GoEco

Program Reviews

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Krista
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an incredible experience volunteering in Calga, Australia at the Animal Sanctuary. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go. I was able to learn about and work with so many great animals that are native to Australia. I also worked on maintaining fox proof fencing that surrounded and protected the entire sanctuary and all the critters inside. It was awesome seeing all your hard work pay off. Through volunteering I also got to meet some amazing people from around the world that I know will be life long friends. Lastly, this was my first time traveling alone and to Australia. I felt very prepared for my trip and safe the whole time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you have the opportunity to go, just go! You won't regret it.
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Alyia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not only did I learn a lot from the program itself, but I met some amazing other volunteers who I still occasionally talk to about the park at which we volunteered. It was a wonderful learning opportunity and all of the employees of Oakvale would explain everything to me, so I understood what we were doing. I didn't think I would enjoy doing manual labor as much as I did while I was there, but I found it really fun to plant and mulch when I knew it would benefit the animal living in that enclosure. I know that quite a few of the keepers that had been at the park have left to work at the Australia Zoo, but I am sure whoever they hire next will be just as awesome.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I personally struggle a lot with social anxiety, so I was really nervous about being out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I decided to go through with it because every person I met made me feel welcomed.
Read my full story
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Brigitte
4/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose Madagascar after hearing many great things about the place and how beautiful it was. I wanted to see with my own eyes. I then chose the Lemur project because this animal intrigued me and I have to be honest I loved the movie Madagascar.
When I first arrived I thought the landscapes were beautiful.
If I’m honest when I fist arrived at the house as my accommodation I was not impressed and felt uncomfortable. The place was dirty, colorless and very basic. We never saw any pictures of the house but I had assumed it would be more than basic for the amount of money I paid.
The rooms were spacious enough for all of us staying together and it felt cozy. The bathroom was okay but seeing cockroaches everyday was not pleasant. I even saw a rat in the kitchen one night.
Some of the bathroom accessories were broken but were mostly fixed during the weeks I stayed there.
One of the issues I have to comment about the house is the heat, being sweaty all the time. On a daily basis the electricity was out of power therefore no fans and water.
I had a hard time sleeping at night because of the heat so after 2 weeks I decided to sleep on the floor under the fan to be more comfortable.
The food was amazing since the cooks were great. I wished they prepared more in order to get seconds sometimes since the guys eat more than us. Breakfast needs to change!! Eating baguettes and an egg everyday is not appealing after 2 weeks.
The Coordinator was a bit too micro-managing the house if you ask me. He made the ladies feel uncomfortable and with a sense of eavesdropping on us. He was not keen with making changes in the house and taking feedback during my stay.

I would recommend this place only if changes are made.

What would you improve about this program?
The project information should be updated with current information about the accommodation, add some pictures about the house and the surroundings, working programs are not up to date since the workload and agenda presented lacks what we do. Should change the front picture of the beach since it is not the one close to the project but one you need to pay to visit. It is misinformed because I thought that amazing beach was close to our accommodation and that was one of the reasons I came to Madagascar to see that FREE beach.
Now talking about the project, I loved the environment. The Lemurs are amazing animals to see from close and how they behave. I was happy to work with them and the friendly staff. I have nothing negative to say about the project but simply because it is a good place to be they should provide more workload to do instead of sitting in a restaurant for 2 hours. I wished I could have done more. It would have been nice to learn more about the culture by helping the community and the kids in our spare time instead of sitting in a restaurant.
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Heidi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the amazing hostel in Jo-burg to immersing ourselves in the history & culture of Soweto to Wildlife Sanctuary, this was undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime. I truly felt I got a 360 degree experience through my partnership with GoEco. Everyday at the sanctuary was an adventure. I walked to breakfast next to grazing zebras, watched giraffes at dinner, & laughed at monkeys stealing food from the wart hogs. The people were warm, fun, and now lifetime friends. Sign up now! You won't be sorry!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
When we visited Soweto, we had the pleasure of dining at a local restaurant with traditional food. It was buffet style so I went around and added whatever I wanted to my plate, some of which is still a mystery. I got to salad bar and saw, what I thought, was a cold, couscous salad. I got back to my table and took a big bite of this couscous dish and immediately realized something was not right. It was not pleasant! I soon figured out that I had taken a nice, big bite of minced garlic! I didn't want to be the rude American so I chewed and swallowed it and apologized to my friends for the garlic magic they would smell the rest of the day. Needless to say, the rest of the meal was delicious!
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Elli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As someone who has been to many volunteer programs in Israel, I can honestly say they are all worth attending. From the Wildlife Center in the south to the Vegan Bakery in Tel Aviv, each program offers unique and immeasurable traveling experiences.

