International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Program Reviews

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Alyssa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Ghana through IVHQ as a volunteer on the medical program. We spent our days going to schools to provide wound care, malaria testing, sex & health education and assist with various other medical concerns the students faced. We would also go into the communities to assist adults with similar concerns and treated any local that came to our door.

What made this program especially unique is the medical coordinator, Evans Nkansah. Evans has a striking passion for helping the people in communities and does everything possible to ensure we can as much as possible. He has built close relationships with local people all over Frankadua and the surrounding area and they trust him to guide the volunteers to help in the most effective ways. Evans taught each and every one of us medical volunteers how we can best help the people of these communities and gave his all every day. His compassion and pure love for his work will forever stay with me and I will be forever thankful to have been able to work with and learn from him.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
stay for as long as you are able to and spend as much time with the local people as possible
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toni
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The staff at ivhq helped me with anything i needed and responded quickly with any questions or concerns. Was a really easy process and connects you with a really cool organization in new zealand that teaches you a lot. When i was there i was learning a lot and felt that i impacted others which impacted me greatly. Always had fun events from tree plantings to beach cleanups to even more interesting people you meet. Got to meet really amazing people who care about the cause and want you to be the best you can be and just to have fun and enjoy the time there. They sometimes bring you on excursions that are equally fun and a great time so i highly recommend the program it really is impactful and super kind people always. the hostel atmosphere is also really interesting and sometimes it’s hard to get your own space but i always went on walks if i needed time alone but everyone is super friendly and wants to just talk and get to know you.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The amount of litter on the beaches is crazy to see and changes your mind about a lot but makes it fun and interesting to get more into and bring it back home and help the coast where i live.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Toni, thanks for your review of our New Zealand program. I'm glad to hear that you had a great experience and picked up some great tips to take home and apply in your own community! We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^ Courteney - IVHQ New Zealand Program Manager

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Nathan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Victoria Falls program was my first time volunteering abroad. IVHQ did a great job of providing me with a checklist to help me prepare for my time in Victoria Falls. The accommodations and food were amazing at Victoria Falls were amazing you are provided with your own private room and food was available 24/7. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The orientation at the beginning of the program helped to explain how we were making an impact. Each day is structured with different jobs these jobs include going on game drives where you will observe the animals on the reserve, you will also help clear roads and invasive plants such as lantana with picks, axes and hoes. We also helped water trees at a local school and helped composting. On the weekends Victoria Falls offers many activities such as bungee jumping, gorge swing, white water rafting, crocodile diving, and dinner cruises. I had a great two weeks in Victoria Falls and would highly recommend this program to someone who is looking to learn about the animals of Victoria Falls and have fun exploring all the activities on the weekends.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nathan, thanks for your review of our Victoria Falls program. I'm glad to hear that the support level we provide our volunteers with exceeded your expectations. It sounds like you had a great experience and took part in many varied activities on your project. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^ Claire - IVHQ Victoria Falls Program Manager

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Andrea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Lovina, Bali was amazing. It was very rewarding and extremely rich in emotions. I have many good memories and I wish I could have stayed longer. Working with children was a unique experience. I learned a lot about Balinese culture and their values.

The coordinators really supervised us and made sure that our experience took place in the best conditions. In addition, the coordinators always brought me very quick answers to my questions. I think this adventure is interesting for anyone looking to help others but also to take time to be. Indeed, Lovina was the perfect place to relax and enjoy Balinese life.

I was able to organize my adventure as a volunteer in Lovina with the IVHQ association. I highly recommend this association which helped me to find the program that suited me best.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To prepare some activities before coming for the kids.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Andrea, thanks for your review of our Bali program. I'm glad to hear that you have made lasting memories. Thank you for your contribution to the Balinese community. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future! ^ Lena - IVHQ Bali Program Manager

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Peter
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent support for my family and I from well before the trip to well after. Local support was of high standard as well which is a direct reflection of IVHQ. Fees are the lower then other organizations according to our research and we would definitely work with IVHQ again.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
have an open mind...trust the IVHQ and local staff and speak up if you have a query or concern. Staff are there to ensure your comfort, safety and enjoyment.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Peter, thanks for your review of our Bali program. it's great to hear that you have had a rewarding time. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon. ^ Lena - IVHQ Bali Program Manager

