Quest Overseas
100% Rating
(23 Reviews)

Quest Overseas

Quest Overseas is driven by a desire to help its project partners and communities in South America and Africa, while providing valuable experiential learning opportunities for young people. QO has been running since 1996, with nearly 20 years' experience of sending teams of young volunteers to provide their support to partnering communities through projects ranging from wildlife sanctuaries and forestry conservation to building sand dams and health clinics. QO also prides itself on its expert expedition leaders who take the teams on bespoke journeys through the Andes or East Africa.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Molly
Female
19 years old
New York City
University of Chicago

Life-Changing Experience

10/10

This winter I was a participant in the Villa Maria Gap Year Project. Upon arriving in Villa Maria, myself and the other volunteers were immediately welcomed into the community. Each day we went to different districts within Villa Maria and organized games for the children or brought them to the pool. In my opinion, this work is as vital to the health of the community as a food bank. By an act as simple as throwing a ball around we allowed these kids, many with unimaginable burdens, to be kids; a right that I took for granted before coming to Villa Maria. I will never forget the way the younger kids ran to us giggling and wrapping their arms around us the first day we went to play. We soon realized how much this project meant to so many people and how dedicated the Peruvian project staff were to giving these children unforgettable memories. In addition to playing with the kids, we lived with the incredibly warm Peruvian staff. From spontaneous water fights to late night barbeques to ping pong tournaments, I laughed harder and smiled wider than I have in a very long time. When the four weeks were up, my group and I could say that we had found a home both in Villa Maria and with each other, a rare gift. The four-week expedition that followed was equally as unforgettable; each day wilder and more fun than the last. From boating in the jungle to biking on the infamous death road to parading through not one but two Carnavals to trekking to Machu Picchu, there was never a dull moment. We had a fantastic leader who ensured we got to do and see the most possible with the allotted budget as well as ensuring our spirits were always high.

After completing four stress filled years focused on getting a college acceptance, this trip was exactly what I needed. Not only did I have more fun in two months than I previously knew possible but through all the amazing people I met and all the different ways of life that I experienced, I was forced to question my own values and think about the kind of adult that I want to be. One of the numerous values in cultural immersion.

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Emily
Female
19 years old
France
Other

Best 2 months of my life

10/10

I was on a gap year and looking for an organisation that would allow me to travel and do some kind of volunteering. I looked at many agencies but found that Quest Overseas really offered the right balance between these two aspects. I signed up however not really knowing what I was in for, just basing myself on a Skype interview and a few friendly emails exchanged between the team and I. I had no idea I was signing up for the best experience of my life.
Between the British staff who is incredibly involved, friendly and helpful and the Peruvian partners who have been working with the Villa Maria project for over 20 years and care about it like nothing else, I realised that this project isn't only about giving disadvantaged children the best summer of their childhood by providing them with the basic right to play, it's about carrying on 20 year long work and becoming part of a huge family.
When I first walked into the bedroom I was going to be living in for the next 5 weeks in Villa Maria, I, like many before me, got to read all the messages that previous volunteers had left on the walls - names, dates, inside jokes, advice - and immediately knew these 5 weeks would be unforgettable, and I was right. I made friends for life, with the other volunteers as well as with the Peruvians who worked with us, I discovered a new culture, I had the time of my life playing with children, I improved my Spanish skills, dancing skills (oh yes!), and everyday was a memory I will keep forever.
Up to the standards of the Villa Maria fun, the 4 week-long expedition that followed was as hectic and unforgettable. We had a great expedition leader who managed the whole thing and made sure all our money was being spent in the best way possible, not letting us worry about anything, all the while keeping our spirits up with a great personality and sense of humour. One small problem: you'll have to give up on sleeping for the next 4 weeks (it's all worth it though) ! Indeed, between sand boarding in the Peruvian desert, trekking in the Andes, kayaking on Lake Titicaca, climbing a mountain, parading in La Paz carnaval, mountain biking, crossing a border at 6am, and much much more, you quickly learn the importance of napping and knowing how to sleep on a bus.
All in all, I'm incredibly grateful for finding Quest Overseas and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something different and fun to do on their gap year (or later on!). I can't stress enough how much Quest and all it's staff is involved, trustworthy and friendly.