It's not often one has the opportunity to sink their teeth into Israeli culture using a completely different lens than that of a usual tourist. The work I accomplished, the people I met, and the places I visited made this experience hard to forget. If you're looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, GoEco will help you find the most suitable one for you as they did for me.

Happy traveling!

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guy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Sri Lanka and volunteering in the babies orphanage on Kandy was the best decision I have ever made. Being there and feeling the positivity of the work youre doing and the impact you have of other people's life is undescribable. That feeling you get when you pick a baby up from his crib and he is wrapping he's arms around your neck and not letting go is the best and worse feeling ever. You can actually feel how desperate those kids are for love and you can't even start to imagine going back home and leaving them there.
I had a lot of fun but I would really recommend trying to go for a longer period of time, since you also have introduction week at the start of the program, which leaves you with a shorter time for volunteer work.
Introduction week was truly amazing, befriending your roomates and volunteer colleagues while getting to know the sri lankan culture through trips to temples, cultural dance show, batik house, cooking lesson and more.
The food was very good though really spicy and very repetitive.
The accomodation was very clean, comfortable and safe.
I would advise on bringing your own medication as the hospital neraby is not very hygienic and it is worth to avoid the visit.
Registering through GoEco was amazing, you really feel like everything is being taken care of and the treatment was very personal.
Picturs unfortunately only available from intoduction week since you cant take pictures of the orhanage or the babies.

Silvia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with this programme was the best decision I could have possibly taken. It was such an amazing experience getting to wake up everyday to the lions roaring. The staff there was super nice and the volunteers were the most funny people I have ever met!
We got to prepare the food and feed all the animals everyday, water them ad help with the cleaning of the house. On weekends we helped with the tours that came to see the animals and we also had a lot of free time to spend time with some of the animals. Also, we did some trips to the city to have dinner out, go to the mall and buy the groceries.

Let's Meet My Valentine :-P
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

YES!
Volunteering in the strikingly homey desert wilderness, under a pacific supervision of well-fitting rangers, to cater for hygienic, dietary and safety well-being and convalescence of exotic and endangered animals, thereto reach far over to provide welcoming conditions for visitors so that they can peacefully mingle with locally typical, Bible-related species, and learn of their life cycle and threats of extinction. This is the CORE of your delightful input in the reserve of Hai Bar Yotvata and only a FRAME of your captivating experience.

UNEARTHLY PARADISE
Situated in the respectably CULTIVATED Arava borderline of the Negev DESERT, the animal reserve with its embedded residential area (incl. spacious volunteer bungalow), is encircled with picturesque range of mountains and a highway to Eilat, the longest Israeli road. Being a European with immoderate density of buildings and forests, I got astonished at the scenery, evocating both freedom and firmness at the same time. I fell in love instantly.

