International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Program Reviews

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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered in Tanzania for 3 months in the teaching program and had the best ever time! I met some incredible people and learnt so much. I went on my gap year and taught a class of 7-8 year olds at an English medium primary school. This was located just out of Arusha. The kids and staff were so cool and it was incredible to teach them for that time. I wish I could have stayed for longer! When you weren't teaching there was plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding areas and do things such as go on safari etc. Also great nightlife if you like a good dance party! Would highly recommend to anybody :)

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Goat intestines on a stick - (Street food) It wasn't as bad as it sounds haha!
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Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with IVHQ in Croatia for 2 weeks on the animal care programme where I looked after dogs and cats in an animal shelter. The animal care programme was amazing, there was a very relaxed atmosphere and it was perfectly balanced with volunteering and having free time in the afternoons and evenings.

The price is affordable, and the accommodations and food was great and very worth it for the price, as they are included in the programme fee.

I would definitely recommend to anyone looking to try a new experience - it is suitable for everyone!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would take more swimming costumes as I didn't expect to go to the beach as much as I did!
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Amelie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I can only recommend Care2Travel ! Even though I was only there for 2 weeks, they really made sure I was able to do the work I went there for and have a lot of fun playing with children and teaching them English. Outside of the summer camps I had a great time as well, because I was able to meet other amazing volunteers who became my friends and with whom I could enjoy the great city of csikszereda. The entire team was always there to help you out and guarantee you were having a great time ! I will never forget this experience!

What was your funniest moment?
The most fun part of my program was the second Summer Camp, where me and the volunteers were all in charge of different teams of children and we had to compete against each other. Cheering those children on during the competitions and witnessing their happiness when they won is an amazing feeling!
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Jessica
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved my experience volunteering in the sports program in Rio. I have to admit, I was completely out of my element at first however I toughened up to stay and happy I did! The people are amazing and the work you do is really enriching. You make lifelong friends and get to learn so much about yourself. The program coordinators are always available and super helpful. I still think about it everyday and miss being there so much! You are absolutely sure to have an unforgettable amazing time.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment for myself was the accommodation. This was my first time traveling alone, and I never been in a hostel type accommodation before. It was hard to adapt sharing a room with so many strangers, the kitchen and especially the bathroom! However I calmed myself down and went through with it. Everything turned out and great and everyone was very respectful of eachother and our space.
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Sophie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my time spent with the children of Bali, they are so full of life, so sweet and fun. It was a pleasure to have met and taught such amazing children. Back at the volunteer house, the staff there treat you like family, they are so kind and considerate. The meals they provide you with are delicious and they are also welcoming you to a conversation or help you out. The other volunteers are also all very kind, you get wide a range of ages and backgrounds but everyone is friends with each other.

What would you improve about this program?
Some people may prefer this, but it's only an hour a day and it can be morning or afternoon. Maybe just allow a choice to the volunteer as to whether they would prefer morning or not
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Graham
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering at the Nakavango Conservation Programme in Victoria Falls was one of the best experiences of my life. The project leaders on the ground were great; supportive throughout and very open to discussing the issues they face and some unexpected solutions to environmental and conservation issues that are applicable across the world. I learnt a huge amount about reading the story that any environment presents and had a great time doing it. There is a good mix of activities and rest time and the accommodation was great. We had individual rooms and the staff couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. I felt valued and looked after.

IVHQ was great in the run-up, from the perspectives of both pre-planning generally to the specific needs of the programme (particularly having the correct paperwork for visas and travel).

I recommend both the Nakavango Conservation Programme and IVHQ to anyone considering a volunteer program. You will be in very good hands.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would take advantage of opportunity to track animals on foot. Unfortunately we had a few days of heavy rain which stopped us going out. A couple of those would have involved tracking animals on foot.
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Claudia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Over the Christmas holidays, I was fortunate enough to travel to Kandy, Sri Lanka on my second volunteer aboard program with IVHQ. During my first two-weeks I completed a volunteer placement teaching English and in my last week I did the trekking week add-on which was completely organised and facilitated by the local team. Although the trekking week was full of outdoor activities, beautiful hikes and waterfalls I found the volunteering was the highlight of my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed Teaching English to the local children – it was both a challenging and rewarding experience which taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of. The local team were very accommodating, and we were given many options and were not just limited to the program we had initially signed up for. Within the teaching program, there were two options available for which we could chose to participate in one or both – a morning session teaching English to Monks and an afternoon session teaching English to the village kids. There was a scheduled lunch break between each session.