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Nadia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with IVHQ in Bali, doing the healthcare education program & my experience was beyond amazing. While preparing to go, IVHQ was of great help & support, the online guide had more than enough information, & whenever I had a question, my program manager was always there to help. The local staff in Bali were just as supportive, I felt so safe in their care. The accommodation was really nice, the house was beautiful, we had a daily cleaning service, the food was amazing, we had Western options as well as traditional Indonesian options. My placement was good too, I got to work with amazing people, & I made lots of friends there. I definitely recommend volunteering with IVHQ, cause they made my trip to Bali so worthwhile, & so much fun

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nadia, thanks for your review of our Bali program. It's great to hear that you had such a rewarding experience. The effort you put in to your contribution to the project is greatly appreciated. ^ Lena - IVHQ Bali Program Manager

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Addie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go Overseas...Go to Romania...Seriously do it!
This was honestly such a great experience! I applied through IVHQ to volunteer in Romania for 2 weeks but I loved it so much I extended another week and if I hadn't had any further travels I would have extended longer. The highlight of my volunteering through Care2Travel was Summer Camp! I didn't know a lot about Romania before travelling there but as a destination it has so many amazing things to offer. The people, the food, the landscapes - everything is just amazing! I can't recommend highly enough the team at Care2Travel. They were so helpful with anything at all and all the information provided before and during my stay was so comprehensive. You feel so welcomed and with the projects themselves you feel like you are contributing to a greater cause - whatever language challenges I faced with the kids on Summer Camp, the smiles and laughs really make it worth it!!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Addie, thanks for your review of our Romania program. It's great to hear that you have such a rewarding experience. The effort you put into your contribution to the project is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^Claire - IVHQ Romania Program Manager

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Sungi
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered for two weeks in Santa Elena, Ecuador with Volunteer Connection Ecuador (VCE), via IVHQ. My experience was definitely unique to say the least. The first week I was there, the President made a political decision which set the entire country in an uproar; resulting in nationwide protests, road closures and bus shutdowns. Feel free to look it up if you're interested. It was the removal of the subsidy for diesel fuel. I believe it's been resolved.

Nevertheless, being that Santa Elena is along the coast, which was away from the majority of the protests, I never felt unsafe. In fact, being from New York, I'm used to protests and people being upset over something a government official has done. So it didn't really phase me much. I mentioned this mainly to suggest that you research the political climate for anywhere you travel in the world, just to prepare yourself for what to possibly expect.

However, regarding my volunteer experience; it was great! I initially signed up for the Environmental Education project. But due to the buses being shut down, I couldn't go to that after the 1st two days. This actually turned out to be for the best, as my local program manager, Gina, was able to adapt quickly to finding alternate ways for us to serve the community. We ended up painting a mural for a local school, which turned into multiple people in the community asking us to do the same for other locations that the local kids used for either playing or learning. This ended up being a great way for us to serve the community, due to the direct impact it had. So many people were grateful for the work we did, that they even posted it in the community Whatsapp and Facebook pages. We'd be sitting in a local restaurant and people would come up to us to say thank you and say jokingly how we were now "famous" in the area.

Along with painting, we also did some beach cleanups. It's not until you're 5 large trash bags in, that you realize how much of a mess we humans make to our environments. I definitely recommend anyone to volunteer with IVHQ and taking a chance on Santa Elena, Ecuador. You'll spend on average $3.00 USD per meal, the people are friendly and beaches are really nice. If you go in the summer, June-Sept., you might even get to see turtles coming on shore to give birth. My advice is keep an open mind and be adaptable.

What was your funniest moment?
Funniest moment would have to be using the bathroom in my room, in the volunteer house. The bathroom is really small and my roommate and I are each 6ft tall. We couldn't sit down without our knees pushing open to door, so we had to figure out ways to make it work. Although we had the option of using the upstairs bathroom, which was way bigger, we decided not to, mainly due to the sheer hilariousness of it all. Gives a better story to tell later on if you have a good sense of humor.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sungi, thanks for your review of our Ecuador - Santa Elena program. I'm so glad to hear that, despite the political unrest and change to your project, you had such a rewarding experience. I liked hearing about your funny moment with the bathroom! It's the small things like this that make the best memories! Thank you so much for your adaptability and for the amazing contribution that you made to this project. It is so obviously appreciated by this community. We welcome you to come back and volunteer with us soon! ^ Kate - IVHQ Ecuador - Santa Elena Program manager

