Global Volunteers

Program Reviews

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Donna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience for a family

My daughter and I participated in Global Volunteers' trip to the Blackfeet Nation last summer. It was amazing. Our guide, Karen, got to know all of the participants and tried to match them up with things they were interested in or skills they had. My daughter is an equestrian and Karen connected us with a local rancher and pastor who trains green horses. He works with at-risk youth to give them meaningful work while teaching them important values and building trust. Every evening we had a chance to learn more about the Blackfeet culture. We went on a horseback ride into the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Although the accommodations were not great, the trip was perfect in its imperfection.

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Leslie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Reaching Children's Potential Tanzania

I have volunteered as part of the Reach the Children’s’ Potential Program in 2018 and 2021. I really like the philosophy of Global Volunteers: the community decides on the projects and the families from the RCP program and community are actively engaged in the volunteer projects and programs. In addition, the program is committed to use local materials, resources, and tools readily available in the community which fosters the ability for self-sufficiency and sustainable long-term change.

RCP program has a lot of depth and there are numerous opportunities for volunteers to contribute. Some examples of activities that the team participated this year are the following: Home visits with caregivers, building chick coops, working in the local primary school teaching English, working and supporting the local women’s co-ops, facilitating workshops at the center and in the community, building earth boxes, working in the green house, working on computer related project that relate to the collection of data for the program, assisting a local pastor with harvesting his wheat field and participate in community building activities with local leaders, hospital and Iringa University. This program has so many different types of opportunities for volunteers to contribute!

It is great to be on the ground again and see the progress made in the region over the past two and half years since I was here back in November 2018. I truly saw the impact the RCP program is making in the region and how this demonstration program is working. Some areas that I can see change.
1. Having a health center on the mountain that mothers can now have a safe place to birth their children
2. The RCP center has a small guest house for some of the expecting mothers to stay at the RCP center when they are near their due dates. This ensure that mothers that live far away from the center do not need to make the trip in labor up the steep mountain roads.
3. The schools are more well attended and reported by the teachers that the children are more attentive/progressing further in school since the program now provides for 2 healthy meals for the children each day.
4. Nursing mothers have healthier supplemented meals, plus many families now have earth boxes where they can grow their own food rich in micronutrients. This directly impacts the health and growth of the nursing children. The children in the program for the past few years you can see as growing faster and are healthier. This can be backed by the measurements that are taken as part of the program.
5. Many of the staff at the RCP program have been here for many years. Many I worked with back in 2018. With stable staff it fosters the ability to build long term relationships with the families and community leaders. The staff and volunteers are looked as trusted advisors with the RCP families and many of the local community leaders. This helps support sustainable change in the region.
6. The community is now ready to deal with mental health related issue in the villages with more of the community getting basic needs such as healthy food met. Mental Health back in 2018 was an aspirational goal for the village community leaders to be addressed.

Pros
  • Well run program - Volunteers are well taken care of.
  • Lots of opportunites to make a difference
  • Guest house is modern and food is healthy and prepared from local foods
Cons
  • Remote location - over 2 hours from nearest city
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Susan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything I had hoped for and more

After many months of planning, I finally arrived in Ipalamwa for my first service trip with Global Volunteers. My stay was everything I had hoped for and more. During my 2 week stay, I was able to do home visits with local Care Givers, build hand-washing stations in village homes, teach English lessons in the nearby school classrooms, and play games on the playground with the children. The added bonus were the other volunteers who served alongside me. Wonderful people who had similar values and reasons for being there. Global Volunteers staff is highly trained and take very good care of their volunteers. Room and board were extremely comfortable; as a single woman traveling alone I never once felt at risk.

Pros
  • Very organized, assignments for every day, never felt there was wasted time.
  • Lodging was extremely comfortable; I paid the extra fee for a single room and it was well worth it. Momma Tony takes care of all the meals, outstanding!
  • Some might consider it a Con, but I loved being able to disconnect and not have access to internet.
Cons
  • Some of our conversations with the mothers in the village may not have translated as well as I'd hoped; not sure everything we were trying to say came across as intended.
  • Wished I'd stayed longer
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Laurie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Working at the respite center and painting a house in S. TX

This was my first "domestic" volunteer trip, and one of my most impactful. I felt like I was getting to pull back the curtain and see the reality of the refugees who came in - learning about their stories and the long road they still had to travel. There is so much misinformation regarding this issue and although I know it's a political hot button, I got to experience the humanitarian side of it it - putting faces to the numbers. Barbara Bicknell was an excellent leader and I credit her for the way our group of 11 became fast friends and worked so well together. Painting the house with 4 other women, under the guidance of Projecto Azteca, was no easy feat, especially given the heat and the conditions of the space, but it was rewarding and we were able to make it a fun project.

