V2 - Volunteer and Vacation in the Caribbean

V2 Volunteer & Vacation

About

V2 develops 15-days immersion placements in Jamaica and Tobago. Students or professionals can volunteer in unique projects and gain hands-on experience in Marine Conservation, Veterinary & Animal Care, Community Development, Children & Youth or Teaching projects.

Through our programmes, volunteers gain an understanding of the critical work of their chosen organisation, as well as the culture and communities they serve.

V2's experience in building relations with partner organisations enables us to develop realistic, productive and effective volunteering roles prior to placement. We establish objectives from the beginning and implement a support structure that ensures the best possible volunteering experience for both the volunteer and partner organisation.

Whether you are volunteering as an individual or in a group, our main objective is for you to have the most meaningful experience possible, while feeling safe and supported by our team.

Founded
2012
Headquarters

Kemp House
152 City Road
London
EC1V 2NX
United Kingdom

Reviews

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Finnula
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved Tobago. This was my first time to the Caribbean but I wasn't fazed at all, mainly down to the intuitive and exemplary abilities of the host Jade.

I got to work in a school for a week. The teachers were welcoming, interested and helpful. The children were an absolute joy and I miss them a lot tbh...

I'm a big swimmer so having a beach within walking distance was a dream!! I swam most mornings, it was accessible and one of the cleanest beaches I have been on, cleanest islands actually.

The locals were fantastic, one of my highlights was popping into Ruth on the walk home after the swim and getting her roti of the day.

I look forward to going back!

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Claudine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I took part in the Teaching Project with my daughter and granddaughter helping out with remedial reading and classroom assistance. It was an enlightening experience for all of us. My granddaughter really enjoyed being in the school . It was lovely to see how well she and the students got on and exchanged their stories of differences and similarities in their respective schools.
We spent 5 days volunteering and 5 days exploring the islands amazing beaches and scenery. It was a perfect combination.
Jade, our V2 host was a delight and made our trip such a great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
This was my first experience volunteering and I would be hard pressed to find fault with it.
If anything, it has made me want to sign up for more volunteering abroad in the very near future.
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Sian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The V2 experience allowed me to go deeper in to the culture than you ever could on holiday.I have come home feeling like I understand the culture, the history and the people - and with a longing to go back to those beautiful beaches and all night parties!

What would you improve about this program?
The whole experience was incredible.
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Alexei
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my 2nd time visiting Jamaica and I had a great time first visit but felt I didn't get to see the real Jamaica as it was very Hotel/ Resort based. So when I came across V2 it sounded perfect for what I was looking for in terms of seeing a new side of Jamaica and of course getting to work with some lovely people. And to be honest it surpassed my high expectations, it was an amazing experience! From the very beginning it was so well organised (I volunteered before with a lot of big companies around the world and believe me some of the basic things get over looked). So to have a clear itinerary, nice accommodation and then the chance to work with so many cool people in such a beautiful country was a real once in a lifetime experience, that i'd definitely recommend.

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maya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The V2 Volunteers program was a very enriching experience as a whole. The opportunity to be involved in an overseas community based program has really opened up a whole new world to me and aided in my growth as a person. V2 were very accommodating to all of my needs such as taking me to explore exotic locations and finding the most delectable cuisines. They sorted out excellent accommodation and very reliable travel to and from my volunteer community. The staff were all very approachable and supportive through all aspects of my experience and provided a superb working environment.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Reni Zhelyazkova

My name is Reni Zhelyazkova and I was born in Bulgaria but have lived in UK since 2009. Until recently I was a Master's student at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and I studied Social Anthropology of Development. As any student that has just come out of a degree, I was wondering what I am going to do with my life after uni. Thankfully, I found V2 Volunteer & Vacation and decide to go to Jamaica as a volunteer for the Social Development Commissio (SDC). The trip lasted from Oct 10 till Dec 19 (wish it lasted much longer). V2 and its incredible manager Jade Whyne assisted me with finding accommodation, contacting the SDC manager of the parish of St. Mary in Jamaica, and gave us a formal training to prepare us for the culture shock and to give us all the useful information and contacts me and my fellow traveller Cecilia needed.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc)

Reni: Going to Jamaica was a very eye-opening experience for me. It gave me a glimpse of the world of "development", something that I have studied on a theoretical level but never really experienced personally. I gained an understanding of how a project works, what the work involves and how people respond to the project environment. I am convinced that working for the Social Development Commission and the skills I gained while volunteering will be very useful for boosting my CV and thus helping me build a career in the charity/NGO/Government sector. On a more personal level, it showed me that I can be very brave and open-minded, but I also learned how to truly relax and live in the present moment.

Do you feel you got a chance to see the city from a local's perspective?

Reni: Definitely, yes! Rather than going to tourist attractions, my friend and I decided to make friends with local people and try to really immerse ourselves in the Jamaican lifestyle.