You should also visit the Quest Overseas / Quest4Change facebook page as there's lots of photos and videos on there !

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Clare
Female
24 years old
London, England
Other

One thing I've learnt...I can sleep anywhere!

10/10

This expedition was so jam packed with adventure after adventure, I was shattered, I came back and slept solid for 3 days. Everyday we were in a new location, new country, different bed and different activity just around the corner. Whether it was waking up in the snow to climb mountains at 1am or falling asleep on the longest most uncomfortable journey into the jungle or sleeping between 2 friends in a tiny tent who've stolen your role mat, you knew that the next day would have something exciting prepared to share with what became your family. And this happened for 6 weeks straight. But despite getting barely any sleep, unless you were lucky enough to get an upgrade to the sleeper bus section with real reclining seats, I wouldn't have changed it and would do it all again tomorrow. Now have the best stories at parties and met the greatest friends!

How can this program be improved?

Just one thing...add food bags to the kit list, they were the most useful thing and I had to ration them to everyone else.

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Isabel
Female
22 years old
London, England
University College London

Bolivia Gap

10/10

I was part of the Bolivia Gap team in 2014, and I am so glad I made the decision to travel with quest. The trip was challenging at times, and required hard work during the treks and volunteering periods. But looking back on it now the tough times seem so insignificant, considering that this trip took me to the most beautiful places I have ever been to and gave me incredible memories, as well as a group of friends to share them with. I climbed to 5,000m, came face to face with a rescued jaguar and watched the sunrise come up over the salt flats - moments that will stick with me forever.
I thought that our 3 months were well organised - we fitted an amazing amount of activities into such a small time and i felt fully immersed into the countries we visited. Our leader Matty was fun and always tried to make our time enjoyable and safe, as well as taking into account what we wanted to do and being patient enough to put up with the 5 of us for 3 months!
I've since returned to the wildlife park we volunteered at twice, and this never would have happened without Quest introducing me to it, and giving me the confidence to continue on my own once our trip had finished.

Quest's commitment to ethical volunteering and tourism was the main reason I initially chose to travel with them and I think this is a very important part of what they do. We were also able to visit the Peruvian project in Villa Maria and I was impressed at the work that goes on there.

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Isabella
Female
24 years old
Lund, Sweden
Other

Volunteering in Villa Maria summer 2014

10/10

When my and my friend searched for a volunteer trip we were determined to find a trip where we could make a real difference. Quest Overseas stood out in that point and it felt very professional that we had to make an application. But even though we got a good first impression from Quest by just reading and talking with the staff it's still hard to know how it will be until you're there. And I was not disappointed. Quest have a close relationship with the local community which I think is very important since it's they who have the best knowledge of where help is needed. Our help felt needed and the experiences and memories I got were all worth the work I did.

Although it was quite overwhelming to arrive in VM (as a small town girl from Sweden who never travelled outside of Europe before) I adjusted very quickly and learned to love VM. Even the dogs who barked all night, the chilly damp weather (since I was there in their winter) and the endless stairs. The people in the Quest team were all amazing and the local staff and the children we met was the best! They made me (and the rest of the team) feel very welcomed.

I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to volunteer in South America. You will not regret it!

Program Listings

Peru

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Quest Overseas is devoted to giving their participants amazing Gap Year opportunities. Their program in Peru surpasses all ex...

Bolivia

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Have a passion for animals, environmental conservation projects, or good old fashioned outdoorsy adventure? Then check out Qu...

Malawi

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Go to Africa and help out those less fortunate by joining Quest Overseas' Gap Summer program in Malawi! The global organizati...

Peru

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Take on some the most stunning sights South America has to offer with 6 weeks of adrenaline-charged adventure, through Peru a...

Rwanda

Quest Overseas
Join Quest Overseas and get a once-in-a-lifetime Gap Summer experience in Rwanda! Global organization Quest Overseas sends de...