure your phone is unlocked. Take your passport with you to the phone service shop (usually Africell or MTN). Sometimes there is trouble with AT&T and T-Mobile serviced phones. People tend to have the best luck with Verizon phones. Reception is actually pretty good, even in the village. Another note - don’t exchange your money at the airport. You will get a far better rate exchanging at a local place near your assignment.

Finally if you have the means, ask how you can help the children or your neighbors where you stay. A lot of my family and friends now sponsor some of the children to go to school - education and meals are gold!!
Default avatar
Hamidh
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical internship

Very good experience,

‏I rate Delhi 2/10 because the weather was polluted, the roads so traffic, unsafe driving and not clean.

About the accommodation; it good, safe and very clean also the staff mainly “Shankar” were so nice and respectful.

‏Great staff and the hospital also good but I think the exposure was little because it’s private hospital and not considered as trauma center so the quantity of the patients was low.

About the food; for me was not good because it was so spicy and you have to choose good and high rate restaurants to get clean and good food

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you have the chance go and do it, but I think be careful with the duration not more than 2 weeks.
‏The feelings after volunteering does not express
Response from Love Volunteers

Thanks for sharing your experience, Hamidh. I know this will help future volunteers to prepare for their internship in Delhi.

We appreciate your generous gift of time on this program and hope to work with you again in the future.

The team @ Love Volunteers

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

Discovering passion

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.
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Marco,

Our sincerest thanks for giving so much of your time and energy to this worthwhile project. It's fantastic to read about your experience here and know that this review will encourage and prepare future interns for an experience in Bangkok.

All the very best for your future adventures!
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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

Assist in Child Care Center in Cërrik (Albania)

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
Response from Love Volunteers

Dear Louise,
Reading this wonderful account of your time volunteering in Albania is an absolute pleasure. Your obvious joy in helping the children of Cërrik and passion for life are evident. I know that prospective volunteers will be moved by this review and have a greater insight into the country and its people.
What a privilege it is for us to place volunteers like you on these worthwhile programs and see the mutual benefit this brings.
We'd love to have you join us again soon!
The Team @ Love Volunteers

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

My heart is so full!!

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.

Programs

This organization no longer has any active programs. Visit our homepage to continue your search.

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!
Thumbnail

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.