AFTER THE WORKSHIFT? SHIFT TO EXPLORATION
Topped with moderate climate of Israeli post-winter and pre-spring February stay, I felt fresh enough to EXPLORE the safe pathways to nearby kibbutzim of less than 20min of walking distance. Just be well equipped and let people know, for the health insurance was already your entry ticket anyway. Since you may volunteer in a group or most likely happen to be joining already active volunteers, eventual loneliness shall be nothing but your own choice. Let alone the MYRIAD of unique local trip opportunities, neighbouring rangers and fenced animal-run, sources of in-house fun from a guitar, books, board games, over YouTube channels on TV and Internet in general, to household or the porch, which appears to be the most favourite relax-zone. After all, peace and quiet is all you need after work sometimes.

WHAT IS, WHAT ISN’T ON DAILY MENU?
You are doomed to fall for mountainous valley, occasional acacias or palm kibutzes as they deliver an exciting scene, detached from dense civilization, yet close to Eilat. Wadi, caves and wilderness are just around the highway. Sun rises above the strap of nearby Jordanian mountain ridges. You are going to enjoy the daily pickup with a jeep, work side by side with experienced rangers and see how HANDY can be the shopping done once a week per your reserves, within generous budget for the whole board of the volunteer house. Everyone shall profit from healthy detachment from mass media, although still with fast wireless Internet access and telescreen. MODERN FACILITIES are deemed a ‘five star hotel’ amidst the desert and protected animals. WHAT’S INCLUDED? Housing, all energy supply, Internet, sufficient grocery stipend, gas for the jeep, eventual transfers should you need, liquids and bathrooms on workplace, working tools and first-hand expert explanations!!!

UNIQUE WORK CONDITIONS
Other than that, sand becomes a nostalgic article which the work leaves you with thereafter. All the year round, you will get a constant rangers’ care for organism hydratation. No worries about failing in the tasks - here the rangers see to the good work and so they actively partake in the alike physical work that we do and provide a constant unbiased supervision, not only to save the animals, but to protect the volunteers too. Stemming from situation, look forward to rare assignments of breathtaking character, with high responsibility and honour, for they require professional or emergent execution. Living next door to animals’ yard and continuously discovering diverse forms of reptiles and insects around entail the routine that many may find MISSING BACK HOME.

NEWIE-VOLUNTEERS, STRETCH YOUR EARS
Believe it or not, great diversity of local animals will occupy your mind on daily bases. Not only are you free to give a helping hand at weekends. Not only a beautiful grasshopper, a pert ant, an attractive lizard and other cute tiny beings may pay you a visit. Maybe that the rangers with their patient expert eye will help you see the WELL-CAMOUFLAGED WILDLIFE and international MIGRATING BIRDS, with which the very typical Hoopoe or fabulous Flamingos, for their PECULIAR story. Value added depicts the chance of being invited to extra tours within the regular inspections. So get ready, make sure your eye or photo lens are clean!

Appreciation is always the key to sustainable relationships rather than taking things for granted. Workplace is not a holiday resort. Rangers are there for the reserve, but for you too - SPEAK to them, NOTE them when you need to leave for the restroom, when you feel sick, if you are close to run out of food supply, if you plan to take a TRIP OUTSIDE (e.g. to Eilat with its Doplhine Reef, Underwater World, artistic downtown, its considerable airport and many cultural sites; to ancient Timna mining site and close canyon-like serpentines; to surrounding kibutzes; to a walking distance lookout point; a bus drive either to Dead Sea or Beer Sheva) and, of course, when you are not sure about UNDERSTANDING the instructions.

Do not be afraid to ask as they, too, appreciate openness, trust, cooperation, interaction, initiative, relevant questions (and compliments as everyone), for it enhances work experience and MOTIVATION on both sides. Load the phone numbers of recommended rangers onto your mobile CONTACT LIST.

Should you decide to apply through GoEco, remember that there is a person you can always turned to as well; plus they will see to it that you adapt yourself comfortably and introduce you to peculiarities of wonderful Jerusalem in the company of a friendly knowledgeable guide.