Pros
  • The organization as put forth by our leader, Barbara. We brainstormed, wrote down goals, checked back with those goals and ended every day with a wrap up session.
Cons
  • No cons, but it was hot. Then again, it was South TX, so that was expected!
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Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime...

My daughter (15 years old at the time) and I spent two weeks volunteering in Calderon. This was truly a experience of a lifetime. The center were we volunteered was in a vibrant area bustling with everyday life where we got to experience the food and culture first hand. We were immersed everyday with our interactions with the beautiful children, teachers, parents and the women of FUNDAC walking way from the experience with a greater sense of our world, differences and how small gestures can help in so many ways. This experience has lead my daughter to continue on in studying International relations and development next year. Our Global Volunteer leader Maggie was amazing, guided us in every way and there to help us with anything that we needed. Ecuador is one of the most beautiful countries and has so much to offer. I hope to make it back there again.

Pros
  • Real immersion in the culture
  • Gratitude and appreciation from kids, parents and organization
  • Global Volunteers had everything we needed pre and during trip. Well organized and executed
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Nancy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An experience not to be missed

This was my first trip with Global Volunteers. I choose this one in Texas as I wanted to learn more about (and see for myself) what was happening at the border as well as be of help. I was totally overwhelmed and found this to be one of the most powerful weeks that I have ever experienced.

Every person that we met regardless of status was kind, grateful and helpful. The people who spoke to us provided a wealth of information on the area, the needs of the community, the resources available and more. We were given first hand opportunities to see and work with the refugees at the Respite Center.

To see and hear the stories of the refugees touched me to the core of my being. I believe everyone should go here to learn and help educate others. The support and direction from Global Volunteers was wonderful. I felt safer there than many of the clinics that I have worked out in Virginia.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We helped at the Food Bank and distributed food for 500 families as their cars waited in line as early as 2:00am.
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Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Castelvetrano, Sicily

For my first Global Volunteers experience, I was one of the lucky 6 beginning this
program in the beautiful and ancient town of Castelvetrano. We came as strangers from all over the US. For two weeks we lived and ate delicious food together, convened for daily check-ins and motivating discussion, and each worked intensely in our different schools. On the intervening weekend, we planned travel to several other notable Sicilian towns, with the invaluable help of Giovanni. We used afternoons for exploring such places as an olive oil processing plant, gelateria, patisseries, and singing at the "Sistine Chapel of the South." We left feeling a connection and respect not only to our students and host teachers but to each other and our leader, Phyllis.
We all knew the complications of travel during COVID, and it was more involved than any travel I'd done previously, but so worth the effort! It was hard to say goodbye; I gained so much, and loved the experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If it works for you, use this opportunity to add some time prior to, or following the program to
see more of Sicily- this is such a beautiful island country with important history and art and architecture.
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Joanne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Volunteers /Sicily

Loved being in one city -Castelvetrano - for a period of time, felt like home. The hospitality school I worked in gave me an insight to the high school system in Sicily - teachers change classes not the students. The sleep accomodations were out standing...and by going out to dinner with the volunteers we got to know each other on a friendly basis. The week-end we went touring a few cities in Sicily...seaside towns and of course Palermo, the capital!! The town of Castelvetrano was old architecture and beautiful.So so glad I experienced this.

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Gordon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer at the Blackfeet Nation in Montana

Volunteering at the Blackfeet Nation in Montana was an amazing experience. We learned about the Blackfeet culture from native elders and worked in a variety of ways to assist the community. And we were able to enjoy Blackfeet stories, dance, and artwork. In our free time, we were able to visit Glacier National Park on two different occasions. Our leader, Karen, was well prepared from her leadership experiences with the Blackfeet in previous years and she did an excellent job during our week there. We were also blessed to have the opportunity to experience the Sun Dance on two different days. The Blackfeet community expressed their gratitude for our service. They affectionately referred to the current and past volunteers who have served there as "Globals." Volunteering in the Blackfeet Nation is a very meaningful and worthwhile program.

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Timothy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure, Fun, and Helping a Wonderful Community

I have been volunteering with Global Volunteers since 1998 and I just returned home from Poland on my 18th trip with the organization. I was in the Cook Islands in 2018 and it was magical. The setting, the culture, the welcoming community, and an incredible team leader. I was teaching at the high school where students came from all over the Cook Islands because it was through this school that they would advance on to university. I was encouraged by the teachers and students who all appreciated my time and enjoyed the challenges to improve their command of conversational English.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy the experience. Remember that you have been invited by the community in Rarotonga to help them reach their goals. It is a beautiful location. The students are interested in learning and really enjoy working with the volunteers.