I chose to participate in both programs and thoroughly enjoyed the variety of teaching two very different groups. This allowed me to spend more time with my fellow volunteers and helped enrich my experience. I was intimated at first as I had no previous teaching experience but the local team, my fellow volunteers and the children were all very supportive. Although I was the teacher, I learnt a lot from my students – they taught me to be creative with my teaching methods and how we could create a fun and educational environment with little resources. It was refreshing to be in the absence of computers and to rely on talking, drawing, and playing and creating games from sticks, stones and bottle caps found on the ground. My favourite memory was on my last day of teaching I gave one of my students some ribbon from my Christmas wrapping (she loved to tie her hair in ribbons for school). I will never forget the joy on her face and how she hugged me after receiving this gift. It was something so small yet it brought so much happiness. Volunteering here has taught me that I should never underestimate myself, especially my own ability to make a difference no matter how small or simple my actions may seem.

They say travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer and, in this case, it could not be more true. If you have any doubt in your mind about volunteering aboard, erase it and take the leap. You’ll make lifelong friends, create lasting memories and most importantly enrich your own knowledge and life experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you are only in the country for a short amount of time, use your weekends wisely to get the most out of sightseeing. You can talk to the local team about what you are interested in, how much time you have and what is feasible to do. They are very helpful and will help you arrange accommodation and transportation for weekends away or day trips.
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Reuben Ming Gui
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a fulfilling eight weeks on the Teaching English project in Bogota, Colombia. The stint was, in truth, more challenging than I had expected it to be. The vast majority of our students, all of whom endured difficult pasts and were placed in a rehabilitative home, spoke hardly any English and I had to conduct classes in my limited Spanish. There was also relatively little institutional knowledge we could work with and the unpredictability of our class configurations proved to be an obstacle. Our local team was, however, very supportive from the get-go and played an important role in ironing out certain issues. After navigating a steep learning curve, I found myself feeling a sense of fulfillment in teaching our students. It was hard work ideating and preparing our lessons but detecting a sense of achievement in the eyes of a few of our students, who found satisfaction in being able to construct English sentences, made all our effort worthwhile. In addition, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to teach and get to know our students and I was blessed by their warmth and respectfulness towards us volunteers. I was also blessed by the local team and fellow volunteers, and I'm glad to say that I've made friendships I will keep for life. The premature and abrupt end to my programme, however, brought about by the COVID-19 situation, left me feeling that I had unfinished business in Bogota. I'm nevertheless thankful for my time there and would happily return to serve on the project again in the future.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Although the ability to speak Spanish isn't an official requirement for the teaching programme, having at least an intermediate level of the language makes a huge difference in your programme experience. There is a palpable language barrier as the students start off with a very low level of English. Not speaking Spanish makes it difficult to communicate with them and to build meaningful relations. Pick up some Spanish and there'll be a world of difference!
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Isabella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where to begin! I volunteered for 2 weeks at a Turtle Conservation Project in Sri Lanka. This was my first time traveling abroad and I couldn't have picked a more perfect place. This country has SO much to offer! Beautiful nature, city, food, animals, history, culture, and so much more. The whole experience was wonderful, but it was the people and culture that made the experience special. The Green Lion staff were some of the greatest people I've ever met! So kind, supportive, and full of humor! I cannot wait to go back one day!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Leave your expectations at home! Travel with an open heart and mind and you will create wonderful memories! I had certain expectations going in, but Sri Lanka surpassed them all! When I let go I was able to be present and enjoy every moment. Oh yeah, and don't forget to have fun!
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Michelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did the food rescue project with IVHQ in Lisbon, Portugal. The experience was truly an unforgettable one, I have made memories that I will cherish forever.

I would say that I am quite shy, and was really nervous about making friends during this, I quickly overcame all that and have made so many friends from this, friends from all over, and friends of all ages.

One moment I will never forget is when I saw a homeless man eating the food that I had just prepared, it completely warmed my heart and made me feel whole.

I got to experience such a rich and beautiful culture, I learnt some of the language, I learnt how to be more eco-friendly and sustainable, and I've become more aware of the world around us and how many people are in need.

I will definitely volunteer with IVHQ again, especially since I will be 18 next year and will be able to do so many more. As a high schooler, this helped me make friends with people my own age and people older than me, it helped me become more independent, and helped me see the world in a new way. Yes it did help for my university application, but it is so much more than that.

IVHQ is great for anyone and everyone, if you just want to help the world in a way, or if you're incredibly passionate about something, IVHQ has something for you. And if you're in high school, if you've just retired, if you want to travel or stay home, IVHQ has something for you.

I would recommend this to anyone and I hope that more people volunteer, as it is such a wonderful thing to do.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not be afraid to ask questions!! I made that mistake by not asking what exact items I'd need to bring to the residence, so unfortunately for the first 2 days I had no towels or body wash with me!! I had to borrow someone else's towel at first, but then luckily I had a friend in Cascais who let me borrow a towel of hers and I bought body wash. If you are unsure about absolutely anything, just ask, because the crew at IVHQ (especially in Lisbon) are super kind and accommodating.