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Inez Diana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I began looking for volunteer trips and companies years ago in middle school (I am now 23) as I had always dreamed of having this opportunity. I found IVHQ a few years ago and have kept going back to their page and looking at the various locations and projects and finally decided to take the plunge last December. They had the cheapest cost yet still seemed to provide a ton of support and assistance as well as great reviews, which were all important to me. The project I chose, Teaching English in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, was run by another company that IVHQ partners with and although that I was hesitant at first, I found that both companies worked very well together and both equally kept in contact with me and helped me as I prepared to travel. Maximo Nivel was the partner company who runs projects in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Peru and they do a wonderful job. IVHQ was involved with everything and supported me up until I departed and then Maximo took over, yet IVHQ still checked in throughout the trip and I felt that between the both of them, I had as much support as needed, and had someone to call no matter what. From the moment I was picked up at the airport, to my first night at a host family in San Jose, and then finally my transfer to Manuel Antonio the following day, I felt safe and secure and I was with other volunteers who ended up becoming my host family and some really great friends. The project was very basic as far as the supplies and the setup, it was located in a community building as a part of the church and the room was very basic having only tables, chairs and a white board with some markers, but what else do you need with imagination? Classes were held from 3-4:30 for the children whose ages ranged from 4 to 10 and then adult classes were from 4:30-6 and we ended up splitting the adult group in half for beginners and intermediate students. This project did require a decent amount of planning due to the lack of a curriculum or established lessons, but it wasn't difficult since the local team works with you and has many resources for you to use. Overall, the best part of the experience was seeing how much of an impact you have on your students, helping them do better at work, get better grade sin school, get into college and feel confident when speaking with the large amount of visitors from all over the world. Plus, every morning and weekend were our free time and we did so much, such as visiting La Fortuna/Arenal in the north part of the country, touring Manuel Antonio National Park, taking catamaran cruises to local islands off the coast, and really becoming locals exploring the town and finding our favorite spots. Overall, it was an amazing few weeks and I cried as the plane took off to head home because part of my heart will always be left with the people of Costa Rica, although I was excited to be in the world of air conditioning again! :)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to do research on the country, the people and the language if you can BEFORE you get in the country. By researching all the popular destinations for my weekends and planning and making reservations before my trip even started, it made everything less stressful once I was there and I just had to follow my schedule of activities. I also was able to advise other volunteers that I was living with and working with about activities and places to visit in their free time. Thankfully, I know enough Spanish to get through any conversation and be able to be on my own without stressing about communication, but the volunteers I lived with had little to no Spanish knowledge and I could see how differently our experiences were. I could easily communicate with our host mom who spoke no English, while they had to rely on Google translate for any conversation they wanted to have with anyone who didn't know enough English, which was a lot of the community.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Inez, thanks for your review of our Costa Rica program. I'm glad to hear that you have a truly rewarding experience on the teaching project in Manuel Antonio. The effort and hard work that you put in to contributing to this community is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^ Kate - IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

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Sharon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was truly a life enhancing experience and I was not expecting to gain such valuable insights and learning from this program.
IVHQ was professional and supportive and worked in perfect tandem with their local representatives of Green Lion. They really lived up to their promises in regards to food, accommodation, location and of course the program content itself. The work gave me a sense of purpose and achievement while allowing me the opportunity to really see firsthand local culture and the way of life In that area .... This is an excellent way of traveling, to see parts of the world not often explored by modern tourism, and done in a more responsible and sustainable manner. It gives the opportunity to give something back in exchange for some wonderful memories. I would highly recommend this volunteer  program .... 
It's easy to make new friends, especially if you take the orientation week, you get to know people better and spend time together. At the weekends there are plenty of trips to do, to explore the island and try local experience. The immediate locals are very warm and inviting and will let you get involved in what ever is happening in the village, for example we went to the local volley ball finals which was great fun and taken very seriously by the fans!!
If you are open to taking opportunities that arrive then you will have a rich and fulfilling time here!!!

What was your funniest moment?
Taking part in a scavenger hunt arrange by the other volunteers
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sharon, thanks for your review of our Bali - Ubud program. It's so good to hear that you enjoyed your time there and made some lasting memories. The contribution you made to the community on the Construction & Renovation project is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you volunteer with IVHQ again soon! ^ Lena - IVHQ Bali Program Manager