By the end of our trip we had created amazing friendships and experienced things tourists could never see. We have spent hours cooking and relaxing at our friends' houses or simply going to the tiny road bars to enjoy a glass of white rum or a Dragon stout. We knew literally everyone who lived or worked in our area and felt as if we are part of the community. Our Rastafari friends taught us a lot about Jamaican herbs, roots, tree bark, used for making healthy potions or simply to spice up your food. The parties we went to were definitely not the parties regular tourists went to. Most were in small towns where tourists never set foot because of Jamaica's reputation as a "dangerous country". Our experience, however, was extremely positive and people were very welcoming and friendly.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Reni: A week before we left Jamaica, we were invited to go to an interview in Buff Bay, a town in the neighbouring parish of Portland. We had to take three taxis and minibuses from one town to another (Oracabessa - Port Maria - Annotto Bay - Buff Bay) in order to get there, but when we arrived in Annotto Bay I realized my wallet is missing. I had about 15 000 JMD (about 100 USD) in it AND my Visa card. I panicked, of course, and decided to go back to Port Maria and look for it. I thought I lost it when I was leaving the first minibus so I decided to go and ask the minibus driver, but I could not find the minibus in the transport centre. I was incredibly surprised by the fact that the other drivers realized that something is wrong and came to ask if they could help me in some way. I explained the situation and 5-6 drivers started calling all their colleagues asking about my minibus and its driver. These people took time to help me with my problem while their customers were waiting to leave!

Unfortunately, we couldn't find the minibus and I left the transport centre. As I was starting to despair I met another friend, a Rastafari man, who started walking with me and wanted to help. Out of nowhere, the taxi driver that took us to Annotto Bay appeared carrying my wallet with all my money and my Visa card still in it! The Rasta brought me luck! A truly incredible day.

What is one piece of advice you'd give future volunteers or participants traveling with your program?

Reni: Stay open-minded and embrace things as they come whether at work, party, travelling around or even having food. Jamaica can be a truly tough place for those who cannot easily adjust to changes, but if you are willing to accept differences and learn about new cultures without judging then Jamaica will bewilder, but also inspire you! For more information, read my blog Down the Bumpy Road.

Staff Interviews

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

Jade Whyne

Job Title
Managing Director
Jade Whyne is the Founder and Managing Director of V2 Volunteer & Vacation. Jade has a degree in International Development and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Latin American studies. She has experience designing and implementing various development projects in the Caribbean and Latin America. She loves to travel and has lived and worked in six different countries. She is passionate about conservation with a special affection for sea turtles.
jade

What is one thing you would tell any future volunteer?

Jade: Relax! It’s going to be a great experience. No matter which destination you choose and what activities you would be doing, volunteering abroad will be a truly inspirational and enriching experience.

Yes, you will see things differently and have unforgettable time through which you will learn not only to appreciate your lifestyle at home but, most importantly, the smaller things in life. You will have a firsthand experience of a different culture and will have the opportunity to learn about new ways of thinking but will ultimately realize that we are all humans trying to make the best out of our lives. Expect to meet many incredible people, deal with unfamiliar situations and overcome some challenges. At the end of your journey you will realize how much you have grown!

What’s your favourite story of a volunteer’s experience on your program?

Jade: Reni and Cecilia, who went on an 8-week internship program with V2 lived in a small community in Jamaica and got to know the people there quite well during their stay. A few days before leaving Reni and Cecilia decided to visit their favourite little bar to listen to some reggae. The girls were surprised to see the faces of all of their Jamaican friends who had decided to come and express their gratitude and appreciation for the two volunteers. Avril, the owner of the bar, even exclaimed “I have never seen so many people in my bar!”

Reni and Cecilia shared that it was in this moment that they realized that not only this experience was beneficial for their personal and professional growth, and for the people that they were helping directly through volunteering, but that their presence had brought the community together and had inspired people to help each other in whatever ways they could.

What is the level of cultural immersion your volunteers receive?

Jade: V2 Volunteers work very closely with the communities within which projects take place. They have the opportunity to develop close relationships with locals, with their colleagues or other people involved in the projects.

A friendly attitude and an open mind can provide V2 volunteers the incredible opportunity to immerse themselves in people’s lifestyle and get a truly meaningful insight of a different culture that is rarely offered to regular tourists.

How does your program support sustainable projects within the community?

Jade: We simply ask the community and the organizations that we partner with what their needs are. From there, we assist in developing volunteer roles that seek to address some of the needs or issues raised and then promote these to interested volunteers. This approach allows us to target people who can support and contribute to an on-going or even start-up project that is owned, designed and managed by local agents and communities.

V2 is also always keen to find out what our volunteers can offer - what experience, skills or expertise they can contribute to projects. We collaborate with our partners to decide where our volunteers and their abilities will be most needed and best utilized so that their work can support sustainable local projects effectively and efficiently.