YOU ARE GOING TO SURVIVE WITH SMILE, BUT STILL
Wear heal-and-toe closed shoes, best possibly protecting your ankles too. Keep your head covered, as you are exposed to sun. Sunglasses may well protect your eyes from sand in eventual wind and sandstorm. Sunscreen may come handy even in winter months. Basically take all RECEIVED ADVICE before departure and meanwhile the stay into account, for the reserve has a lot to deal with inside and the wilderness around to take on another issue. Don’t underestimate local conditions in the first place as there might not be a vehicle available to take you to hospital WHEN IT IS TOO LATE or to do the shopping when you are already out of all the supply. Remember that running the reserve does not comprise mere ‘Good morning’ to animals, let alone they are not the only ‘beings’ there - an essential part features an embedded campsite, lodging huts and safari. Besides, also the cared-for wild fauna consists of both herbivores, as well as CARNIVORES (predators). Hence do not expect the hyena, leopard, wolfs, jackals, wild cats, caracals, vultures, eagles etc. to feed on SOYA MEAT.

POST-PROGRAM CONSEQUENCES
Grateful for each second and for the natural ‘embarkment’ on board of rangers’ brotherhood, I felt and do feel like showing my APPRECIATION here and there. The last night I went through nostalgic break-down as I realized the strong bonds with the fun, talented, intelligent, proud, respectful and hospitable people, as well as with Hai Bar wrapped in charming mountains and peculiar animals’ sounds (how was I supposed to DISACCUSTOM MYSELF from ostrich wooing, donkey heehaws and rangers’ quizzical comments). I have remained surprised how FRIENDLY the DESERT SETTINGS can be, how ‘at-home’ I felt the whole month, what a HEALTHY RESTORATION it was from stressful daily life, from the ‘omnipresent’ business surrounding, traffic and construction noise, from the air pollution and cases of ill-treatment or indifference to animals back home.

Like others, I REDISCOVERED my self-reliance and REINFORCED active listening. I should say that I SHALL COME AGAIN! For many international people I talked to, it is still a relatively UNIQUE RESCUE AND RECOVERY PROGRAM in Israel. Nor is the Internet explicitly ‘flooded’ with rich information on this distinct natural legacy and reservists’ endeavour after its nature SUSTAINABILITY in CONSTANT FIGHTS with the municipal, business and ministry deputies, searching for compromise with desired growth of infrastructure and income.

CHECK IT OUT!

What would you improve about this program?
A good word on experienced reality derives progress. Every volunteer already has the chance to express openly and leave a feedback. I personally learned on the place how the housing conditions, communication reserves and volunteers' imprudence have developed since program's first striving years.
It needs to get promoted in large, emphasizing that people with particular insight, interests, thinking green, enthusiasm and creative ideas may bring not only sustainability of the program, but its gradual development for good.
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Neil
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary for 3 weeks from November 4th until December 1st 2017. The sanctuary takes in orphaned or injured animals and looks after them with the aim for them to be released back into the wild. For some animals or birds release is not a practical option so they live out their lives at the sanctuary. There is a large range of animals and birds including lions, leopards, monkeys, antelope, crocodiles, sheep, meer-cats, eagles, owls and geese. The work is all directly or indirectly aimed at helping the animals, we did a lot of food preparation, enclosure cleaning and general improvements, but we also had trips offsite to look at camera traps or collect food/bedding for the animals. The sanctuary staff organized trips away for us as well, for example, we had three days in Victoria Falls.

What would you improve about this program?
The main issues were related to the economic situation in Zimbabwe, it was difficult to purchase things such as freezers as the currency is in a mess. It would also help to have a specific volunteer coordinator as it was done as part of another job.
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Tamara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As I said, best two weeks of my entire life!
South Africa has become my favorite place on earth, I would totally say it's my second home.
The interaction with the animals is amazing, much more than I could ever ask for! You really get to create a strong bond with them. Our lion cubs Malakai, Malia and Nairobi stole my heart as well as the ostrich Josephine and its babies :)
And the people you meet there...they become your family!

Can't wait to go back!!!